MONTREAL, August 12, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Rafael Nadal won a record-extending 35th ATP Masters 1000 title by capturing the Rogers Cup Sunday afternoon in Montreal. Chalk one up for the old guard as the top-seeded Spaniard easily defeated Daniil Medvedev, one of the best of the new guard, 6-3, 6-0, on a blustery day in Jarry Park.
By garnering his second straight Rogers Cup title and fifth Canadian title overall, Nadal defended a non-clay title for the first time in his career. Medvedev, 23, was appearing in his first Masters 1000 final and second consecutive final overall.
Nadal, 33, praised his fallen opponent, Medvedev, who had won eight of his last nine matches, while also taking credit for his outstanding performance. “He played a great game, some very long rallies. For me, personally, it was important to start the match in good shape. He came to that match playing so well, playing a lot of matches (in recent) weeks. For me, it was a different story. I only played three matches on hard before this one,” said Nadal, who played in his 51st Masters 1000 final.
“I think I played a good first game, too. He had a break point. I played well. I saved that game. After that I think I played a solid match, my best match of the week so far without a doubt.”
The outcome was never in doubt as Nadal, who advanced to the final by walkover against Gaël Monfils, came out early and intimidated the eighth seed Medvedev with his consistency. Whether winning points on his serve or his return, Nadal struck his patented, heavy forehand ground strokes with maximum effect. He hit 12 winners and caused Medvedev into committing 22 unforced errors. The Russian also hit five double faults. Nadal controlled all of the key indicators throughout the 70 minute match played on the IGA Stadium hard court, including an 82 percent efficiency in winning points on his first serve and he converted four of eight break-point opportunities. Nadal also controlled the net, winning 11 of 13 chances, and he outpointed Medvedev 59-36.
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Medvedev, who will move up to a career-high No. 8 ranking, said during his news conference that his tactic against Nadal “was to not give him that much time, to try to play deep, to not give him easy shots.” While he said it worked in the beginning of the match, Medvedev admitted he lost momentum. “It was only him controlling the play, controlling the game.
“Even a few moments in the match, I tried not come back but win one game, see how it goes. I was close, (but) he just played too good.”
The Rogers Cup victory was Nadal’s third tour-level title of the year to go with his previous triumphs in Rome and at Roland Garros. By winning his fifth Canadian Masters 1000 crown – the others were in 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2018 – Nadal improved to 5-0 in Canadian Masters 1000 finals, which put him within one of tying Ivan Lendl’s all-time mark of six.
“I have always been around good people and good professionals that help me in all terms,” said Nadal, who earned 1,000 points with his victory and a winner’s check of $1,049,040. “I think I have been humble enough and smart (enough) to listen all the time to the people that are older than me and have a better knowledge than me, of life in general, and at the same time on tennis.”