Carreño Busta Masters Montreal To Win First Masters 1000 Title

Pablo Carreño Busta (photo: Pascal Ratthe/Tennis Canada)

MONTREAL/WASHINGTON, August 15, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

All four of No. 8 seed Hubert Hurkacz‘s victories coming into Sunday’s title match of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montreal had gone the distance – three sets – and his powerful serve proved time and again to be a match-saver for him.

The World No. 10 from Poland put himself in solid position to win his second career Masters 1000 title by firing 11 aces during the first set against Spain’s unseeded Pablo Carreño Busta, ranked 23rd. He would finish with 18 aces by the end of the match but it wouldn’t be enough to lift the trophy in the seventh Masters 1000 final of the season.

That’s because the 31-year-old Carreño Busta rebounded in the second set to send the title match to a decider – and the Spaniard positioned himself to succeed by breaking Hurkacz in the third game of the final set to go ahead 2-1. He would not relinquish the lead. Indeed, Carreño Busta became more aggressive as the match wore on and also became more focused on his returns. It proved to be a formidable one-two combination.

Carreño Busta broke Hurkacz for the third time during the one-hour and 44-minute final on his first match-point opportunity and won, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, to earn the biggest title of his career – his first ATP Masters 1000 title – and seventh ATP Tour crown overall.

It was Hurkacz’s first loss in six ATP Tour finals, while Carreño Busta became the first unseeded title winner in Canada since Argentina’s Guillermo Cañas in 2002 and the first tournament champion ranked outside the Top 20 since No. 43 Andrei Pavel of Romania in 2001.

Carreño Busta has now beaten Hurkacz in two of the three tour-level matches in which they’ve faced each other.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be a Masters 1000 winner,” Carreño Busta said during an on-court interview before the trophy ceremony. The Spaniard broke through to win in the 52nd Masters 1000 event of his career. “It’s the best title of my career for sure and I don’t know how I’m feeling in this moment.

“I know that during all the week we worked very hard, also the weeks before. It’s very important to be very positive all the time. It’s not my best season this year. I lost some matches probably other seasons I didn’t lose, but I just tried to continue believing in my team in myself and in my game.”

By the conclusion of Sunday’s final, Carreño Busta finished with 22 winners to just 12 unforced errors. He won 73 percent of his first-serve points and converted all three of his break-point chances against Hurkacz. The Spaniard withstood 18 aces by the Polish star, who struck 29 winners but also made 29 unforced errors. Carreño Busta outpointed Hurkacz 76-68.

“I lost the first set, just one break, but you know when you play against these kinds of players who have a really good serve, it’s really tough to be there,” Carreño Busta said. “But I just continued believing because I know that I was playing better and better. I tried to be aggressive with my serves and I could make two breaks, enough to be a winner.”

In press, Hurkacz gave props to Carreño Busta. He said: “Pablo played very well throughout the whole match. It was tough to play against him. Maybe, I wasn’t serving as good as I can, but Pablo was the better player today.”

Carreño Busta’s first Masters 1000 title was the culmination of a rewarding week in which he upset No. 11 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the opening round, followed by wins over Holger Rune of Denmark and No. 7 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy. Then, he eliminated Great Britain’s Jack Draper in the quarterfinal round and another Briton, Daniel Evans, in the semifinals. By time he earned his sixth win of the week to win the Canadian title, Carreño Busta had lost only two sets – against Evans and Hurkacz – and he improved his win-loss record to 28-17. Carreño Busta became the sixth Spaniard to win an ATP Tour title in 2022.

Koolhof and Skupski win sixth doubles title of season

No. 3 seeds Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Neal Skupski of Great Britain won their sixth ATP Tour title of the season and second Masters 1000 crown with their 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 victory over unseeded Daniel Evans of Great Britain and John Peers of Australia Sunday evening.

Koolhof and Skupski, who were appearing in their eighth final of the season, converted three of nine break points and won 77 percent of their first-serve points en route to their latest title victory. They outpointed their opponents 68-48 after racing to a 7-2 lead in the match tie-break.

“We played four very close matches [this week],” Koolhof told ATP Media during a post-match on-court interview after coming into the Montreal event on a three-match losing streak. “It’s never easy. These days there’s no such thing as easy matches anymore. Very happy with the way we played, our second Masters 1000 title of the year. Things are going great so let’s keep this run going.”

Skupski added: “I think we’re still learning. We’ve been together seven or eight months now, but it’s really going well. I love being on the court with Wes, it’s been a good partnership so far. Hopefully, we can just keep working, progressing. It seems like we’re going to be able to go to Turin eventually  and we’re looking forward to it.”

Koolhof and Skupski, in their debut season as a team, are the No. 1 team in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings.

Around the National Bank Open

The National Bank Open, which alternates between Montreal and Toronto, announced a record attendance of 237,158 for this year’s tournament in Montreal. It eclipsed the previous record set in 2019 by 12,000.

By the numbers

Pablo Carreño Busta moved up nine places to No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings following his title run in Montreal. He is also up to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Turin, an improvement of 18 spots. Meanwhile, Hubert Hurkacz, moved up two places to ninth in the Live Race to Turin.

“Quotable …”

“It’s probably one of the worst years of my career, with not really good results. I did make the final in Barcelona, the semifinals in Bastad, but now, I don’t know why, this week the level was unbelievable. I’m excited. It’s a big opportunity for me to know how to do it. For me, for my confidence, it’s very important to go on court tomorrow and try to do my best, to be aggressive and play my tennis.”

Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain, describing his 2022 season following his semifinal win over Daniel Evans that advanced him to Sunday’s final against Hubert Hurkacz.