ATP Toronto: Rafael Nadal upends Stefanos Tsitsipas to write history

By Daily Sports on August 14, 2018

Views: 182

 This is the 33rd Masters 1000 crown for the Spaniard and he is the fourth player with 80 ATP titles in the Open era

ompeting in Toronto for the first time since 2010 when Andy Murray stopped him in the semi-final, world number 1 and the four-time Canada Open champion Rafael Nadal has won his 33rd Masters 1000 crown after a solid 6-2 7-6 win over a birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas, the youngest Masters 1000 finalist since Novak Djokovic in Miami 2007! This was the 40th win for Rafa from 43 matches so far in 2018, joining Alexander Zverev at the top of the list of players with the most triumph this season and it has certainly been one of his best starts of the year ever despite injuries that sidelined him from the court between the Australian Open and April.

Rafa has achieved another milestone with this win, becoming only the fourth player in the Open era with 80 ATP titles after Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer, and he is also the first player with five titles in 2018, including three Masters 1000 events. Stefanos did an amazing job in reaching the title match, beating four Top 10 players in a row (the youngest player to do so since 1973 when the ranking was introduced) and facing a match point against Alexander Zverev and Kevin Anderson to play in his second ATP final after Barcelona this April when he won just three games against Rafa.

He gave his best today in the second set as well to overcome a break deficit and create a set point on the return in game 12, only to be denied by Rafa who lost the ground in the closing stages of the match despite a pearless performance before serving for the match at 5-4 when Tsitsipas broke back to extend the encounter and almost send it into a decider. In the end, the Spaniard won the tie break 7-4 to lift his 19th ATP title on hard and the first since the US Open last year. It was a marvelous performance from Nadal until 6-2 5-4, sailing through his service games and dominating with his forehand to have the upper hand from the baseline.

Despite that weak period in the last part of the match, he finished the match with 27 winners and 20 unforced errors while Tsitsipas hit 15 direct points but also 25 mistakes. Nothing could separate them in the shortest points up to four strokes and Rafa created the crucial gap in the more challenging rallies from five to eight strokes and those that reached the ninth shot.

After playing matches like this numerous times before, Nadal made the best possible start of the match, dominating in his service games and using his opportunities on the return to take the opener 6-2 in just 34 minutes. He lost just one point in four service games and Stefanos was nowhere near that pace, serving under 50% and getting broken twice. The Spaniard drew first blood in game three when he converted the third break point for an early lead and he found himself 4-1 up after just 22 minutes thanks to a forehand error from Tsitsipas in game five.

An outstanding forehand winner pushed Nadal 5-1 up and the opening set was in his hands after another hold at love in game eight and a forehand error from Stefanos who never found his rhythm or solve how to keep the points on his racquet. Rafa was 14-5 up in the longer points and he was marching towards the finish line, especially after the perfect start of set number two as well. He broke the youngster in the very first game and they both served well in the following eight games, leaving Nadal to serve for the title at 5-4. Stefanos has raised his level compared to the opening set and he was there to challenge Nadal with aggressive and well-balanced tennis that brought him the place in the final.

The problem was, he won just three points on the return since the start of the match and no one could expect he will do much in that 10th game either. Out of sudden, Rafa lost his momentum and he got broken at 30, missing a chance to seal the deal and having to save a set point when he served two games later. He fends it off after a lucky net cord to set up a tie break where he was the clear favorite. Tsitsipas had an early mini-break but Rafa erased the deficit after a huge forehand error from the Greek in the fourth point. A service winner moved Nadal 4-3 up and he earned a crucial mini-break when Stefanos' forehand finished in the net. Another poor forehand from the 20-year-old gave Nadal championship point and he fired a forehand cross court winner in the 11th point for a 7-4 and a title celebration. (Tennis World USA)

Photo shows Nadal

Source Daily Sports

Posted August 14, 2018

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