Rafa Rises Above Tsitsipas Challenge To Win 33rd Masters 1000
There is no stopping Rafael Nadal at the moment. The world number one overcame stern tests from the likes of Wawrinka, Cilic, Khachanov and Tsitsipas for the loss of just one set, storming to victory in Toronto.
In a draw without Rafa’s arch rival Roger Federer, the Spaniard was always going to be the hot favourite. However a young man called Stefanos Tsitsipas did not want to make it easy for Nadal. He had beaten 4 top 10 players in a row to reach the final in Toronto, a feat that puts the Greek 15th in the world rankings, after starting the year at 92 in the world. Tsitsipas started slowly, losing the first set 6-2 and going 2-0 down in the second, but grew into the match. He broke Nadal as he served for the match, and then followed with a service hold to force a tiebreak. Things were looking up for the Greek until a forehand error at 4-3 to Nadal in the breaker turned things around, with Nadal easing to victory thereafter.
Despite the loss, Tsitsipas has much to be proud of, having just turned 20 on the day of the final. He became the youngest player to beat 4 top 10 players in a row since the introduction of the ATP World Tour in 1990, and he reached his first ever Masters 1000 final. Had Tsitsipas not spent such long amounts of time on court in previous matches, he may well have gone all the way.
“If you told me this two weeks ago I would not have believed it,” said Nadal. “It’s a great way to start the hard-court season. Winning in Toronto is so important. You don’t win Masters 1000s very often. It’s a very important victory for me and I’m very happy.”
Nadal also further consolidated his position as world number one, and is now 3,740 points ahead of Roger Federer. Nadal only has 2180 points to defend from Cincinnati and the US Open, so will likely retain his number one ranking going past the final Grand Slam of the year. Next for Nadal is Cincinnati, where the Spaniard will look to improve upon a quarter final finish in 2017.