Rafael Nadal showed exactly why he is world number one on Sunday as he beat unseeded Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Rogers Cup.
The 20-year old Tsitsipas had beaten Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev during a stunning run to the final, but his luck ran out as met a determined Nadal in the decider in Toronto.
The Spaniard was in no mood to hand Tsitsipas a gift on his birthday as he triumphed 6-2, 7-6(7-4) to claim his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title.
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“If you told me this two weeks ago I would not have believed it,” Nadal said afterwards. “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 was in a ruthless mood, racing away in the first set on the back of his usual array of big groundstrokes.
He broke again in the first game of the second set, and was serving for the match at 5-4 before Tsitsipas finally made his mark, sealing a break back to level things up and eventually force a tiebreaker.
It was not to be, however, as Nadal once again turned up the heat to finish off the match for a fourth career Rogers Cup and a fifth title of the season.