Rafael Nadal pounded an overwhelmed Milos Raonic today in the Canadian Open Montreal final 6-2, 6-2. The 68 minute match wasn’t even that close as Nadal jumped on Raonic early in both sets and was never really threatened.
The win for Nadal was his third in Canada after titles at 2008 Toronto and Montreal in 2005 when Raonic was just 14.
“To win here, I have to be playing my top level,” said Nadal.”Very happy the way that I played almost every match in this tournament. Is very important for me, this title. Just very happy for everything.”
Since returning to the tour from knee injury in February, Nadal has won a tour-leading eight titles in 11 events, and he’s a perfect 10-0 on his least favorite surface, the hardcourts. And less than 24 hours after dispatching Novak Djokovic in a third-set tiebreaker, the Spaniard looked even more impressive today in railroading Raonic.
“I did a lot of things well,” said Nadal. “My return was huge this afternoon. I returned a few first serves of his in important moments, decisive. Then I think he play with more mistakes than usual. That helped me.”
Nadal’s ranking will move up to No. 3, ahead of countryman David Ferrer, and he could take the No. 2 ranking/seeding at the US Open if he were to win Cincinnati and second-ranked Andy Murray lost early. But more importantly with the victory Nadal extends his lead over Novak Djokovic in the year-end Race for No. 1 to roughly 1,500 ranking points.
“I feel I have an advantage, but not enough to say that I am the favorite,” he said. “On this kind of surface, Novak is really good. [There] remains three Masters 1000s, one Grand Slam, [Barclays ATP World Tour Finals] – more favorable surfaces for him than for me. So we are talking about 6,500 points.
“We have to realize how many points I have to win to be No. 1. I think I will not be No. 1 if I have less than 10,000 points at the end of the season. Today I have 8,000. I need to win minimum 2,000 more. That’s very difficult in this part of the season, but I’m going to try.”
Raonic, who was trying to become the first Canadian to win his home event since 1958, enjoyed one of his best weeks as a pro and will finally crack the Top 10 as a result.
“There’s a lot of things, a lot of steps, a lot of professionalism that is not optional really to get to this level, stuff I really pride myself in, I put a lot of emphasis on,” said Raonic. “To do it here is really special for me, but also it’s very motivating for the next steps to sort of know that I’ve made that step to where I want to be. It makes me want to push harder and work more to make the next step to go down that line and try to get as close as I can to my goals.”
Overall, Nadal now has 58 career titles of which 25 are Masters level events. If he plays Cincinnati he could meet Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
In the women’s final in Toronto, the Serena-Sorana final went unsurprisingly to Serena who blew out Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 to win her third Canadian crown.
“She had nothing to lose, so it wasn’t going to be easy for me today, and I knew that I would have to play better today than what I did last night,” said Williams. “I think she played well. I mean, I don’t know the stats, but I don’t think there were too many love games. We had some long rallies. I mean, we both hit a few unforced errors, but I told my coach, I said, I thought she played really well today.”
Serena has won both titles since her Wimbledon loss, and she’ll head to Cincinnati and onto the US Open as the big favorite.
Like Raonic, the 23-year-old Cirstea also had her best week, but after wins over Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Li Na the Romanian couldn’t match firepower with Serena.
“She got better as the match went along,” said Cirstea who’ll make her Top 20 debut on Monday. “And I wasn’t able to pick up my game as I was in the past few matches. But all credit to her – there’s a reason we have the rankings and why she’s on top of those rankings. She’s the No.1 player, and she’s proving that every single time she steps on court.”
Serena now has 54 titles in her career and a Nadal-equaling eight this year.
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