Hopes were high for the in-form Daniil Medvedev today in Montreal against Rafael Nadal during the Canadian Open final. The first-time Masters finalist has been one of the top players on hard courts, and he hadn’t dropped a set or had been troubled on serve entering the final.
But that changed quickly as Nadal broke the big Russian for a 3-1 lead and all but ended any chances for the 23-year-old from Moscow.
Medvedev played a solid, long first game on Rafa’s serve, failing to convert a break opportunity, but after couldn’t find the mark on his serve while Rafa was pulverizing with his forehand in an easy 6-3, 6-0 win on a windy afternoon.
“I think I played a good first game, too. He had a break point. I played well. I saved that game. After that I think I played a solid match, my best match of the week so far without a doubt.”
The title was Nadal’s 5th in Canada and 3rd of the season, equalling rivals Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem. And it’s the first time he’s defended a title away from clay.
“I am healthy for a while. Since Madrid I think I have been improving in all terms, especially on the body. The body is feeling better,” Nadal said. “That makes me play better, too, because my mind is focused on tennis, not thinking about if I can do this thing or another thing.”
The win also marks his 35th at the Masters level and, after skipping Cincinnati, he’ll go into the US Open locked in as the No. 2 seed.
“I did a lot of things well: changing directions, changing rhythms during the point,” Rafa added. “The slice worked well this afternoon. I played some high balls, then changed down the line. I think I played smart this afternoon.”
Medvedev will move to a career-high No. 8 and become the Russian No. 1 which should give him a lift at the US Open later this month.
“My tactic was to not give him that much time, to try to play deep, to not give him easy shots,” Medvedev said. “It was kind of working in the beginning of the match, but then I completely lost the momentum. It was only him controlling the play, controlling the game,” Medvedev said.
“Even a few moments in the match, I tried not come back but win one game, see how it goes. I was close, he just played too good.”
Nadal also becomes the momentary leader in the 2019 points race, though Novak Djokovic can regain that top spot in Cincinnati.
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