Nadal wins fifth Rogers Cup title in straight sets
Rafael Nadal has added a fifth Rogers Cup title.
The tournament's top seed made quick work Daniil Medvedev in the men's final Sunday, defeating the Russian 6-3, 6-0 at IGA Stadium in just 70 minutes.
Nadal, 33, won last year's Rogers Cup in Toronto, where he also triumphed in 2008.
The Spaniard's other two victories on Canadian soil came in Montreal back in 2005 at age 19 over Andre Agassi -- his first-ever hardcourt conquest -- and against Milos Raonic in 2013.
Currently ranked second in the world, Nadal improved to 41-6 in 2019 and raised his third trophy of the season at the US$5.7-million ATP Tour Masters 1000 series event after also winning on clay in Rome and at the French Open.
He advanced to Sunday's showdown with Medvedev after Gael Monfils withdrew from their scheduled semifinal with an ankle injury.
The Frenchman was forced to play a quarterfinal delayed more than 18 hours by inclement weather against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday afternoon. Monfils only had a short time to recover before the subsequent match with Nadal and decided against risking further damage.
Nadal fought off a break point in the first game of Sunday's opening set before going up 3-1 when Medvedev double-faulted. Then leading 5-3, the Spaniard sealed the set with a great passing forehand shot down the line after Medvedev came to the net.
Medvedev, who was playing Nadal for the first time, was broken again to open the second set. Despite clearly being second favourite in the eyes of the crowd, fans tried to spur the Russian on down 2-0, but his shaky performance continued as he was broken again to fall behind even further when his shot went long on another break.
Then trailing 4-0, Medvedev was broken again when his shot went into the net. Nadal served out from there to clinch the 83rd tournament win -- and 20th on a hardcourt -- of his singles career.
The Spaniard also defended a hardcourt title for the first time in walloping an opponent that hadn't lost a set all week before Sunday.
The 6-3, 6-0 score was the most lopsided men's final at the event since American star John McEnroe defeated countryman Vitas Gerulaitas 6-0, 6-3 in 1984.
Seeded eighth at the tournament and starting the week ranked No. 9 in the world, Medvedev was the first Russian to play in a men's Rogers Cup final since Marat Safin won back in 2000 when it was called the du Maurier Open. Andrei Chesnokov was also victorious in 1991, while Yevgeny Kafelnikov lost in the 1999 final.
The 23-year-old Medvedev defeated countryman Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 (6) in the only semifinal to be played Saturday, and will jump over his fellow Moscow native into eighth in the overall rankings when the new list is released Monday.
Medvedev entered Sunday with a 4-4 record against top-10 opponents in 2019, including a quarterfinal victory in Montreal over world No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria. A four-time winner on tour, Sunday marked his fifth final of the year, including last weekend's loss to Nick Kygrios in Washington.
Fans in Montreal were invited to arrive at IGA Stadium early to watch the women's final from Toronto on the television screens placed around the venue's grounds, but many didn't make it time to see Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu's victory over Serena Williams because the American star retired trailing 3-1 in the first set due to injury.
The Rogers Cup alternates the men's and women's tournaments between Montreal and Toronto every year.
With the victory, Nadal stretched his lead atop the all-time Masters 1000 series title list to 35, two more than world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. He also reached his 51st final, moving past No. 3 Roger Federer for top spot.
Medvedev fell to 1-7 all-time against the Big 3, with his only victory coming against Djokovic at Monte Carlo back in April.
Djokovic and Federer both skipped this year's event in Montreal, but are scheduled to participate at the upcoming Cincinnati tournament as preparations swing into high gear for the U.S. Open.
Spain's Marcel Granollers and Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, playing together for the first time, defeated Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands 7-5, 7-5 to win the men's doubles final at the Rogers Cup.
Even with all tickets being refunded for Saturday's night session after Monfils bowed out -- and a draw minus Djokovic and Federer -- the 2019 edition in Montreal attracted more than 223,000 spectators to eclipse the previous high of 216,000 set in 1997.
Tournament director Eugene Lapierre added that while a roof on IGA Stadium is a long-term goal, there are other areas where the fan and player experience can improve.
"Some things might need great investments, but the way we are doing things with our team is to look at the details," Lapierre said. "People love the site. All week they've been telling me how beautiful it was.
"But we do see the small details that are wrong, and we take notes, and we are going to improve them for next year."