10:27 AM GMT August 11, 2019
The rich get richer. Rafael Nadal, already the all-time leading ATP Masters 1000 titlist, won a record-extending 35th Masters 1000 title on Sunday, breezing past Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 in blustery conditions at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal.
The Spaniard, who didn't contest a semi-final (w/o, Monfils, ankle), was tested early by the first-time Masters 1000 finalist Medvedev, who promised he wouldn't be intimidated by facing Nadal for the first time. The two teased the crowd with gut-busting baseline rallies of 24 shots and 32 shots in the opening game, and Medvedev had a break point.
“He played a great game, some very long rallies. For me, personally, it was important to start the match in good shape. He came to that match playing so well, playing a lot of matches [in recent] weeks. For me, it was a different story. I only played three matches on hard before this one,” said Nadal, who was playing in his 51st Masters 1000 final.
“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.”
But the Spaniard erased the break point and never faced another one. He found his way to net more often as the match progressed (11/13), striking high and heavy forehands in the wind that pushed Medvedev back. Nadal benefitted from the slightest dips in level from the Russian, who double faulted to give the Spaniard his first break.
“My tactic was to not give him that much time, to try to play deep, to not give him easy shots. 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, [but] he just played too good.”
Down 0-2 in the second set, Medvedev brought out his desperation shot – a serving position closer to the doubles alley – and it worked, for a 15/0 lead. But Nadal, already up a break, secured another that game and sprinted to more history.
“I did a lot of things well: changing directions, changing rhythms during the point. The slice worked well this afternoon. I played some high balls, then changed down the line. I think I played smart this afternoon,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard won his third tour-level title of the year (Rome, Roland Garros) and, for the first time in his career, defended a hard-court title. With his fifth Canadian Masters 1000 crown (2005, 2008, 2013, 2018), he improved to 5-0 in Canadian Masters 1000 finals and moved to within one of Ivan Lendl's all-time mark. The World No. 2 has dropped only one set in his five Canadian finals (2005 vs Andre Agassi, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2).
“I have always been around good people and good professionals that help me in all terms. I think I have been humble enough and smart [enough] to listen all the time to the people that are older than me and have a better knowledge than me, of life in general, and at the same time on tennis,” Nadal said.
He will receive 1,000 ATP Rankings points and $1,049,040 in prize money. Medvedev will receive $531,010 and 600 ATP Rankings points.
Nadal is in pole position to finish as year-end No. 1 as well. He will move to first place in the ATP Race To London on Monday. The ATP Rankings tally points from the past 52 weeks, whereas the Race points begin on 1 January and are an indicator of who will finish year-end No. 1.