Record-extending Nadal ends youngster’s miracle run in final
RAFAEL Nadal has claimed a record-extending 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title with victory over birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Canadian Open final.
Tsitsipas - who was playing in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final on his 20th birthday, after four consecutive wins over top-10 players, threw all he had at Nadal but was ultimately beaten 6-2 7-6 (7-4).
Much to the dismay of the many flag-waving Greek supporters in attendance, world No.1 Nadal denied a spirited challenge from Tsitsipas in one hour and 41 minutes to claim his fourth championship in Canada.
"If you told me this two weeks ago I would not have believed it," Nadal said in his on-court interview.
"It's a great way to start the hardcourt 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 broke serve twice in the first set on his way to sealing the opener in 34 minutes.
The second set looked to be going much the same way until Tsitsipas mounted a late charge that briefly shifted momentum in his favour.
Nadal, serving for the match at 5-4 and having dropped only three points on serve the entire match up to that point, suddenly looked tight as Tsitsipas broke him and then held serve to pull within one game of levelling the contest.
"I got nervous, I played a terrible game," Nadal said.
"But that's how it is. You keep going. That's part of the sport.
"Today for me was an important match and I just made a couple mistakes but the positive news is I played my best match without a doubt."
Nadal forced a tiebreaker where he rallied back from a mini break and sealed the win with a crosscourt forehand.
The 32-year-old Spaniard joined Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (98) and Ivan Lendl (94) as the only players in the professional era with at least 80 tour titles.
Tsitsipas will climb to world No.15 on Monday having become the youngest man to beat four top-10 players at the same tournament.