Rogers Cup Final
Sunday, August 12, 2018
In 2005, Rafael Nadal played in his first Rogers Cup final at the tender age of 20, beating then veteran Andre Agassi.
This year, the roles were reversed. Nadal was the veteran facing Stefanos Tsitsipas, the unseeded 20 -year -old who beat four of the top 10 players in the world to make it to the Rogers Cup final.
So, would Nadal like to see it play out like 2005?
"Yeah, tomorrow it's the opposite thing. Hopefully, the final result will not be the same than in 2005 in terms of the younger wins."
Well, it may have been Tsitsipas' birthday, but it was Nadal who got his wish.
The unseeded sensation almost pushed the world's best player to a set-point break point that ended up being fended off, before losing in straight sets to the world No 1 6-2, 7-6(4th). Nadal overcame a late service break and fought off a set point to win his fifth ATP World Tour title of the season.
However, not everything went smoothly. In the eighth game with Tsitsipas serving to stay in the match 30-15, someone in the crowd yelled during his serving motion. Tsitsipas asked for a let, and when the chair umpire declined, Nadal, allowed the first serve do-over. Happy birthday, kid. That play resulted in a 5-3 hold for Tsitsipas, and Nadal found himself on the end of a break point in the next game, with a pair of faults. Suddenly, it was 5-5. "Maybe I was too nice in the moment," he said with a grin.
It was the only "nice" Tsitsipas was going to get.
"He never cracks," Tsitsipas said. "He will always grab you like a bulldog and he will always make you suffer on the court."
Both Nadal and Tsitsipas held at love in their opening service games. Nadal converted his third break-point opportunity of the game when Tsitsipas volleyed wide.
Nadal then went to work in the second and broke Tsitsipas in the opening game. Tsitsipas won the first two points of the game and converted his second break-point opportunity to get back on serve. He then picked a mini-break in the tiebreaker, but unforced errors proved to be too costly. Down 4-5, Tsitsipas found the net to give Nadal two match points.
Nadal came through with an inside-out winner for the victory, before doing a little shuffle and falling to his knees.
As for Tsitsipas, it's not all bad news for the young 20-year-old, who will move from 27th to 15th when the new world rankings are released Monday.
As for Nadal? "I'm very happy to have this trophy with me again," "It means a lot. It has been a fantastic week, a very positive one."