Nadal saves self for slam

Rafael Nadal of Spain posing with the Rogers Cup after a demolition job on Russia's Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final in Montreal. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Rafael Nadal of Spain posing with the Rogers Cup after a demolition job on Russia's Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final in Montreal. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Spaniard, fresh from winning Rogers Cup, pulls out of Cincinnati to prepare for US Open

MONTREAL • While Rafael Nadal would love to add another title to his Masters 1000 haul at this week's Cincinnati Masters, conserving his health ahead of the US Open later this month will have to take priority over another crown.

The world No. 2 completed a 6-3, 6-0 demolition of Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday, extending his record of Masters 1000 triumphs to 35, two clear of top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

It was also his first career hard-court title defence, but Nadal will not push himself as he prepares for a crack at a fourth US Open victory and a 19th Grand Slam title.

The Spaniard said on Facebook: "I am very sorry to announce that I won't be playing in Cincinnati (where he won in 2013) this year.

"No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now. I'm sure the tournament will be a success."

Although he will head to Flushing Meadows with just one hard-court warm-up event under his belt, he will be full of confidence after his fifth Canadian title and his third ATP Tour title of the year.

Medvedev had no answer to the "King of Clay" in their first meeting, with the blowout wrapped up in just 70 minutes, and afterwards, he admitted he already had an idea of "how hard it was going to be".

The world No. 8, who was broken four times, said: "I've played Roger (Federer) two times, Novak four times... But I didn't manage to probably show my best tennis. Rafa was incredible today. Congrats to him.

"I would have liked to do better today, but it happens. I will take experience from this match and try to do better next time."

Nadal, on the other hand, was delighted after "playing my best of the week so far without a doubt".

He added: "It was important to start the match in a good shape. I played a solid match.

"I did a lot of things well; changing directions, changing rhythm during the point. The slice worked well this afternoon. I played smart, I had a good feeling on the ball."

In Toronto, Bianca Andreescu delivered Canada its first home champion in 50 years, although her Rogers Cup victory did not come in the way she may have hoped.

The 19-year-old, who won her maiden WTA Tour tournament at Indian Wells in March, took home the title after former world No. 1 Serena Williams retired with a back injury in the first set.

Andreescu, who was leading 3-1 at the time, said: "I'm speechless right now. I'm the first Canadian to make the final and win this tournament since 1969."

She had missed most of the clay-court swing and the entire grass-court season with a shoulder injury, and noted: "I've had many, many tough matches, and especially what I've been through the last two months, it hasn't been easy. I kept telling myself, 'Never give up'."

Williams, who has not won a WTA title since returning after the birth of her daughter, praised Andreescu as a "great sportswoman", before apologising for her pullout.

She added: "I'm sorry I can't do it today, I tried but I just couldn't do it. Thanks to my team. It's been a tough year, but we'll keep going."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline 'Nadal saves self for slam'. Print Edition | Subscribe