Nadal wins Toronto, beating Tsitsipas

FROM TORONTO — Rafa Nadal keeps on battling, pushing himself, and he is always fighting. In the final here, he took down Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 7-6(4). He has won 33 ATP Master Series, the most ever, eclipsing two of the other great competitors, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

We all know that he is very quick, and that he is very strong. For the most part, he is pretty efficient with his first serve and his second serve. Ten years ago, he didn’t like coming into the net. But now, he can move forward and put it away, with his forehand and backhand. He bends down low and scoops it up. He can slice, or flatten it out.
Just like Federer and Djokovic, Nadal has improved over the past two years. They keep working and improving, even though they are in the 30s.

The No. 1 can be dominant when he is locked in.

Five years ago, Nadal won 10 tournaments. He won Canada (over Milos Raonic), Cincy (over Federer in the quarters and John Isner in the final) and the US Open (over Djokovic). That was the best year, ever.

Today, not only did he defeat Tsitsipas , but he edged Marin Cilic 2-6 6-4 6-4 in the semis. It was very close, and during the first set, he thought that he had to change a few things in the second set, or he would be out of the tournament. But he began to serve pretty big and he moved it to the left, to the right and down the middle. His forehand was falling deep and bounced up pretty high. He mixed his backhand, and when he had a chance, when the tall Cilic had some second serves, he returned it deep.

Really, Cilic could have won the match and yes, he has won one Grand Slam at the 2014 US Open. Too often, he loses control. In the last game, Nadal cracked the ball, and Cilic made a couple pretty easy errors. Goodbye.

Later in the day on Sunday, Nadal announced he won’t play Cincinnati.

Here is what he said in his post-match press conference, as he was weighing his options: “For me personally it’s not the moment to think about that. For me just having this trophy with me means a lot. It’s a very important moment for me. I can’t answer the question (of whether to withdraw from Cincinnati). I need to come back to speak with my team, to speak with the people who are close to me and really make a decision about what is going on in the next week and the next couple of weeks.

“There is a tighter (schedule) too because we have the Davis Cup semifinals after the US Open. So, we need to think about the things that we can do or the things that about we can’t do, no? So, it’s all about the decisions. I only want to play. I want to be everywhere. I love this sport. I don’t like to miss events. But at some point, if I don’t stop for myself, my body stop me. So that’s the experience that I have.”

Tsitsipas’ makes his mark
Sure, the young players are coming up — gradually — but it could take them another year to win a Grand Slam.  

Tsitsipas is now 20 years old. He almost came from nowhere, but now the Greek is very close to reach the top 10 in the next months. His first serve is huge, he can slap his forehand and spin it way back in the court. His return is so-so, but hopefully he will learn to concentrate. When he happens to get into the net, he hesitates, but within a second, he composes himself and puts it away.

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