Nadal outdoes Medvedev in Montreal

RESTING NOW::Nadal, who needed just 70 minutes to subdue Medvedev, announced that he would skip the Cincinnati Masters this week to ‘keep as healthy as I feel now’

AFP, MONTREAL and TORONTO

Tue, Aug 13, 2019 - Page 16

Rafael Nadal on Sunday completed a 6-3, 6-0 demolition of Russian Daniil Medvedev to win the Rogers Cup and extend his record haul of Masters titles.

The world No. 2 secured his 35th Masters crown, pulling clear by two in that category from Novak Djokovic, who has won 33 of the elite tournaments. Clay-court king Nadal successfully defended a hard-court title for the first time in his career.

“It was important to start the match in a good shape,” the 18-time Grand Slam winner said.

“He came in playing so well, playing a lot of matches the last weeks,” Nadal said of Medvedev.

Nadal, in contrast, had played just three hard-court matches since starting his build-up this week to the US Open, which begins on this Aug. 26 — reaching the final on a walkover when injured Gael Monfils pulled out of their scheduled semi-final.

“I played a solid match, my best of the week so far without a doubt,” Nadal said. “I did a lot of things well: changing directions, changing rhythm during the point. The slice worked well this afternoon. I think I played smart, I had a good feeling on the ball.”

With all that going for him, Nadal needed just 70 minutes to subdue Medvedev, breaking the Russian four times.

Hours later Nadal said he would skip the Cincinnati Masters, which began yesterday.

“No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now,” he wrote on Facebook

In Toronto, a tearful Serena Williams saw her US Open preparations thrown into disarray as back spasms forced her out of the women’s Rogers Cup final after just four games, handing Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu the title.

Andreescu, 19, was up 3-1 with a break of serve when 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams decided she could not continue.

She called for a medical timeout, but within a minute, the umpire announced that she was retiring.

“I just knew,” Williams said, adding that she had undergone hours of treatment before the match to combat the back spasms she had first felt in her semi-final win on Saturday night. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to continue.”

Andreescu approached her chair, offering words of encouragement and a consolatory hug as Williams tried to fight back tears.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today,” Williams told the crowd, her voice cracking. “I tried, but I just couldn’t do it.”

Williams said the spasms started during her come-from-behind win over Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova “and it just got worse.”

“Just my whole back just completely spasmed, and to a point where I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t really move,” she said.

For Andreescu, Sunday’s events were a bittersweet achievement as she became the first Canadian to win the title since Faye Urban in 1969.

“I know how it is to pull out of tournaments and be injured — it’s not easy,” Andreescu said, addressing Williams directly during the trophy presentation. “This wasn’t the way I expected to win and for you to go off the court. I’ve watched you play so many times. You are truly a champion on and off the court.”