Nadal claims 33rd Masters 1000 title in Toronto

Stefano Tsitsipas beat four top ten players this week – Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev and Anderson – en route to his first Masters 1000 final, but he was no match for Rafael Nadal who dispatched him 6-2 7-6 on Sunday. It was the second final between the world number one and the young Greek, the two having met in the Barcelona final last April.

With this fifth title of the year after Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros, Rafa joins Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer in the “80 titles club”.

“It’s a great way to start the hard-court 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.”

Rogers Cup 2018

Rogers Cup 2018

Rogers Cup 2018

Rogers Cup 2018

Rogers Cup 2018

Rogers Cup 2018

Rogers Cup 2018

Photo credit: Toronto Events

Alexander Zverev, Washington 2018

Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur and Andrey Rublev. They’re part of the NextGen, they made big waves on the ATP tour recently and they all reached the semifinals of the Citi Open in Washington. It is the first time since 1995 in Buenos Aires (Carlos Moya, Felix Mantilla, Alex Corretja, Jiri Novak) that 4 under 21 players reach the semifinals of an ATP tournament.

“I’m the old guy this week,” Zverev said. “Being the oldest semi-finalist this week shows that our Next Gen players are playing absolutely amazing tennis and they’re all on the come up and we could all do well in big tournaments. It’s great to see and hopefully this will not be the last time, but in the future this will happen more often.”

In the first semifinal, top seed Zverev dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 6-4. It was the first meeting between the two players (Tsitsipas took his revenge a week later in Toronto). With that victory Zverev was the first to 40 wins this season (for 11 defeats).
In the quarterfinals, Zverev had beaten Nishikori 3-6 6-1 6-4 in a match that was delayed by rain at 3-2 in the third for more than two hours. Tsitsipas, who had saved two match points in his second round win over Jared Donaldson had cruised to a 6-3 6-4 victory over David Goffin to advance to the semifinals.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (2)

In the second semifinal, Alex de Minaur overcame Andrey Rublev 5-7 7-6 6-4 after saving 4 match points in the second set tiebreak. Hewitt’s protege advanced to his second final of the year (he lost to Daniil Medvedev in Sydney in January).
Rublev was playing his second match of the day, having beaten Denis Kudla a few hours earlier due to rain delays, while the Australian benefited from Murray’s withdrawal to advance to the semifinals.

Alex de Minaur - Prayer

Alex de Minaur vs Andrey Rublev handshake and hug

Andrey Rublev

De Minaur was no match for Zverev, as the defending champion retained his title with a 6-2 6-4 victory over the Australian. The German lifts his third trophy of 2018 after Munich and Madrid.

“It feels great. It shows mental strength as well, and shows a little bit of maturity. I had a great tournament. I played a lot of great players. Losing only one set, it was a fantastic week for me.”

A few words about 4 other NextGen stars who took part to the tournament.
Denis Shapovalov lost to Nishikori in straight sets in the third round after a hard-fought victory over Daniil Medvedev.

Denis Shapovalov

Daniil Medvedev and Denis Shapovalov

Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung lost to de Minaur in the third round after wins over Benoît Paire and Marcos Baghdatis.

Hyeon Chung

Frances Tiafoe was ousted by David Goffin 6-0 6-3 in the third round.

Kudla and Tiafoe

Photo credit: JC

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Washington 2018

Former world number 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova has fallen to world number 128 due to injuries, but she’s slowing coming back to form, and on Saturday she claimed her 18th title, her first since Moscow 2016.
She had to battle hard in the final and saved four match points in the second set to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2. She extended her tournament’s record to 11–0 and returned to the top 100 thanks to this victory.

Ekaterina Makarova was the defending champion, but lost in the first round to Ana Bogdan. Number one seed Caroline Wozniacki withdrew due to a leg injury while number 2 and 3 seeds Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka lost in the second round, to Andrea Petkovic and Magda Linette respectively.

Donna Vekic

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Donna Vekic

Donna Vekic, Svetlana Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Federer leaves Nike for Uniqlo

There had been speculations for a few weeks, and we had the confirmation today: after 24 years with Nike, Roger Federer signed a clothing-contract with Japanese brand Uniqlo.

Roger Federer leves Nike for Uniqlo

“I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships,” Federer said via the press release. “But like Uniqlo, I also have great love for life, culture, and humanity. We share a strong passion to have a positive impact on the world around us and look forward to combining our creative endeavors.”

He may love humanity but I’m sure he really likes the money too: it’s rumored that the deal is worth $300 million and will run for over 10 years.

I read a comment on instagram stating: Federer wearing Uniqlo is like Cristiano Ronaldo wearing Li-Ning.

What do you think of Federer’s signing? As a Federer fan would you buy Uniqlo’s matchwear?

Petra Kvitova and Magdalena Rybarykova, Birmingham 2018

Defending champion Petra Kvitova rallied from a set down to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova 4-6 6-1 6-2 and claim her fifth title of the season.
2-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova didn’t drop a set en route to the final, beating Johanna Konta, Daria Gavrilova, Julia Georges and Mihaela Buzarnescu. She is one of the big favorite to capture the Wimbledon trophy in 3 weeks time.

“I didn’t really expect to win here. I just played match by match, being very happy to be on the grass and the tennis court. For me, I’m surprised.”

It was also a great week for Rybarikova who defeated number 3 seed Karolina Pliskova, Kristina Mladenovic, qualifier Dalila Jakupovic and Barbora Strycova to advance to the second Premier tournament final of her career. The previous one being at the Connecticut Open in New Heaven in 2014 where she was beaten by … Petra Kvitova.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Photo credit: Peter Menzel