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Nadal whips Medvedev; Serena retires injured in final

August 12, 2019 12:31 IST

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the Rogers Cup final, at Stade IGA, in Montreal, on Sunday. Photograph: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Top seed Rafael Nadal overwhelmed Russia's Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 to win his fifth Rogers Cup on Sunday in Montreal -- the first time he has retained a title outside of clay.

The 33-year-old Spanish world number two dominated the eighth-seeded Medvedev in their first-ever meeting.

 

The Russian had not dropped a set in the tournament but was no match for Nadal, who saved a break point in his first game and confidently put away Medvedev who is 10 years his junior.

"He was playing very well during the whole week so for me it was important in the beginning that he not take advantage," Nadal said in courtside interview.

"Then I think I played a very solid, best match of the week without a doubt."

Nadal broke the Russian in the fourth game to go 3-1 up and dominated the remainder of the 70-minute match.

Winning 82% of his first serve points and delivering high and heavy forehands on the windy afternoon that pushed back the at times confused looking Medvedev, the Spaniard broke the Russian three times in the second set before wrapping up the victory, a record 35th at the Masters 1000 level.

But he left open whether he would play in this week's Cincinnati Masters tournament where he is the second seed behind world number one Novak Djokovic.

"I don't know. I will have to speak to my team," he said.

Nadal shrugged aside the importance of the stat that he had successfully defended a title outside clay for the first time.

"It is so important to be back on a hard court and winning another big title," he said.

The Spaniard's previous two victories this season, in the Italian and French Opens, both came on clay.

Medvedev reached the final by defeating compatriot Karen Khachanov 6-1 7-6(6) to become the top-ranked Russian when new rankings come out on Monday.

But he made 22 errors in the championship match.

Nadal advanced to the showpiece contest on a walkover when his semi-final opponent, Frenchman Gael Monfils, withdrew with an ankle injury before their meeting.

Tearful Serena retires injured in Toronto final

Serena Williams's first US Open tune-up ended in dramatic fashion as the tearful American was forced to retire with a back injury while trailing Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu 3-1 in the Rogers Cup final on Sunday.

Williams, who hopes to chase a record-equalling 24th career Grand Slam title at the US Open, seemed fine on court but suddenly sat crying in her chair before deciding to retire 19 minutes into the match with back spasms.

"I'm sorry I couldn't do it today. I tried but I just couldn't do it," an emotional Williams, who struggled to get the words out, told the crowd.

"It's been a tough year but we'll keep going."

Andreescu consolidated an early break to move 3-1 up at which point Williams went to her chair where she called for the trainer and broke down in tears.

Williams said the spasms began during her three-set semi-final win over Czech Marie Bouzkova on Saturday. They got so bad that she was unable to sleep and could not really move but she added that she at least wanted to try and play the final.

"I was just trying to figure out how do you play a match where you have no rotation?" said Williams.

"And I don't want to get this far and not at least try. I think I would have really regretted not at least going out there and seeing maybe if a miracle happened."

The 37-year-old Williams, whose competitive action this year has been severely limited because of knee issues, declared herself pain-free ahead of the tournament, which she was hoping to use as a springboard for the rest of her hardcourt swing.

But the six-times U.S. Open champion, still without a title since returning from maternity leave in 2018, now faces her latest injury setback with the year's final Grand Slam just two weeks away.

Williams, who is due to compete in Cincinnati next week, said she has experienced back spasms a lot in her career and that if this latest episode plays out like those before, she does not expect it to keep her out of any events.

"They're incredibly painful, but it goes away after, like, 24, 36, maybe 48 hours, and like clockwork," said Williams.

"In that first phase, it is incredibly painful, to a point where I usually don't get out of bed. So if it's what typically happens, I will be fine, but I have to wait and see."

As Williams sat dejected in her chair, Andreescu, who is no stranger to injury setbacks, went over to console her. The pair embraced and had a heartfelt conversation.

Andreescu, who shot to prominence with her Indian Wells triumph in March and was competing this week for the first time since withdrawing from the French Open with a shoulder injury, is the first Canadian to win the event in 50 years.

"I feel for Serena so much. I've been through so much the last year with injury so I am so sorry she had to go out this way," the 19-year-old said during the trophy ceremony.

"Sometimes, you can't push your body and she couldn't today and I wish her a fast recovery."

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