Tuesday, August 13, 2013

ROGERS CUP 2013: Rafa and Serena Win Titles

At the Rogers Cup in Toronto (women) and Montreal (men), Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams ended the tournaments victoriously. World #1 Serena did not drop a set all week long, although she came very close to doing so in her semifinal against Agnieska Radwanska on Saturday, eventually prevailing 7-6(3) 6-4. Serena beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-0 in the final and has now won 8 titles in 2013, the most in any year during her storied career. She looks very good going into the US Open in two weeks where she is the defending champion.

Nadal was probably even more impressive as he made his 10th final in 11 tournaments (his only miss this year was his shocking 1st round loss at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis), routing Milos Raonic in the final 6-2 6-2 to win his record 25th ATP Masters title. However, much more significantly than winning the title was the way he won his semifinal showdown with World #1 Novak Djokovic: playing aggressive hard court tennis, displaying superior mental toughness to go up 6-0 in the 3rd set tiebreak and eventually win the match 6-4 3-6 7-6(2). Nadal has reached the US Open final twice (splitting matches with Djokovic). It's surprising to say, but 2-time champion Andy Murray may be a bigger threat to Nadal in New York than the Serbian World #1. It's also true that there are other players outside the Top 4 who could give Nadal problems on hard courts, but not if he played the way he played against Djokovic on Saturday night. Th question is will the Spaniard have that opportunity?

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