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Nadal vs Tsitsipas ATP Toronto live streaming, predictions and tips - Nadal chasing 33rd Masters 1000 title against giant-killing Tsitsipas

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 12 Aug 2018
  • Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas is live from Toronto at 4.00pm local time on Sunday (9.00pm BST)
  • Nadal won their only previous clash in the Barcelona final earlier this season
Rafael Nadal (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal targets his first ATP Masters 1000 title on hardcourt since 2013 when he takes on the incredible Stefanos Tsitsipas for the 2018 Rogers Cup silverware in Toronto on Sunday.

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Rafael Nadal may be the World No. 1, but this week has belonged entirely to Stefanos Tsitsipas, with the young Greek sensation making history in advancing to his first ATP Masters 1000 final during one of the most phenomenal weeks of tennis produced by a teenager in recent memory. Set to face Nadal for the Rogers Cup title on his 20th birthday, can Tsitsipas score a mind-blowing fifth top 10 win on the bounce to complete a fairytale week in Toronto, or will the 17-time Grand Slam champion be too strong and pick up a 33rd Masters 1000 title - and a third Masters Series trophy in Canada? Either or, it promises to be an unmissable spectacle on Sunday.

I’m running out of adjectives to describe the run Tsitsipas is on here in Toronto. The soon-to-be 20-year-old has compiled one of the greatest weeks of tennis we’ve ever seen, becoming the youngest player in history to defeat four top 10 opponents at a single tournament since the current ATP World Tour was established all the way back in 1990. After beating Damir Dzumhur in the opening round, Tsitsipas has been confronted with a quartet of top 10 stars - and he’s conquered every one of them, starting with Dominic Thiem in the second round, Wimbledon champion and 13-time major winner Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16, defending Rogers Cup champion and young rival Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals and Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Furthermore, Tsitsipas has been stretched to three sets against Djokovic, Zverev and Anderson - and he’s saved match point against the latter two. It’s not that uncommon for a young gun to defeat an established star on a single day, but it’s very rare for one to do it back-to-back - and Tsitsipas has accomplished the feat four times on the trot, saving match points and spending a considerable amount of time out on court. Indeed, Tsitsipas spent two hours and 48 minutes in dispatching Anderson on Saturday, saving a match point with a ripping backhand cross-court winner in the tiebreak before eventually prevailing 6-7(4) 6-4 7-6(7) to officially make history - both for himself and his country.

"Playing in a Masters 1000 final is the best thing that can happen on your birthday," Tsitsipas said after the win. "I cannot believe it."
"I couldn't achieve anything better in one tournament, beating all those high-ranked players, playing amazing tennis," Tsitsipas continued. "I'm pretty sure the crowd didn't expect that. I personally didn't expect that. So it's going pretty well so far and I'm pretty psyched for the final tomorrow."

Making Tsitsipas’s run even more impressive is where he’s come from 12 months ago. This time last year, Tsitsipas was still two months from claiming his first tour-level win. He was ranked No. 168 in the world and playing a lowly Challenger event in Slovenia. But now, after a stellar season in which he finished runner-up to Nadal at the ATP 500 Barcelona Open and reached the fourth round of Wimbledon - along with the Citi Open semi-finals last week - Tsitsipas will rise to at least No. 15 in the world courtesy of his work in Toronto this week - and up to No. 12 if he can beat the World No. 1 on Sunday to become the first player to their maiden tour-level title at a Masters 1000 event since Albert Portas in 2001.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Nadal however will be determined to spoil the party. Playing in his first hardcourt tournament since retiring against Marin Cilic in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, Nadal has been made to work fairly hard in order to reach the Rogers Cup final - despite only losing one set in his four matches. The Spaniard began his campaign with a straightforward victory over Benoit Paire, but from there on Nadal has been forced to complete a trio of tough assignments against Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Karen Khachanov. A resurgent Wawrinka produced some thunderous tennis in a 5-7 6-7(4) loss to Nadal and perhaps would have been able to win if he’d had a few more matches of that intensity under his belt this season, while Cilic dished out some unplayable tennis reminiscent of his 2014 U.S. Open triumph before Nadal eventually wore him down in a 2-6 6-4 6-4 win. Khachanov, playing in his first Masters 1000 semi-final, also played some of his best tennis in the first set of Saturday night’s semi-final clash, but Nadal raised his level in the tiebreak and an early break in the second was enough for the World No. 1 to register a 7-6(3) 6-4 win and return to the Rogers Cup final.


Nadal won his first Canada Masters title a decade ago in Toronto when he beat Nicolas Kiefer for the 2008 crown, while he also reigned supreme in Montreal in 2013 for his second Rogers Cup, toppling Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic back-to-back for the trophy. That year was actually the last time Nadal claimed a Masters 1000 title on hardcourt - he went on to win Cincinnati the following week, but he’s only been to three Masters 1000 finals since, losing to Novak Djokovic in Miami in 2014 and Roger Federer last year in Miami and Shanghai. Already the all-time holder of the most Masters 1000 titles with 32 (two head of Djokovic and five clear of Federer), Nadal will be going for his 33rd crown on Sunday and his 80th career title overall.

With his career in genuine jeopardy after suffering serious injury issues through 2015 and 2016, Nadal’s resurgence in 2017 was extraordinary as he won the French and U.S. Opens, along with Masters 1000 titles in Monte-Carlo and Madrid to reclaim the No. 1 ranking. Nadal has held onto that ranking for the bulk of 2018, coming into Sunday’s Rogers Cup final with just three defeats to his name and 39 victories, including four titles on his beloved clay in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros. Now, after an encouraging semi-final finish at Wimbledon, Nadal has the chance to win his first hardcourt title since winning the China Open in Beijing last year.

Nadal and Tsitsipas have played before, with the Spaniard posting a crushing 6-2 6-1 win in the final of the Barcelona Open in April. But Tsitsipas is already a much better player than that encounter, while hardcourt rather than clay should further level the playing field. You’d think that Tsitsipas would be feeling pretty fatigued - both mentally and physically - given what he’s done this week, but every time I expect him to run out of gas he comes out and wins again. I can’t rule him out completely because of this - and Nadal hasn’t looked entirely convincing this week on hardcourt - but the World No. 1 has still got to be considered the big favourite. The one-handed backhand of Tsitsipas will also be under the pump against Nadal's left-handed topspin forehand. I think Nadal is a another step up in class on Sunday (and a tough match-up for the youngster) and I expect the World No. 1 to end the Greek’s dream run and pick up his 33rd Masters 1000 title, probably in straight sets.


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Nadal vs Tsitsipas ATP Toronto live streaming, predictions and tips - Nadal chasing 33rd Masters 1000 title against giant-killing Tsitsipas

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal targets his first ATP Masters 1000 title on hardcourt since 2013 when he takes on the incredible Stefanos Tsitsipas for the 2018 Rogers Cup silverware in Toronto on Sunday.

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