Medvedev Tames Giant Opelka For Toronto Title - Eastern Mirror
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Medvedev tames giant Opelka for Toronto title

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By IANS Updated: Aug 16, 2021 11:48 pm

Toronto, Aug 16 (IANS): Top seed Daniil Medvedev captured his fourth ATP Masters 1000 crown here on Monday (IST), overcoming American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-3 to become the first Russian champion at the National Bank Open since Marat Safin in 2000.

The 25-year-old took down big-server John Isner in the semifinals as he stood two or three feet closer to the baseline on return to counter the height and angle of the serve. Medvedev successfully repeated this against 6’11” Opelka, breaking twice as he won in 85 minutes.

“I could not have dreamt of [this] at one point,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “With Masters, with Novak [Djokovic] and Rafael [Nadal] playing, it seemed like an untouchable achievement. Now I have four wins in five finals, which is a good score. I am just happy. I want to achieve more. I am really happy I achieved this in Canada.

“Even today, he [Opelka] showed up, he played some really good points. He was fighting until the end, he saved break points in crucial moments. Playing your first [Masters 1000] final is not easy. I played my first in Canada and won only three games,” Medvedev told atptour.com.

“Playing Canada and Cincinnati, the goal is to win as many matches as possible. I was able to do it two years ago and I will try and do it again.”

The world No. 2 has now won 12 tour-level titles, with 11 of those triumphs coming on hard courts. He owns a 4-1 record in Masters 1000 finals, also capturing trophies in Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris, with his one defeat in a final coming in Montreal to Rafael Nadal in 2019.

The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion has lifted trophies this year on the hard courts in Marseille and grass in Marbella. Medvedev also guided Russia to the ATP Cup title in February before advancing to his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open.

Medvedev, who was competing in his first Masters 1000 championship match of the year, now holds a 4-1 ATP head-to-head against Opelka, having also defeated the 23-year-old at the French Open, in Miami and Washington.

“When you play Reilly, I think still the biggest factor is how you serve and how you return. Actually, my serve was not on top point today. That’s why I had breakpoints to save. That’s why it was sometimes close calls on my serve,” Medvedev said. “But I was very good on return. I managed to put pressure on him almost nonstop. I think he didn’t almost have maybe one or two easy games in the match. That’s what made the difference, if we talk about tennis.

“[When] I played my first Masters final, I was happy just to be there playing against Rafa. I always try my best, but something was wrong, so I lost super easy and superfast. It can be the same for everybody. I know for me I think experience is the key… This week he beat some really strong guys to be in the final, so probably next time in the final [we] can wait for a more dangerous Reilly than today.”

Opelka was competing in his maiden Masters 1000 final on Sunday, having enjoyed a run to the last four at Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in May. The 23-year-old, who recorded his first top-5 win against world No. 3 StefanosTsitsipas in the semifinals, has won two tour-level titles in New York in 2019 and Delray Beach in 2020.

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By IANS Updated: Aug 16, 2021 11:48:13 pm
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