Canada Flashback: Rafael Nadal wins third title against Milos Raonic

Rafael Nadal won his third title against Milos Raonic

Rafael Nadal played only 48 matches in 2012 and missed the second part due to a left knee injury. The Spaniard returned in 2013 motivated to reach the top again and delivered one of the best performances of his career. Rafa lifted ten ATP titles from 14 finals and finished the season as the year-end no.

1 for the first time since 2010. Nadal skipped the Australian Open and began his campaign on clay. He conquered Sao Paulo, Acapulco, Indian Wells, Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros before a surprise Wimbledon opening round loss to Steve Darcis in straight sets.

It was time for the hard court and Montreal, Rafa’s second hard ATP tournament after Miami 2012. The Spaniard continued where he left off in Indian Wells to win his eighth title of the season and fourth at the Masters 1000 level!

Rafa dropped just two games against Jesse Levine in the second round and got off to a promising start. He battled past Jerzy Janowicz in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals, toppling Marinko Matosevic to reach the last four. Nadal faced the ultimate challenge in Novak Djokovic and the two great rivals turned it into an unforgettable one.

Rafa toppled the world No. 1 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and 29 minutes to reach the final for the first time in five years. On 11 August, Nadal defeated home favorite Milos Raonic 6–2, 6–2 in 68 minutes for the 25th Masters 1000 crown, dominating from start to finish to lift the trophy.

It was the first final at this level for the 22-year-old Canadian, who had spent over four and a half hours on the court in the previous two days and had absolutely nothing left in the tank for such a strong opponent. Nadal, facing off for the fourth time, claimed his fourth straight victory as he dropped seven points behind the opening shot and saved all three break points.

The pressure was on Raonic and he couldn’t hold it after serving at just 50%. With no free points in his arsenal, Miloš stood helplessly against Rafa in front of the home fans and settled for second place. The Spaniard had a huge advantage in the longer set-pieces and overpowered his opponents in the shortest ones to seal the deal in style.

Rafael Nadal won his fourth Masters 1000 title in 2013 in Montreal.

Rafa never made a mistake in the final. He stole nearly half of the return points and converted all four break chances to dominate the scoreboard and march to the finish line in no time.

Raonic barely hit all the winners while Nadal stayed away from unforced errors, pushed his shots and tamed his opponent’s forehand to take a decisive advantage. In the first match, Miloš held on to 15 with a serve of 237 km/h and hoped for more in the rest of the match.

Nadal held an ace in game two and seized a break opportunity in the next when Raonic sent a forehand long. The Spaniard confirmed the advantage with another comfortable hold that sent him to 3-1. In the next, he scored five points in a row to force Miloš’s volley error and extend the lead after more than 20 minutes.

A hold at love gave Rafa another easy game and he sealed the start with three service winners to make it 5-2 in 32 minutes. Raonic couldn’t get past Nadal with the opening shot and hit a double fault early in the second set to find himself a set and a break down.

Rafa fired a service winner to open a 2-0 gap and move closer to the finish line. The Canadian finally gave his crowd something to cheer about after creating three break points in the fourth game that could have brought him back into contention.

Rafa kept his composure and cleared them before holding an ace to take the game home and secure an even more significant boost. Raonic couldn’t do anything after those break chances and sprayed a forehand error to suffer another break and put Nadal ahead 5-2.

The Spaniard served for the title in the eighth game and held on in 15 to celebrate the title and kick off a historic North American summer.

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