MONTREAL: Fourth seed Rafael Nadal needed just 68 minutes to deliver a body blow to Canada's biggest tennis week, routing Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-2 to capture the ATP Montreal Masters on Sunday.
The Spaniard then made it clear that he is planning to carry on next week to the final major tune-up prior to the US Open, the combined ATP-WTA Cincinnati event.
“We'll see tomorrow, but I'm fine. I was able to recover well, I felt good physically today,” said Nadal who made quick work of Raonic, who now becomes the first Canadian to be ranked in the top 10 on the ATP Tour.
Nadal won his 25th Masters 1000 title and lifted his eighth trophy of the season to run his career title total to 58.
Nadal feels ready to go for another title in Cincinnati which began on Sunday. He looked smooth on the court Sunday, giving no indication that his chronic knee problems are a current worry.
He says his focus is now on Montreal and he will not be thinking ahead to the August 26 start of the US Open in New York.
“The victories and the loses don't affect the way that I prepare or the way that I work for things,” Nadal said.
“When I will be in New York, I will work on thinking about the US Open.
“I always go tournament by tournament. I did very well this week on the hardcourts. I'm happy with that. I need to keep going this way.”
Nadal remains undefeated this season on the hardcourts after winning the Indian Wells title in March. He also won in Canada in 2005 and 2008.
Raonic, who was held to just four aces in the final, fell short in his bid to become the first Canadian to win the title since 1958.
“Rafa really gave me a clinic today,” said a deflated Raonic, who has broken new ground all week in the sport for Canada. “This was the most important moment of my career so far.
“I'm happy I could have it here in Canada.”Nadal stands at 48-3 this year and has reached the final in 10 of 11 events he has entered.
Nadal showed no weakness on Sunday as he broke Raonic twice in the opening set, broke on a double-fault to start the second and claimed his fourth Masters title of the season after Indian Wells, Madrid and Rome.
It was a dominating victory in which the big-hitting Canadian's serve was all but nullified by precision returns from Nadal.
“This was an amazing victory for me,” said Nadal, who lost only one point in the opening set on serve.
“I knew my serve would be very important and I felt consistent. My returns were also unbelievable.
“I played a fantastic match against a tough opponent. He just had a few more mistakes today than usual.”Nadal will move back to third place on the ATP world rankings on Monday while Raonic vaults into No. 10.