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Nadal reigns in Montreal

Rafael Nadal claimed his third Canadian title on the weekend, cruising past local hope Milos Raonic in straight-sets to win the Montreal Masters final. The Spaniard remains unbeaten against the big-serving Canadian following his 6-2, 6-2 victory, in a little over an hour.

Nadal broke Raonic twice in the opening set and repeated the dose in the second to win his fourth Masters title of the season and 25th of his career. The fourth seed was largely untroubled on his own serve, having to only save three break points in the fourth game of the second set on his way to victory.

Raonic was attempting to become the first Canadian to win the home title since 1958, having earlier downed compatriot Vasek Pospisil to reach the final. However despite being cheered on by the local fans the 22-year-old had no answer to the all-round power game of Nadal.

Nadal had a less straight-forward run to the final, having to get past World No.1 Novak Djokovic in a third set tie-break in his semi-final. The Spaniard also beat much-improved Aussie Marinko Matosevic in the quarters on his way to Sunday’s final.

“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.”

If there was one consolation for Raonic it was that his effort in making the final propelled him into the world’s top-ten players, becoming the first Canadian to achieve the feat on the Men’s ATP tour.

“Rafa really gave me a clinic today,” said a deflated Raonic after the match. “This was the most important moment of my career so far.

“I'm happy I could have it here in Canada.”

The result is an ominous warning to Nadal’s rivals ahead of the US Open, which begins in under a fortnight’s time, as he remains undefeated on hardcourts so far this season. The Spaniard taking his record to 48-3 this year, having reached the final in 10 of 11 events he has contested. He will move back to No.3 in the world when the Men’s rankings are released on Monday.

Damien Bellemore

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