Daniil Medvedev was pretty upset when he did not score a medal at the recent Olympic Games but all that is behind him now because he has won the Canadian Men’s Open for the first time, and it is his fourth career ATP Masters 1000 title. Adding to that, it is his third title of the year and 12th career title and eleventh on hard court.
The world No.2 defeated Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-3 in one hour 25 minutes and became the first Russian to win the event since Marat Safin in 2000, while Opelka was the first American since Mardy Fish in 2011 to reach this final.
“Super happy, because that's what tennis is about,” Medvedev said. “After I lost at the Olympics, I was really (down), probably one of toughest losses in my career, because I really wanted to do good there, one of not so many tournaments where I was, like, okay, this tournament I want to do good.
“I didn't manage to, so you know it can have an impact on next tournaments, but what can I say? Now I'm more happy to win here in Canada than I'm disappointed to lose there.
“And it's the same. If I go to Cincinnati and I lose early, I'm already going to be disappointed about Cincinnati and not as happy about Canada. That's what tennis is about, but this moment right now I'm really happy to capture a Masters 1000 here in Toronto, especially, yeah, some tough matches, good semi-final, good final, almost in control of the match except a few moments.
“Super happy and want to continue this level of play to Cincinnati and New York. That's what I managed to do two years ago. Let's see if I'm able to do it this year.”
Medvedev saved some break points early in the match, but it was also early on that he was also to break Opelka’s serve, something he also did in the third game of the second set, and he kept the pressure on.
There was certainly an element of experience that came into play as this was the first time the 32nd ranked Opelka, who is now the leading American man on the tour, was playing a Masters 1000.
“Daniil played great, as expected. I mean, I'm not just saying that to be nice and be a good sport. He played great,” Opelka said with a smile. “He was flawless. I had one chance to break early. I don't think that would have changed much because he was in so many of my service games.
“It was a little windy and a little bit swirlier out there on the ball, so it was really tough to be powerful and be consistently powerful. But even then, even when I hit some big shots, he countered well, and it was very tough to disrupt him at all.
“He's very good with his opening-stance backhand, very good on the run, his passing shots are great. All expected, but he really executed well.”
Interestingly, with Opelka standing at 211cm and Medvedev at 198cm, this was the third tallest final in the open era. This was the fifth meeting between the two players and now Medvedev leads their series 4-1; the only time Opelka had a win was in St Petersburg in 2020.
“When you play Reilly, I think still the biggest factor is how you serve and how you return,” Medvedev said. “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. 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.
“Of course, yeah, 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 super fast. It can be the same for everybody. I know for me I think experience is the key. I think Reilly, too, because took him long time with his strong game that he has to be even in semis and he did it on clay.
“This week he beat some really strong guys to be in the final, so probably next time in the final can wait for a more dangerous Reilly than today.”
The doubles title went to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, the 2020 Australian Open champions; they defeated the reigning Wimbledon winners and Olympic gold medallists Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who were trying to win their tenth title of the year, 6-4, 3-6, 10-3.