Sinner Breaks New Ground By Winning Toronto Masters Title

Jannik Sinner (photo: Peter Power/Tennis Canada)

TORONTO/WASHINGTON, August 14, 2023 (by Michael Dickens)

Jannik Sinner literally took the racquet out of Alex de Minaur‘s hands during their 90-minute ATP Masters 1000 final at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers Sunday afternoon.

The Italian from South Tyrol broke de Minaur five times, including his final two service games, and calmly and comprehensively beat the affable Australian, 6-4, 6-1, to win his first Masters 1000 crown before an enthusiastic and sold-out Sobeys Stadium crowd in Toronto.

The World No. 8 Sinner became just the second player from Italy to lift a Masters 1000 trophy following Fabio Fognini at Monte-Carlo in 2019.

While Sinner lost his previous Masters 1000 title finals in Miami, in 2021 to Hubert Hurkacz and in 2023 to Daniil Medvedev, he was not to be denied a third time by the World No. 18 de Minaur in winning his 41st match of the season and appearing in his fourth final this year. His superior ball-striking talent proved to be a difference maker.

Sinner hit five aces and struck 15 overall winners, and won 73 percent of his first-serve points. He saved two of the four break points he faced and outpointed de Minaur 64-41. The victory improved Sinner’s career head-to-head against de Minaur to 5-0.

At age 21, Sinner became the youngest Canadian Masters champion since then-20-year-old Alexander Zverev won the title in 2017. He also improved his Masters 1000 win-loss record this year to 18-4, and joined Andrey Rublev (Monte-Carlo) as the second first-time Masters 1000 champion this season. He will rise to No. 6 when the new Pepperstone ATP Rankings come out today.

“I am proud how I handled the situation,” Sinner said in an on-court interview with the ATP before the trophy ceremony. “Every opponent here is tough to play against. I felt the pressure, but I think I handled it very well.”

En route to becoming the newest Canadian Masters champion, Sinner earned victories against fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini, Andy Murray (by walkover), Gaël Monfils, Tommy Paul and de Minaur. The National Bank Open crown is the eighth tour-level title won by Sinner.

“Trying to play point by point, treating every one with respect on the court. So, I am happy with how I handled the situation,” Sinner added.

Soon after, in his victory speech, Sinner said winning his first Masters 1000 title “means a lot. It is a great result.

“One I can share with all the people who are close to me every day. It is a nice moment to shre with them and we are doing the right things. This result makes us feel good, stronger and hungry to work even harder in the future.”

Meanwhile, De Minaur had never advanced as far in a Masters 1000 tournament as he did this week in Toronto. After finishing runner-up in Los Cabos last week, the 24-year-old Sydney native strung together impressive wins over three Top 20 players, Cameron Norrie, Taylor Fritz and Medvedev, to reach the title match in Toronto. He will move up to No. 12 just two weeks before the US Open commences.

“It was a breakthrough week for me,” de Minaur said, gracious in his trophy ceremony remarks. “I had a nice week here in Toronto. I played some great tennis and it gave me a taste of it. My maiden [Masters 1000] final and I will be back.” 

Arevalo and Rojer win first Masters 1000 doubles title together

Unseeded Salvadoran-Dutch duo Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands won their first ATP Masters 1000 crown as a team Sunday. They combined to dominate their opponents, third-seeded Rajeev Ram of the United States and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain, 6-1, 6-1, in 60 minutes at Sobeys Stadium. It was their fourth win of the tournament over a seeded team.

Although Arevalo and Rojer won three of their first four matches in Toronto by match tie-break, Sunday’s final was decided in straight sets after the champions broke their opponents four times, including three in the determining set.

“This was great,” said Arevalo “We have played well for the past year and a half. We reached a lot of goals together We won a Grand Slam title, but of course we want to do great also at the Masters. So, we were looking for that big title, and I’m super super proud we were able to do it here in Toronto.”

Rojer added: “I’m not sure what made the difference [today]. I know that Marcelo and I, coming into the match, we’re playing quite well. Once we got to the finals, and you play a great team like Joe and Raj, the margins are little. …

“We were still fighting to win that last game, because you never know what can happen out there.”

By the numbers

While Sunday’s title victory by Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer was their first Masters 1000 title for them as a team, it was the first for Arevalo overall and the fourth for Rojer. Rojer previous won at Miami in 2013 with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and twice at Madrid in 2016 and 2019, both with Horia Tecau of Romania. Arevalo and Rojer have now won seven tour-level titles together, including one major at the 2022 French Open.

“Quotable …”

“The relationship is going very well. Obviously, one of the best coaches in the world. He has showed that with all different kinds of players, men’s and women, different ages. It’s obviously nice to have him with my team. He has shown me many things. Also, off the court, the relationship is good. We talk about everything. He is also showing me how to play golf. So, it is good.”

– Toronto champion Jannik Sinner of Italy, on his relationship with his coach Darren Cahill, who is from Australia.