TORONTO, Aug 13: Rafael Nadal held off a late surge from birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim the 80th title of his career with victory at the Toronto Masters on Sunday.
Nadal overcame a second set fightback from Greek youngster Tsitsipas to claim a 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory in just under 1hr 45mins.
The win gave the 32-year-old Spaniard a record-extending 33rd trophy at the elite Masters level as well as his 80th title.
However, Nadal later raised doubts whether he would be chasing an 81st title at next week�s event in Cincinnati, refusing to confirm that he would play the event as scheduled.
�Will I play in Cincinnati? I can�t answer to you right now,� Nadal said.
Earlier, a vocal crowd of local flag-waving Greek fans had sang Happy Birthday to the 20-year-old Tsitsipas as Nadal reflected on a successful campaign.
�I feel I�ve improved every match, it�s important to win even if you�re not at your best,� Nadal said as he prepares for the US Open later this month.
�It�s been almost 10 years (2010) since I last played in Toronto,� Nadal said of the event which comes to the city in even-number years as it trades with Montreal. �This trophy means a lot.�
The loss concluded the tennis week of his life for Tsitsipas, who beat four top 10 opponent in a row to reach the final.
�It�s been an amazing week for me,� he said. �This trophy means a lot after playing my first Masters 1000 final.
�Rafa is amazing, he never cracks. He will always grab you like a bulldog and he will always make you suffer on the court.
�He was (once) normal like all of us, and he managed to become this beast, this monster that he is today.
�That�s how you feel when you play against him.� Tsitsipas is taking the lesson he learned on court to heart: �I�m really hungry for more. I believe I can achieve much more this year.� � AFP