• AFP-Jiji

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Daniil Medvedev neutralized the attack of American serving giant Reilly Opelka on Sunday, dominating 6-4, 6-3 to win the ATP Toronto Masters.

The world No. 2 Russian needed just 87 minutes, limiting his opponent to just eight aces and breaking him three times while saving all four break points he faced.

Medvedev, aided by 34 unforced errors from Opelka, became the first Russian to win a Canadian trophy since Marat Safin 21 years ago.

The winner was playing a fifth career final at the Masters 1000 level.

“When I was starting I could barely have dreamed of a Masters final,” he said. Now I’ve played five of them and won four. “I’m just happy,” he added. “I want to achieve more, I want to play better.”

Medvedev, who will be the top seed at next week’s Cincinnati Masters, the final major tuneup for the U.S. Open that starts Aug. 30, had praise for Opelka, the U.S. No. 1 who is ranked 32nd in the world.

“It was a great week for him, he fought to the end,” Medvedev said. Playing a first Masters final is never easy. My first was in Canada (Montreal, 2019) and I won just three games,” he recalled of a title tilt against Rafael Nadal.

Opelka said he was outplayed from the start by the top seed.

“Daniil played great, as expected. He was flawless. I had one chance to break early and I don’t think that would have changed much.

“It was a little windy and a little bit swirlier out there, so it was really tough to be consistently powerful. Even when I hit some big shots, he countered well.

“It was very tough to disrupt him at all.”

Medvedev said he went into the match with a plan to combat Opelka’s big delivery.

“The goal was to get as many balls back as possible, not go for crazy shots, make him move and make him doubt,” Medvedev said.

“The more balls you put back the more pressure you put on the opponent.”

Medvedev, Opelka and their teams were due to take a private plane laid on by organizers in order to reach next week’s Cincinnati Masters, 660 kilometers away, later in the evening.

Medvedev said that if offered the chance, he would not turn down a glass of celebratory champagne in flight.

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