Jannik Sinner and Alex de Minaur began the week in Toronto as doubles partners, losing in three sets to eventual finalists Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer. Six days later, they are the last two players standing at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers and will go head-to-head for the fifth time for their first ATP Masters 1000 title.
Having reached the final in Miami in 2021 (losing to Hurkacz) and 2023 (l. Medvedev), Sinner will be playing his third Masters 1000 final on Sunday afternoon.
The Italian, by all accounts, has had a lighter workload than de Minaur this week. Apart from getting a first-round bye and a walkover from former World No. 1 Andy Murray in the third round, Sinner defeated compatriot Matteo Berrettini, 6-4, 6-3, in his opening match; survived a spirited, late-night fightback against French veteran Gaël Monfils, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, in the quarters; and edged out No. 12 seed Tommy Paul, 6-4, 6-4, in the semis after the American knocked out World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
Sinner has looked particularly impressive all week, with the conditions in Toronto suiting his powerful game and clean ball-striking, and he will be looking to become the first Italian man to win the National Bank Open in the Open Era and just the second (after Fabio Fognini) to win a Masters 1000 title. It’s worth noting, however, that Sinner has played all but one of his matches this week during the evening, when conditions are more favourable for competition.
“It’s another great challenge for me, another chance. [I’m] happy to be in the position. I've been working very hard for these matches like semifinals and finals, and happy that tomorrow I have another chance,” Sinner said after his win on Saturday evening. De Minaur “has shown what he's an incredible player, so [I’ll] try to play my tennis. I have been in the situation already a couple of times, so I know the feeling before an important final, which is good, and hopefully I can show this tomorrow.”
De Minaur, who also reached the final earlier last week at the ATP 250 event in Los Cabos, has won 10 of his 12 matches since Wimbledon. The Australian has only grown in confidence with more match play in Toronto, where he had never won a match before this week. (He reached the round of 16 last year in Montreal.)
After upsetting No. 11 seed Cameron Norrie (7-5, 6-4) and surviving a tough test from Canadian wild card Gabriel Diallo (6-4, 7-5), de Minaur rallied from 1-5 down in the first set to defeat No. 8 seed Taylor Fritz, 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-1, and followed up that win with a stunning victory over No. 2 seed and 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev, 7-6(7), 7-5. In Saturday’s semi-final, de Minaur weathered the hot and windy conditions to end the run of Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 6-1, 6-3.
“Jannik is one of the better ball strikers on tour. His ball speed is up there with definitely the highs from both sides, and he can definitely pound the ball,” de Minaur said. “So, look, it’s a final tomorrow. I’m going to bring the same mindset. I’m going to go out there and enjoy it and compete until the end.”
Sinner has won all four of his previous meetings with de Minaur, dropping just one set in the process. The Italian will once again look to use his firepower to open up the court and get the first strike against the Australian, who is one of the fastest players and best defenders on tour. De Minaur, on the other hand, will need to not only defend well but also find opportunities to transition from defence to offence and put Sinner on the back foot.
In the doubles final, former French Open champions Arevalo and Rojer will face off against three-time Grand Slam champions and No. 3 seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who won their last meeting at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2022. Ram and Salisbury, who won the title in Toronto in 2021 and both occupied the World No. 1 ranking in doubles at some point in 2022, will be playing their second ATP Tour final of the season, having won the championship in Lyon in May.
Arevalo and Rojer have already defeated three seeded teams — No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek in round two, No. 8 seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, and No. 7 seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos — en route to their third ATP Tour final of the season, having already won titles in Adelaide and Delray Beach. The Salvadoran-Dutch team have won six of the seven finals they’ve played together.