Jannik Sinner is the last man standing in Toronto at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers. The No. 7 seed played near flawless tennis in the final and defeated Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-1 to hoist the 8th title of this ATP career and first Masters 1000 level tournament.
The match started off with both players holding serve through the first four games and cautiously feeling out each other’s games like a couple of boxers circling one another in the ring before throwing any punches.
Serving at 2-3, 40-AD, de Minaur ventured into the net and Sinner made a perfect lob over his head for the first break of the match. The Australian had been so successful in his previous matches at net, but Sinner was ready for that challenge today.
Unphased, de Minaur kept his focus and in the very next game broke with the help of his trademark consistency until he drew an error from Sinner on break point and to get back on serve.
Sinner seemed to be holding with relative ease while de Minaur struggled through longer games when he stepped-up to the line. After a routine hold from the Italian for 5-4, de Minaur found himself quickly down 0-40, giving Sinner triple set point. The seventh seed only needed one more shot to take the opening set 6-4.
With Sinner now finding his range more and more with his impressive ground strokes, de Minaur had more and more trouble keeping-up with him. While serving at 1-2, 30-30, de Minaur gave away the next two points with successive forehand and backhand errors to give Sinner the first break of the second set. There was no looking back from there for Sinner as he rattled-off the next five consecutive games to take the match 6-4, 6-1 in one hour 29 minutes.
Some telling statistics from the match include the fact that de Minaur won only 46 per cent of his first serve points against Sinner in the championship match. The Italian capitalized on de Minaur’s serve, breaking him on five out of 10 break opportunities.
After the match, the two players spoke very kindly towards one another. They sometimes practice together in Monaco and were also doubles partners in Toronto as well this week, albeit only for one match when they were defeated in the opening round.
After the match had ended, de Minaur shared the following message on court with Sinner when handed his runner-up trophy, “I would like to start off by saying a huge congrats to you and to your whole team. You deserve it. The way you carry yourself on the court and off the court I have tremendous respect for you. It was a great battle. We started as doubles partners, it didn’t go so well in the doubles but we both made it to the finals, so congratulations to you and the team.”
Sinner spoke about what the week meant for him and thanked his team for their support in getting him to the biggest moment of his young career.
“I’m very, very happy to share this moment with all of you guys and all the people who are around me every day, believing in me, we’re working very hard to change the situation.”
He then shared a little about how he plans to celebrate the victory, with a round of golf on Monday. “Daren still has to show me a little bit of the golf skills because I’m very bad at golf, we will do this tomorrow!”
Sinner came into the match with a heavily slanted 4-0 head-to-head advantage over de Minaur which now improves to 5-0. The Italian is the youngest winner of the NBO at 21 years of age since Alexander Zverev who was 20 when he won the event in Montreal back in 2017. He’ll move up to No. 6 in the ATP rankings on Monday and with his impressive play here in Toronto be absolutely considered one of the favourites at the US Open next month.
That’s a wrap from the 2023 National Bank Open Presented by Rogers that saw over 175,000 people swarm Sobeys Stadium for some electric live tennis action over the past week. Next year the WTA returns in what should also be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best that women’s tennis has to offer.
Arevalo and Rojer Claim Doubles Title
The doubles final was the first match on Centre Court and featured third seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury taking on the unseeded duo of Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer. As is so often the case, all of the competitors were over the age of 30, showing how much intelligence and experience are necessary to navigate the intricacies of the doubles game.
Today’s match, however, was controlled from the beginning by the Arevalo/Rojer duo. In the opening set they broke the Salisbury serve for a 3-1 lead and never looked back.
It was a windy day on Centre Court and they seemed to be far less bothered by it than their opponents. With Rojer serving later in the opening frame while leading 5-3, he launched a 199 kph unreturnable serve to go up 40-30. On the next point, Rojer made a huge forehand volley to take the opening set with his partner in just 30 minutes.
Arevalo and Rojer had far more energy than their opponents today and their communication throughout the match was far more regular and positive as well. They seemed to feed off each other’s emotions as they quickly progressed towards the finish line.
In the second set, there were two quick breaks of serve and suddenly Arevalo and Rojer led 6-3, 4-0 and it seemed inevitable that they had the match. A final break a couple of games later and we had new NBO champions as Arevalo and Rojer hoisted the trophy.
It marks a third ATP final of 2023 for the duo and a third title as well after victories in Adelaide and Delray Beach. Prior to the NBO, they were ranked 21st on the ATP but now jump up to No. 7 following their big Masters 1000 victory.