5 Things We Learned In Toronto
1. Khachanov's Masters 1000 Breakthrough
Russian Karen Khachanov hadn't reached any tour-level semi-final, let alone one at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, since late February, when he won the indoor Open Provence 13 in Marseille. But Khachanov ended that streak in Toronto by reaching his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final (l. to Nadal).
The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier also ended his Top 10 losing streak, which had stretched to nine, with his win against No. 9 John Isner in the third round. The 6'6” right-hander is now 3-12 against Top 10 players.
2. Tsitsipas Shows He's Here To Stay
His momentum had been building all season, but the Rogers Cup in Toronto was surely Stefanos Tsitsipas' coming-out party to the broader tennis world. Greece's #NextGenATP star, who reached the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell final in April, had beaten three Top 10 players before Toronto.
But at the season's sixth Masters 1000 event, Tsitsipas beat four players in the Top 10 as he made his way to his first Masters 1000 final (l. to Nadal). The 20-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, will reach No. 15 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.
3. Rafa Still The Master
Thirty-three Masters 1000 titles; 80 tour-level crowns, and still No. 1, and likely for a good amount longer. Rafael Nadal, in only his second hard-court tournament of the year, showed he's capable again of dominating not only the European clay courts but also the North American hard courts in Toronto, where he won his fourth Rogers Cup, the most titles he's won at any hard-court tournament. The Spaniard has won the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the US Open three times.
He significantly padded his lead in the ATP Rankings as well. Nadal, who has exchanged the top spot with Roger Federer six times this year, will lead Federer by nearly 4,000 points – 10,220 to 6,480 – on Monday.
4. Shot Clock Success
After much talk, the 25-second shot clock has made its debut on the ATP World Tour the past two weeks in Washington and Toronto without much fuss. In fact, it's been praised by players, including Serbian Novak Djokovic.
“I didn't feel that it affected me in a negative way at all in [my] two matches. On the contrary, I actually feel like there is more time now than before because the shot clock starts counting down once the chair umpire calls the score. So I'm pretty comfortable with it. It's good that we have shot clock in the tournaments prior to the US Open,” Djokovic said.
Nadal also praised the implementation of the idea. “For me personally, [it] don't affect me. I just need to go faster. I go faster. And I accept and try to do the thing the better way possible, and I did it during the whole week. That's all,” Nadal said. “But the clock, if the umpires are able to use it the right way, it's good because gives you plenty of time. Because they call the score, then they put the clock on.
“In my opinion, the umpires during the whole week are doing a fantastic job. They are managing the thing very well, even better than without the clock. So well done for all of them.”
The shock clock, first used during qualifying at the US Open and at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last year, will continue to be used this week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
5. Kontinen/Peers Return To Titletown
Henri Kontinen/John Peers lost four championship points in the second set of the Rogers Cup doubles final. But the 2016 and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champions regrouped to win their first Masters 1000 title since October 2017, at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
Kontinen and Peers improved to 13-1 in tour-level finals and won their third Masters 1000 title as a team. They also are in good standing to return to the Nitto ATP Finals in London. On Monday, Kontinen/Peers will be in eighth place in the ATP Doubles Race To London, and the top eight qualify for the prestigious season finale, to be held 11-18 November.