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Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory in his men’s singles match against Maxime Cressy of the US at the Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 9, 2022. (Photo : MIKE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal will head to the 2022 Australian Open with momentum on his side after winning the Melbourne Summer Set trophy on Sunday, January 9. He defeated American qualifier, Maxime Cressy, in straight sets in the final, 7-6 (6), 6-3.
Nadal wins 89th ATP Tour title
There were plenty of question marks surrounding the state of Nadal’s game before he arrived Down Under. He last played in the ATP Tour back in August before a foot injury derailed and ended his 2021 season. However, Nadal showed little sign of rust upon his return to the hard courts, as the World No. 6 did not drop a single set in this tournament.
The victory against Cressy did not come easy for Nadal, with the Spaniard finding it difficult to deal with the American’s serve-and-volley game in the early stages. The 35-year-old was pushed into a first-set tiebreaker by Cressy, with Nadal even going down a set point during the decider.
Nadal managed to save that set point and won the tiebreaker by a score of 8-6. Cressy battled back in the second set and went up a break during that stage. But Nadal would not be denied, firing seven aces in that set to secure his 89th ATP Tour win.
It was an important victory for Nadal, who continued his run of winning at least one tour-level crown every year since 2004. Nadal’s last victory in Australia came in the 2009 Australian Open. His last final in the continent was back in 2019 in the Australian Open final, where he lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic.
The stage is now set for Nadal to win his record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open later this month. With Novak Djokovic’s participation in doubt because of his unvaccinated status, the door is open for Nadal to steer clear of his Big Three rivals in the Grand Slam title race. Nadal, Djokovic, and Roger Federer all have 20 Grand Slams apiece entering the 2022 season.
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Canada wins ATP Cup in Sydney
The Canadian flag is flying high in Australia right now after Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov gave Canada the victory in the ATP Cup Final against Spain. Shapovalov opened the final with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-3 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta before Auger-Aliassime clinched the title for Canada with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 singles win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
It was a stunning turnaround for the Canadians, who opened their tournament with losses in each of their first four matches. They managed to turn things around after losing 3-0 to the United States in their opening group match, with Canada beating Germany and Great Britain to finish top of Group C. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov then teamed up to win the deciding doubles match against Russia in the semifinals, ousting the defending champions in the process.
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