Rafael Nadal downs Stefanos Tsitsipas to win Toronto Masters

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Rafael Nadal displays the Rogers Cup championship trophy after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals on Sunday, Aug. 12, at the Aviva Centre. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
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Stefanos Tsitsipas returns a ball to Rafael Nadal during the championship in the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Aviva Centre. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
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Rafael Nadal returns a ball to Stefanos Tsitsipas during the championship in the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Aviva Centre. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 13 August 2018

Rafael Nadal downs Stefanos Tsitsipas to win Toronto Masters

  • Victory gave the 32-year-old Spaniard a record-extending 33rd trophy at the elite Masters level as well as his 80th title
  • Nadal added the Canadian honour to the titles he won in 2005, 2008 and 2013

TORONTO: Rafael Nadal held off a late surge from birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim the 80th title of his career with victory at the Toronto Masters on Sunday.
Nadal overcame a second set fightback from Greek youngster Tsitsipas to claim a 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory in just under 1hr 45mins.
The win gave the 32-year-old Spaniard a record-extending 33rd trophy at the elite Masters level as well as his 80th title.
However Nadal later raised doubts about he would be chasing an 81st title at next week's event in Cincinnati, refusing to confirm that he would play the event as scheduled.
"Will I play in Cincinnati? I can't answer to you right now," Nadal said.
Earlier, a vocal crowd of local flag-waving Greek fans had sang Happy Birthday to the 20-year-old Tsitsipas as Nadal reflected on a successful campaign.
"I feel I've improved every match, it's important to win even if you're not at your best," Nadal said as he prepares for the US Open later this month.
"It's been almost 10 years (2010) since I last played in Toronto," Nadal said of the event which comes to the city in even-number years as it trades with Montreal.
"This trophy means a lot."
The loss concluded the tennis week of his life for Tsitsipas, who beat four Top 10 opponent in a row to reach the final.
"It's been an amazing week for me," he said. "This trophy means a lot after playing my first Masters 1000 final.
"Rafa is amazing, he never cracks. He will always grab you like a bulldog and he will always make you suffer on the court.
"He was (once) normal like all of us, and he managed to become this beast, this monster that he is today.
"That's how you feel when you play against him."
Tsitsipas is taking the lesson he learned on court to heart: "I'm really hungry for more. I believe I can achieve much more this year.
"Although I lost today, I feel like I can still beat good players. I really want to make more points this year and get the best out of myself."
Nadal added the Canadian honour to the titles he won in 2005, 2008 and 2013.
The final featured a plot twist at the end, with Nadal broken while serving for victory leading a set and 5-4.
Tsitsipas would not buckle, making it 5-5 as Nadal hit the net, with the set finally going into a tiebreaker.
Nadal regained control, earning a match point on a Tsitsipas forehand error.
The Spanish world number one concluded victory with a forehand winner deep into the corner.
He now owns five titles this season and has clinched the first spot in the year-end finals in London.


Saudi figure skater nurtures Olympic dream

Malak Al-Shaya says when in the ice rink everything feels ‘magical’ around her. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 04 August 2020

Saudi figure skater nurtures Olympic dream

  • The 13-year-old hopes to emulate the Russian figure skaters Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova

JEDDAH: A Saudi teen who picked up ice skating three years ago at a friend’s birthday party is now dreaming of taking part in the Olympic Games.

“It all started at my friend’s birthday party three years ago where we ice skated and I fell in love with the sport. I started going every day after that. My mom signed me up for classes when she saw my love for the sport,” Malak Al-Shaya told Arab News.
She said: “My mom was the one that encouraged me. At that birthday party, my mom and the coach said I was a natural because I just went for it.”
She came 4th at the Houston Invitational 2020 in March. She said that she will work harder next year to win first place.
The 13-year-old hopes to emulate the Russian figure skaters Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova who inspired her and even to get to the Olympics.
“I’ll work on ice and off ice. I want to be like Alexandra Trusova, who makes it look so elegant,” she said.

Gliding on the ice, Al-Shaya said she feels like everything is “magical.”
The young figure skater is aware that the sport is not the most popular in the Kingdom, but she encourages those wishing to master it.
“Just go for it. If you are willing to work hard you can achieve anything,” she said.
She has received a lot of encouragement on social media to pursue her passion in figure skating.
Al-Shaya’s mother, Eman Al-Damegh, shared her daughter’s love story. “At that birthday party, it was the first time Malak ever ice skated. After that, my kids used to ask me to take them ice skating every day,” she said.

FASTFACT

• Malak Al-Shaya won 4th place at the Houston Invitational 2020.

• Al-Shaya started ice skating three years ago.

• The teen’s coach says her speed is impressive, and it takes them years to teach a student to reach the speed that she is naturally able to control comfortably.

She said that her daughter came from a background, which lacked the facilities for the sport, but was “a natural” straightaway.
“She had never been ice skating before, she started it at such a young age. We used to live in Qassim where there were no ice skating arenas at all,” said Al-Damegh.
She added: “The moment Malak set foot inside the rink, she just took off. I was so surprised, she didn’t hesitate at all, she was so daring that day. And there I was wondering what would happen on ice (before she started).”
According to her proud mother, Al-Shaya has all the capabilities required for this sport and possesses the sense of daringness that skating requires.
The teen’s coach told Al-Damegh that her daughter’s speed was impressive, adding that it takes them years to teach a student to reach the speed that she is “naturally able to control comfortably.”