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Sinner beats de Minaur in National Bank Toronto final for first Masters 1000 title

Jannik Sinner Jannik Sinner - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — For the first 52 minutes of the National Bank Open men's final, Jannik Sinner seemed content to hover around the baseline and fire ground strokes left and right.

He finally tried something different late in the first set. A rare backspin shot just dropped over the net and an outstretched Alex de Minaur couldn't return it.

Sinner would complete the service break on set point and was on his way to a 6-4, 6-1 win for his first career Masters 1000 series title.

"Sometimes you have to change it up a little bit," Sinner said. "And I think today this was one of the solutions."

It was Sinner's second ATP Tour title of the season. He improved to 5-0 in head-to-head meetings with de Minaur, who made his first career Masters 1000 final appearance.

Sinner was the first Italian to reach the men's singles final of this tournament in the Open era. He'll jump two positions to a career-high No. 6 in the new world rankings.

"We were prepared for a long fight," Sinner said. "The first set was very important. In the second set, I was hitting a little bit more freer.

"So yeah, it was a good day in the office."

The seventh-seeded Sinner forced the 18th-ranked de Minaur to play defence for most of the match at Sobeys Stadium.

Each player had early breaks as they adjusted to breezy conditions on centre court.

De Minaur showed off his strong retrieving ability and tinkered with his pace and spin at times, but the 21-year-old Sinner proved too powerful.

Sinner broke de Minaur on his first opportunity but some unforced errors proved costly as the Australian got back on serve at 3-4.

Needing a hold to stay in the set, de Minaur lost all four points of the critical 10th game.

Sinner ran him from corner to corner on the opening point and a de Minaur mis-hit followed. His floater made it love-40 and Sinner converted on his first set point.

The Italian controlled the second set en route to victory in 89 minutes.

"Ultimately it got to a level where I felt like he started to dictate a little bit more, and I was on the back foot a lot more," de Minaur said.

Earlier Sunday, El Salvador's Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands won the doubles title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over the third-seeded team of American Rajeev Ram and Britain's Joe Salisbury.

Sinner earned US$1.02 million of the $7.62-million overall purse with the victory. De Minaur, the world No. 18, banked almost $557,000 for the runner-up finish.

"It was a breakthrough week for me," said de Minaur, projected to rise to No. 12 in the world.

Arevalo and Rojer, who split about $312,000 for their win, beat de Minaur and Sinner in the first round of the doubles draw.

Overall attendance for the week was a tournament record of 175,003, organizers said. The previous high was 161,497 in 2010.

The WTA Tour will return to the York University venue next season. The men and women alternate between Montreal and Toronto each year.

The 2024 competition will be the final year that the 56-player main draw format is used. The tournament will expand to a 12-day, 96-player format starting in 2025.

Tournament director Karl Hale said next year's schedule will be slightly different since the Paris Olympics are on the calendar.

Tennis will be played at the Summer Games from July 27 through Aug. 4.

National Bank Open qualifying will begin on Aug. 4 and the main draw will start on Tuesday, Aug. 6 — one day later than usual — and continue to a Monday night finish on Aug. 12.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2023.

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