Rafael Nadal added another ATP Masters title to his impressive collection with a 6-2 6-2 victory over home favourite Milos Raonic in Montreal's Rodgers Cup.
Having overcome Novak Djokovic in the semi finals, it was widely anticipated that Nadal would go on to win the tournament that will undoubtedly give him the edge heading into the US Open next week.
When the Spaniard suffered a straight set first round loss to Steve Darcis at Wimbledon, many pundits questioned his ability to compete away from the Clay Court events. The reoccurring knee injuries that have plagued his career seemed evident once more as he struggled to step into his backhand side and move freely around the grass court.
Nadal now remains unbeaten on the Hard Courts this year and adds to the Montreal Masters to the Indian Wells Masters title he picked up earlier this year by overcoming Juan Martin Del Potro.
Whilst Nadal's chances of winning the Australian Open are higher than that of winning the US Open due to the slower playing surface of the former, he still enters the competition comfortably as third favourite behind Novak Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray.
Momentum is undoubtedly with the Spaniard and despite his third placed ranking he has been the standout performer of 2013 with the form of the World Number One having seemingly curtailed since his Monte Carlo Masters win earlier this year. Nadal's superior head-to-head record over Andy Murray also means he will fancy his chances against him despite having not played the Scot since Miami last year.
Cincinatti awaits as does the US Open draw on Thursday and that will give us a better idea of who is likely to be contesting the US Open final on September 9, but once again, a lesson to be learnt here is to not write off a proven champion like Rafael Nadal who continues to defy the odds time and time again and showing unparalleled levels of mental fortitude.
It would take a brave man to bet against someone who has dismantled the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Del Potro on the Hard courts this year. Vamos Rafa? It appears so providing he can stay fit over the next three weeks.
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