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Tennis: Nadal routs Raonic, lifts third Canadian title

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Spain's Rafael Nadal took just 68 minutes to deliver a body-blow to Canada's biggest tennis week, hammering out a 6-2, 6-2 win over Milos Raonic in the final of the Montreal Masters.

The dominating victory, in which the big-hitting Canadian's serve was all but nullified by precision returns from Nadal, marked the 25th Masters 1000 title for the 12-time grand slam champion who now owns eight trophies this season and 58 in his career.

Nadal showed no weakness on Sunday as he broke Raonic twice in the opening set, broke on a double-fault to start the second and claimed his fourth Masters title of the season after Indian Wells, Madrid and Rome.

"This was an amazing victory for me," said Nadal, who lost only one point in the opening set on serve.

"I knew my serve would be very important and I felt consistent. My returns were also unbelievable.

"I played a fantastic match against a tough opponent. He just had a few more mistakes today than usual."

Nadal will move back to third place on the ATP world rankings on Monday while Raonic moves to No. 10, becoming the first Canadian to reach the magic number.

Nadal remains undefeated this season on the hardcourts after winning the Indian Wells title in March. He also won in Canada in 2005 and 2008.

Raonic, who was held to just four aces in the final, fell short in his bid to become the first Canadian to win the title since 1958.

"Rafa really gave me a clinic today," said a deflated Raonic, who has broken new ground all week in the sport for Canada. "This was the most important moment of my career so far.

"I'm happy I could have it here in Canada."

The rout gives Nadal a 4-0 career record over the rising Canadian star, with three of the victories coming on hardcourts.

Nadal and Raonic are due to head to Cincinnati for next week's last major tune-up before the August 26 start of the US Open. But Nadal insists he's not looking too far into the tennis future.

"It was very important to win here. The US Open is not for two weeks. I'll have time think about it later," Nadal said.

"It's been an amazing season for me."

Nadal stands at 48-3 this year and has reached the final in 10 of 11 events he has entered.

After a slow start, Raonic is showing big progress with new coach Ivan Ljubicic, who is Monte Carlo-based like the Canadian.

The 22-year-old Raonic was playing his first Masters final. He and countryman Vasek Pospisil set a Canadian record by reaching the semi-finals here.

The last Canadian to win this title was Robert Bedard in 1958.

Raonic was playing in his eighth ATP World Tour final and now stands at 4-4.

str/gph

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130812/tennis-nadal-routs-raonic-lifts-third-canadian-title-0