Rafael Nadal, the defending Rogers Cup champion, could not have hoped for a better run to the final as an unfortunate left-ankle injury to Frenchman Gael Monfils forced him to withdraw from their semi-final clash, handing the Spaniard a walkover.
Nadal, who breezed past Roger Federer’s tally of most match wins at the ATP Masters 1000 level this week at Montreal, is aiming for his 35th Masters 1000 crown.
In the final, he will face an upbeat and exuberant Daniil Medvedev, who is yet to drop a set all week. This is Medvedev’s first-ever Masters 1000 final and the 23-year-old Russian will be highly motivated to outperform the veteran Spaniard.
In his semi-final clash against compatriot Karen Khachanov, Medvedev was clinical as he cruised past his countryman in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) in just 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Interestingly, this will be Nadal and Medvedev's first meeting against each other on the ATP tour.
While the young Russian hasn’t dropped a set en route his title clash at Montreal, the Spaniard survived a huge scare against Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the quarter-final when he surrendered the first set 2-6, but recovered to take the next two sets.
In the upcoming title clash at Montreal, it will be fascinating to witness how the young star fares against a member of the ‘big 3’ of men’s tennis.
While Medvedev is yet to square off against Nadal, the Russian has managed to secure a solitary win against a big-3 member when he upset Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals at Monte Carlo earlier this year.
This will also be Medvedev's fifth final of the year. He succumbed to painful losses in three of the four previous finals, with the most recent defeat coming at the hands of Nick Kyrgios at last week’s Washington Open final.
Nadal, on the other hand, will be eager to make a first-ever successful title defense outside clay. While the Spaniard won Rome and Roland Garros with considerable ease, he has been going through an indifferent season and will hope that his run in Montreal can help him build momentum ahead of the US Open.
Will Medvedev stun Nadal to win his first-ever Masters 1000 title or will the Spaniard come out on top and successfully defend his Coupe Rogers crown? Either way, it promises to be a titanic tussle.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in straight sets.