Canada Flashback: Guillermo Canas wins title against Andy Roddick

Former world no. 8 Guillermo Canas finished his career with seven ATP titles from 16 finals. Guillermo delivered his best tennis in 2004 and 2005 and beat 20 top-10 rivals. Canas was equally good on hard and clay, competing in two Masters 1000 finals on the faster surface and lifting one title in the proudest moment of his career. Novak Djokovic halted Canas in the final in Miami 2007. Still, there was no one to stop his progress in Toronto five years earlier, as the Argentine scored five top-12 wins en route to a career-best title at 24. In the final on August 4, Canas defeated the young American Andy Roddick to become Argentina’s first Masters 1000 champion. Guillermo mastered the most challenging possible draw to write his country’s tennis history. In one of the most fortunate losses of his career, Canas dropped out in Kitzbuhel in the opening round and had enough time to leave clay behind and prepare for the North American swing.

Guillermo shined in all six matches in Canada to leave rivals behind in only the 12th Masters 1000 event. To make things even better, Canas had only eight Masters 1000 triumphs on hard court before this memorable event. He performed in Toronto like he had 88 instead and wrote one of the most enjoyable stories of the entire season. The opening round brought the top-20 clash, as Canas prevailed against world no. 10 Roger Federer 7-6, 7-5 in an hour and 41 minutes. The Argentine lost serve once and delivered two breaks to oust the Swiss and kick off the action in style. Paradorn Srichaphan was Guillermo’s most comfortable rival in terms of ranking, racing past the Thai player 6-2, 6-1 in 51 minutes after dropping nine points behind the initial shot. World no. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov stood no chance as well, losing 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes to propel Canas into his first Masters 1000 quarter-final against world no. 2 Marat Safin.

Guillermo Canas claimed the first and only Masters 1000 title in Toronto 2004.

The Argentine was in excellent rhythm, losing 21 points in his games in the last two encounters and standing strong against Safin to deliver a 7-5, 6-3 triumph. Safin won more points on the return than Srichaphan and Kafelnikov combined. However, that was not enough for a set after wasting six out of seven break chances and suffering three breaks to push the rival over the top. After world no. 5 and no. 3, Canas battled against the world’s second-best player Tommy Haas. He prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and ten minutes after taking just three points more than his rival. The German had a 4-2 lead in the decider, but it was not to be for him. Tommy got broken in game eight and allowed Canas to take the breaker 7-5 following a service winner to secure the victory and advance into the first Masters 1000 final. Guillermo toppled world no. 12 Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 16 minutes in the title clash to complete a perfect week and add his name to the history books.

It was the first Masters 1000 final for the young American. Still, he could not go all the way, suffering three breaks to finish runner-up. Canas tamed his shots nicely, avoiding mistakes and outplaying Andy in the shortest and most extended rallies. Roddick stayed on nine aces and grabbed 70% of the points behind the first serve. He needed more than that to halt an in-form rival and lift the crown. Both players were in the zone on serve right from the beginning, dropping seven points in the opening eight games to stay locked at 4-4 after 25 minutes.

Suddenly, Roddick lost control over his initial shot and suffered a break in the ninth game to push Canas in front. Guillermo served for the opener at 5-4 and fired three winners to wrap up the set in style. Things went from bad to worse for the American, who could not find a way to penetrate his rival once his serve failed to finish the job. He got broken at the beginning of the second set to hand Guillermo a massive advantage. Untroubled on serve in the opener, Canas lost the ground a bit in the second game. He hit a double fault to suffer a break and bring Roddick back into contention once it seemed it was all over. Both players served well in the next eight games to stay neck and neck ahead of an expected tie break. The pivotal moment came at 5-5 when Guillermo broke at love after Andy’s routine volley error. The Argentine fired three service winners in game 12 to move over the top and celebrate his most notable title in a career.