Daniil Medvedev and Camila Giorgi capped impressive weeks in Canada - and laid down markers for the coming weeks on US hard courts - by taking the titles in Toronto and Montreal respectively.
Medvedev reinforced his status as one of the sport’s premier hard-court players, as well as one of the biggest favourites for the US Open, with victory at the ATP Toronto Masters.
Also on Sunday, Giorgi reminded everyone of her elite-level abilities with a stunning victory at the WTA 1000 event in Montreal.
The Italian beat No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 7-5 to win the biggest title of her career, completing a giant-killing week with the loss of just one set.
Medvedev was similarly dominant in Toronto, beating Reilly Opelka for the fourth time in five meetings thanks to a 6-4 6-3 triumph.
It came a day after he dismantled a similarly tall, big-serving American in John Isner, a match during which he surrendered just four games and completed in a brisk 54 minutes.
The world No.2 continues to produce his best during the North American summer hard-court season.
He reached the final of the last edition of the Canadian Masters, in Montreal in 2019, before going on to win the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open final that same year.
In 2020, he returned to the US Open semifinals, and has now claimed his fourth ATP Masters title – all of which have come on hard courts – with his latest success in Canada.
“With Masters, with Novak and Rafael playing, it seemed like an untouchable achievement. Now I have four wins in five finals, which is a good score,” said Medvedev, who committed only 13 unforced errors to Opelka’s 34.
"I'm just happy. I want to achieve more, I want to play better."
Despite the loss it was an impressive week for Opelka, who beat Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov, Lloyd Harris, Roberto Bautista Agut and Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach his first ATP Masters final.
“I have learned a lot about myself. I learned that the difference between some matches is so small, you've just really got to be optimistic,” said the 23-year-old, who recovered from a set down in three of his five victories.
“I think this week was a great example of using that optimistic mindset as much as possible.”
Giorgi storms to Montreal title
Giorgi, meanwhile, has been a player on tennis fans’ radar for years, dating back to when she stunned world No.8 Caroline Wozniacki in the third round of the 2013 US Open as a qualifier ranked outside the top 100.
Since then she has increased her tally of victories against top-10 opponents to 12, and been ranked as high as 26th, but had never displayed consistency to match her powerful, high-risk ball striking.
She dropped her only set of the tournament to Jessica Pegula in the semifinals, and beat seeds Elise Mertens, Petra Kvitova, Coco Gauff and Pliskova to win just the third title of her career – and by far the biggest.
“I really think I was very emotional inside. I'm not the one that shows a lot. Of course, it's just amazing. I'm very happy for what I did this week,” said Giorgi, whose two previous titles came at 250-level (Linz 2018 and ‘s-Hertogenbosch 2015).
Ranked No.71, Giorgi is projected to return to the top 35 as she continues to build on a purple patch of form.
Through Roland Garros, Camila Giorgi had not beaten a Top 20 player since September 2019.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) August 15, 2021
Since Roland Garros:
Has won 16 of her last 20 matches.#OBN21
Asked what was behind her sustained success, the 29-year-old believed she was better harnessing her weapons at this stage of her career.
“We’ve been working many things with my Dad (her coach), actually. We did some changes of the game, more tactical, more strategy,” she explained after beating Pegula.
"I think now I'm playing better. I know better how to choose the shots. When I need a little bit to slow down, maybe accelerate. It's more variation in my game, I think. This is very important."
Pliskova is another player enjoying a resurgence.
Having recently fallen outside the top 10, the Czech has vaulted back up to No.6 after also reaching the Wimbledon final and winning 12 of her past 15 matches.
“Just happy that my level kind of went back where it was before the COVID break, and I feel like I’m playing well now,” said Pliskova, who has now lost three times to Giorgi in the past two months.
“It's normal to lose sometimes. Of course, I would love to win all of my finals. It's not like that it's only in my hands. There is also somebody else. I'm playing really good players in the final.”