Saturday School: Players who have won the Canada-Cincinnati double

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The Rogers Cup is the third oldest tournament in tennis after the Wimbledon and US Open. It plays a crucial role in preparing the players before the fourth and the final slam of the season. Held on hard courts, the Rogers Cup that is held at Montreal and Toronto are followed by the Cincinnati Masters. The tournaments are conducted in back-to-back weeks in August. This is the third time in the tennis season when two Masters events are held in back-to-back weeks. The first two are the Indian WellsMiami Masters and the Madrid-Rome Masters double. 

Both these hard court Masters tournaments were conducted on clay up until 1979. It was in 1997 when the tournaments were scheduled for back-to-back weeks for the first time.

Six men have win the American Swing Masters double whereas only one woman has been successful in winning it in the Open Era.

 

1) Cliff Richey (1969)

An year after the Open Era began, American player Cliff Richey won the first ever Canada-Cincinnati double in the Open Era. The tournaments were then played on clay courts and also had a gap of couple of weeks between them. Richey defeated Miami Masters founder and a Member of the Handsome Eight, Butch Buchholz, 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-0 at the Canadian Open finals and Allan Stone 6-1 6-2 at the Cincinnati Masters finals. Richey reached a career high of World No.6 in his career.

 

2) Eddie Dibbs (1978)

Unlike the current schedule, the Cincinnati Masters used to take place before the Canadian Open. In its last year when they were played on clay courts, America’s Eddie Dibbs won the Canada-Cincinnati double after being a set down in both the finals. He defeated Raul Ramirez 5-7 6-3 6-2 in the finals at Cincinnati. At Canada, he won against Jose Luis Clerc 5-7 6-4 6-1. Nicknamed “Fast Eddie,” Dibbs never won a slam but had significant victories over Top 10 players which helped him attain a career high ranking of World No.5.

 

3) Andre Agassi (1995)

Andre Agassi dominated the 90s alongside Pete Sampras and Michael Chang. He was the top seed for the Cincinnati Masters and Rogers Cup in 1995. By the ATP had rescheduled their calendar and the Canadian Open now preceded the Cincinnati Masters. The two tournaments were separated by a gap of one week then. Agassi was the defending champion at the Canadian Open and successfully defended his title by defeating his arch nemesis Pete Sampras in the finals in three sets.

Sampras would avenge his defeat that year in the finals of the US Open by beating him in four sets. At the Cincinnati Masters he faced Michael Chang in the finals. Chang was the defending champion at the Cincinnati Masters that year. However, The Punisher got the better of him in straight sets. It was Agassi’s sixth title of the year and his seventh Masters title overall. Agassi would finish the year as the World No.2, finishing behind Pete Sampras by a difference of only 77 points.

 

4)  Patrick Rafter (1998)

Andre Agassi had dropped to No.8 in the rankings when he entered the American Hard Court swing in 1998. The Canadian Open, then known as the du Maurier Open had Pete Sampras as its top seed. Agassi was looking to regain his lost form and cruised past Goran Ivanisevic and Pete Sampras in back to back matches. However, he lost to Richard Krajicek in the semis. On the other side of the draw, third seeded Patrick Rafter defeated Mark Philippoussis, Jonas Bjorkman and Tim Henman to face Krajicek in the finals. Rafter defeated Krajicek 7-6 6-4 to win the tournament.

At the Cincinnati Masters, Rafter carried his Canadian Open further by defeating Todd Martin, Petr Korda and Yevgeny Kafelnikov to set up a final clash with the defending champion and top seed, Pete Sampras. Sampras took the first set 6-1 in a dominant fashion. But the Australian staged a comeback and took the next two sets to become the first non-American to win the Canada-Cincinnati double. He also became the first player to win the two Masters titles in back-to-back weeks.

Rafter would defeat Sampras yet again in the semifinals of the US Open that year. Rafter was eventually crowned the US Open champion in 1998, when he defeated compatriot Mark Philippoussis in four sets.

 

5) Andy Roddick (2003)

Andy Roddick was seeded sixth and he entered the Canadian Open in 2003. Guillermo Coria was defending his title but retired mid-match in his first round match. Roddick defeated third seeded Roger Federer in three sets and later won 6-1 6-3 against David Nalbandian to win the title. At the Cincinnati Masters, defending champion Carlos Moya lost to countryman Fabrice Santoro in the first round. Roddick was seeded seventh for the event. The American breezed past Ivan Ljubicic, James Blake and Max Mirnyi in the initial rounds and defeated his Davis Cup team mate Mardy Fish in three sets in the finals.

Legg Mason Tennis Tournament 08/08/09

Roddick would go on to win the US Open title that year after defeating Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 7-6 6-3. He finished the year as the World No.1 that year.

 

6) Rafael Nadal (2013)

Rafael Nadal is mainly noted for his dominance on clay, but in 2013 he was at an entirely different level on hard courts as well. The Spaniard defeated the two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semis of the Rogers Cup. He later defeated home favourite Milos Raonic 6-2 6-2 to win his 25th Masters title. At Cincinnati, Nadal defeated defending champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. Nadal played two tough tiebreaker sets against John Isner in the finals to win his first ever back-to-back Masters title in the American hard court swing.

He became the second non-American player to accomplish this feat. Nadal would win the US Open title that year, defeating Djokovic in four sets. It was Nadal’s second US Open title and thirteenth grand slam title overall.

 

7) Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1973)  

In 1993, the ladies field at Cincinnati saw Australia’s Evonne Goolagong defeat Chris Evert in straight sets. A week later, Goolagong would defeat Germany’s Helga Niessen Masthoff in the finals of the Canadian Open and successfully defend her title. She became the first and the only woman in the Open Era to complete the Canada-Cincinnati double. Goolagong reached the finals of the US Open that year but lost to compatriot Margaret Court 7-5 5-7 6-2.


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