Medvedev and Giorgi capture Canadian glory

With the US Open fast approaching Daniil Medvedev and Camila Giorgi laid down their markers for Flushing Meadows. Now the Tour swiftly turns its attention to Cincinnati.

Daniil Medvedev / Toronto 2021©Peter Power
 - Alex Sharp

The fourth and final Grand Slam of 2021 is within a fortnight reach.

A collection of competitors are finding their groove, lifting some striking trophies along the way, but there is still plenty of play to dive into ahead of the US Open at the end of the month.

Canada hosted the latest instalment of high-end tennis, with Cincinnati now providing the stage for the stars to shine.

Here is what you need to catch up on.

Medvedev masters the field once more

Efficiency and improvisation were the key elements last week as world No.2 Daniil Medvedev lifted his fourth Masters 1000 title in Toronto.

The 25-year-old backed up a thrilling three-set comeback over Hubert Hurkacz to drop just four games against John Isner, before overcoming another towering American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-3 in Sunday’s finale.

Medvedev, the first Russian to win the title since Marat Safin in 2000, enthralled the Canadian crowds with his improvisation and reactions facing the rocket serves of Isner and Opelka, picking off the Americans with laser-beams passing shots.

"I could not have dreamt of this at one point,” said Medvedev. “With Masters, with Novak (Djokovic) and Rafael (Nadal) playing, it seemed like an untouchable achievement. Now I have four wins in five finals, which is a good score. I am just happy. I want to achieve more. I am really happy I achieved this in Canada".

"Playing Canada and Cincinnati, the goal is to win as many matches as possible. I was able to do it two years ago and I will try and do it again".

 Medvedev is referencing his 2019 title run in Cincinnati, which preceded his first Grand Slam final at the US Open. One step better this fall?

The Cincinnati top seed opens his campaign facing either home wild card Mackenzie McDonald or Brandon Nakashima.

Giorgi grabs chance

Six matches against high calibre opponents, including fight backs, dominant displays and front-foot striking, Camila Giorgi clinched the biggest title of her career in Montreal.

The Italian prevailed past Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5 to surge back into the Top 40.

Giorgi dismissed four seeded opponents; No.9 Elise Mertens, No.7 Petra Kvitova and No.15 Coco Gauff before tackling Pliskova for a maiden career W1000-level triumph.

"I was very emotional inside," said the 29-year-old, relieved to be injury free this campaign. Of course, it’s amazing, I’m very happy for what I did this week".

"This comes with all the work I’ve being doing through all these years. I was sure one day, I was always believing in myself this could come.”

Camila Giorgi / Montréal 2021©Pascal Ratthé

Federer suffers fresh set back

The sporting world relished Roger Federer being back on court in 2021, but the Swiss maestro announced over the weekend that he’ll miss the US Open due to another knee surgery.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who turned 40 earlier this month, aggravated his right knee during his Wimbledon campaign.

"I’ve been doing a lot of checks with the doctors… That’s just not the way to go forward, so unfortunately, they told me for the medium to long term to feel better, I will need surgery," Federer told his Instagram followers. "I decided to do it."

The 103-time titlist underwent two right knee operations in February and May last year, featuring in five tournaments in 2021, before being halted this summer.

Federer still harbours hopes of a top-level return.

"I’ll be on crutches for many weeks and also out of the game for many months, so it’s going to be difficult of course in some ways, but at the same time I know it’s the right thing to do because I want to be healthy, I want to be running around later as well again and I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form," continued the 2009 Roland-Garros winner.

“I am realistic, don’t get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at this age right now to do another surgery and try it. But I want to be healthy, I will go through the rehab process I think also with a goal while I’m still active, which I think is going to help me during this long period of time.”

Cincinnati at centre stage

Nine of the WTA’s Top 10 headline a formidable field in Cincinnati.

World No.1 Ash Barty and No.2 Naomi Osaka are both back in action following early exits at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The likes of Roland-Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and gold medallist Belinda Bencic are playing their only New York build up event. Also watch out for major champions such Iga Swiatek, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu seeking some match play and confidence boosts.

The dynamic is very different on the men’s side in Ohio, with the ‘Big Three’ absent in Cincinnati for the first time since 2001.

Nadal’s foot complaint hasn’t shifted, whereas Calendar Grand Slam chasing Djokovic is taking in more rest and recuperation rather than defending this title.

Alongside Medvedev, world No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas will spearhead the men’s draw. The Greek has a tough opener against American prodigy Sebastian Korda or Laslo Djere.

Joining the gluttony of emerging talents, two-time champion Andy Murray will feature in an intriguing first round with familiar French foe Richard Gasquet.