While his quest to overtake Roger Federer in terms of most Grand Slam titles continues, Rafael Nadal has gone past his great Swiss rival on one very important measure of success. The Spaniard now has more wins than Federer in ATP Masters 1000 events. He earned this distinction by defeating Guido Pella of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 in the third round match of the Rogers Cup, underway in Montreal, Canada.
This was the Spaniard's 379th victory in ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. What made this win even more special was the fact that it came in conditions which were not to the liking of the 18-time Grand Slam champion. The strong winds is not what Rafa likes to deal with when he is on court. But in this match, even they couldn't stop him from going past the man whom he has battled innumerable times in Grand Slam finals.
Having most victories in ATP Masters 1000 matches now sits alongside the achievement of winning the highest number of ATP Masters 1000 titles for Nadal. By having 34 trophies from such events, Nadal is ahead of Federer, who has 28. But interestingly, the Swiss Maestro is only third in the standings. The man right behind Nadal with 33 titles is Novak Djokovic.
This tournament is important for Nadal in another way. He is the defending champion and has never successfully defended his title on a hard-court. So, this tournament may prove a landmark event for more than one reason for the Spanish giant. With one Masters 1000 title already under his belt this season – the Rome Masters – he would like to continue his winning run.
Earlier this year, Nadal captured his 12th French Open title but failed to reach the final of the Wimbledon. A good performance on this surface would boost his chances of doing well in the last Grand Slam of the year – US Open. But first, he will have to deal with Fabio Fognini in the next round of Canadian Masters. That won't be easy as Fognini had beaten Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this year.