Rafael Nadal spoiled the party for birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas as the world No 1 sealed his fourth Canadian Masters 1000 title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Greek star Tsitsipas was out to slay another tennis giant in the shape of the dominant Spaniard as he looked to celebrate his 20th birthday in style.
Tsitsipas has pulled off one surprise after another dispatching Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in the previous three rounds before battling back to send the Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson packing to reach his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final.
But a fifth Top 10 opponent in a week proved too much for the young tennis prodigy as top-ranked Nadal battled away to record a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) victory on Sunday.
“It was a very important victory for me, but when I was serving for the match I played a terrible game being honest,” Nadal told Sky Sports Arena.
“I played that kind of game that you don’t want to play when you are serving for the match. I got a little bit nervous but that’s part of our sport too. I stayed positive, kept fighting, and the match became a little more ugly after that.”
And Nadal complemented his opponent, adding: “He’s a great player and he has great potential. He’s brave, he’s young and he’s got the right energy so he has a great future.”
Nadal dominated in his only previous meeting with Tsitsipas, a straight sets win in the final of the Barcelona Open and the 32-year-old was at it again during a one-sided first set.
Despite the youngster forcing the second set into a tie-breaker it was Nadal who won a battle of the tennis generations to land his 80th ATP title and his first on hardcourts in five years.
Tsitsipas, who will move to at least 15th in the rankings, was the first unseeded finalist in Canada since Nicolas Kiefer in 2008 and will take heart from a phenomenal week having become the youngest man to beat four top-10 players at the same tournament.