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Sour year turned sweet – Carreno Busta comes to life to capture Montreal title

Pablo Carreno Busta took flight in Montreal and powered past Hubert Hurkacz to claim his biggest career title.

Pablo Carreno Busta Montreal 2022 Pablo Carreno Busta claimed his first title at Montreal in 2022 || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Pablo Carreno Busta has been a top pro for years, but in 2022, he is quick to joke about the fact that he hasn’t quite played up to his potential.

“It’s probably one of the worst years of my career, with not really good results,” he said this earlier this week in Montreal.

But what a difference a week can make.

After capping off a thrilling run to the National Bank Open title via a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Hubert Hurkacz, one of the worst years of Carreno Busta’s career now features a defining achievement. The Spaniard wins his first Masters 1000 title, and seventh ATP title overall, and the two-time US Open semi-finalist will be heading into the rest of the North American hard court swing with the confidence that he can achieve anything he sets his mind to.

“It’s not my best season this year, I lost some matches that probably in other seasons I wouldn’t lose but I just tried to continue believing in my team and in myself and my game.”

— Pablo Carreno Busta

Carreno Busta – it’s all about positivity no matter the results

The first unseeded men’s singles champion in Canada since 2002, Carreno Busta entered the event with low expectations, and a 22-17 overall record.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be a Masters 1000 winner,” he said. “It’s the best title of my career for sure and I don’t know how I feel in this moment. I know that during all the weeks we work very, very hard – it’s very important to be positive all the time.

“It’s not my best season this year, I lost some matches that probably in other seasons I wouldn’t lose but I just tried to continue believing in my team and in myself and my game.”

Carreno Busta rode his serve to the finish line

Hurkacz was turning heads with his serve all tournament long – the Pole had logged 77 aces through four rounds heading into the final (he served five more on Sunday), including 20 in a blistering performance against Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals, but it was the Spaniard who held sway with the most important shot down the stretch.

The 31-year-old did not face a break point against Hurkacz in sets two and three and dropped just 11 points on serve in his final nine service games. His decisive play from the service stripe was the key ingredient to a monumental victory.

“I just continued believing because I knew that I was playing better and better, I tried to be aggressive with my serve and I made two breaks – enough to be the winner,” Carreno Busta said.

Hurkacz drops a final for the first time

Despite a brilliant week, there was a disappointing finish for the talented Pole. He entered Sunday perfect in ATP finals at 5-0 but could not continue his sterling record in title matches. Hurkacz was bidding to become the third men’s player in Open Era history to have claimed victory in his first six ATP finals. Had he won he would have been the first Polish men’s singles champion in Canada since Wojtek Fibak in 1976.

He would have also become the sixth ATP player to win a title from match point down, after saving a match point against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the round of 16 in Montreal.

Hurkacz drops to 32-14 on the season with his loss, and 1-2 lifetime against Carreno Busta.

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