Former world no. 8 Guillermo Canas finished his career with seven ATP titles from 16 finals, delivering his best tennis in 2004 and 2005 and beating 20 top-10 rivals. Canas was equally good on both hard and clay, competing in two Masters 1000 finals on the faster surface and lifting one title in what had been the proudest moment of his career.
Novak Djokovic halted Canas in the final in Miami 2007, but there was no one to stop his progress in Toronto five years earlier, scoring five top-12 wins en route to a career-best title at 24. In the final on August 4, Canas defeated the young American Andy Roddick to become the first Masters 1000 champion from Argentina, overpowering the most challenging possible draw to write his country's tennis history.
In what was one of the most fortunate losses of his career, Canas dropped out in Kitzbuhel after the opening round and had enough time to leave clay behind and prepare for the North American swing. Guillermo shined in all six matches in Canada to leave rivals behind in only the 12th Masters 1000 event.
To make things even better, Guillermo had eight Masters 1000 triumphs on hard court before this memorable event, performing in Toronto like he had 88 instead and writing one of the most enjoyable stories of the entire season.
The opening round brought the clash between the top-20 players, with Canas prevailing against world no. 10 Roger Federer 7-6, 7-5 in an hour and 41 minutes, losing serve once and delivering two breaks to oust the Swiss and kick off the action in style.
Paradorn Srichaphan was Guillermo's most comfortable rival in terms of ranking, racing past the Thai player 6-2, 6-1 in 51 minutes after dropping just nine points behind the initial shot. World no. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov stood no chance as well, losing 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes to propel Canas into his first Masters 1000 quarter-final against world no.
2 Marat Safin.
Guillermo Canas claimed the first and only Masters 1000 title in Toronto 2004.
The Argentine was in excellent rhythm, losing 21 points in his games in the last two encounters and standing strong against Safin to deliver a 7-5, 6-3 triumph despite working hard for the victory.
Safin won more points on the return than Srichaphan and Kafelnikov combined. However, that wasn't enough at least for a set after wasting six out of seven break chances and suffering three breaks to push the rival over the top and into the semis.
After world no. 5 and no. 3, Canas had to battle against the world's second-best player Tommy Haas and prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and ten minutes after taking just three points more than his rival. The German had a 4-2 lead in the decider, but it wasn't to be for him.
Tommy got broken in game eight and allowed Canas to take the breaker 7-5 following a service winner to secure the victory and advance into the first final at the Masters 1000 level. Guillermo toppled world no. 12 Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 16 minutes to complete a perfect week and add his name to the history books after an incredible run.
It was the first Masters 1000 final for the American as well, but he couldn't go all the way, suffering three breaks to finish runner-up. Canas tamed his shots nicely, avoiding mistakes and outplaying Andy in both the shortest and most extended rallies.
Roddick stayed on just nine aces and 70% of the points won behind the first serve, needing more than that to halt an in-form rival and deserve the crown. Both players were in the zone on serve right from the beginning, dropping seven points in the opening eight games to stay locked at 4-4 after just 25 minutes.
Out of a sudden, Roddick lost control over his initial shot and suffered a break in the ninth game to push Canas in front and find himself 6-4 down after the Argentine's three winners from in that tenth game. Things went from bad to worse for the American, who could not find a way to penetrate his rival once his serve would fail to finish the job, getting broken at the beginning of the second set to hand Guillermo a massive advantage.
Untroubled on serve in the opener, Canas lost the ground a bit in the second game, hitting a double fault to suffer a break and bring Roddick back into contention once it seemed it was all over. Both players served well in the next eight games, and the pivotal moment came at 5-5 when Guillermo broke at love after Andy's routine volley error.
The Argentine fired three service winners in the next game to move over the top and celebrate his most notable title in a career.