Former world no. 8 Guillermo Canas finished 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 toughest possible draw to write his country's tennis history.
In what was one of the best losses of his career, Canas dropped out in Kitzbuhel after the opening round, having enough time to leave clay behind and prepare for the North American swing, shining 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 best stories of the entire season. The opening round brought the clash between 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 the 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. 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 having to work hard for the victory.
Safin more points on the return that Srichaphan and Kafelnikov together, although that wasn't enough at least for a set, 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, prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and ten minutes after taking just three points more than the rival. The German had a 4-2 lead in the decider.
However, it wasn't to be for him, getting broken in game eight and allowing 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. There, 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 up at 4-4 after just 25 minutes. Out of sudden, Roddick lost the control over his initial shot, suffering a break in the ninth game to push Canas in front and finding himself 6-4 down after three winners from the Argentine in that tenth game.
Things went from bad to worse for the American who couldn't find the way to penetrate his rival once his serve would not 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 Canas broke at love after a routine volley error from Andy, who had to acknowledge the defeat after three service winners from Guillermo in the next game.
The Argentine started a massive celebration of what would turn to be the most significant moment of his career at 24, winning four smaller titles after Toronto and reaching only one additional Masters 1000 final six and a half years later.