After an incredible decade for American tennis during the 90s, the greatest tennis nation needed fresh blood that would carry on where Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and others left. The Omaha native Andy Roddick was the first pick to do so, cracking the top-100 in April 2002 at the age of 18 and winning five ATP titles at home in the USA in 2001 and 2002.
In the following 2003, Roddick went on to grab six ATP titles and finish the season as the year-end no. 1 player, the last American to achieve that. Despite great results, Andy had to wait until the end of May to claim the first title of the year in St.
Poelten, adding another one at Queen's and Indianapolis before embracing the best month of his life. The American conquered Canada Open, Cincinnati and the US Open, becoming world no. 2 and taking the ATP throne two months later.
A week before Montreal, Roddick lost in the semi-final in Washington to Tim Henman, using the next couple of days to rest and heading to Montreal as the 6th seed and one of the favorites for the first Masters 1000 crown. Andy defeated Xavier Malisse, Juan Ignacio Chela, Sebastien Grosjean and Karol Kucera to set Roger Federer clash.
He toppled the Swiss in the deciding tie break despite trailing 4-2 in the final set, propelling himself into the second straight Canada Open final, losing to Guillermo Canas a year ago. Another player born in 2002 wanted to add the first Masters 1000 crown to his tally, with David Nalbandian setting the final clash with Roddick on August 10.
Twelve months earlier, Roddick defeated Nalbandian 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-final in Toronto, having the upper hand in this one as well to deliver a 6-1, 6-3 triumph in 63 minutes for the most one-sided final at this event since 1989 when Ivan Lendl took down John McEnroe by the same scoreline.
Andy was the dominant figure on the court, dropping 11 points in eight service games and suffering one break from two chances offered to the Argentine. On the other hand, David barely hit any winner, counting to almost 30 unforced errors and never finding the rhythm.
Andy Roddick claimed the first Masters 1000 title in Montreal 2003.
He gave away more than half of the points in his games and got broken five times from eight opportunities that Roddick created. The American had a clear advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes thanks to his booming serve and the first forehand, outplaying Nalbandian in the mid-range exchanges and those few beyond the eighth stroke.
That made him a deserved winner, becoming the fourth different American champion in Canada since 1990 after Michael Chang, Andre Agassi and Chris Woodruff. Interestingly, Andy experienced a break point in the first game of the match, saving it with the second serve service winner and blasting two more for a vital hold.
It became even more significant when he broke in game two after a half-volley error from David, opening the gap and moving 3-0 in front with four winners in game three after just 12 minutes. With no free points from the serve or the ability to pass Andy from the baseline, David suffered another break in game six when his forehand landed long, allowing Roddick to grab the set with a service winner a few minutes later.
Things went from bad to worse for the Argentine who got broken at the beginning of the second set, breaking back in the very next game following a weak drop shot from Roddick at the net. Struggling badly on the second serve, Nalbandian had to hand his serve in game three again after forehand errors, finding himself 3-1 down following a smash winner from Andy in game four.
The American held at love to confirm the break, delivering another comfortable hold for a 5-3 lead and breaking Nalbandian once again in game nine following a backhand mistake from his rival. Thus, he could start to celebrate the first Masters 1000 crown and so far the last for the American players at this tournament.
Twenty days later, these two would be engaged in a thrilling US Open semi-final, with Andy saving the match point in a controversial 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 6-3 victory that included some terrible calls from the judges in the American's favor.