Rafael Nadal could not defend the Canada Masters title in 2009, losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-final. After finishing as the year-end no. 1 player for the first time in 2008, Nadal was off to a great start in the following season.
The Spaniard conquered his first Australian Open crown and stayed on the winning course in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome! Rafa suffered his first Roland Garros defeat to Robin Soderling in the fourth round.
He skipped Wimbledon due to knee issues, hoping to bounce back in Montreal. Nadal claimed the Canada Open title in Toronto a year earlier and did not have to play much to reach another quarter-final. Still, he faced a massive obstacle in that clash, losing to Juan Martin del Potro 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 52 minutes.
It was their sixth clash and the second straight victory for the Argentine. Juan Martin prevailed over Rafa in Miami five months earlier and repeated that on a similar surface to advance into his third Masters 1000 semi-final.
Juan Martin del Potro beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Montreal 2009.
Juan Martin served at 75% and lost 19 points in nine service games. He faced one break chance in a tricky moment and saved it to mount the pressure on the other side.
Nadal stayed in touch in the opening set and led 5-2 in the tie break before dropping five consecutive points and momentum. Del Potro had a boost and stormed over Nadal in set number two to book a place in the last four. Feeling pressure in his games, Rafa faced two break chances at 3-4 in the first set and repelled them to stay competitive, closing the game with a forehand down the line winner.
Serving at 4-5, the Spaniard saved a set point following a marvelous defense and brought it home with a backhand winner for 5-5 and more drama. Del Potro erased a break point with a backhand winner at the net in game 11, and the set went into a tie break.
The Argentine had to work when the Spaniard opened a 5-2 gap with a smash winner at the net. Juan Martin pulled a mini-break back in the tenth point when Nadal's forehand landed wide and stole the breaker with a booming serve at 6-5.
Rafa got broken at 15 at the beginning of the second set and fell 3-0 down before asking for a medical timeout due to hand blisters. Del Potro held at 15 in the sixth game to move closer to the finish line, passing it with the third break of serve at 5-1.