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August 2023

August saw the North American hard court swing, with all events building towards the final Grand Slam of the year beginning at the end of the month.

Sinner and Pegula win in Canada

The Canadian 1000 level events were held in Toronto for the men and Montreal for the women this year. Montreal saw some heavyweight Quarter Finals, with Elena Rybakina beating Daria Kasatkina and Jessica Pegula beating Coco Gauff. Iga Swiatek also progressed to the Semi Finals, as did Liudmila Samsonova, taking out Aryna Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic along the way. Pegula then carried on her momentum and beat the top seed Swiatek, whilst Samsonova and Rybakina were made to wait until Sunday due to rain. Samsonova won, but only had a few hours to recover for the Final, and Pegula took full advantage dominating 6-1 6-0 to win the title.

After their epic Wimbledon Final, while Novak Djokovic chose to skip Toronto, Carlos Alcaraz came into the event as the top seed. However, he never found his best tennis, scraping past Hubert Hurkacz and then losing to Tommy Paul, who beat him in Montreal last year. 2nd seed Daniil Medvedev also lost in the Quarter Finals, to Alex de Minaur. The door was open for a first time Masters winner, and perhaps the best player at the moment to have never won one, Jannik Sinner, took advantage, beating de Minaur in the Final.

Gauff and Djokovic lay down US Open credentials in Cincinnati

Despite making the French Open Final earlier this year, Karolina Muchova found herself unseeded for Cincinnati. She proved why she is such a dangerous player, beating seeds Beatriz Haddad Maia, Maria Sakkari, and Aryna Sabalenka to make the Final. That run would see her break into the top 10 for the first time in her career. After losing to eventual champion Pegula in Montreal, Gauff made light work of a relatively easy draw to set up a meeting with Swiatek. The American teenager delighted home fans with a three set victory, and would beat Muchova in straight sets in the Final to lift her first 1000 level title. 

One man who is no stranger to winning 1000 level tournaments is Novak Djokovic, who returned to action in Cincinnati ahead of the last Grand Slam of the year. He looked like he had never been away, coming through his opening matches easily before bagelling Taylor Fritz in the Quarter Finals. Alex Zverev also found some form this week, and pushed Djokovic close but couldn’t force a deciding set. Alcaraz came up against Paul and Hurkacz again this week, but this time managed to find a way past both in three sets, to set up a fourth career meeting with Djokovic. After trailing by an early break, Alcaraz took the opening set, and looked on course for victory when leading 4-2 in the second set and Djokovic visibly struggling in the heat. However, the Serb produced yet another astonishing comeback to not only win the second set, but the match on a deciding set tiebreak. That title means Djokovic just needs one win at the US Open to reclaim the world number 1 ranking.

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