Nadal Tops Isner to Capture Cincinnati Masters

by John on August 18, 2013

Rafa @ Cincy

For Rafael Nadal the beat goes on. Nadal edged big-serving John Isner 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3) in the final of the Western & Southern Open at Cincinnati this afternoon, winning the championship for the first time in nine tries. The title was the resurgent Rafa’s ninth of the year and his record 26th Masters series crown. Nadal improved to 15-0 on hardcourts this year, while winning back-to-back hardcourt titles on consecutive weeks for the first time in his career. He won last week in Montreal. The No. 3-ranked Nadal will move up to number two tomorrow and go into the U.S. Open starting August 26 brimming with confidence.. “It means a lot winning two straight titles on hard (courts),” Nadal said. “It’s just amazing for me. I never did something like this in my career. So it was an emotional moment.” Isner rode into the final having beaten three Top 10 players during the week, including top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. There was not a single break point in the opening set until the 12th game, when Isner had Nadal down 15-40 on his serve. Rafa showed his resolve to save the two set points and force a tiebreaker. Isner flinched first to hand Nadal a 5-3 lead, but got the mini-break back two points later. The two traded set points before Isner failed to put away a forehand volley, allowing Nadal to serve out the set at 9-8. Isner kept bombing his serve in the second set, with one topping out at 141 mph, to keep the relentless Spaniard at bay. Nadal, while serving nowhere close to Isner’s velocity, was equally as effective nonetheless. Rafa survived the only break point of the second set in the seventh game, sending it to another tiebreaker. The Spaniard raced to a 5-1 lead on two mini-breaks, gave one back for 5-3, and then sealed it with a backhand pass with Isner serving. The 6-foot-10 Isner hit 11 aces to Nadal’s six, and never faced a break point. Nadal saved all three of his break points. Rafa had the edge in return points won (22 to 15), which was really the difference. “I thought I played well,” Isner said. “Unfortunately for me, I ran up against one of the greatest tennis players of all time.”



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