WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN 2013
Nadal Chases 26th Masters 1000 Title in Cincy Final
by Greg Sharko|
The championship of the Western & Southern Open on Sunday features unseeded top American John Isner and No. 4 seed/World No. 3 Rafael Nadal. Both players are appearing in the final here for the first time. The last time two players were in the Cincinnati final for the first time was in 2008 (Murray d. Djokovic). Nadal is trying to become the second Spaniard to win the title here (Carlos Moya in 2002). The last American to win the Cincinnati title was Andy Roddick in 2006 (d. Ferrero).
Nadal has never lost to World No. 22 Isner in three previous meetings. The Spaniard is 1-0 on hard, 2-0 on clay (two of the three meetings have gone to a decisive set). This is the first time they are meeting in a final. Their last meeting came in the first round at Roland Garros in 2011 and Nadal prevailed in five sets. Nadal has a career 24-4 vs. players ranked outside the Top 10 in finals, losing to No. 73 Horacio Zeballos at 2013 Vina del Mar, No. 19 Mikhail Youzhny at 2007 Chennai, No. 21 David Nalbandian at '07 ATP Masters 1000 Paris and No. 54 Dominik Hrbaty at'04 Auckland. If he wins the title, Nadal will move from No. 3 to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. The last time he was No. 2 was the week of July 2, 2012 (second week of Wimbledon).
The 27-year-old Nadal is appearing in his 37th career ATP Masters 1000 final (25-11 in finals, 7-6 on hard). He is appearing in his 82nd career ATP World Tour level final (58-23 overall, 8-2 in 2013). He is 13-14 lifetime in hard court finals. He is trying to win back-to-back hard court finals in successive weeks for the first time in his career. Nadal has won a career-best 14 straight hard court matches this year (14-0) and he is 15-1 vs. Top 10 opponents. The Mallorcan is 52-3 overall this season and he's appearing in his 11th final in 12 tournaments. The last left-hander to win here was Guy Forget in 1991.
The 28-year-old Isner is the first player to beat three Top 10 opponents in a row here since Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2006. Isner, who is appearing in his second career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (2012 Indian Wells, l. to Federer), defeated No. 10 Milos Raonic in the 3rd Rd., World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals and No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals. This is the American's 16th overall ATP World Tour final (7-8), the fourth this year (2-1). Since retiring in the second round at Wimbledon, he has compiled a 16-3 match record since July. He was a semi-finalist in Newport (l. to Hewitt), winner in Atlanta (d. Anderson), runner-up in Washington (l. to del Potro) and first round in Montreal (l. to Pospisil). He will jump from No. 22 to No. 14 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and to No. 11 if he wins the title. He has a 28-9 match record in the U.S. this season (4-9 outside U.S.).
FOUR-TIME ATP MASTERS 1000 WINNERS - Nadal is trying to win his career-best fifth ATP Masters 1000 title of the season (Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Montreal). His previous best was four titles in 2005. Two years ago, Djokovic became the first player in ATP World Tour history (since 1990) to win five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in one year. The previous best was Federer (2005-06) and Nadal (2005), who won four in a season. Here is a look at the players who have won four (more) ATP Masters 1000 titles in the same year:
2013 Rafael Nadal Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Montreal
2011 Novak Djokovic Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Montreal
2006 Roger Federer Indian Wells, Miami, Toronto, Madrid
2005 Roger Federer Indian Wells, Miami, Hamburg, Cincinnati
2005 Rafael Nadal Monte-Carlo, Rome, Montreal, Madrid
Bryans Chase 10th Season Title Against Second Seeds
World No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan are looking to win their fourth ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati title (2003, '08, '10). Last week they had their 25-match winning streak snapped by Lindstedt-Nestor in the quarter-finals in Montreal. They are playing here for the 16th time with a 30-12 tournament record. On July 6, they became the first team in tennis history to hold all four majors and the Olympic gold medal at the same time with their third title at Wimbledon (d. Melo-Dodig) and improved to 15-10 in Grand Slam finals.
The last team to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam was Aussies Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951. The Bryans have nine titles this season (9-2 mark), also winning in Sydney, Australian Open, Memphis, ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells, ATP Masters 1000 Madrid, ATP Masters 1000 Rome, Roland Garros and London / Queen's Club. Roland Garros was their second and 14th major team title after beating Llodra-Mahut and became the first team to win each Grand Slam title twice in career & first team to win first two majors of season since Newcombe-Roche in 1967.
The Australian Open was their sixth and an all-time Grand Slam record 13th major doubles title to break the record they shared with Aussie greats Newcombe-Roche. The only ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title they haven't won is Shanghai. They are 23-17 lifetime in ATP Masters 1000 finals. They come in with a career record of 830-257 (53-7 in 2013).
The No. 2 seeds and World No. 3 Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez are playing in their first ATP World Tour final of the year, 11th overall and first since capturing the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London (d. Bhupathi-Bopanna). They come in with a career record of 81-39 (25-15 this year) and have four career titles in 10 finals.
In January they reached their second career Grand Slam semi-final as a tandem at the Australian Open (l. to Haase-Sijsling). They also reached semi-finals at Sydney (l. to Bryans), Rotterdam (l. to Lindstedt-Zimonjic), ATP Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Qureshi-Rojer) and Barcelona (l. to Peya-Soares). They are playing