WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN 2013
Nadal Defeats Berdych To Reach Cincinnati Final
by Josh Meiseles|
Rafael Nadal ousted Tomas Berdych in their Cincinnati semi-final, prevailing 7-5, 7-6(4). Nadal converted on his second match point to extend his winning streak on hard courts to 14-0 in 2013 and improve to 15-1 against Top 10 opponents. The Spaniard is into a 37th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, where he will be seeking a 26th title.
"I finished the match playing aggressive with the forehand, with the backhand, and it's great," said Nadal. "I think I played a very good match this afternoon against a very difficult opponent who came to this match playing very well, and I have to be very, very happy about everything."
Berdych has only taken two sets off Nadal in their 14 most recent matches, with the World No. 3 already winning a pair of Masters 1000 semi-finals against Berdych this year, in Indian Wells and Rome.
The opening set was tightly contested, with both players holding serve until the 11th game before Nadal broke Berdych on a serve and volley approach that sailed wide. Nadal lost just four service points in the set.
Berdych employed a more aggressive gameplan against Nadal’s serve in the second set, breaking for a 4-2 lead. Despite serving six double faults in the set, Nadal responded with an immediate break back and proceeded to stave off four break points in his next service game. He would close it out in an eventual tie-break on his second match point.
For Berdych, his semi-final run marked his fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi of the year, a personal best. He will move up to No. 5 in the world next week.
“Well, I mean, it's been a long time actually,” said Berdych, discussing his new career-high Emirates ATP Ranking. “Finally, it's there. I mean, I'm really happy for it because really it's not been but a few weeks, and I was already trying for it like more than two years. It was still far, and now finally, I'm able to do so. But, yeah, that's another goal which I made. And, again, just gives me extra energy to go more, go forward.”
With Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray losing yesterday, Nadal moved further ahead in the battle for the year-end World No. 1. Coming into Cincinnati, he had already won 1500 Emirates ATP Rankings points this year, the most on the ATP World Tour.
Nadal will face John Isner in Sunday’s final after the American came back to defeat Juan Martin del Potro in three sets. It will mark the first time he has reached back-to-back hard court finals in consecutive weeks.
Berdych, meanwhile, will continue his Emirates Airline US Open Series campaign next week in Winston-Salem, where it was announced he would receive a wild card into the field. The Czech was the runner-up there last year.