Photo: Rafael Nadal and John Isner
Spain’s Rafael Nadal beat the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) in the semifinals to book a spot in Sunday’s final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, against American John Isner.
“I have two reasons to be happy. First, because I played well, and also because I made the final,” Nadal said.
The 28-year-old Isner, for his part, beat Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 in the other semi on Saturday.
“I feel like this tournament here is where I’m really starting to put it all together. I’ve beaten three Top 10 guys in a row. For me to do that, I have been playing well, really in pretty much all facets of my game. There’s definitely some stuff I can always improve on, but I do think I’m playing well,” Isner said.
Nadal needed two hours and eight minutes to put away Berdych and advance to his first final in Cincinnati.
“I feel like I’m playing well, and it’s something special when you play well in a place where you never have. It’s something very special. I’m very happy about that,” Nadal said. “The whole atmosphere is very different from Montreal and getting used to it in such a positive way, like I’ve done, is a big success.”
The 27-year-old Nadal has won his previous three clashes with the big-serving Isner, but their last meeting was at the French Open in 2011, when the American pushed the Spaniard to five sets.
The Cincinnati Masters is one of the biggest hard-court events on the ATP Tour calendar and a key tune-up for the U.S. Open, which gets underway later this month.