Nadal edges Isner in Cincinnati
Originally published on: 19/08/13 00:00
The Spaniard beat John Isner 7-6(8) 7-6(3) to extend his own record of 26 Masters 1000 titles after lifting the Rogers Cup in Montreal last week and moves ahead of Andy Murray to No.2 in the world rankings.
Nadal, who is 53-3 this season since returning from a seven-month layoff in February, joins Novak Djokovic as the only player to win five Masters titles in a single season after the Serb achieved the feat in 2011.
Isner, who beat former US Open champions Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro en route to the final, did not face a single break point but was undone by two tense tiebreaks.
The 6’10” American had two break points of his own at 6-5 in the opening set, but failed to take his opportunity as Nadal fired back-to-back aces to dig himself out of trouble before going on to collect back-to-back hard court titles for the first time.
"It means a lot, being able to win two straight titles, two Masters 1000 on hard back-to-back is just amazing for me," Nadal said. "I never did something like this in all my career. So it was an emotional moment for so many different facts.
“First of all, I won a very important tournament, Masters 1000. Second thing, after all the problems that I had, I mean, it was just two weeks in a row on hard playing at the highest level. Then the ranking is there. I was playing for a lot of points this week. And I'm in a good position."
Isner, who returns to the Top 20 with his final appearance, took comfort in defeat: “I played extremely well all week. Thought I played well again today. Unfortunately, it just wasn't good enough. I'm going to hold my head up high after today's match and after this whole week. But Rafa was better than me today.”