The Spaniard Rafael Nadal beat the American John Isner 7-6(8), 7-6(3) in the final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
It was Nadal’s 26th Masters Series win, breaking his own record.
The first set was a standard Isner affair: both players holding serve, before going to a tiebreak. It almost wasn’t so. Serving at 5-6, 15-40, Nadal saved two set points. But that only held off the inevitable. They exchanged mini-breaks late in the tiebreak, and each saved a couple of sets points, until Isner missed a volley setting up Nadal’s third set point. After Isner netted the ball, the Spaniard won the first set 7-6(8).
The second set followed the same narrative. Other than Nadal having to save a break point when serving at 3-3, they held serve, taking the second set to a tiebreak. After Isner committed a few errors, they exchanged sides of the net with Nadal up 5-1. Isner tried to hold off the Spaniard, but when serving down 3-6, Nadal hit a forehand winner, converting on his first championship point, getting the set 7-6(3).
It was Nadal’s first final in Cincinnati, the only Masters Series final he had never been in before. With today’s win, he enters into a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Andre Agassi for having won 7 out of the 9 different Masters Series. (Novak Djokovic has won 8 of 9. Ironically, the only one missing from his collection is Cincinnati.)