Rafael Nadal beat Thomas Berdych in straight sets to advance to the finals of the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Cincinnati, Ohio Saturday evening.
Nadal, who had been on an eight-title winning streak since returning from a seven-month layoff, did not play his best tennis against Berdych, but made enough of the shots no other player could make, to save enough points to win the first set 7–5 and the second, 7–6.
Nadal, currently ranked fourth, won his service games easily in the first set, but couldn’t stop the sixth rank Berdych from winning his, until the eleventh game of the set when the Nadal broke Berdych and went on to win the set.
Berdych scored points with his big forehand and powerful serve; it was unforced errors which cost him the set.
In the second set Nadal lost control of his serve, hitting six double faults. He also his three dozen winners. Berdych made Nadal work, but the Nadal jumped on every error by the big Czech; every hanging shot or short ball was converted into a winner by his Spanish opponent.
Berdych managed to break Nadal in the sixth game, only to have Nadal take the break back in the next. Berdych nearly broke Nadal again in the next game, but after serving up another double fault, nadal hit two aces up ther middle to hold.
Berdych took the set to a tire break, but a double fault and missed gropundstrokes gave the match to his opponent.
Nadal will face John Isner in the final. Isner won two sets off Nadal at the 2011 French Open, when Nadal was arguably playing better tennis than he showed today. Nadal still has to be considered the favorite, but it should be an interesting match.