Serena Gags, Nadal Raises Cincinnati Titles
by Staff | August 18th, 2013, 9:44 pm
  • 69 Comments

Victoria Azarenka received a rare gift from world No. 1 Serena Williams, and Rafael Nadal felled giant John Isner in entertaining finals on Sunday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Williams’ dominant hardcourt summer hit a speed bump in the Cincy final when in the third-set tiebreak she instead gift-wrapped the title for the world No. 2 from Belarus.

During an extended point late in the third-set tiebreak that saw Azarenka near the net tracking a ball that left a completely open court, Williams instead of bunting it into the open court guided a two-handed backhand long.

After the point Williams nearly slammed her racquet into the backstop. On the next point Williams threw in a nervous double fault, then on match point made an unforced error, a forehand into the net giving Azarenka the championship 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(6).

“I just felt really off this whole week, but I was surprised to be in the final and surprised to be doing well,” Williams said. “So I don’t know, there’s a few factors. I think what matters most was just fighting the whole time and survived to the end.”

It was the first time Azarenka beat a reigning world No. 1 since beating the younger Williams sister in Miami in 2009.

In the men’s final former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal beat John Isner at his own game, topping the American in two consecutive tiebreaks 7-6(8), 7-6(3) for his first Cincinnati title.

Nadal is now 15-0 on hardcourts in 2013, and along with Novak Djokovic is now the only player to win five Masters titles in one season. After winning in Montreal last week it is also the only time Nadal has won hardcourt titles in back-to-back weeks.

Nadal will now rise to the No. 2 ranking.

“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.”

Isner fell to 2-2 in finals this year.

“I played extremely well all week,” Isner said. “Thought I played well again today. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t good enough. As I said on the court, [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.”

The American will return to the Top 20 rankings on Monday.

 


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69 Comments for Serena Gags, Nadal Raises Cincinnati Titles

KRIS Says:

I’ve always said the people who stay tough and take advantage of Serena’s sloppy play, end up winning …it requires mental fortitude, absolute focus & Serena has to be in her worst form. Vika did that today and edged out Serena, great show for the WTA.


Anna Says:

Serena can be her own worst enemy sometimes, letting her moods get in the way of her tennis. It’s nothing to see her cry, scream, or simply sulk when she feels she’s on the losing end of a match. It just seems like odd behavior from such a dominant #1.


Anna Says:

Well fought Mr. Nadal, well fought! Hope he rests up and hits the Open well refreshed. There’s still nowhere to go but up.


Humble Rafa Says:

Food for thought..

I have a winning record against everyone in the top 30.

#Dominate#


Steve 27 Says:

Number 1 soon!


Okiegal Says:

Great play today by the world’s number 2 ranked ATP player. John was awesome too……but Rafa plays so smart and when is focused…..better grab your seat belt cause the opponent is in for a bumpy ride!!!

Vamos, Rafa and make it number 3 in row. This OKIE is pulling for you!!


Steve 27 Says:

Rafa Nadal is The CID


Michael Says:

Having won Montreal and Cincinnati back-to-back, the question on everybody’s mind is will Rafa achieve the triple by winning the US Open too ? My memory ditches me, but I presume that it is a unique feat not done before in Tennis and Nadal by winning the US Open will be setting a new record which will be just another feather in his already well decorated cap. What a year this man has had in 2013 and the underlining here is that he did not even take part in the Australian Open and skipped tournaments in the beginning of the year. It is an invincible year so far by any stretch of imagination and I do not see a major threat for him in the US Open either. May be Novak alone can spring a surprise if he reaches that stage as Rafa by virtue of winning this tournament has now become the new World No.2.


Steve 27 Says:

Michael, Pat Rafter in 1998 and Andy Roddcik in 2003
succeeded. Agassi came close but lost with Pistol Pete in the US open in 1995


nadalista Says:

Rafans, great read by Jesse Pentecost:

http://www.tennisfrontier.com/blogs/jesse-pentecost/we-might-run-out-of-words/

“But that’s all in the future. For now, Nadal has won twenty-six Masters 1000 titles, including a record-equalling five this season. It’s an accomplishment that is only enhanced by recalling that none of the five were Monte Carlo, which otherwise exists only that he might augment his tally by one each year. Aside from that, the only other Masters event Nadal hasn’t won this year was Miami, which he didn’t play. In order to break the record, which was only set two years ago by Djokovic, Nadal will have to win either Shanghai or Paris. History suggests that he is unlikely to do so. Then again, the Spaniard has already spent the season showing history just where it can shove its suggestions.”


Eric Says:

Michael, it’s a bit silly to fail to see a “major threat” for Rafa. Yes, he is having one of the best seasons in recent memory if you only look at the events he played and ignore Wimbledon. But just because he barely squeaked by Roger, Isner, Djokovic, and even Isner in recent weeks, it doesn’t follow that suddenly none of them and no one else is a threat to beat him. (Any more than if Roger had managed to take him out – as he oughta have done – he would be the only favorite at the USO!) For one thing, Andy M is playing better than ever before, and while he (as usual) has consistency problems from week to week, he’s one of those guys who plays better against better opposition. I’d say he’s got a better than even chance against Rafa at the USO.


Eric Says:

(I meant “even Berdych.”)


Michael Says:

Steve,

Thanks for the information. But it has been quite a while since it happened.


Michael Says:

Eric,

I am going by the present form of Rafa and I tip him to win the US Open too since both Novak and Andy are not looking very sharp judging the way they played in Montreal and Cincinnati. Ofcourse, upsets are always possible in Tennis and we should give room for it. Roger did almost beat Rafa, but he couldn’t get the job done and I can see his disappointment clearly when he signed off after the match. But the silver lining for Rafa there was that Roger was playing his very best Tennis, but still it wasn’t enough. He stole the match from Roger somehow with his consistency as is often the case in this much cherished and celebrated rivalry. If you ask me the dark horse at US Open, I would root for Del Potro all the way.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/6b3do
Say hello to the new world No. 2
Vamos Champ.
Stay healthy


metan Says:

Michael,
I add one more dark horses, John Isner.
What is your opinion?. He grilled Rafa yesterday and remember FO, it was the same cased.


Michael Says:

Metan,

Isner in my opinion may cause a few upsets along the way, but will not be good enough to win a Major by a long shot. I remember the dog’s fight he had with Rafa at the French in 2010 when he stretched him to five sets. He is a vastly improved player today and has toned up his all round game. He is not just a serving wonder. But, still he has some miles to go to be counted in my opinion. I honestly think he cannot complete the job just like say Del Potro. But, who knows. Did anybody predict Bartoli to win Wimbledon ? It happened and therefore nothing is for certain.


Michael Says:

I am sorry Metan. It is French Open 2011.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/c7vxv
Watch Josh Berry tennis impressions. This guy is good! Lol


Steve 27 Says:

Giles, very funny indeed.


metan Says:

Giles, at 3.team LOL!


metan Says:

Michael,
Thanks for your thought above, but I think it also depends on the draw Isner gets later on.


metan Says:

Giles, sorry meant your post at 3.52am.


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa going back to number 2 in the rankings makes the USO very interesting,the question mark will be which side of the draw Andy will fall on as Novak and Rafa been ranked 1 and 2 means that they wont face each other now until the final,with andy and Rafa been my two favorite players im hoping from a selfish point of view that they are on opposite sides of the draw,as it gives them the chance to meet in the final,obviously im not taking it for granted that they will both get that far,not only that we have never had a Andy/Rafa final in a GS as yet.


Michael Says:

Metan,

Yes, an easy draw makes a real difference. Let us see how things pan out ?


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Congrats to John Isner whos had a great week making the finals at Cincy,and beating two top 5 players in Novak and Delpo,he really pushed Rafa with some fabulous serving yesterday,such a nice guy too,i hope he has a good run at the USO,one things for sure nobody will want him on their side of the draw.


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Forgot to say congrats to Vika too,a refreshing change to see a player that can go toe to toe with Serena,these two are evenly matched,and this rivalry IMO is much more interesting than the Maria/Serena rivalry,which for me is too lopsided now.


Giles Says:

@alison. Did you say congrats to Rafa?


Giles Says:

^^^ Just asking.


hawkeye Says:

Four Masters titles in a row. Never done before.

Does anyone express simple joy for winning like Rafael Nadal?

#VamosChamp
#AllCourtSpecialist


metan Says:

Does any one know that Vamos Rafa is NY now???
I am going there on 23, who knows I could meet him this time. He wasn’t there last year, and I was really disappointed.


Giles Says:

@metan. USO starts on August 26. Rafa will definitely be there on the 23rd. He will be practising.


Michael Says:

Metan,

Wish you all the best of luck in meeting Rafa. It should be an enlivening experience if you are successful. Not many get an opportunity to meet their idol.


grendel Says:

@Giles 7.45

As the blessed New Dawn arises, the Rafa Police swing into action. Only, they seem a little jittery (7.46). Lol.


Brando Says:

@Metan: good luck in your wish to meet Rafa. Hopefully it shall happen for you.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa being ranked 2 isnt actually a change from the last 2 Slams for the fans. One of the semis will be stacked.
On the other hand, its a change for Andy, who know is guaranteed to face two brutal challenges.


WTF Says:

Michael Says:

“Having won Montreal and Cincinnati back-to-back, the question on everybody’s mind is will Rafa achieve the triple by winning the US Open too ? My memory ditches me, but I presume that it is a unique feat not done before in Tennis and Nadal by winning the US Open will be setting a new record which will be just another feather in his already well decorated cap.”

Roddick did this feat in 2003. It hasn’t been repeated since. In fact no one has won the Canada-Cincy double since then. It’s going to be tough. He has only one week to rest.


metan Says:

@Giles, Michael, Brando, thank you. If I meet him, I will tell him all his fans from tennis x always love him, cheer him up and defend him .


metan Says:

@ Nadalista,
Thank you very much for your info. He is so fast, and I just got my visa today. This is indeed a good news for me today. Thanks once again.


Giles Says:

@Grendal. Not policing, not jittery, just overjoyed. :-)
#ShareTheLove


Giles Says:

@nadalista. Thanks for the info. He looks utterly exhausted.
Hope he can get some rest but is that possible in NYC?
Vamos Rafa!


grendel Says:

So the “top 4″ – actual rather than, you know, the Top 4 – will have to meet variously Federer, Gasquet, del Potro, Berdych.

Gasquet will be everybody’s favourite pigeon in this context. Other than that, Ferrer will hope to avoid Federer and del Potro, Murray will hope he’s not drawn against Berdych (unless he’s feeling in the mood for revenge),Djokovic and Nadal will be relieved not to face del Potro yet. That’s my best guess.


andrea Says:

serena was oddly subdued in the final match even lackadaisical at some points. the vibe of indifference was such a contrast from the fist clenching c’mons she usually peppers into her matches. the tiebreaker was great drama though. it see sawed back and forth and you really had no idea who was going to pull out the win. congrats to azarenka.

murray has really fallen off the map this hard court swing. not really looking like a contender to follow up on his USO title.

novak looking sloppy as well.


Rick Says:

I am not sure, if Fed would gets to play the top 4 at the US Open. He won only 2 matches going into the tournament. And was struggling against with a veteran at Cincy. At the Open, he has to play in 5 sets. Other players would be able to defeat him.


josh Says:

Rafa is on fire right now. If he stays healthy, he’s the man to beat at the USO. Even tough many people think Murray, Djoker and Federer have a shot, we all know that players like Isner have a chance to pull an upset on these guys. Murray has been playing well and will go far, but Djoker is really mentally out of it, he’s struggled all year, and Federer has no shot at making the finals, he has a lingering injury and any match that goes the distance, he can’t keep up his energy level like he used to. Federer still has the shots, but in this young man’s game he can’t break on the ball anymore.


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Giles it goes without saying,i dont have to say anything,i am always overjoyed anytime Rafa wins a title,but i actually said it on the other thread,and it makes it all the sweeter especially when its a HC title,and especially a title hes never won :-))..


James Says:

^ Nadal’s won 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title. Isner pulled out of Winston-Salem with a hip injury. Hope the injury’s not too serious. The big guy otherwise looks good for a deep run at the Open (I hope).


James Says:

So Nadal gets a shot at $ 3.6 million! Not bad.

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151541853202187&id=96832
392186&set=a.124965457186.115287.96832392186&refid=7&_ft_=qid.5
913948498634884744%3Amf_story_key.-3609172097435090164


James Says:

metan Says:

Does any one know that Vamos Rafa is NY now??? I am going there on 23, who knows I could
meet him this time. He wasn’t there last year, and I was really disappointed.
August 19th, 2013 at 8:16 am
———

@metan, awesome! Good luck meeting Rafa and hope NY treats you well :)

I’ll try to catch Rafa at China Open or Shanghai Masters (if he participates).


Giles Says:

@alison. :-)))))


Michael Says:

Thanks WTF. Do not rule out Nadal. He always finds a way to win.


Michael Says:

Alison,

What is left for Nadal to win in Master Series are just Paris and Shanghai. There is a strong possibility that Rafa will take part in both these tournaments to cater to that great conquest.


metan Says:

I don’t like Indoor Courts but I always hope that Rafa will win WTF one day. That will make his resume pretty awesome.

@ James ,
Thank you, I will try my best. But for sure I will watch Rafa first round match. I will yell ★Come On Rafa whenever he is down★


Giles Says:

@Michael. Adding to your list of Masters Seriea not won by Rafa is Miami as well. I think he played 2 finals there but no luck.


nadalista Says:

The Brain Game: How Rafa outwitted Izzy:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2013/08/34/Brain-Game-Cincinnati-Nadal-Isner.aspx

Choice quote:

“One of Nadal’s many strengths is to put his opponent first and get inside his head to figure out what he is anticipating, staying a step ahead with the patterns during the match.

Nadal’s successful campaigns at Roland Garros, where he has won eight times, are built around winning ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid. His clay-court confidence especially comes from saving break points so he arrives in Paris feeling like Superman. Nadal has now won successive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in Montreal and Cincinnati and opponents have only managed to convert exactly 4/18 in both events (8/36 total = 22%). There is a certain sense of déjà vu in Nadal’s preparation as he heads to New York searching for his 13th career Grand Slam championship title.”


Kimberly Says:

Giles—three finals in Miami
2005 federer lost leading two sets to love (old days where finals were best of five)
2008 davydenko (where he got wiped clean the least competitive of all!)
2011 djokovic lost in Third set tiebreak very nice match though

I’m convinced 2014 is his year here!


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Winning a second USO,would get Rafa closer to a second career GS,winning that and a second AO,would give him a second career GS,only achieved by Laver i believe?winning another AO and USO,and another Olympic gold medal in 3 years would give him 2 Golden GSs,winning Shanghai,Paris,Miami,and a WTF,would mean he would have the full set,all ifs and buts i know,but surely not out of the realms of possibility,one would say,and all im doing is speculating before anyone choses to attack me.


James Says:

@hippy chic, Double Career Golden Slams, that’s what I’m secretly (no longer secret) hoping for Rafa. The GCS might be the more difficult task, but he’s got to get his second career slam. He has a good chance to win USO this year. It wouldn’t feel too great if he fails to win it after winning the Montreal-Cincy double. I think he can. I hope he does. Vamos Rafa!


James Says:

*I meant CGS, not GCS


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

James i would love him to win a second USO,on the other hand i also love Murray too,hes my second favorite,and i would also like him to defend the USO,im torn because i love both,what i actually hope for is that they are on opposite sides of the draw to make it a possibility that they could meet in the final(sigh),having said that im delighted both have a GS this year,and as a Brit it was amazing to see Murray win Wimbledon,and also Rafa winning the FO for the eighth time,cut a long story short if they both meet in the final i will be delighted and also gutted at the same time with whatever the outcome,but i will be even more gutted if neither one wins the title too lol.


James Says:

@hippy chic, I hope Andy and Nole are on the same side too lol
I’m not sure there’s been a Nadal-Murray slam final yet, so would be nice for a change if they both get to the finals.


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

James no there hasnt,not in a GS as yet anyway,im keeping my fingers crossed anyway.


hawkeye Says:

Strange. Wonder why?

#Rhetorical


grendel Says:

X hippy chick

Definitely not attacking you, but I’ve always taken Grand Slam (all 4) to be something achieved in one tennis season. And Laver did indeed do that twice. Of course, in Laver’s time, three of the slams were on the same surface, grass, which possibly made it easier.

It’s a strange term “grand slam” because it has to double up to mean “a” slam and also the entire sweep of slams – no wonder confusion is generated. Even so, I take your point. Nadal is by far the best equipped to win 4 slams twice (regardless of number of seasons) simply because his credentials on hard and grass are excellent, whilst so long as he is playing, no one else is likely to win the French.


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Thanks Grendel i see what you mean,if Rafa were to win another AO and USO he would indeed have won every GS twice,but i didnt realise that Laver had won all four GS in one year twice,thats quite different and as much as i agree with your earlier posts on the whole GOAT topic you would have to put Laver alongside Federer on that score,or at least a close second,if Rafa were to do the GS twice he wouldnt have done it in a calendar year twice,so he would be third in that conversation probably,this is just my opinion for what its worth.


nadalista Says:

“If the measure of a champion is the ability to defeat the best in the game, Rafael Nadal would come out on top on the ATP World Tour.”

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2013/08/34/Nadal-Top-30-Winning-Record.aspx

#TheChamp

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Rankings
ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Ana Ivanovic
6 David Ferrer6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Andy Murray8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Na Li
10 Milos Raonic10 Angelique Kerber
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