Rafael Nadal will seek his second straight title on hard courts Sunday in Beijing against Nick Kyrgios. Nadal reached his fourth Beijing final after dismissing Grigor Dimitrov in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
Nadal looked to be in full control ahead by a set and a break, but the Bulgarian fought back to level and eventually forced a third.
“I’m very happy to be in the final again,” said Nadal. “Of course, it is a very important achievement for me to continue with the positive feelings after winning the US Open. To be back here and be in the final with that very tough draw I had is a great effort. So I’m very happy.
“I am very pleased the way that I have been playing the whole week, after a very tough first day. So here I am. I am in the final. Another chance tomorrow to compete in a big match. That’s important for me. That’s why we practise every day and try to improve.”
Nadal, who is seeking a second Beijing title after 2005, enters the final riding an 11 match win streak, and he improves to 9-1 against Dimitrov. It was his first match against a Top 10 foe since the French Open.
“I think I played pretty okay tennis,” said Dimitrov. “Even the second set, even though I won it, I think I could have done a lot of things better. I think my game just wasn’t up to speed today. Again, I’m just pleased the way that I fight and I stay positive. I think this is something to really build up on.”
Kyrgios took the court later against rival Alexander Zverev, and the Australian was in command throughout with a 6-3, 7-5 win.
“I’m very happy,” said Kyrgios who has now won 9 of his last 11 matches. “It’s always very tough playing Zverev. He’s had a great year and is one of the best players in the world right now. He’s got a massive future ahead of him, but I played really well tonight and knew what my game plan was going to be.
“Every match for me is the same. I try to serve big and play big. I treat every match the same and will have a chance to play the final against one of the greatest of all time tomorrow. We’re 2-2 and he’s going to want some revenge from the last time we played. I’m excited. Whatever happens will happen.”
Kyrgios is into his sixth ATP final, seeking a fourth title. Nadal will is in his Tour-best ninth final of the season (5-3) and the 110th in his career (74-35). The last time he won at least six titles in a season was in 2013.
Nadal and Kyrgios are 2-2 in their series. Nadal won 6-3, 6-1 in May in the third round of Madrid before Kyrgios won 6-2, 7-5 in the Cincinnati quarters in August. This is their first meeting in a final.
The only previous time Kyrgios has faced a World No. 1, he came out with a victory, beating Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2014 when he was ranked No. 144.
In the Tokyo final, Adrian Mannarino will meet David Goffin. Mannarino stunned Marin Cilic 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 while Goffin ousted Diego Schwartzman in two breakers.
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