- Nadal Sets Up Hamburg Open Final Against Fognini (via AP/New York Times)
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal dismissed Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 to set up a Hamburg Open final against Fabio Fognini.
Nadal is looking to extend his streak of having won at least one European clay court title every year since 2004. The former No. 1 has dropped to 10th in the rankings and is playing his first tournament since losing in the second round of Wimbledon. He won in Hamburg in 2008, the last time he played in the clay-court event.
- Nadal Seeks Revenge In Hamburg Final (via ATP World Tour)
“From the beginning I played great, since the first game that I hit a few winners,” Nadal added. “I was very comfortable on court today, feeling the ball well, with topspin to his backhand and then changing to his forehand down the line – a very important shot for me. In general it was a very positive match.
“Every victory is important. And this year with the up and downs that I’ve had, obviously every improvement is important. I played at a very high level. I’m very happy for that, playing with not many mistakes, very well with my backhand, very well with my forehand, hitting winners, changing speeds, changing directions. I think I played a great match.”
- Nadal Slams Seppi To Reach Hamburg Final (via Tennis Now)
Dishing out punishment all day, Nadal felt the pain of a strain apparently near his right rib cage after hitting a forehand. He abruptly stopped play, called for the trainer and was treated for the apparent strain, later taking medicine for a possible stomach ailment as well.
There were plenty of positives for Nadal in this match. The 2008 champion moved well, ripped his forehand with ambition and accuracy, closed at net and for the most part played with confidence against an outclassed opponent he’s beaten six times in seven matches. On the hottest day of the tournament, Nadal’s twisting topspin largely neutered Seppi’s best weapon, the two-handed backhand, and displaced the lanky Italian into defensive positions.