(AFP) Rafael Nadal reached the China Open final with a 7-5 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in Beijing.
On a chilly, breezy day, both players started unconvincingly, suffering two breaks of serve each in the opening games with Rafa also sending down three double-faults. They steadied to take it to 6-5 for Rafa but Fognini wobbled as he served to stay in the set, wilting in the rallies as he finally gave up the decisive break and smashed the ball into the stands in anger.
The second set was attritional until Rafa leapt ahead with a break for 4-2, and the suddenly invigorated Spaniard won the next game to love to stand on the brink of victory. Fognini saved two match points before holding serve in a gripping eighth game, but by now the Rafa juggernaut was fully in motion and he ploughed across the line in the next game.
In Sunday’s final, Nadal will be seeking his fourth trophy of a season.
Source: Agence France-Presse