Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Fourth seed Rafael Nadal defeated John Isner, 7-6(8), 7-6(3), Sunday to bag his first Western & Southern Open title and his 26th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy.
The 27-year-old Nadal bagged his ninth title of the year and extended his career-best hard court winning streak to 15-0 in 2013. He also joined No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the only players to win five Masters 1000 crowns in a single year.
After hoisting the trophy in Montreal last week, this marked the first time Nadal has won back-to-back hard court titles in consecutive weeks. The Mallorcan is 53-3 overall this season.
By becoming the second Spaniard to win in Cincinnati since Carlos Moya in 2002, Nadal receives $583,800 in prize money and 1000 Emirates ATP Ranking points. The result means that he will return to world No. 2 Monday.
The 6-10 Isner, who slipped to 2-2 in finals this year, picked up $286,240 and 600 points, which propelled his return to the Top 20.
Isner, who had 11 aces, entered the final having registered three consecutive Top 10 victories, defeating Milos Raonic and Djokovic before scoring a valiant comeback against Juan Martin del Potro Saturday.
This was the first meeting between the Spaniard and the American since the first round of the 2011 French Open when Isner pushed Nadal to the brink, the first time the Spaniard had been taken to five sets at Roland Garros.
“Thought I played well again today. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t good enough. As I said on the court, it’s nothing to going to hold my head up high after today’s match and after this whole week. But Rafa was better than me today,” Isner said.
Isner found early success in mixing up his serve direction, using his kicker out wide to pull Nadal off the court. However, the American was unable to dent Nadal’s serve, winning just 20 percent of his return points.