Nadal bullish on his sea­son-end­ing suc­cess

The China Post - - SPORTS -

The ever-pos­i­tive Rafael Nadal is con­fi­dent he can end a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son on a high note as he pre­pares for an as­sault on the U.S. Open.

The 14-times Grand Slam win­ner is com­pet­ing this week at the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Mas­ters, which he won in 2013, the last time that he played the tour­na­ment.

Af­ter an in­jury ab­sence which dec­i­mated his 2014 sea­son, the 29-year-old has been fight­ing all year to make im­prove­ments to a rank­ing which dropped to 10th af­ter he failed to win a tenth Roland Gar­ros ti­tle in June.

“The last part of the sea­son is im­por­tant. I want to fin­ish feel­ing bet­ter than when I started,” said the eighth seed.

“This is an im­por­tant week for me.”

Nadal ar­rived in the Mid­west af­ter los­ing a Mon­treal quar­ter­fi­nal to Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori,who with­drew from the Amer­i­can tour­na­ment with a hip mus­cle prob­lem which should be right for the U.S. Open start­ing in a fort­night.

“I played OK in Mon­treal, but ev­ery week is a dif­fer­ent test — a dif­fer­ent story. I’m work­ing more than ever to change the dy­namic,” said Nadal.

With a two-hour rain in­ter­rup­tion slow­ing a full day’s sched­ule Ivo Karlovic still found time to pro­duce the first up­set of the week as the Croa­t­ian ham­mered 35 aces in a 6-4, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3 de­feat of French 10th seed Gilles Si­mon.

Bel­gian 13th seed David Gof­fin beat Lu Yen-Hsun 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

For­mer top 10 Amer­i­can Mardy Fish be­gan wind­ing up his Cincinnati ca­reer with a de­feat of Serb Vik­tor Troicki 6-2, 6-2.

‘Dis­re­spect­ful’ Mon­fils

Fish, who has suf­fered from a heart- scare prob­lem and fullfledged anx­i­ety at­tacks, will end his time on court at the U. S. Open af­ter deal­ing with his wor- ries since 2012.

“I was a lit­tle sur­prised at my level, I hadn’t prac­ticed a ton or (prac­ticed) par­tic­u­larly well for a lit­tle while. I was strug­gling with my serve,” said the win­ner, 2010 fi­nal­ist against six-time cham­pion Roger Fed­erer.

Fish moved into a sec­on­dround chal­lenge with third seed and world No. 2 Andy Mur­ray, who comes to Cincinnati af­ter his Mon­treal ti­tle at the week­end over Novak Djokovic.

Aus­tralian Bernard Tomic reached the sec­ond round over Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-3 while fel­low Aussie Thanasi Kokki­nakis elim­i­nated Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

France’s Gael Mon­fils mean­while stoked con­tro­versy af­ter slump­ing out 6-4, 7-5 to Poland’s Jerzy Janow­icz, with for­mer U.S. women’s sin­gles star Tracy Austin ac­cus­ing the 14th seed of not try­ing his best.

“To not give 100 per­cent and be so bla­tant about it, I think it’s dis­re­spect­ful,” said Austin, com­men­tat­ing on the game for the U.S.based Ten­nis Chan­nel. “It looked like ex­hi­bi­tion ten­nis.” In the women’s draw, vet­eran Venus Wil­liams and young com­pa­triot Coco Vandeweghe both notched wins over Kazakh op­po­si­tion.

The 35-year-old Wil­liams came back af­ter the rain in­ter­rup­tion to fin­ish off Za­rina Diyas 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, while Vandeweghe beat Yu­lia Putint­seva 6-3, 6-2.

Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist Gar­bine Mugu­ruza, the Span­ish eighth seed, lost to Yaroslava Shve­dova 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) while Roland Gar­ros semi-fi­nal­ist and 12th seed Timea Bac­sin­szky of Switzer­land went out 6-4, 6-3 to Madi­son Keys.

AP

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, an­swers ques­tions dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the Western & South­ern Open ten­nis tour­na­ment, in Ma­son, Ohio, Mon­day, Aug. 17.

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