Nadal edges out Federer
Rafael Nadal is through to the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters after a vintage match against his old rival Roger Federer.
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The contest turned on a few key points but Nadal won most of the ones that mattered in sets two and three to prevail 5-7 6-4 6-3 and take his record against Federer to 21-10.
But the Swiss great will take heart from the fact that, after a difficult summer, he showed enough against Nadal to suggest he will be threat at the US Open.
Federer got the first break of the match with a classic forehand to go up 6-5 in the opening set and duly clinched the set with a crosscourt backhand.
But Nadal then claimed his first break of the match to win set two and seized control with another break in the second game of the third set.
Federer showed plenty of spirit to save four match points but the Spaniard eventually clinched victory and will play Tomas Berdych in Saturday's semi-finals.
"My movement got better, with more intensity," said Nadal. "I put in more balls on the return, and controlled the baseline, something that didn't happen in the first set and a half.
"The match was very close. I played some good points in important moments."
Federer said: "Credit to him for hanging in and getting back some tough shots.
"I have some disappointment, I could have played better late in the second and early in the third.
"But my tactics were working most of the time. I served well for most of the match but, when I didn't, he was able to step it up."
He added he was generally pleased with his week's work.
"I'm happy with my progress along the way,'' Federer continued. "Could have won tonight, should have won tonight, who knows? But at the end, I think Rafa's confidence and the way he's playing at the moment got him through.
"So for me, I think it was a good step in the right direction.''
Nadal has now won 13 matches in a row on hardcourts this season. Having triumphed in Montreal last week, he is bidding to become the first player since 2003 to win the Canada-Cincinnati double. Victory would also give him a record-equalling fifth Masters title in a single season.