China Open: Rafael Nadal bounces John Isner to reach semis

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Rafael Nadal reached the semifinals of the China Open. Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI
Rafael Nadal reached the semifinals of the China Open. Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI | License Photo

No. 1 Rafael Nadal beat sixth-seeded American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (0) on Friday to move into the semifinals of the China Open in Beijing.

Nadal, the French Open and U.S. Open champion with five titles this season, is closing in on the year-end No. 1 ranking.


"I think I played a solid match," the Spaniard said afterward. "I played very well, changing good directions.

"I think on return I did well. It's an important victory for me, of course, against a player that arrived here playing so well, winning two great matches. For me it's an important one and I'm very happy."

Nadal broke Isner's serve at 5-4 in the first set and then recovered from 15/40 in the second game of the second set before sweeping through the tie-break. Nadal is now an ATP World Tour-best 59-9 (32-7 on hard courts) in 2017 and continues his quest for a 75th tour-level crown.

Nadal will next meet third-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated No. 5 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.


Nadal leads Dimitrov 8-1 in their head-to-head matches.

"He is a player that I really like, a good friend on the Tour," Nadal said of Dimitrov. "He's a great guy. I think Grigor is a player always with a great attitude, with a positive character. I'm happy for him that he's having a good year. Tomorrow will be a tough one, for sure. He's playing well. He had a good victory today. Let's see. I going to try to play my best. I hope to be ready for it."

Eighth-seeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia advanced to the semifinals when Steve Darcis of Belgium retired from the match with a neck strain while trailing 6-0, 3-0.

Kyrgios will next face Alexander Zverev of Germany after the No. 2 seed stopped Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-2, 6-3.

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