Nadal Wins Final U.S. Open Tuneup as Azarenka Defeats Williams
Nadal beat the American 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-3) in Cincinnati yesterday to become the second player to win five Masters tournaments in a single year after Novak Djokovic. It’s the 26th Masters title and second straight in the series for Nadal, who won the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Aug. 11.
“Being able to win two straight titles, two Masters 1000 on hard back-to-back is just amazing for me,” Nadal said.
Azarenka, ranked second in the world behind Williams, had lost 12 of their 14 previous meetings. The 24-year-old collected her third WTA Tour title of the year two weeks after withdrawing from the Rogers Cup with a back injury.
The U.S. Open is scheduled to begin Aug. 26 at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.
“I will not be a favorite,” Azarenka said of her chances at the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. “We’re in the United States, and Serena is No. 1 in the world, the defending champion, so I still think that she’s going to be a favorite.”
Nadal, who’s second in the rankings to Djokovic of Serbia, enters the U.S. Open unbeaten on hard courts this season.
Since losing in the final of the VTR Open in Chile in February in his comeback from a seven-month layoff because of a knee injury, Nadal has won nine titles on the ATP World Tour. The 27-year-old former world No. 1 from Spain has now won 59 career singles titles.
Nadal won the U.S. Open in 2010, when he also claimed the French Open and Wimbledon titles. He secured his 12th major championship at the French Open in June to become the first man to win the same major eight times. Two weeks later he exited Wimbledon in the first round.
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