Monday, July 28, 2008

It All Comes Down to Cincy !!

World number two, Rafael Nadal, inched ever so close to Roger Federer in the rankings when he beat Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2, in the Toronto Masters final on Sunday, to clinch his 30th ATP title, which also happens to be the Spaniard's 12th Masters Series shield and 7th title of the season.

Nadal is on an astonishing roll as he managed to notch victories in his last 29 matches dating back to mid-May when the Hamburg Masters kicked off. The 22-year-old has not lost since the second round in Rome (May 7th) and has been grabbing titles left and right ever since... And not just any titles, but 2 juicy Grand Slams and 2 Masters Series shields to add to his collection.

Federer, who is under an insane amount of pressure with Nadal breathing down his back in the rankings, helped Nadal when he failed to defend his points in Toronto where he lost in the final last year, by losing in the second round to Gilles Simon, allowing Nadal to diminish the point difference to merely 300 points.

The reigning French Open and Wimbledon champion now has a chance to dethrone Federer from his top spot next week in Cincinnati, if he wins the tournament and Federer loses before the semis. The change in the points and rankings resulting from Toronto and Cincy will be reflected on August 18th when the official rankings will be announced after the Olympics.

I can't wait to celebrate on August 18th; Rafa just needs to keep doing what he's doing... Focus on one match at a time and forget about the number 1 spot. He knows he'll get there whether it's now or later this season.

Along Rafa's path to the Cincy final are players like Youzhny, Ferrer, Wawrinka or Djokovic.

Cincy First Round Match to Watch:

Marat Safin vs. Dmitry Tursunov

In an all-Russian battle, Safin will be looking to avenge his sole loss to his good friend and Davis Cup team-mate in hopes to finding his form on American hard-courts prior to the Olympics and the US Open.

Safin has some real tough hurdles if he gets past Tursunov that come in the likes of Gasquet, Murray, Andreev or Davydenko.

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