Rafael Nadal will play Nicolas Kiefer in final | sports | Hindustan Times
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Rafael Nadal will play Nicolas Kiefer in final

sports Updated: Jul 27, 2008 08:15 IST

Rafael Nadal beat Andy Murray 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach the final of the Rogers Cup on Saturday and put himself in line for his seventh title of the year.

He'll face Nicolas Kiefer, who reached the championship match with a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over France's Gilles Simon in the first semifinal.

Nadal, winner of his first hardcourt title at the Rogers Cup in 2005, won the French Open and Wimbledon this year. He's on a 28-match winning streak.

In three career meetings, he's never lost a set to Kiefer. Kiefer, 31, hasn't won an ATP title since 2000 Hong Kong and hasn't appeared in a final since 2005 St. Petersburg. "It's just a great day, but now I have to focus on tomorrow," Kiefer said. "All I can do is go out there and fight." The first German to reach the final since Boris Becker 22 years ago won a plodding affair in front of a subdued Rexall Centre crowd that didn't seem to take an interest until the final tiebreak. Simon, ranked 22nd, and Kiefer mostly traded groundstrokes from the baseline.

As he's done all tournament, Simon played patiently, kept the ball in play and waited for Kiefer to make mistakes. And, again, it worked, as Kiefer made 69 unforced errors. But Simon made a few too many errors of his own. Up 5-4 in the third set, Simon had a ball gently bounce high in front of him and he primed for an overhead smash, before launching the ball into the bottom of the net.

He finished with 32 unforced errors, and capitalized only on three of 13 break-point opportunities.

"I didn't need to play a long match like this, but it was a great fight," Simon said. "I'm proud. I just gave all I had today."

Kiefer, meanwhile, hit 50 winners and 12 aces. "I didn't play my best tennis, but in the important moments I could pick up my game and I was playing pretty good," he said.