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Kyrgios Bests Nadal in Cincinnati

Nick Kyrgios moves into the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open for the first time in his career with a 6-2, 7-5 upset of top-seed Rafael Nadal.

Both men had to win their Round of 16 matches earlier in the day to set up Friday night’s much anticipated match up. Nick Kyrgios struggled with the big serving Ivo Karlovic but prevailed 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3. Rafael Nadal also struggled with his opponent, besting fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(1), 6-2.

Kyrgios dominated from first to last ball, ruthlessly hitting Nadal around the court.

Kyrgios won 10 of the first 11 points of the match, breaking Nadal’s serve to open the match and again in the third game of the set as he would chase down a drop shot winner to take a 3-0 lead. The Aussie would win all five points featuring rallies of five shots or more and would win seven of Nadal’s eight second service points.

The second set was much of the same with the 22 year old controlling the match. Kyrgios fought off a break point early in the second set and claimed another break of serve to take a 3-2 lead. Nadal, not one to go down without a fight, would put his best effort forward to make something of the match. He would fight off two match points while serving down 3-5 and another with Kyrgios serving at 5-4.

Nadal would break for 5-5 in the second set, getting the pro-Nadal Cincinnati crowd on their feet in an attempt to will the former champion to victory. The break of serve would not last, as Nadal’s next service game was littered with forehand errors, a theme constant between both of his matches today, as Kyrgios would break right back and close out the match with his 10th ace of the match.

Regardless the result, Nadal will return atop the ATP rankings when the new rankings come out on Monday. Nadal was assured the move when Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Monday with a lower back injury.

With the Nadal out, it marks the first time since 2005 that none of the Top 5 seeds made it to the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open. Nadal’s elimination also marks the first time since the 2012 Paris Indoors, a span of 42 consecutive Masters 1000 events, that neither Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, or Novak Djokovic will feature in the semifinals.

Kyrgios will take on David Ferrer, who ousted 3-seed Dominic Thiem Friday night. The other semifinal will feature 7-seed Grigor Dimitrov against 14- seed John Isner.

On the women’s side, the first semifinal will be defending champion and world #1 Karolina Pliskova against 4-seed Garbiñe Muguruza. The second semifinal will feature Sloane Stephens and 2-seed Simona Halep. Simona Halep must win the title to overtake Karolina Pliskova as the top ranked player on the WTA tour. If they face off in the final, the winner will be No. 1.

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