By Matt Bradshaw, in Cincinnati
- John Isner  v Grigor Dimitrov 
- Nick Kyrgios v David Ferrer
- Rafael Nadal  can’t explain disappointing results in Cincinnati
CINCINNATI, USA – With Rafael Nadal out there is no clear favourite in the men’s semi-finals but still a chance for a veteran Spaniard to win on Sunday.
Nick Kyrgios stuns Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-5
Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock
Rafael Nadal Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati 2017
Rafael Nadal started his assault on the Cincinnati title with the confidence of knowing he would regain the world No.1 ranking on Monday. Furthermore the Spaniard knew he would be able to put distance between himself and the likes of Roger Federer and Andy Murray by winning the title here. Unfortunately for Nadal his loss to Nick Kyrgios will prevent him from gaining any real ground in the battle for securing the year-end world No.1 ranking.
“Is true that this tournament is a tournament that didn’t work very well for me during the history of my career. I never had a very good feelings here. I don’t know. The humidity, still don’t like this ball. Still I think needs to improve a lot this ball” Nadal admitted.
The battle to maintain the world No.1 ranking comes to a halt here in Cincinnati but will continue at the US Open which Nadal eagerly looked forwards to in his post match press conference.
“I believe I did the things well enough during the whole year to be ready to compete at the highest level of New York, so I am looking forward to it” he said.
John Isner  v Grigor Dimitrov  H2H: Isner leads 1-0
Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock | Grigor Dimitrov, Western & Southern Open, ATP Cincinnati Masters 1000 2017
After a hot start to the year at the Australian Open many tennis fans have been disappointed with Grigor Dimitrov’s 2017 but the Bulgarian has turned it on just in time for the US Open. Dimitrov’s 6-2, 6-1 win over unseeded Yuichi Sugita is surely no massive upset but his wins over big servers like Feliciano Lopez and Juan Martin Del Potro are impressive. Dimitrov will need to draw on his experience taking down those big servers when he plays the biggest server of them all in John Isner on Saturday.
“Of course you see that a lot of the top guys are out of the tournament, but, you know, this is your opportunity. You know you create your own destiny, and I think right now I’m just focused on my side of the court” said Dimitrov in his post-match press conference.
Photo by TANNEN MAURY/EPA/REX/Shutterstock | John Isner, Western & Southern Open, ATP Cincinnati Masters 1000 2017
Isner is yet to drop a set in the tournament but admits he may have to step up his game to take out an in form Dimitrov. Isner leads the head to head with a single win over Dimitrov in 2015 on the hard courts of Miami.
“In my opinion, I don’t think he played that well that night, so he’s definitely playing better now, and so for me to win, I’m going to have to keep doing what I’m doing and maybe even step my game up even more” said the 2013 finalist.
Prediction: Dimitrov in three sets
Nick Kyrgios vs David Ferrer H2H: 1-0
Photo by MARK LYONS/EPA/REX/ Shutterstock | David Ferrer, Western & Southern Open, ATP Cincinnati Masters 1000 2017
Tennis fans have been wondering all year, which Kyrgios will show up at any given match? The one who hits tweeners and trick shots for no real benefit to himself or the obe who serves like Pete Sampras and who regularly slays the giants of men’s tennis?
Kyrgios was not afraid to admit his challenges with maintaining focus in matches during his post match press conference.
“Obviously I think it’s easier to say that for me because you see me tank ridiculous amounts of matches against, like, on back courts and stuff like that, and you never see me doing anything silly like that obviously in a match like this. It’s easy to get up for these matches.”
While Kyrgios was impressive in reminding us of what he is capable of with a straight sets win over the soon to be world No.1 Nadal, the young Aussie has managed to hit a tweener in every match he’s played thus far.
“I mean, I was just doing it for gags. I was up 40-love. I just felt like doing it. I know my friends back home were watching and they were probably laughing, he said.
Kyrgios will need to maintain the focus that saw him through in his win over Nadal if he is going to be able move past the veteran Spaniard David Ferrer. He has been disappointed by most of his results in 2017 but has racked up some impressive wins during the US hard court swing including his most recent win, an impressive 6-3, 6-3 over No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem.
“To beat Dominic in straight sets, and then — who did he beat the round before that? He’s beat guys like Jack Sock last couple of weeks, as well. He’s playing good tennis against good players. I know it’s going to be tough” said Kyrgios about the challenge of facing a switched on David Ferrer.
Prediction: Kyrgios in straight sets
Isner v Dimitrov is scheduled not before 2pm (7pm BST) with Kyrios v Ferrer the first night match not before 7pm (12am BST).
Main Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock