(August 18, 2017) Due to the rain in on Thursday, several players had to play two matches on Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio. One of those players was No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal who beat fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (1), 6-2 in his first match and five hours later lost to 23 in the world Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
Kyrgios dominated the first set, going up 4-0. Nadal found his rhythm late in the first set and became more competitive in the second set. Nadal saved multiple match points with Kyrgios serving at 5-4 in the second set to break serve for 5-5. Nadal was then broken ant love and Kyrgios served out the match. This will be the Australian’s first Cincinnati final four where he’ll go up against 35-year-old veteran David Ferrer,who beat No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3. The other semis final will feature American John Isner, the 14th seed versus Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, the seventh seed.
Nadal said in his post-match news conference: ”He obviously is a tough match always, no? Nick is a great player, but I played bad, obviously, no?
“I started the match well, and then I played a very bad game in the second set when he break me. And then I managed — I was lucky. I don’t know. I played some good points. He had some mistakes and I was able to be back in the match. And then I played terrible game.
“So, yeah, was a bad match for me. Congrats to him. That’s it.”
Despite the loss, Nadal will be No. 1 int eh world as of Monday.
“Is an amazing, positive news,” said Nadal. “No, no, being No. 1 after all the things that I have been going through the last couple of years is something unbelievable, so is, for me, is an amazing achievement to be back to that position after few years, three years already without being in that position.
“But here I am. I’m very happy for that, and that’s the moment that in the most important, in the last most important event of the season, I need to show why I am in that position now, no?
“So I gonna work hard to show myself and why I am there. So I’m going to work hard, and I gonna try my best to play at the highest level possible in New York.”
Nadal was wearing a black ribbon to show support for the people of Barcelona. On Thursday, 13 people were killed when a van plowed into pedestrians in the Las Ramblas district.
“I’m very, very sorry about what happened, to all the victims, all the families, friends,” Nadal said. All my support. Yeah, and is the moment to be together like a country and all the being together, we go for these kind of things.”
“I’m not even looking ahead,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously tomorrow against (David) Ferrer, it’s going to be a tough battle. He’s a great competitor. I don’t even know how long he’s been on tour for. Looks like he’s trying to find his range again. Looks like he’s playing much better now than he was last year.
“I know that he’s feeling confident. To beat Dominic (Thiem) in straight sets.”
“He’s playing good tennis against good players. I know it’s going to be tough.”
Top seed Karolina Pliskova needed to win two matches, but reached the semifinals on Friday. She defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 in her quarterfinal. She’ll play Garbine Muguruza next.
“We played few times, said the No. 1 player. “I guess I won last all of the matches what we played except the first one.
“So I think she improved, as well, so as me. So I just want to forget about the rest what was and just start from zero. Obviously I want to take the positive from the matches what I won but not really think about that I have that good record against her.
“But still, I think these conditions could be a little bit better for me. I think it’s pretty fast. Especially we play 12:00 tomorrow, so still, it’s going to be hot. The balls are flying pretty a lot, so I think — well, last year it was, I think was quite easy, the match. I don’t remember the score, but two sets, definitely.
“Yeah, I’ll just try to take advantage from that and try to play my game as I was playing today against Caro. So I think I was playing aggressive enough and then they don’t have the time to dictate, so that’s what I want to do tomorrow.”
Fourth seed, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 to reach the final four.
“I think it was probably one of the best matches of the year” said the Wimbledon winner, “because I felt like we both played very well. Especially in that third set, you know, we were winning points and our serve was there.”
American Sloane Stephens has made significant use of her wildcard. She also won two matches on the day to reach the semifinals – defeating Ekaterina Makarova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and then Julia Goerges 6-1 7-6(3). This is Stephens second semifinal in two weeks. She had been off the tour for eleven months due to surgery.
“Obviously when you’re playing good players, at this point in my comeback, there is no pressure on me. It’s just, like, I’m going and having fun. I think most of it is I’m so excited to be on the court and be able to play again that I kind of have, like, a little extra umph, I guess. Yeah, I just go out and play and have fun and beat people now (smiling). That’s pretty much the story of my life. Late nights.”
Second seed Simona Halep exacted some Wimbledon revenge beating Britain’s Johanna Konta for the first time 6-4 7-6(1).
“Today I played the best match so far this tournament,” noted the Romanian. “I could hit the ball. I could move well.
“So I feel the rhythm. It’s back. So I’m positive again. I’m on it again. So I feel good, and I feel thankful with the way I played tonight.”
Halep will play Stephens next.
“I didn’t think about Sloane till now, because I had tough matches until her,” she said.
“Yeah, as I said, the match in Washington wasn’t easy at all. First set was really tough. Second set, as well. But I just got the leading and then was a little bit easier for me.
“But still, I expect very tough one. Is always tough to play against her. Her forehand, it’s strong, big. She’s serving well.
“I just have, in my opinion, to be like today with the desire of winning with confidence and positive things.
“I can’t do anything else. Just go there and play my best, trying to play my best.”
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 AUGUST 2017
ATP Singles – Quarterfinals
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d  R. Nadal (ESP) 62 75
D. Ferrer (ESP) d  D. Thiem (AUT) 63 63
 G. Dimitrov (BUL) d Y. Sugita (JPN) 62 61
 J. Isner (USA) d [WC] J. Donaldson (USA) 76(4) 75
ATP Singles – Third Round
 R. Nadal (ESP) d A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 76(1) 62
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 46 76(6) 63
ATP Doubles – Quarterfinals
R. Harrison (USA) / M. Venus (NZL) d  H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 76(4) 46 12-10
 L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) d  R. Bopanna (IND) / I. Dodig (CRO) 61 67(5) 10-7
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 76(6) 64
 P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d  B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 46 75 10-8 – Saved 1 M.P.
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 AUGUST 2017
CENTER start 12:00
WTA –  K. Pliskova (CZE) vs  G. Muguruza (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP –  J. Isner (USA) vs  G. Dimitrov (BUL)
Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – [WC] S. Stephens (USA) vs  S. Halep (ROU)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
WTA DOUBLES FINAL – S. Hsieh (TPE) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs  Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)
GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
ATP –  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs  L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
ATP – R. Harrison (USA) / M. Venus (NZL) vs  P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)