Rafael Nadal suffered a shock defeat to young gun Denis Shapovalov in Montreal in 2017. Eager to improve his game and get a better result, Nadal entered the Cincinnati Masters the following week as a top seed, aiming for the first Ohio title since 2013.
Rafa beat Richard Gasquet in the second round and was the favorite in the next round against compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Nadal toppled Ramos-Vinolas 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 38 minutes for his seventh quarterfinal in Cincinnati, putting Nick Kyrgios at odds.
It was their fourth game and fourth win for Rafa, who wasn’t playing at his best but sealed the deal in straight sets after a tight opener. Nadal hit 19 winners and 25 unforced errors. At the same time, his rival landed 11 winners and over 30 errors to plague his chances.
They played too many loose forehands and Rafa came out on top when clinching the win in straight sets mattered most.
Rafael Nadal defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Cincinnati in 2017.
Nadal had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four shots.
He landed a serve winner on 30% of all serves and built his advantage in that segment. Ramos-Vinolas missed all four break chances, suffering two breaks in the second set to propel the better-placed compatriot into the last eight.
It was Nadal’s 11th consecutive win against the compatriots, winning 22 consecutive sets against them! Rafa landed an ace for a hold in the opening game of the encounter, forcing the opponent’s mistake at 1-1 to stay ahead.
Albert served well and controlled the pace with his groundstrokes, staying in touch for the first half hour to seal the score at 4-4. Nadal held in the ninth game after deuce and created a set point in the next game. Ramos-Vinolas stayed calm and saved it with a powerful serve and forehand combination.
Both players served well in games 11 and 12 to set up a tie break and Rafa opened a 4-1 lead with two winners. Nadal hit a service winner 6-1 to end the set in just under an hour and avoid an early setback.
Rafa fended off a break chance early in the second set and met three more at 2-1. The top seed hit those with powerful serves back and hit five straight winners to bring the game home in style! Ramos-Vinolas netted a forehand in the next, caught the first break and fell back.
Nadal gained a boost and went 5-2 ahead with another second leg on his tally. Rafa served for the win in game eight, landing a forehand winner for a hold and a place in the quarters where he faced Nick Kyrgios.