Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

Rafael Nadal to skip Cincinnati Masters again to 'take care of my body'

Spaniard stays world No 2 in ATP rankings after beating Daniil Medvedev in final to win his fifth Rogers Cup title

Rafael Nadal proved too strong for Daniil Medvedev as he made ideal preparations for his US Open campaign. Eric Bolte / Reuters
Rafael Nadal proved too strong for Daniil Medvedev as he made ideal preparations for his US Open campaign. Eric Bolte / Reuters

Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters for the second year in a row after polishing off his US Open preparation with a Rogers Cup title on Sunday.

The announcement came a few hours after Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 to clinch his fifth Montreal title.

The oft-injured Spaniard decided against playing any more before the August 26 start of the US Open in New York.

"I am very sorry to announce that I won't be playing in Cincinnati this year," Nadal posted on Facebook. "No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now."

Nadal said he explained his position to Cincinnati tournament director Andre Silva, whom he said understood. "I'm sure the tournament will be a success and I wish him and his team all the best," Nadal said.

Nadal will go into the US Open with just one hard-court warm-up, albeit his record-extending 35th Masters 1000 title.

His late withdrawal leaves the Cincinnati draw severely lopsided, with top seed Novak Djokovic and No 3 Roger Federer positioned in the top half. Neither of the pair have played since their Wimbledon final a month ago won by Djokovic.

Federer is bidding for an eighth Cincinnati title while Djokovic is the defending champion.

Nadal, who remains No 2 in the ATP rankings list that came out on Monday, dominated Medvedev, the eighth-seeded Russian, in their first-ever meeting to retain a title outside of clay for the first time.

His previous two victories this season, in the Italian and French Opens, both came on clay.

Meanwhile, Medvedev reached the final by defeating compatriot Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 to become the top-ranked Russian when new rankings came out. He had not dropped a set in the tournament, but he was no match for the 33-year-old, who saved a break point in his first game and confidently put away the player 10 years his junior.

"He was playing very well during the whole week, so for me it was important in the beginning that he not take advantage," Nadal said. "Then I think I played a very solid, best match of the week without a doubt."

Nadal broke Medvedev in the fourth game to go 3-1 up and dominated the remainder of the 70-minute match. Winning 82 per cent of his first serve points and delivering high and heavy forehands on the windy afternoon that pushed back the sometimes confused-looking Medvedev, the Spaniard broke the Russian three times in the second set before wrapping up the victory, a record 35th at the Masters 1000 level.

To make matters worse, Medvedev made 22 errors.

Nadal shrugged aside the importance of the stat that he had successfully defended a title outside clay for the first time. "It is so important to be back on a hard court and winning another big title," he said.

Updated: August 12, 2019 05:45 PM

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