China Open: Rafael Nadal bounces John Isner to reach semis

Rosalie Stanley
October 8, 2017

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal will play for his sixth title of the year after defeating third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 Saturday in the China Open semifinals.

"He is one of the best competitors, I like to be around him". To be back here and be in the final with that very tough draw I had is a great effort.

Nadal is bidding to win this tournament for the sixth time but believes the rapidly improving Dimitrov, who beat Roberto Bautista-Agut in three sets to book his place in the last four, will represent a hard opponent.

"It is true that the calendar is tough, but at the same time it is true that Federer has 36 years, I think, I have 31, Novak 30, Andy 30, Nishikori, I don't know, 27".

Despite Nadal's one-sided record against Isner, it was a hard-fought contest from the outset, and the American showed off his outstanding serving as he fired down 22 aces, per ProTennisLive.

"I have to play my best to have my chances".

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"I do not do not forget to have committed a lot of mistakes", explained Nadal.

Pouille broke Nadal on the way to taking the first set 6-4, and the world number 23 came within a whisker of sealing a shock when the second set went to a tie break.

"I'm very happy to be in the final again", Nadal told the ATP's official website afterwards.

Nadal leads Dimitrov 8-1 in their head-to-head matches. I think on return I did well.

"It was not important, but I am still feeling it a little bit". I was too many times in defending positions. "It's never easy. I need to, right now, just stay positive and take the positives out of it". He's playing well. He had a good victory today. "He played huge. So let's see what's going on tomorrow". Despite a slight hiccup in the second set, the Bulgarian was able to claim the win in three sets to overcome his slow start to the tournament.

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