REUTERS: Australian Nick Kyrgios overcame Spanish veteran David Ferrer on Saturday to set up a clash against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the final of the Cincinnati Open.
Grigor Dimitrov (ESP) reacts against John Isner (USA) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre – USA TODAY Sports
The 22-year-old Kyrgios, looking for his first title of the year, beat the former world number three 7-6(3) 7-6(4), while Dimitrov also advanced to his first Masters 1000 final with a 7-6(4) 7-6(10) victory over American John Isner.
Kyrgios, who has struggled with hip and shoulder injuries the past two months, showed grit to advance.
“He was a nightmare to play, especially because I’m a tall guy and he’s not the tallest guy,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“It’s a tough matchup for me. I thought today I didn’t play my best tennis.
“In the tie-breaks I served well, but I definitely didn’t bring my best tennis today.
“I’m just really proud that I managed to scrap out the win.”
Seventh seed Dimitrov needed almost two hours to book his place in Sunday’s final.
The world number 11 had his work cut out against big-serving Isner, with neither player dropping serve in a match where break opportunities were few and far between.
Isner had two break point chances, Dimitrov only one.
Dimitrov saved a set point in the second set tiebreak, before putting away the dogged American to reach his first Masters 1000 final.
“I think it’s a good step, Dimitrov said. “It’s a good step. I have been on the tour for quite some time now, and I appreciate those moments.
“I’m starting to appreciate them even more.”
Muguruza to meet Halep in Cincinnati final
REUTERS: Second seed Simona Halep will face Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the final of the Cincinnati Open after they both won their semi-finals easily on Saturday.
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) serves against Karolina Pliskova (CZE) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre – USA TODAY Sports
Halep crushed Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-1, while Muguruza beat top seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2.
Victory in the final would give the Romanian the world’s top ranking, moving past Pliskova.
“I think it’s something special to get number one in the world,” Halep told reporters. “Everyone can get to number one now. The ranking is close. I really want that.”
Halep needed just 54 minutes to end the run of Stephens, who had enjoyed strong form following her return at Wimbledon after an 11-month absence with a foot injury.
Halep said she believed Muguruza, who beat American Venus Williams for her Wimbledon crown last month, is the favorite for the final.
“I know that she has a lot of confidence coming with title from Wimbledon, so she’s favorite, in my opinion,” Halep said.
“She’s hitting the ball strong, but I had already two matches, so I know how the ball is gonna come.
“But still, I want just to do the same and not thinking about the result. I just want to go there and enjoy the moment.”
Muguruza had lost six successive matches to Pliskova, who made 28 unforced errors and ended the match when a forehand sailed long on the fifth match point.
In stark contrast to two of her earlier matches in the tournament, Muguruza advanced to Sunday’s final in less than 80 minutes.
She endured a two-hour, 45-minute three-set win over Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday that followed a two-hour, 18-minute win over American Madison Keys on Thursday.