Nadal Seeks Revenge In Hamburg Final
Nadal made quick work of another Italian, Andreas Seppi, in reaching his third Hamburg final and 96th overall on the ATP World Tour. He capitalised on his second match point to prevail 6-1, 6-2 in 80 minutes, firing 21 winners.
"I will try to keep playing well and enjoy today's victory," said Nadal. "These are important points for me - 300 points for my goal of qualifying for the [Barclays] ATP World Tour Finals is important. Matches like today help to bring you your confidence and your motivation for what you are doing."
The 2008 champion (d. Federer) improved to 25-6 on clay this season, and will look to extend his streak of having won at least one European clay-court title every year since 2004.
"From the beginning I played great, since the first game that I hit a few winners," Nadal added. "I was very comfortable on court today, feeling the ball well, with topspin to his backhand and then changing to his forehand down the line - a very important shot for me. In general it was a very positive match.
"Every victory is important. And this year with the up and downs that I’ve had, obviously every improvement is important. I played at a very high level. I'm very happy for that, playing with not many mistakes, very well with my backhand, very well with my forehand, hitting winners, changing speeds, changing directions. I think I played a great match."
Nadal will square off against Fognini for the third time this season at an ATP World Tour 500 event, with the Italian claiming a pair of upsets in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. He is just the second player to defeat Nadal multiple times on clay in a single season (Djokovic 2011, '15).
Fognini, the 2013 Hamburg champion (d. Delbonis), needed one hour and 24 minutes to dispatch French qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6(2) on Saturday.
The Italian won 93 per cent (25 of 27) of first serve points, while saving both break points faced. Pouille was on the brink of forcing a decider when Fognini faced a set point on serve at 6-5 in the second, but the eighth seed reeled off nine of the next 11 points to claim victory.
Fognini is 3-6 in ATP World Tour finals, capturing a title in each of the last four seasons.
Murray/Peers Reach Doubles Final
Jamie Murray and John Peers will face the Colombian power Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles final. Wimbledon runners-up Murray and Peers advanced to the title match in Hamburg when top seeds Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli withdrew. Bolelli pulled out of Friday's singles quarter-finals due to gastroenteritis.
In their lone previous meeting, Cabal and Farah defeated Murray and Peers in straight sets in the 2014 Winston-Salem Open final.