Nadal Reaches Third Stuttgart Final
Rafael Nadal will contest his first grass-court final since Wimbledon 2011 after defeating Gael Monfils in the semi-finals of the MercedesCup on Saturday. He prevailed 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 19 minutes, converting on two of six break chances, while saving all four faced on his own serve.
Nadal, who won the Stuttgart title in 2005 and '07 when it was held on clay, will vie for his second crown of the season after defeating Juan Monaco in Buenos Aires. He improved to 11-2 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Monfils, extending his win streak to three straight over the Frenchman.
"It’s a great feeling to be back in a final, especially on grass," said Nadal. "It’s been since 2011, I didn’t play a final on grass. So it’s very good to be back and I think I’m playing well. It was a tough match but I played well against a very difficult opponent.
"He’s a charismatic player and does different things on court… I just tried to be ready and wait for my moment. I was solid with myself.
"The victories are energy. I am enjoying practicing, I’m enjoying playing on court with all my game, which is something I missed a lot in the first half of the season.
"I feel I’m doing things better on court, playing more relaxed, enjoying a little bit more. And that’s the thing I need to do to have success in the game: work hard and be relaxed. That is what I’m doing and I hope to have a good second half of the season."
In Saturday's second semi-final, Viktor Troicki defeated Marin Cilic in three sets. Nadal owns a 4-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage over Troicki, with their most recent meeting having come on the hard courts of Tokyo in 2010.
Bopanna/Mergea Reach Doubles Final
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea advanced to the doubles final with a 6-3, 6-7(6), 10-7 win over second seeds Marcin Matkowski and Nenad Zimonjic. Bopanna and Mergea, seeking their second ATP World Tour title this year (Madrid), will face third seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in Sunday's final.