Nadal survives by the skin of his teeth

Nadal survives by the skin of his teeth

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal suffered a fright before progressing to the final of the Rio Open with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10) win over fellow- Spaniard Pablo Andujar.

The 13-time Grand Slam winner came close to losing his first match on clay for 10 months, saving two match points in a tense final-set tiebreak on Saturday. 

Nadal will meet Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final of the ATP World Tour 500 event. The world No 56 Ukrainian upset second-seeded David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 — only his second victory against the Spaniard in eight attempts.

In the women’s event, top seed Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic advanced to the final with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Brazilian Teliana Pereira. She will meet Japan’s Kurumi Nara, who defeated Nastassja Burnett of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Croatian Marin Cilic continued his recent run of sizzling form by overpowering John Isner 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to advance to the Delray Beach Open final against South Africa's Kevin Anderson.

Seventh seed Cilic made it through to a third final in as many weeks when he emerged victorious in a battle of big servers against American Isner in a rain-delayed semifinal that did not start until close to midnight on Saturday.

Fourth seed Anderson had no such delays in the first semi and was on and off the court in a flash after easing past a nervous American qualifier Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4 in the afternoon in south Florida.

When the second semi-final finally got underway, Cilic's first serve was almost unplayable but he could not convert any of his four break points against Isner in the first set, which went to a tiebreak on the hardcourt surface. Isner won the first three points but Cilic stormed back to take the next five and ultimately the set.

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