Fourth-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal won back-to- back hard court finals in successive weeks for the first time in his career with a victory over unseeded American John Isner in Sunday's title match at the Western & Southern Open.
Nadal ran his record on hardcourts this season to 15-0 with a 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-3) triumph over Isner at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. The 12-time Grand Slam champion improved his head-to-head record against Isner to 4-0.
The 27-year-old Nadal, last week's Masters champion in Montreal, played in his 37th career ATP Masters 1000 final (26-11 in finals, 8-6 on hard). He also appeared in his 82nd career ATP World Tour level final (59-23 overall, 9-2 in 2013).
Nadal became the second Spaniard to win the title here (Carlos Moya in 2002). He will move from No. 3 to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. The last time Nadal was No. 2 was the week of July 2, 2012 (second week of Wimbledon).
"It means a lot, being able to win two straight titles, two Masters 1000 on hard back to back is just amazing for me," Nadal said. "I never did something like this in all my career. So it was an emotional moment for so many different facts. First of all, I won a very important tournament, Masters 1000. Second thing, after all the problems that I had, I mean, it was just two weeks in a row on hard playing at the highest level. Then the ranking is there. I was playing for a lot of points this week. And I'm in a good position."
Isner, meanwhile, was aiming for his fourth consecutive win over a Top 10 player this week after beating No. 10 Milos Raonic in the third round, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.
The 28-year-old Isner fell to 7-9 in title matches.
Nadal took home $583,800 with the victory.