Nadal sets up Final Showdown with Birthday Boy Tsitsipas

Rafael Nadal beat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 on Saturday to set up a final with birthday boy Stefano Tsitsipas at the Toronto Masters.

World no 1 Nadal will look to ruin the 20th birthday celebrations of the Greek youngster who reached the second final of his career by beating Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), saving a match point in victory.

The Spanish superstar won a battle of the tennis generations with Tsitsipas last April in the Barcelona title match.

“To win this match is important, it’s very important to be in the final of Toronto,” Nadal, 32, said after running his season record to 39-3 in a match which ended after midnight local time.

“I’m motivated every day when I wake up, there is always something to improve.

“I want to stay around for as long as possible (in tennis).”

Top seed Nadal edged out the first set in a tiebreaker after a two-hour, rain-delayed start.

He wrapped up then tie with a break in the third game on his way to the win in just over an hour and a quarter.

Nadal, who leads the all-time list of Masters 1000 titles on 32, will be playing his 116th ATP final and stands two wins away from 80 trophies.

But Tsitsipas is a potential banana peel as he became the first man since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga here in 2014 to defeat four Top 10 players at the same event having edged Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, and Alexander Zverev before downing Anderson.

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