Nadal hooks Fish to reach Tokyo final

Nadal hooks Fish to reach Tokyo final

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 08, 2011 07:24 hrs
Rafael Nadal

Tokyo: Noodle fiend Rafa Nadal overpowered American Mardy Fish 7-5 6-1 behind a dizzying flurry of baseline winners to reach the final of the Japan Open on Saturday.

The defending Tokyo champion will meet Britain's Andy Murray on Sunday after the second seed thrashed Nadal's Davis Cup team mate David Ferrer 6-2 6-3.

"I played closer to the baseline and did a lot of things better today," Nadal told reporters. "I felt when I had chances I was ready to attack."

Nadal has been spotted slurping instant noodles before and after his matches in Tokyo and slipping freebies into his racquet bag before going back to his hotel.

But the 10-times grand slam champion insisted his diet was healthier than that.

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"It's not just noodles," he said after overtaking world number one Novak Djokovic for most match wins this year with his 65th. "I've had teppanyaki, I've been to the fish market. Whatever country in the world we play in we always look for Japanese food.

"Maybe 30 percent of nights when we go for dinner around the world we eat Japanese food."

Nadal predictably cranked up the pressure at 5-5 in the first set, a bullet return forcing the break as fourth seed Fish dumped a backhand into the net.

The Spaniard, playing his first tournament since helping his country reach the Davis Cup final last month, toyed with Fish in the second.

Nadal raced to a 4-0 lead in brilliant sunshine and a tormented Fish slammed his racquet to the court in frustration after going 5-1 down.

The end came swiftly for Fish, Nadal teeing up match point with an astonishing running forehand down the line to underline the gulf in class between the players.

The final point summed up Fish's day, the American embarrassingly framing an attempted Pete Sampras-style leaping smash into the bottom of the net after a decent first serve.

Murray, coming off his third title of the season in Bangkok last week, looked razor-sharp in shooting down Ferrer to set up a dream final for tournament organisers.

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