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Cincinnati Masters final showdown; Kyrgios, Dimitrov battle for supremacy… Halep has yet another chance to become World No. 1

The final is upon us. We all know by now that the men’s final is going to be between Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios, while the women’s final will see Garbine Muguruza come up against World No. 2 Simona Halep. Not forgetting the the men’s double event where Nicolas Mahut will team up with Pierre-Hugues Herbert to slug it out against the duo of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.

Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios are both battling for their first ATP Masters 1000 title, they will go at logger heads for a chance to take home the Rookwood Cup at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday.

Dimitrov dispatched John Isner in two tiebreak sets on Semifinal Saturday, saving three set points before clinching the win on his third match point. A semifinalist here last year, the 26-year-old Bulgarian has yet to drop a set this week.

Grigor Dimitrov slugging it out against Juan Martin Del Potro

For Dimitrov 2017 has been a year of revival, winning two titles and re-entering the top 10 in the Emirates ATP ranking for the first time since early 2015. After his win over Isner, he admitted adding a Masters 1000 title to this season’s haul would have a special significance.

After his victory over John Isner, Dimitrov said “I take a lot of positivity out of that match, and I’m just building up, he said. Tomorrow is the same thing for me. Just another match that I just want to come out and play the best way that I can. That’s all I can count on right now.

It is something I can obviously check off my list. I always had higher goals for myself, and I think the biggest pressure I’m putting on myself, it comes from me.”

Nick Kyrgios on the other side currently ranked No. 23 in the world, pulled out of three consecutive tournaments this summer due to hip and shoulder injuries, finally bagging two wins last week in Toronto before falling in the round of 16.

After his first round upset of David Goffin here in Cincinnati, he said he “wasn’t close” to 100% physically. But he gradually found his rhythm with subsequent wins over Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ivo Karlovic and his surprisingly comprehensive victory over soon to be world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Friday night.

Kyrgios in action

The unseeded Aussie continued his march towards stardom against David Ferrer on Saturday, advancing to his first ATP Masters 1000 final with a 7-6(3), 7-6(3) victory. Should he defeat Dimitrov on Sunday, he would be the lowest-ranked Cincinnati Masters champion since Tom Gorman who was ranked No. 49 in 1973.

“If he’s feeling it, he’s an unbelievable athlete,” Kyrgios said of Dimitrov. “He can serve great. Has a great forehand, obviously slice, very similar to Roger, I think.

“We are good mates, as well. He’s always been kind to me. I’m looking forward to it, but I know it’s going to be a tough match. I’m not really thinking too far ahead. I’m pretty hungry now.”

Both men have previously met just once with Dimitrov taking out the 22-year-old in a third set tiebreak at Indian Wells in 2015.

The court is set to stage a mouth-watering women’s final with the Western & Southern Open title on the line.

Simona Halep will have a chance to take home the Rookwood Cup and the No. 1 ranking when she takes on Garbine Muguruza on Sunday.

Halep, a finalist in 2015 and a semifinalist here last year, comfortably dismissed Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1 in 54 minutes. She’ll head into the final without having lost a set in four matches. The 25-year-old Romanian is 1-2 against Muguruza, with her lone win coming on clay in Stuttgart at their last meeting in 2015.

Simona Halep during an interview

For the third time this season, Halep has the No.1 ranking on her racket. She had a chance to clinch the top spot in the Roland Garros final and in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, falling in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko and Johanna Konta, respectively. Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza will stand in her way in Cincinnati.

The Spaniard, currently ranked No. 6 in the world, took out a fatigued Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-3 earlier in the day in a rematch of last year’s semifinal. With the win, the 23-year-old snapped a six-match losing streak against the current world No. 1, and reached her first final since Wimbledon last month.

“It was a very long time since I’ve played with her, but she’s playing very good,” Muguruza said of Halep. “She’s strong and, you know, she has a lot of matches. I saw her a little bit these days – so tough. Solid opponent.”

Muguruza and Halep will take the court on Sunday at 2pm Eastern.

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