TORONTO - The Associated Press
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal defeated Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the Rogers Cup on Sunday (yesterday morning Turkish time) and closed in on the No. 1 ranking.
Nadal won his fifth straight title, including the French Open and Wimbledon, and a career-best 29th successive match.
Nadal's sixth title of the year and 30th of his career left him with a chance to dethrone top-ranked Federer at next week's Cincinnati Masters.
Nadal has cut Federer's points lead to 300, and if the Spaniard wins Cincinnati and Federer loses in the semifinals, Nadal could end Federer's reign at the top since February 2004. Nadal has been No. 2 since July 2005.
"Every player wants to be No. 1, no? I would love to be No. 1, but I am No. 2 right now," Nadal said. "I'm very happy to be No. 2. Because with my titles, with my points, in a normal situation I would have been No. 1 before. So I think I have to be very happy anyway if I am No. 1 or No. 2. Because if I am No. 2 it's because in front of me there is amazing player like Roger."
Since May, Nadal has in succession collected the titles of the Hamburg Masters, his fourth French Open, his first at Queen's Club, and his first at Wimbledon in an epic final win over Federer.
He had a much easier time beating Kiefer, the first German to reach the Rogers Cup final in 22 years. But he hasn't taken a set off Nadal in four meetings this year.
"I don't know - I mean, if I would have the solution, I would change it, but so far I didn't find a little thing," Kiefer said.
Nadal first broke him in the fifth game when Kiefer, down 15-40, had Nadal far out of position but gently laid his drop shot into the net.
The players held serve until the ninth game, when Kiefer's third double fault gave Nadal the set point.
But Kiefer kept fighting into the second set. He had a chance to break Nadal in the fifth game, but after going to deuce six times, Kiefer looped a backhand well wide.
That's when Kiefer unraveled. He double-faulted twice in the next game, then launched a forehand long before Nadal's forehand winner gave him the break.
Nadal then took seven of the next nine points to clinch his second Rogers Cup title, spreading his arms out and looking to the sky in celebration.
"The result was easier than the match I think," Nadal said.