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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 08/19/2011

Mardy Fish beats Rafael Nadal at Western & Southern Open


Those aren’t condolences from Rafael Nadal to Mardy Fish — this time, the Spaniard is congratulating the American on an impressive win. (Matthew Stockman - GETTY IMAGES)
Mardy Fish has busted his buns over the past calendar year, shedding 30 pounds to bolster his endurance while drastically altering his diet and workout routine.

The results have been staggering for the 29-year-old who vaulted into the top 10 for the first time in his 12-year career in May.

After pushing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to three sets before falling in the Rogers Cup final last week, Fish — now ranked No. 7 — is hoping to get another crack at the Djoker at Sunday’s Western & Southern Open final in Cincinnati.

On Friday, Fish moved one step closer while displaying his ability to take down the top players in the game as he ousted a visibly worn-out Rafael Nadal in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the tournament semifinals.

Nadal endured a brutal three-set match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco on Thursday that lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes. Then, 70 minutes following the conclusion of that match, Nadal was back on court for doubles.

Fish lost to Roger Federer to end a surprising run at the tournament last summer. Next up for Mardy: Andy Murray, who knocked off Gilles Simon in straight sets. Roger Federer faces Tomas Berdych and Djokovic will take on Gael Monfils on the other side of the bracket.

By  |  03:45 PM ET, 08/19/2011

 
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