Toronto:Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal will face Nicolas Kiefer for the third time in four months in the Toronto Masters final on Sunday as the unstoppable Spaniard aims for a third Masters title of 2008.
Second seed Nadal, playing his first event since beating Roger Federer for the title at the All England club, moved to his ninth final of the season with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 semi-final win over eighth-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland.
Unseeded Kiefer, 31, rolled back three years of injury and poor form, ending the nine-match win streak of Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in their three-hour semi-final struggle.
Nadal has moved even closer to Federer in the rankings race after the Swiss world No.1 crashed out this week in the second round to Simon.
Kiefer will be playing in his first final in three years and hoping to lift his first trophy since Hong Kong, 2000.
"I'm very happy with the way I was winning today," said Kiefer, who missed a year with two wrist surgeries from mid-2006. "I didn't play my best tennis.
"But in the important moments I could pick up my game, and I was playing pretty good. It wasn't easy after a few tough matches here, but right now I'm in another nice final.
"It's my first one in a Masters Series and I'm looking forward for tomorrow."
Nadal is on fire this season. He has polished his record to 60-7, capturing six titles from eight finals, including two Grand Slams and two Masters Series.
He landed in his fifth straight final after Murray saved two match points but then plowed a forehand into the net on another.
"I played a very good match, and Murray played one of his bet matches against me," said Nadal, who won this title in 2005 when the tournament was in Montreal. "But I've reached the final again.
"The second set was very tough, I was a break up, but he played well. He had a lot of good points.
"I'm very very happy to be in this final. To win a second time would be unbelievable."
Nadal profitted after a close-run first set when Murray came down hard on his right knee in the 11th gamedead-level first-set against the eighth seed after the Scot came down hard on his right knee in the 11th game.
While he played on in a set that produced not a sniff of a break point, Murray needed taping after dropping the tiebreaker.
Nadal went up a break early in the second set but gave it back with a double-fault in the fifth game. He went up again with a break in the eighth for a commanding 5-3 lead.
Kiefer has not claimed a set off of Nadal out of eight they have played this year. The Spaniard beat him at Miami, in Davis Cup and last month in the third round at Wimbledon.
"Of course, I have to pick up one more level," said the German, who owns six career titles.
Simon won his fourth career title at Indianapolis last weekend and carried on with a stunning second-round upset of Federer here.
"I just gave all I had today, I just wanted to win," said the Frenchman. "It was break-up for him in the first set and finally I won.
"It was break up for him in the third and finally I came back. I had a chance and the opportunity to win the match - finally I lost.
"I could lose so many matches before," he said. "I could lose against Federer, and I could lose against Haas in Indianapolis. This time was his day, not mine."