Roger Federer has stunned Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 to win the Madrid Masters event yesterday. Rogers win against Rafael ended a five match, 18 month lising stream against the Spaniard. That run included three Grand Slam titles and ended Nadal’s 33 match winning streak on clay, which streaches back over a year to the Rome second round in 2008.
Federer heads into the French Open in a week’s time with a huge confidence boost after finally defeating the man who stripped him of his Wimbledon title last summer.
Nadal, who had won clay-court titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome this year, was visibly jaded from his semi-final the day before, when he needed over four hours to defeat Novak Djokovic. It was one match too many for the top seed, who was unable to squeeze motivation or power out of a weary body after complaining of problems with his knees in that marathon encounter.
“I think this (fast clay) favoured Roger,” said Nadal, who has won nine of 11 clay meetings against his rival.
“He deserved this victory more than I did. He played well. I wasn’t able to play aggressively enough.”
Nadal and Federer, who have contested the last three French Open finals, both head to Paris with the Spaniard hoping to regain his powers after playing and winning for three of the last four weeks on his favoured surface.
Federer won €585,000 ($1.05 million) and a car as he extracted some revenge in the pair’s first meeting since the Australian Open final five months ago which ended with him reduced to tears.
“I’m sorry to have beaten a Spaniard on your court, I’m sorry to spoil the party,” he told tournament director and former great Manolo Santana on the showcase court named in his honour.
The Spaniard’s defeat was only his fifth on clay over 155 matches dating back to 2005.