Sublime Federer dusts Nadal
Originally published on: 22/11/11 22:00
Roger Federer became the first to qualify for the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after a near-faultless display against Rafael Nadal in their Group B clash.
The defending champion delivered a sublime show of attacking tennis to emphatically defeat the Mallorcan 6-3 6-0 for his first win against Nadal since the 2010 final at the O2 Arena.
“I’ve definitely seen Rafa play better, but I’ve definitely played worse than tonight,” the Swiss smiled amidst a rapturous reception in the aftermath of his triumph in an hour flat.
Federer opened the 26th meeting between the two great rivals with a double fault, but that was just about the only blemish on an incredible display.
The sixteen-time Grand Slam champion made his move in the sixth game, pulling up three break points and converting on his first after Nadal miscued the final shot of a lengthy rally that had the O2 crowd a touch more captivated with every stinging shot.
Nadal, who has not looked entirely comfortable indoors at the O2 Arena on any of his previous two visits to North Greenwich – even in spite of making the final last year – managed just one more game in the set as Federer continued to step up inside the court and dictate.
As it turned out, the Spaniard would not win another game. The Swiss struck a piercing forehand down the line on the run to grab an immediate break in the second set, and with balls off the backhand continuing to nestle sweetly inside the lines on virtually every attempt, Federer romped on to a memorable victory.
Federer has never lost to Nadal indoors, a record he is understandably keen to maintain. “Clay goes his way,” noted the 30 year old of the man who still holds a 17-9 record against him in their career head-to-heads. “At least I’ve got a surface that goes my way.”