Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fedrer and Nadal to meet in Madrid Open

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in the final of the Madrid Open for the second successive year.
Both matches lasted more then two hours, with world number one Federer beating the in-form David Ferrer 7-5 3-6 6-3 to set up the re-match with Nadal, who defeated fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 4-6 6-2 6-2.
In last year's final, Federer won his second Madrid crown with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Nadal and he will be looking to claim his second title of 2010 at La Caja Magica having won the Australian Open in January.
Federer was pushed all the way by Spaniard Ferrer, though.
Ninth seed Ferrer had lost all nine of his previous meetings with Federer but came into the match in confident mood having recorded the most wins on the ATP tour this year with 33.
The clay-court specialist failed to make a significant impression as he lost the first set, but he hit back in the second set to level up the match at 1-1.
It would be Federer who would end up victorious though as he made the crucial break in the eighth game of the third set before serving out for the match.
Federer said after his victory: "I think I served really well. In the first set there was some of my best serving in a long time.
"I knew on clay I was always going to go through a tougher period as well. That´s what happened in the second set. I was serving with the old balls, the next change was coming and then one game after, I missed the two first serves, double faulted on the third and I was down 0-40 and he took advantage of that and it just shows what a tough competitor he is.
"He's one of the great return players in the game on the second serve. He makes you work extremely hard and that´s why he´s been so successful on clay.
"He doesn´t miss much and he fights like crazy and it works well. He´s really improved a lot of the last couple of years. So I knew the danger and I´m extremely happy that I prevailed."
Looking ahead to tomorrow's final, the Swiss superstar admits he is relishing the chance to lock horns with Nadal again having surprisingly not faced the Spaniard since meeting in the final here in Madrid last year.
"After playing him last year, you figure maybe the French, Wimbledon or down the stretch in America we would face off again but it just never ended up happening, even though his rankings briefly slipped and we could have been in the semis section," added Federer.
"It´s not always easy, it shows how incredible the last few years have been. I think it´s exciting for tennis and for us obviously."
Earlier, Nadal secured his place in the final and with it a return to second place in the world rankings with a similarly tough encounter against Almagro.
Heading into the semi-final, Nadal boasted an incredible record of 166 wins on clay in 172 matches since 2005 and a perfect 13 out of 13 this year, but the second seed looked in serious trouble after losing the first set against a pumped-up Almagro.
Incredibly, there were five breaks of serve in the opening six games of the match, three of which were won by the unseeded Almagro who would go on to take the set 6-4.
Almagro, who had lost each of his previous five meetings against his countryman, then earned a double break point in Nadal's second service game in the second set for a chance to 2-1 ahead.
However, Almagro could not take advantage of that golden opportunity, and it proved to be the turning point of the match as Nadal hit back in style.
The 23-year-old held his serve in that game and then broke Almagro immediately in the next to take a 3-1 lead before finishing the set with another break in the eighth game.
The deciding set was virtually all Nadal, who broke in the second and eighth games to clinch the match.
Speaking about the prospect of facing Federer again, Nadal said: "Playing a final against Federer, against one of the best in the history of the game, is always great; it always has an extra motivation.
"Matches against him are always very very difficult, they are always a challenge. My job is done reaching the final; it was a dream come true being able to play well and win."
The women's final will be contested between fourth seed Venus Williams and the unseeded Aravane Rezai after both players - unlike their male counterparts - enjoyed comfortable semi-final successes today.
Williams, who was the only member of the top six to get beyond the third round in what has been a bad week for the leading female players, defeated Israel's Shahar Peer 6-3 6-0 in just 66 minutes.
The American, who will return to second place in the world rankings for the first time in seven years following her run this week, said: "She (Peer) is a really tenacious player. She's talented, with a never-say-die attitude. So I can't complain about being able to play that well against a player like her.
"I've been happy with my form and I'm going to try to keep it going," added Williams.
Frenchwoman Rezai, 23, secured her spot in tomorrow's final when her opponent Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic retired after losing the first set 6-1.

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