Federer Ends Nadal Clay Streak at Madrid

by John on May 17, 2009

Roger Federer got a huge shot of confidence today just ahead of the French Open, defeating top-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 to win his first title of the season at the Madrid Masters. The second-ranked Federer broke a sluggish Nadal once in each set before firing his sixth ace to win his first championship since Basel in October. The victory was the Swiss Maestro’s first over Nadal since the 2007 Masters Cup and ended the Spaniard’s 33 match clay-court winning streak. Federer, who relinquished his 237-week reign at No. 1 to the Spaniard last August and had lost five straight matches to Nadal, called the win “very satisfying.” The loss was Nadal’s first on clay since being ousted by Juan Carlos Ferrero in the second round of the Rome Masters just over a year ago. Federer improved to 7-13 lifetime against Rafa and 2-9 on clay. “I thought I mixed it up well, I served well and was dangerous on particular return games,” Federer said. “I thought I took all the right decisions today and in the end it looked pretty comfortable, so it was a perfect win for me.” Nadal was going for his sixth title of the year, winning previously at Melbourne, Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. But, Sunday was not the Spaniard’s day. Nadal’s grueling semifinal win (a 4-hour and 3-minute marathon) over Novak Djokovic on Saturday more than likely took it’s toll as he failed to reach many balls he would normally get. Never one to make excuses, Nadal said, “he was simply better than me.” Still, you have to wonder. “I don’t think he’s going to take any damage away from this,” Federer said. “I’m sure he is going to be rock solid in Paris again.” Nadal will be going for his fifth straight French Open crown beginning on May 25, while Federer is still seeking his first on the terre battue at Roland Garros. Federer hit 25 winners to just 12 for the Spaniard. “Things are falling into place and of course it’s the right time to get the victory,” the Swiss Maestro said.

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