ATP Madrid - Nadal fights back to defeat Federer- View: 2995 by Stephen Kelly
Photo: Nadal, Lahyani and Federer during the pre-match tribute to Seve Ballesteros (Daylife) Rafael Nadal continued his clay court winning streak with a comeback victory against Roger Federer in the Madrid semi-final.
Although he lost serve in the first game of the match Federer fought back and eventually broke the world number one for a second time to take the set 7-5. However, a poor drop shot on the first point of the next game set the tone for the next set and a subdued Federer was broken in the first game.
On the final point, Federer stopped mid-point thinking a Nadal cross-court forehand had landed out. However, upon inspecting the mark, umpire Mohamed Lahyani confirmed that the ball had caught the line. A furious Federer argued his case but the hawkeye graphic (not available to those in the stadium) showed that the Swedish umpire had been correct.
Although six of the seven games in the set went to deuce, Nadal was better on the big points breaking the Swiss three times while saving all four break points he faced on his own serve to take it 6-1. The third set was more of the same with Nadal securing the crucial break to go 3-1 up and although Federer battled hard for the rest of the match he failed to convert on the two break chances he created, with the Spaniard seeing out the set and match 6-3.
“It’s always a special feeling to play against Roger and a full crowd here makes the match even more special,” said Nadal after the match. “It probably wasn’t one of our best matches because we had more mistakes than usual but we know each other very well and it’s difficult play our best in every match when we play each other.” Before the match a video tribute to golfer Seve Ballesteros, who died today, was played in the stadium and afterwards an emotional Nadal played tribute to his compatriot.
“It’s a really terrible day for Spain and for the world too because we lost a great champion, probably one of the greatest of the history of golf,” said Nadal. “In Spain for sure he’s one of the greatest sportsmen of the history and for me it’s a very emotional day.”