ATP Finals Flashback: Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal and wins title

Tennis - Federer toppled Nadal in three sets in the 2010 final clash in London

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Finals Flashback: Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal and wins title

Roger Federer claimed two Major titles in 2009 and made a perfect start to the following season. Federer conquered the Australian Open and held three out of four Major titles for the last time in a career. Roger's post-Australian Open results were not that good, losing points in Paris and London and handing the ATP throne to Rafael Nadal.

Roger lost the Wimbledon crown following the quarter-final loss to Tomas Berdych and raised his level after that. Federer was a player to beat in the rest of the season, winning 34 out of 38 matches and conquering four titles from six finals.

The Swiss experienced a tough Paris Masters semi-final loss after wasting five match points against Gael Monfils. Roger bounced back at the ATP Finals in London to claim the fifth season-ending crown. Federer met his greatest rival Rafael Nadal in the final and scored a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 triumph in an hour and 38 minutes.

Thus, Roger became the third player with five ATP Finals crowns after Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras. Federer and Nadal met for the second time in 2010, and the Swiss beat the Spaniard for the eighth time in 22 encounters. Also, Roger bested Rafa for the third time at the ATP Finals.

Nadal bounced back in the second set, but it was his last push, as Federer stood too strong in the decider. Rafa served at 77% and gave his best to stay in touch with a superior indoor player. He created two break chances and seized one in the second set.

On the other hand, Roger was untouchable behind his first serve, winning 37 out of 40 points. Federer converted all three break opportunities to make the crucial difference in the deciding set and cross the finish line first.

The Swiss sprayed more unforced errors and three times more winners than his rival. He kept the points on his racquet and avoided long rallies and the opportunity for Rafa to expose his backhand. Federer had the edge in the shortest points up to four strokes thanks to his initial shot and the first groundstroke.

Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2010 ATP Finals title clash.

He toppled Rafa in the mid-range exchanges and looked ready to fight from the baseline and construct the points on his terms. The match kicked off in a big way for the Swiss.

He hit four winners in the opening game before the Spaniard responded with a hold at love for 1-1. Roger's forehand worked like a charm from the first point. He delivered another comfortable hold in game three after finding his range and keeping Nadal far from the ball.

Four more winners in game five sent Federer 3-2 up in under 15 minutes, and this pace suited his game more, especially with some chances on the return. That did not happen in game six after another good hold from Rafa. The Spaniard created a slight chance at 3-3 before Roger hit great volleys and forehands to grab four points in a row and avoid break chances.

Nadal wasted a game point at 3-4, and Federer landed a perfect backhand crosscourt winner to secure a break and open a 5-3 gap. It was undoubtedly one of the best sets that Roger played against Rafa. He sealed it with three winners in game nine for 6-3 after just 32 minutes, hoping for more in set number two.

Nadal raised his level, produced two good holds and broke Federer in the fourth game after the Swiss' colossal forehand error. Rafa cemented the advantage with an excellent hold in game five that sent him 4-1 in front. Nadal controlled the pace and served well to wrap up the set with a hold in game nine, taking the set 6-3 and introducing a decider in his first ATP Finals title match.

Federer served at only 42% and lost the edge from his initial shot and a forehand. Nadal had to remain aggressive in the decider to maintain his pace and overpower a great rival. Instead, Roger seized the momentum again and landed one good serve after another to keep the pressure on the other side.

The Swiss grabbed four straight points on the return in game four to forge a 3-1 advantage. With a boost on his side, Federer fired two service winners after deuce in game five to cement the lead and move closer to the finish line.

The Spaniard faded from the court and experienced another break in game six, falling 5-1 behind and seeing the exit door. Roger served for the title in game seven and fired three winners to seal the deal and celebrate his fifth ATP Finals title, the first since 2007!

Atp Finals Roger Federer Rafael Nadal