ATP Tour Finals: Federer beats Nadal to win title
Roger Federer had the final say on the 2010 tennis season by defeating Rafael Nadal 6-3 3-6 6-1 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday.
The world No2 was in sublime form inside the O2 Arena to sweep the Spaniard aside and claim his fifth end-of-season crown.
Federer was able to efficiently contain a fatigued Nadal, who appeared to be suffering from his marathon victory over Andy Murray on Saturday, but the Spaniard refused to blame his weariness for the loss. “I’m not going to say I lost that match because I was tired,” he said.
Federer, who has been working with new coach Paul Annacone this season, has become more aggressive in his play and more reliable at the net. The Swiss star won 17 out of 22 points at the net on Sunday, peppering Nadal’s backhand.
“I’m really thrilled the way I played all week and finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last,” said Federer.
“I really enjoyed playing here again. Of course a big congratulations to Rafa. I haven’t ruined his vacation, he’s had an amazing year, a year any player dreams of such a special year.”
Nadal, 24, added: “Congratulations to Roger, he has played unbelievable all week. Thanks again for all my support, it’s been the most emotional year of my career. It’s been amazing to come back to this court finally and play better.”
“Roger in the first set was unplayable. He played great. His serve was good, with good percentage outside in the important moments. The forehand was unbelievable.
“He was trying to play inside and play very aggressive and he did it well. Roger is probably the more complete player of the world.”
The opening exchanges were intriguing as both players looked to seal the first break. And it was Federer who managed to take the initiative in game eight to lead 5-3. The 29-year-old has been stepping inside the court and taking the ball early all week – and he managed to penetrate Nadal’s defence with some sumptuous angled backhands on Sunday.
The 16-time grand slam champion then consolidated his break to take the opening set. His serve out wide was used to great effect, frequently presenting himself with opportunities.
The momentum swung Nadal’s way in the second set as the Spaniard began to force the aggressive Federer into errors.
In game four Federer missed the lines one too many times to hand the world No1 the break to lead 3-1. His serve then began to let him down with his first serve rate falling to 42 per cent as Nadal hit a series of lethal groundstrokes to take the set 6-3 and level the match.
The gripping encounter had the likes of Thierry Henry, Kevin Spacey, Diego Maradona and Boris Johnson on the edge of their seats in the sell-out crowd of 17,500.
Federer frequently pounced on Nadal’s kick second serve to keep the Spaniard on the back foot in the final set. The world No2 mirrored the second set to break and lead 3-1, and from here on in he never looked back, firing a series of winners past the perplexed Nadal and sealing the season-ending title in style.
This closely-fought encounter sets up 2011 as another special year with Federer once again ending the season as king of the court. All players now have until the new year to rest and prepare for the new season.