Sunday, May 17, 2009

The rivalry is still alive, Federer beats Nadal to win Madrid

Today Roger Federer ended a 5-match losing streak to Rafael Nadal with a solid performance against the world number 1, in front of a home crowd in the Spanish capital, to grab the Madrid title.

It was Federer's 7th win against Nadal, who now leads the Swiss 13-7 H2H, and only his second on clay.

This win must be very special for Federer and not just because he had lost his last 5 finals to Nadal (including the last Australian Open, Wimbledon and French Open). Almost half the season has passed and Federer had not won a single title, which lets face it, without the mono, he didn't really have much of an excuse. Today he not only ended the 2009 title drought, but he also beat his nemesis at home and on clay (regardless how different the conditions are).

It's true that this isn't the first time Federer has beaten Rafa on clay, since he's done it in Hamburg 2 years ago, but this win must mean a lot more because the world number 2 has been bombarded with so much critique from almost every single form of media recently, about his decline and his recent losses to Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. People were starting to see him as the underdog against those players and today's win will definitely bring back the faith to countless Fed fans.

In my opinion actually, today's win was more convincing than his 2008 US Open victory, which I know may sound ludicrous to some people, but Federer's form throughout the Madrid Masters was very solid and he took care of some tough opponents to eventually end up with the title. His form in the title match was unbelievable as he finally got rid of those forehand errors, his serve was on, his groundstrokes were perfectly timed from both sides and he came to the net ever so frequently, barely losing any of those net points. He never lost his cool, and didn't allow Nadal to get back into the match unlike most of their previous encounters. I mean did you guys see how he was hitting those lines with such aggression and how he made it look effortless?!?!

So on the Federer front, things are looking up for the Swiss and he should travel to Paris with lots of confidence. As for Rafa, I am not worried at all. Just the thought of a perfect clay sweep was ridiculous and after yesterday's 4 hour semi against Djokovic, he obviously couldn't keep up with an in-form Federer. But looking at the last 5 weeks, winning back-to-back titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, and making it to the Madrid final should give him more than enough confidence ahead of Roland Garros, and am sure his team will know exactly how to take care of him and get him ready for the French throughout this week.

A flawless Federer is frustrating, we know!!

Madrid champions, Roger Federer & Dinara Safina together with runner-ups Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki


van said...

Hey Reem, what's up? I think you're right: I can't remember the last time Federer played so solidly. I think it's a good sign for him for the rest of the year. And I think Rafa's going to do just fine himself!

Reem said...

Hey Van!! How you doing?!?!

Despite me being a Rafa fan, I am actually thrilled that Federer got that win.

With already Djokovic stepping up his game and pushing Rafa to his limits, it's only good news to know that there's even more competition in the field at Roland Garros.

For me, the only thing better than Rafa winning a 5th straight French Open, is Rafa beating an in-form Federer in the final of his 5th straight French Open.