Even though Rafael Nadal had won eleven straight matches going into this quarter-final, second seeded Roger Federer was still the favourite to reach the semi-finals. In their previous match, at last year’s Indian Wells tournament, Federer won their semi-final 6-3, 6-4. But this year, it was a different story.
Intro: With both contenders suffering gruelling three-setters the night before, neither were on top of their game. You could say Nadal had an advantage due to and small back injury for Federer, and the fact Rafa had a walkover a couple of rounds earlier. But we must remember that this is still really the Spaniard’s first major tournament since last July – about eight months.
Report: The first set began with both opponents holding serve to 3-3, with Rafa’s most recent game serving to love. He then had the confidence to break the Swiss serve, and after this it was straightforward for him, as he let Federer go through a spell of bad errors, so Rafa won the first set.
In the second, Federer “realised he had to change up my game,” but it didn’t work, as again at the start of the set the held 1-1, but soon Rafa was back to continuously winning. Federer only breaking once in the entire match, Nadal won the second, and final, set of the match 6-2 under the watchful gaze of Andre Agassi.
Summary: Rafael Nadal dominated throughout the entire match, playing as he usually does on hard courts; by giving the ball a lot of bounce, making the already error-prone Federer even less confident. The 17 time Grand Slam champion could simply not keep up with Nadal, and he had a lot less control over the rallies. It seemed Federer was the puppet, not the puppeteer, for a change. The Spaniard swung balls across the entire caught, and 30 year-old Roger didn’t have the stamina to keep up. However, he was soon put out of his misery, as he was beaten 6-4, 6-2 in just over one and a half hours.
Aftermath: Nadal now holds an 18-10 record against Federer, and the defending champion will now lose some of his ATP points for not defending that title. It’s been quite a while since Roger has won a tournament, let alone a Grand Slam (the last time he won one of those was over two years ago), and at 31, is it time to retire?
Please tell us your thoughts!