Rafael Nadal is through to the Rome Masters final after a stunning 6-2 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych. It took the Spaniard just over an hour and a quarter to dispose of his Czech opponent, who beat the world number one Novak Djokovic to set up the semi-final with Rafa.
Initially, it was a walk in the park for the six-time Rome winner, during the first set, where he demolished Berdych in little over half an hour. However, the second set was slightly different but concluded with the same winning outcome. The world number six managed to muster up more of a fight, even breaking the eleven-time Grand Slam winner’s serve on one occasion, and managed to hold until Nadal got the key break in the ninth game – leaving himself with the opportunity to serve for the match, which he took, in style.
During the match, Rafa won all ten points on his second serve but had a 77% record on his first serve, who says you have to take the power off your second serve?
It’s Nadal’s eighth straight final, which happens to be his career best. Considering many critics wrote him off after a long injury lay-off, it’s a fantastic achievement, making him the firm-favourite for the fast-approaching French Open. I honestly can’t see past him for the second Grand Slam of the year, which gets underway in just over a week’s time. Another interesting statistic; it’s his twentieth consecutive final on red clay and that’s since his 2009 Roland Garros exit, demonstrating how dominant he is on this surface.
Potentially, he could face Roger Federer in tomorrow’s final. That does depend on the world number three’s match with Frenchman Benoit Paire, which commences later. If they do face each other in the final, then it’ll be the pair’s first meeting in a final since the 2011 French Open final, which I’ll leave you with (below) to watch part of to whet your appetitive of, what could be, an exciting final.
– Nathan Morley