dimanche 19 mai 2013
Rafael Nadal cruises past Roger Federer to win Italian Open
ROME — After all these years, Rafael Nadal still knows how to dominate Roger Federer.
In the 30th meeting between the two tennis greats, Nadal controlled the final from start to finish to win 6-1, 6-3 Sunday for his seventh Italian Open title.
“Rafa was just too good today,” Federer said.
It tied for the second most lop-sided win in the series since Nadal also lost just four games, but over three sets, in the 2008 French Open final against Federer. At the tour finals in London in 2011, Nadal allowed Federer just three games.
“For that to happen between two players with not that much difference, it has to be because one player plays very well and the other is having more mistakes than usual,” Nadal said. “That’s all.”
Nadal improved to 20-10 in his career against Federer, and showed once again that he’ll be the player to beat when the French Open at Roland Garros starts next Sunday. It was the fifth-ranked Spaniard’s sixth title since returning earlier this year from a seven-month layoff due to a left knee injury.
“I’m playing much better than I dreamed of a few months ago,” Nadal said. “I’m doing the right things to play well.”
Federer complimented Nadal for the way he took his time before returning to the circuit.
“It goes to show that’s what every player should do,” Federer said. “Now he’s as strong as ever and is going to be the favourite for Roland Garros.”
The 17-time Grand Slam winner attempted serving and volleying, but he either missed the volley or Nadal passed him with the return. Federer lost 10 points to nine won at the net. He also committed 32 unforced errors to Nadal’s eight.
“I was missing too many easy forehands,” Federer said. “And if you don’t stick your volleys or serve very accurate it’s very difficult.”
It was 20th meeting between Nadal and Federer in a final, tying the Ivan Lendl-John McEnroe rivalry for most championship matchups in the Open era.
Centre court at the Foro Italico was packed to the limit with 10,500 fans, but the crowd didn’t get to see too much tennis. The men’s final took only 1 hour, 9 minutes — a far cry from the 2006 final in which Nadal beat Federer in a fifth-set tiebreaker after more than 5 hours.
Rome remains one of the few important tournaments that Federer has never won. He also lost the 2003 final to Felix Mantila.