• Federer dominates Nadal to claim Miami Open

    By RFI on April 7, 2017

    By Paul Myers
    RFI — Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 to win the Miami Open on Sunday and continue his dazzling start to the year. Since returning to action in January from a six month injury lay-off, the 35-year-old Swiss has won the Australian Open – his 18th Grand Slam triumph – as well as the Indian Wells Masters.

    Federer has beaten Nadal in all of those events this year and has now won his last four meetings with the 30-year-old – his best sequence against the Spanish former world number one since they met for the first time in the last 32 at the Miami Open in April 2004.

    Back then Federer had already collected two Grand Slams – Wimbledon 2003 and the 2004 Australian Open – and was the world number one. Nadal was touted as the next big thing. The 17-year-old Spaniard beat Federer in straight sets.

    They played a year later in the Miami Open final and Federer came back from two sets down to win an epic that he has hailed as a turning point in his career.

    Twelve years on from that four hour marathon, Nadal has still failed to win in Miami having also lost twice to Novak Djokovic and once to Nikolay Davydenko.

    The first set in 2017 was a tight affair with both players having their opportunities to break but it was not until the eighth game and 10th break point of the set that one of them was able to nudge ahead.

    Nadal was drawn into an error from a Federer backhand and having seized a 5-3 lead, Federer served out comfortably to secure the first set.

    Federer said saving break points in the first game and at 3-3 were crucial moments in the contest. “It was totally key,” he added. “Rafa looked good from the get-go. He was playing big tennis, stepping in and doing all the right things.

    “A bit more luck on his side and the wrong decisions by me at that moment and it could have turned very quickly. It was a very intense first set.”

    There has always been a contrast between the styles of Federer and Nadal. The former’s sleek elegance has been the prism through which modern tennis is judged. But the latter’s bristling energy has consistently disrupted Federer’s cool mobility. The Swiss has spoken of a rivaly with a man who has beaten him 23 times in 36 meetings.

    But in match number 37, Nadal appeared to be working a tad too hard in the 83 degree afternoon heat, thrusting himself into his shots while Federer appeared almost casual.

    He made the decisive break to lead 5-4. Despite a double fault to trail 0-15 when serving for the title, he recovered to rack up his third crown of the year and the 91st of an illustrious career.

    After the victory, Federer revealed he would skip the three principal clay court events in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome before the French Open in Paris at the end of May.

    “I’m not 24, so things have changed in a big way and I probably won’t play any clay court event except the French,” he told ESPN in an on-court interview. “I need rest. My body needs healing. I need time as well to prepare.

    “I want to stay healthy and enjoy myself. Because when I am healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. When I am not feeling this good there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa.

    “That is why this break is coming now in the clay court season and I’ll focus everything on the French, the grass and then the hard courts afterwards. That is going to be the key for me,” he added.

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