World number one Roger Federer says he is still on track to win at Roland Garros despite losing to Spain’s Rafael Nadal 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the Madrid Masters final.This content was published on May 17, 2010 - 09:32
Sunday’s match was a reversal of fortune for Nadal, who had lost in the 2009 Madrid final – the last time the pair played each other. Nadal returns to the number two ATP ranking on Monday, after reaching the final.
"I wasn't able to defend my title here today but I thought Rafa played an incredible clay-court season," said Federer.
"I'm looking forward to Paris now. I'm happy with my clay-court game."
Both players dropped serve early in the first set before Nadal broke decisively to lead 4-3. He continued to deliver solid serves and punched the air in celebration as he went on to take the set with a crosscourt forehand.
With Federer's forehand misfiring, he hit the net to lose serve at the start of the second set. A crosscourt backhand on the run gave Nadal another opportunity to break at 2-2.
In a closely fought tiebreaker, Nadal landed two match points, with Federer saving the first with a forehand winner but missing on the second.
Federer scored 46 points in all, one more than Nadal, but was not at his best during the critical phases of the match, committing too many errors.
“Of course, it’s always nicer to win than to lose. I have had better match points,” Federer said afterwards smiling.
“Considering the questions raised about me after [early losses at the ATP tournaments in] Rome and Esotril I have really played super tennis this week."
"After this tournament I believe I can say that I am nevertheless on the right track. I am feeling very confident after what happened at Roland Garros last year.”
The Swiss said he was going to take a two-day “breather” before playing in an exhibition match at Rueil-Malmaison in Paris.“It is the same plan as last year and fate smiled on me then.”
It was Nadal’s 18th Masters win, a record that now eclipses Andre Agassi's 17 Masters titles.
"The most important thing is winning at home; winning in Madrid is a dream. Against this opponent, it's always going to be difficult,” Nadal said.
The French Open begins on May 23.
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Match record: 688-162
Career singles titles: 62
Career singles titles: 7
Grand slam titles: 16 – Australian Open (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010), French Open (2009), Wimbledon (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009), US Open (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
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