The much-anticipated showdown between the game’s two best players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, turned out to be the most lopsided result in their rivalry. Federer destroyed Nadal 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the finals of the Shanghai Masters Cup, where the surprising finalist David Ferrer, a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Andy Roddick, will be waiting.
“I was really pleased with my performance for the last one and a half sets. Before that it was tough. Rafa had a bit of the upper hand,” Federer said afterward. “But after that, I got in the zone and played incredibly. For me it was a great comeback. I was really pleased with my serving performance today. It was key to beating Rafa tonight.”
Federer edged Nadal with one break in the first set, before blowing the match open with a 13-point run to open set two. Nadal, who had won eight of 13 career meetings against Federer, never recovered.
Federer continued to serve well dropping just 11 points total on serve behind an 81% first serve pct, 11 aces putting. Federer never faced a break point.
“For me to beat him on hard court indoors is a great result,” said Fed, who has won his last four non-clay meetings against Rafa. “And the way I played today, I wish I could play every time like this against him. But it’s not that easy.”
Federer opened the Masters with a stunning loss to Gonzalez, but has not surrendered a single set since in three comfortable straight set wins.
In the final Federer will face Nadal’s countryman, Ferrer, who had little trouble with Roddick then the Swiss did a day earlier.
“Today I played very good,” said Ferrer, now 3-2 against Roddick. “Maybe the key was I return very well all the match. It is my first final in Shanghai and I’m very happy for that. Now I want to enjoy this moment. I am playing with a lot of confidence. I am playing very well. But I don’t think I am the favorite player to win the tournament.”
Ferrer broke Roddick for 2-1 and again for 4-1. Roddick afterward called the trainer to treat a sore lower back.
“I played a bad first set,” said Roddick, who lost his last four sets in the Masters. “The second set I thought I actually hit the ball pretty well. That’s about as well as I’ve hit a ball and lost in a set in a while.”
Playing in his first Tennis Masters Cup, Ferrer enters the final undefeated as he tries to become the first player since countryman Alex Corretja in 1998 to win the Masters in his debut. But Ferrer is 0-7 against Federer, winning just one of 15 sets against the 12-time Slam champion. Sunday, Ferrer will have to win three.
“David has been the best player of the tournament,” Federer added. “He’s been beating unbelievable players along the way. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with guys who beat the best beating me also in the end. I tried to stop that trend this week. With hopefully the great record (7-0) against him, I can use that to beat him tomorrow. But I’ve practiced with him actually before the tournament started. We had a great practice session where I thought he was already playing very well.”
The best-of-five set final begins at 4pm local time (5am ET).
In the doubles, in their final event together Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor advanced to the finals following a 6-5, 6-7(8), 10-5 win over Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett. In the final they will play US Open champions Simon Aspelin and Julian Knowle, who advanced to their first final since Flushing Meadows with a 6-4, 6-4 win over veteran duo Martin Damm and Leander Paes.
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