World No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal won grasscourt titles Sunday a week after Nadal blitzed Federer in the French Open final, painting a likely scenario of both players again being present for the final Sunday at the All England Club.
Federer shook off his Roland Garros disappointment by returning to his familiar stomping ground at the Gerry Webber Open in Halle, Germany, where he claimed his fifth Halle title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Swiss improved to 10-0 career in grasscourt tournament finals, and tied Pete Sampras’ Open Era record of 10 grasscourt titles. Federer also stretched his all-time grasscourt win streak to 59 matches.
“I am really excited about the way I played, never dropped a service game throughout the week,” Federer said. “I couldn’t be more happy. I beat quality players and also my level of play was very good.”
Nadal’s statistics were equally impressive, becoming the first Spaniard to win a grasscourt title since Andres Gimeno in 1972, defeating Novak Djokovic 7-6(6), 7-5 in The Artois Championships at the Queen’s Club.
Can you imagine Andy Roddick coming into Rafael Nadal’s house at Roland Garros and stealing a match? That is exactly what Nadal did at Queen’s, beating the four-time winner and defending champion in straight sets, as well as toppling the serving machine Ivo Karlovic in three consecutive tiebreaks during the week.
“The tournament here was very, very tough, best players of the world,” Nadal said. “I can’t imagine I would be here with the title before the tournament.”
After losing in last year’s Wimbledon final in five sets to Federer, who has nowhere near the confidence he did last year, it’s not so hard to imagine Nadal holding up the trophy at the All England Club in early July. The truer, higher bounces of today’s grasscourts have given the Spaniard a Bjorn Borg-like chance of winning the French and Wimbledon back-to-back for the first time since 1980.
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