Rafael Nadal re-coronated himself as the king of clay on Sunday, defeating world No. 1 Roger Federer 6-4, 7-6(5) in the final of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open in Spain.
Nadal closed out a break in the first set, and in the second set benefited when Federer imploded in a cloud of unforced errors late in the tiebreak.
“To be the first player to [win all three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 claycourt tournaments] is unbelievable,” Nadal said. “I would never have dreamed that I would be able to do so. I’m very happy to have won here and it is especially important to have won in Madrid. Beating Roger is always a special occasion. It’s always a very difficult match. And of course winning at home is very special against anyone. So beating him at home is amazing; it’s a dream for me. For me it’s a dream to have won the three [tournaments] before Roland Garros. I want to enjoy that now and we’ll see what happens in two weeks.”
Federer spun his runner-up effort as a positive approaching the French Open where he will defend his championship.
“Considering where I was last week (losing to Albert Montanes in the Estoril semifinals) this has been a major improvement for me,” Federer said. “The fact is I hardly ever play a lefty on clay and nobody as tough as Rafa. So it’s obviously not easy to make that transition and I thought I did it very well today. He came in with tons of confidence having done so well on clay this season, I knew it was going to be tough; but I really believed in my chance. I was maybe a couple points away here and there, but just got broken one too many times today. But I’m pretty happy with the way I played. I’ve played great this week so I definitely come out of this tournament with tons of confidence.”
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