Federer Beats Gonzalez for Madrid Title - NotesPosted on October 22, 2006
Shaking off an injury scare late in the first set when he rolled his right ankle (the same ankle that sidelined him from the Madrid and Paris Masters last year), Federer won his 10th title of the year and became the first player in the Open Era to win 10 or more titles in a season for three consecutive years. Federer, who will play three more tournaments this year - Basel, Paris and Tennis Masters Cup - won 11 titles in both 2004 and 2005.
Federer added 500 INDESIT ATP Rankings points to set a new all-time Rankings points total of 7,870, eclipsing his previous record total of 7,760 points on August 14, 2006.
The ATP World No. 1, who claimed a career-best 82nd match win of the season, improved to 8-0 in career meetings with Gonzalez.
Federer extended his winning streak to 19 matches, which includes titles at the US Open last month (d. Roddick) and Tokyo two weeks ago (d. Henman).
He also extended his record INDESIT ATP 2006 Race points total to 1,474. Federer has already been declared winner of the Race for the third consecutive year.
In the first set Gonzalez matched Federer with breathtaking shot making. Neither player offered up a break point opportunity until the final game of the set. On the first set point Federer turned his right ankle when the side of his right shoe slipped and rolled as he planted his foot while reaching for a backhand after being slightly wrong-footed.
Despite losing the point Federer recovered to win the next three to close out the first set 7-5.
Federer, who now tapes his ankles as a precaution before his matches, called the trainer at the conclusion of the set to add extra tape to his right ankle. Early in the second set Federer broke for 3-1
Federer would go on to win the last 11 games of the match. (He won the last eight games of his semifinal encounter with David Nalbandian.) He faced - and saved - just two break points in the match, both in the final set. He dropped just three points on his first serve in the first two sets and just nine point on his first serve for the match. He hit 10 aces through the first game of the second set and 11 aces for the match.
Federer won a record-equaling fourth ATP Masters Series shield for the season and became the first player in Masters Series history (since 1990) to win four shields in back-to-back seasons. He has now won 12 career Masters Series titles, second only to Andre Agassi's 17. (Federer had been tied with Pete Sampras with 11 shields before Madrid.)
The ATP Masters Series events Federer has won this year are: Indian Wells in March (d. Blake) Miami in April (d. Ljubicic), Toronto in August (d. Gasquet) and Madrid.
During his career Federer has won six of the nine different Masters Series titles (Indian Wells, Miami, Hamburg, Canada, Cincinnati, Madrid) and this year he lost in the final of two others (Monte Carlo, Rome) to Rafael Nadal. Only Andre Agassi (7) has won more different Masters Series titles.
No player has reached the final of all nine Masters Series events. Federer will have the opportunity to do that when he plays at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris in two weeks.
His career total of 43 crowns already puts him 12th on the all-time Open Era list, and at 25 years of age, he is only one title away from No. 11 Thomas Muster. Federer’s career record in finals is 43-13. This was Federer's first ATP final on Spanish soil and he claimed a title in his 15th different country.
With a record of 82-5, Federer has reached the 80-win plateau for the second straight year. He finished 81-4 in 2005. The last player to win 80 matches two years in a row was Ivan Lendl, who went 96-14 in 1981 and 106-9 in 1982.
With his semifinal win Saturday Gonzalez moved into the No. 9 spot ahead of Marcos Baghdatis. Gonzalez has 377 points and is 33 points behind No. 8 Tommy Robredo. Gonzalez would have pulled to within three points of Robredo had he won the title.
Gonzalez, 26, was playing in his second final of the year, and his second in two weeks. Last Sunday in Vienna, he finished as runner-up to Ljubicic. He has won 20 of his past 26 matches and has made it to at least the semifinals in five of his past six tournaments. This was Gonzalez’s first appearance in an ATP Masters Series final after five semifinal finishes, including three previous semifinals this year.
He made it to the semis of Masters Series events at Monte Carlo in April (l. to Federer), Toronto in August (l. to Federer again) and Cincinnati a week later (l. to Roddick).
Gonzalez won the last of his seven titles at Basel (Federer’s birthplace) last October (d. Baghdatis). The Chilean now has a career record of 7-7 in ATP finals.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Federer: On final-set bagels against Gonzalez and Nalbandian: "Two 6-0's against players of that caliber is always a bit surprising. I played well the entire tournament, didn't drop a set. Only got broken once. There's not much I can say about that. I really turned it on when I had to from the semis on. So I'm really, really happy.
"Obviously I tried to jump on top of him in the second set. He didn't swing his serve any more as hard as he did. I took advantage of that. I got into more service games, and I kept up my good work and my own serve. And that put the pressure up on him. And right away it was two sets to love. And then obviously things were getting really difficult for him. He couldn't keep up the pace. I found another gear and played great tennis.
On his ankle: "Well, I can walk now, so it's okay. And I could continue to play. It happened to me in Toronto. It happened to me at the U.S. Open against Blake as well. It's the third time it happened. Every time I could get up, continue to play. I definitely will have to see how it reacts tomorrow morning to know exactly how I feel. I'm confident, you know. As usual, I'm a positive thinker. I don't have pain now. That's a good sign.
"I hope I get over this little issue with my ankle so I can play Basel. And then I hope that I feel fine also after that tournament so then I can play Paris. That's the plan. I have a week anyway between Paris and Shanghai. We'll see what happens. At the moment I feel great. I'll try to carry the confidence over to the next two tournaments."
On being sprayed in the eye with champagne by Gonzalez: "It's dangerous for my eye. I thought I lost it. I was looking for it on the ground. It was just rolling away. He got me good, Fernando. Good fun actually. It's fun. In five seconds it was okay."
Gonzalez: "It was tough. When Roger is up in the court, he's a good player… after he passed over me, he didn't let me do too much. Maybe it wasn't my best day, but I couldn't do anything.
On his week and move to No. 9 in the Race: "It's been a good week. I was a little bit lucky in the beginning. I won two really close matches. Yesterday I played great tennis.
"My tennis is getting better and better. I feel that I can still improve it. That's given me a lot of motivation to continue working. I'm fighting to go to the Masters now. And I didn't play in the first four months, I was playing terrible. I didn't win any match. And then I started to play better and better. And now I feel that I can play good every week, everywhere. (Masters Cup) is close. I have to keep winning. The other guys, they're going to play, but I think everything is going to be decided in Paris."
Stanford ATP Doubles Race leaders Bob and Mike Bryan denied two-time defending champions Daniel Nestor and Mark Knowles a fourth Madrid title in five years when they defeated their rivals 7-5, 6-4 in Sunday's final.
The Bryans, who are attempting to finish as the year-end No. 1 team for the third time in four years, won an ATP-best seventh title of the year.
Including their Wimbledon victory - which gave the team a career Grand Slam - the Bryans have won five of their past seven tournaments. During that run they have failed to reach the final just once, losing in the third round of the US Open. The Bryans were playing their first tournament since the Open.
Knowles and Nestor took a 4-1 lead in the first set but at 4-2 Knowles double faulted at 30/40 to hand back the break. At 4-4 Bob Bryan hit two clean return winners - an off-forehand crosscourt and a down-the-line backhand - to set up a break of Nestor's serve, and he then served out the first set.
Knowles again dropped serve early in the second set but Bob Bryan was broken back, leveling the set at 3-3. But when Knowles was broken a fourth straight time late in the match - this time when Nestor missed two reflex volleys at the net - there was no stopping the American twins.
The Bryans improved to a 64-11 record this year and have won an ATP-best seven tournaments: Wimbledon, the Australian Open, ATP Masters Series Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington and Madrid, where they lost to Knowles/Nestor in the 2004 final.
Two-time defending Madrid champions Knowles and Nestor were chasing their fourth Madrid title in five years and their 17th career ATP Masters Series title as a team.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Mike Bryan: "It feels good, we had three weeks off after the US Open so we feel mentally fresh."
About winning against Knowles/Nestor, who beat them in the Madrid final two years ago: "We're happy they let someone else win the title because the've won a lot of titles here during the last few years. It's great that we could stop them today."