Roger Federer: Against Rafa “At Least I Got One Surface That Goes My Way”
by Staff | November 22nd, 2011, 5:23 pm

In the last three sets Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have played at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals it’s been all Swiss. Federer has won 61, 63, 60 in exact reverse of Nadal’s 2008 French Open win.

In stunning fashion Federer dominated Rafa today in those last two sets 63, 60 to win his most one-sided match against his arch rival.

“It was a great match for me basically from start to finish,” said Federer. “I was able to do what I was hoping to do: dominate from the baseline, play close to the baseline, serve well, take his time away. [It] hasn’t always worked.

“I always knew I could beat Rafa. The question is sometimes it was hard to do because he has a big say, as well, in how the matches go. The quicker the court, the more I favour myself. Maybe Rafa didn’t play his very best tonight. But on an indoor court, it all happens very quickly as we saw at the end. For me it was an exciting match to play.”

Nadal, who battled a stomach ailment in a three-setter Sunday, still leads 17-9 in their rivalry (12-2 on clay, 4-5 on hardcourts, 1-2 on grass) but indoors Federer’s been perfect at 4-0.

“At least I got one surface that goes my way,” joked Federer after the 61 minute destruction.

“A very surprising result,” he added. “I’m excited at how well I played tonight.”

Federer won the last seven games of the match and finished with 28 winners to Nadal’s four. It was also the third time Federer bageled Nadal in 26 meetings after 2006 Wimbledon 2007 Hamburg.

Federer’s win, his 14th straight, assures him of one of the fourth semifinal berths while it eliminated Mardy Fish who lost earlier to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Nadal-Tsonga winner will recieve the second berth from Group B. The Spaniard could still meet Federer again during the weekend. Nadal’s last title came against Federer at the French Open.

Federer is seeking a record sixth ATP World Tour Finals title. He is the defending champion winning last year over Nadal.

If Federer beats Mardy Fish on Thursday and then wins his semifinal on Saturday he will overtake Andy Murray for the No. 3 ranking. Murray withdrew earlier today from the event because of the groin strain.

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32 Comments for Roger Federer: Against Rafa “At Least I Got One Surface That Goes My Way”

Brando Says:

Well done roger and congratulations to his fans.

He does enjoy indoor tennis, doesn’t he?

marrisv Says:

yep. Fed was fab. Congrats to Roger’s fans.

Kimmi Says:

OMG!! bagel!! I dont believe it. Go roger :) :) :)

Needs to read all the comments now.

El Flaco Says:

If Fed gets to the final he will be year end #3

Adam Says:

Roger!!! Im bummed that i missed this beat down. Not sure roger really cares about finishing year end #3, but Im sure hed like to improve his head to head against all these guys, win a record breaking 6th year end title, and reestablish himself as the player to beat.

andrea Says:

what the hell???? i know most people excepted roger to win, but to finish in an hour? can hardly wait to see the match!!! woo hoo! i guess they might as well give the trophy to him now…

Kimmi Says:

so happy for fed. never believed he could do this to rafa. I should believe in him more :))) happy at least he got one win against rafa this year. It was long overdue.

need to see the match. I see there is a rerun on my TV at 10pm..too late but worth waiting for.. I want to see how he did it.

Too bad for muzza. what a way to finish his season :( he was playing so well too. arrrgh!! go rest and get ready for next year

I think berdych and nole might qualify for group A. unless Ferrer decides otherwise.

For group B it is a dog fight between rafa and tsonga.

scineram Says:

Unbelievable demolition.

So Federer wins group B, and get #3 if wins the semifinal. Fish is eliminated unless Nadal and Tsonga withdraw.

On the other side Đokovic wins group A if he beats Ferrer.

Is this tournament nothing but a sandbox for Novak and Roger to have one final showdown (for best season in the last 40 years)?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

There is one sad effect for Federer’s fans: what Rog did today did nothing to show him a game plan to beating Rafa consistently. The game plan was to play like a God. It was not an easily repeatable effort.
Novak, on the other hand, has a gameplan that can beat Rafa consistently without him having to play at a once-a-year level.
I don’t mean to offend Rafa fans by using him as the ‘goal’ for the top players, but, for Federer of course he is THE obstacle. And you know, to be the man you gotta beat the man, and for the last few years, until January, Rafa had increasingly been the man. So he’s still wearing that target.

someone Says:

if wimbledon didnt slow down their courts, Rafa would never have made it to the their finals

Stella Says:

Who cares about Nole. Roger played out of his mind and beat Nadal soundly.Nothing else matters.

dari Says:

I think he did come up with a few things, TV. regarding the serve, feds own did well against rafa backhand, and fed really wasn’t messing around on rafa’s weak serve, he was running around and crushing it. As for fed backhand, as long as he stays confident in it (which he can on this surface), maybe be can beat rafa strategy in that department and the rest will fall well.

Also, why rafa is hitting so short lately? I know he hits with lots of spin, but he often has both the spin and depth. What gives of late? Some ridiculous short stuff against fed and mardy, and more at uso, too?

dari Says:

And what about that 30year old’s defense/retrieving today!!?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

The 30 year olds retrieving was exceptional. This was a big clue that Rafa was discouraged- Roger was outhustling him, Rafa was giving up on balls he would normally be chasing, even in a wasted effort.

BT Says:

It’s great to witness tennis history. All the records breaking, and we are all watching it all play out… great stuff.

For that reason I want to see Fed get back to #1 next year even for a couple of weeks to overtake Sampras’ record for most weeks at #1.

Rod Laver was quoted this week as saying he believes Federer’s slam drought will come to an end next year. I hope he is right.

Once those things happen I think the GOAT debate should certainly be silenced for a while. Fed’s consistency year in and year out is just incredible.

andrea Says:

is it too early for best of the year matches? so far, for me, in no particular order:

novak and roger – USO semi
novak and roger – RG semi
novak and rafa – USO final
novak and rafa – Miami final (the beginning of the end for rafa’s 2011)

given the year he has had, can’t be too surprised that novak is in almost all of the highlight matches!

i’m sure there are more but thought i’d get the party started.

Ben Pronin Says:

Tennis Vagabond, good point. I was thinking about that while watching that Federer was playing some mean defense. There was one point in particular, I forget when, where Rafa was dictating with his forehand the way he likes and running Roger ragged. Federer just kept stabbing the ball back in play and finally Nadal hit a weak overhead, Federer pounced, and Nadal missed. Literally the exact way Nadal has worn down Federer so many times before. Nadal’s face seemed to say the same thing I was thinking “isn’t that what I normally do to you?”

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ben, yes. Roger was beating Rafa with everything today, even Rafa’s bread and butter. Some of those points were really unique in the context of their rivalry- the kind of long side to side baseline battles that Rafa always wins, only Fed was winning them.

If it seems to Rafa fans that Roger fans are just yapping too much over this, bear in mind that ROger fans don’t get a lot of satisfaction in the Rafa rivalry, so there’s a lot of fandom waiting to come out!

jane Says:

andrea, I like your choices. I’d add Tsonga/Nole, Tsonga/Dimitrov (Wimbledon), and Tsonga/Murray (Queens), not to mention Tsonga/Fish at the USO (though it kind of petered out in the last set). He is such an explosive player to watch. I love to see both him and Muzza play on grass especially. Very much enjoyed Nole/Rafa in Miami, because right up until the last point, it was anyone’s match; same with Nole/Muzza in Rome, which again could have gone either way. Delpo/Nole (FO) was very edgy/exciting, as was the Fed/Nole match at the FO (though I was kind of sad to see “the streak” end). Fed/Gasquet in Rome was a great match until the very last ball. Dolgo/Nole was a crazy match at the USO too – that incredibly long first set tiebreaker was insane, and some of Dolgo’s shots were just radical. LOL.

But in terms of meaning/satisfaction, as Djoko’s fan, seeing him win Wimbledon, achieving both his dream (winning there) and his ambition (reaching number 1) in one single match was very sweet and thus a real highlight for me.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Great choices ladies. I would add Tsonga/Fed in MOntreal, particularly for the outrageous level Tsonga showed, with Fed providing a very good foil. Also, DelPotro/ Nadal at Wimbledon, Dolgopolov/Soderling at Oz…

jane Says:

^ Yep those were all great too. I missed some of Delpo/Nadal so I didn’t include it, but Dolgo matches throughout the AO were great, and that Fed/Tsonga one in Canada was great. Come to think of it, we should include a Milos match, right, since you, andrea and I are all Canadians (?) – both of his early year finals, in San Jose versus Hotsauce and in Memphis versus Roddick, were great matches, imo.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Still trying to get over how a 30 yr old Fed just gave a Rafa in his prime years a major beatdown on a big stage. Still can give Bagels at 30 to #2 World ranked player.

Sorry Rafa fans, no mean intent. Fed just played a match that was unreal. So much creative shotmaking.

For Rafa, frankly I am perplexed. He is in his prime. WTF? He does not look there at all, mentally. Has Nole taken down the heart of the Lion mystique? Sure he has gotten to plenty of finals this year, but this is Rafa, expectations were skyhigh after 2010.

Who knew the “Novak Factor” would eventually take down the Rafa mystique. And imho it sets the wheels in motion for other players on tour.

This gets even more scary for next year. What can Rafa do to improve? Players are finding more answers to compete with Rafa than questions. Rafa cannot change his style or stroke technique. Its unorthodox and therefore unchangable( his technical game ). He tried to improve his serve, but wound up injuring it as a result as his service motion is not the technique that can hold up that kind of aggresiveness.

What can he do? Change his attitude. Be more aggressive from the baseline with shots and with his feet. He does not have a plan B. Unless you call it moonballing. Maybe you Rafa fans have a better thought?

Kimmi Says:

great stuff from rogi, glad i got to watch the match.

The BH was on fire. Now i believe indoors is the best surface for rogi. And all this time i thought grass..if only they had indoors

Magnificent performance.

Michael Says:

It was a clinical demolition by Federer and he was at his sublime best in dismantling Nadal. Especially the bagel in the second set should be most satisfying for him and upped his confidence level. Federer played to perfection and hit about 24 winners against Nadal’s just 3. Federer’s problem with Nadal all these days was the mental edge Nadal gained him over in the Clay courts which was extended to other surfaces as well in later years. But in the Indoor Courts Federer has always reigned supreme. Yesterday I felt that Nadal was not playing at his best. If he had done that he could have extended the match which was quite a disappointment for the neutral fans (but not for Federer fans). What this transpires is that the lop sided H2H Federer against Nadal is more due to the fact that most of their matches were on clay where Federer got penalised for his consistency while Nadal was not a regular in hard court finals.

Michael Says:

Skeezer, Well said. Most fans when analysing the Federer-Nadal rivalry do not see the age factor. As you said, if Federer at 30, can give a bagel to Nadal at 25 then there is lot to speak for especially by Roger Fans. That being said, I still feel that Nadal is playing way below his best Tennis. We are not seeing the Nadal of 2008 today. Is it a classical case of burn out ? or Novak has dismantled his confidence level or his cramped play is putting enormous pressure on his body disabling him for putting his best – nothing can be said for certain. But Federer showed his class today and I feel quite happy for him. I think beating Rafa is a big excitment for Federer fans even more than Federer winning an important tournament.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I think folks would have learned not to jump on the player’s-demise premise so quickly, especially for Rafa whose playing obit has been written a few times before.
Rafa made 3 Slam finals this year. His record against Fed was 3-1.
Rafa had an off day- but so did he against Fish, and he still won. Rog was at his once-a-year best.
Let’s see ROg beat Rafa at the next tournament before running with the idea that Novak has weakened Rafa for the pack. So far Novak has weakened Rafa for Novak. And ROger got one of the 1 in 3 wins he gets against Rafa by going all-in.
Let’s not use a single data point to build trends.

Michael Says:

It is not a question of building trends Vagabond. Even at the French Open finals 2011, Nadal was quite lucky to win that in the end. The easy drop shot that Federer missed made all the difference between victory and defeat and many thought that the shot didn’t miss the line. But as there was no hawk eye facility at the French, it was called out. If that had been in Federer would have won the first set with two break of serves and we would have seen a different Federer at the second set. But mind you hiding this disappointment at large and the fact that his mental edge is weak against Nadal, Federer won the third set putting one of his best performance at the red clay. Therefore, Tennis match is decided by one or two points here and there. But yesterday was a complete demoliton and why should not Roger Fans be excited about it ?????

Michael Says:

The comment by Federer ““I always knew I could beat Rafa. The question is sometimes it was hard to do because he has a big say, as well, in how the matches go.”. This is a big compliment by Federer of Nadal’s overall tennis level. It is nice to know that the GREATEST in Tennis is acknowleding the calibre and capability of the “GREAT”.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Weren’t there matches this year outside of Novak that Rafa lost that in years past no one would have touched him? Also, weren’t there matches where players were pushing Rafa to the brink, even on Clay, though Rafa in 2010 no one hardly touched him? Just sayin….

M Says:

“I think folks would have learned not to jump on the player’s-demise premise so quickly, especially for Rafa whose playing obit has been written a few times before.”

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? :=/

Being a true FEDAL fan — we are rare, but have exquisite taste :-) — I feel like I remember doing a lot of admonishing of Roger “fans” who were keening over his demise both last year and in 08 and prepping funereal pyres and singing dirges and whatnot.

First, all credit to King Roger today. No less than elder statesman Ivan Ljubicic has a message today not only for concerned Rafa fans, but also for any player well-supported by fans who has to challenge Roger when he’s playing at this level.

Going on. Though I do have my own thoughts on some things Rafa could tweak, I would also like to remind everyone who thinks Novak “took him out” that Novak has to defend all those championship points next year in tournaments where Rafa did, after all, also make the final.

As Roger himself would say — let’s wait and see how that goes, shall we …?

*shakes head*

mehdi Says:

brilliant maestro!!
i hope he play against Rafa again in the final

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m no rocket scientist, but 6-1 6-3 6-0 isn’t the reverse of anything, it’s the exact same score.

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