Shanghai Masters | Federer downs Nadal
For a third time this year, Roger Federer defeated his arch-rival Rafa Nadal in a final in what proved to be as comprehensive victory as anyone could imagine between these two legends of the game.
The Swiss star required just 71-minutes to beat his Spanish counterpart 6-4 6-3 for his second Shanghai Masters title as he continued his dominance of Nadal on hardcourts in what was his fourth victory over the Mallorcan this season.
I want to congratulate Roger and his team for a great year. Today I think you played a fantastic match, so many congratulations.Rafa Nadal
Nadal was unable to come up with any strategy to make an impact on the Federer game for whatever he threw at him, the 36-year-old was able to counter with a winning reply.
Federer broke Nadal in the first game of the final with a scintillating backhand winner to set the scene for the rest of the match which he went on to calmly dominate with some excellent and accurate serving, whipping forehands and backhands bang onto the line on many an occasion.
It was an accuracy which Nadal, however hard he tried, just couldn’t match as he struck many of his usually winning shots just wide of their intended mark.
Federer lost just four points on his serve in the first set, delivered five aces and hit 16 winners countered by just five unforced errors.
Nadal had no answers as Federer served out to love to claim the opening set. And it continued very much in that vein in the next as Nadal prowled the baseline, failing to take the few opportunities which came his way.
Both players found seemingly impossible angles to produce stunning winners but the two which Federer executed in the fifth game proved crucial.
With the pressure now on Nadal, Federer took control of the net where a backhand volley produced a break chance which Nadal handed him by firing wide.
Having edged ahead in the second set, the outcome looked inevitable for four games later, Nadal found himself looking at three match points. He saved the first but shot a forehand into the net on the second to give Federer his 350th Masters win, a second Shanghai crown for his 27th Masters title and his 94th career title.
He also closed the gap on Nadal in ranking terms and remains the only player who has a chance of stopping the 31-year-old Spaniard from ending the year as world No.1.
“I wasn’t here last year because of injuries, so it’s just so, so nice to be back in Shanghai,” Federer said later. “It’s a wonderful moment for me to be back here playing against my good friend and rival, Rafa. We didn’t think maybe we were going to have the year we did.
“I definitely didn’t, so it’s just nice to share this court with you today and hopefully there’s more to come in the tournaments we’ve got left. It’s been a pleasure playing against you again today.”
In turn Nadal said: “I want to congratulate Roger and his team for a great year. Today I think you played a fantastic match, so many congratulations.
“This year has probably been the most successful of my career here in China … It’s been a great two weeks and I feel very happy after a long year to be able to have the results here. It’s very important for me.”