Title Number ninety-four and second in Shanghai for the GOAT as he put in a stellar performance to defeat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-3 in 71-minutes.
It was an utterly dominant display as Roger took advantage of the fast conditions to prevent Nadal from having any say in proceedings as he bagged his 27th Masters 1000 title without facing a single break point and he's now won his last five meetings against his long time rival.
Quick Match Recap
Nadal won the toss and elected to serve. Immediately Roger was all over him moving up 0-30 and then 15-40 with some clean early ball striking off the bat. Nadal fought back to deuce but couldn't fend off a third break point as Roger passed him with a backhand down the line for 1-0.
A hold to 15 put Roger 2-0 up and his game was firing on all cylinders throughout set 1, sending back everything Nadal had with even more on it as he held for 3-1. Check out the rally at 15-15 🙂
In game five Nadal fired down an ace to hold for 2-3 and give himself a little breathing room but Roger held serve in 50 seconds, firing down what I think were four aces in a row (did Nadal frame one?) for 4-2. The Swiss dropped just one more point on serve after that as he held his next two service games to take the set 6-4.
Into set two and Nadal got a much needed easy hold for 1-0 and looked to be cranking up his service speed as he held his next game to love to lead 2-1.
However in game five he wasted a game point as Roger created a breakpoint, it was saved by a big serve but after Fed hit a stunning volley to get a second bite of the cherry Nadal went wide with a backhand into the tramlines to drop serve.
A love hold put Roger 4-2 in front and a hold to fifteen then put him up 5-3 with Nadal saving to stay in it. That game got off to a terrible start for him as he slipped to 0-30 as Roger gave him no time on the baseline. A missed smash off a high lob then summed up his day as he slipped to love 40 and Roger converted his second match point to win title number 94.
|Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer|
|First Serve Percent||74%||68%|
|1st Serve Points Won||28/45 (62%)||25/30 (83%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||8/16 (50%)||11/14 (79%)|
|Break Points Saved||4/7 (57%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||5/30 (17%)||17/45 (38%)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||3/14 (21%)||8/16 (50%)|
|Break Points Converted||0/0 (0%)||3/7 (43%)|
|Net Points Won||3/5 (60%)||7/10 (70%)|
|Total Service Points Won||36/61 (59%)||36/44 (82%)|
|Total Points Won||44||61|
Thoughts on the Match
A top class performance here from Roger who just played sublime tennis from the get-go. As I learned last night this was the quickest hard court of the year as per Hawkeye Data which is a big advantage for the Swiss. This kind of smooth, fast and low bouncing surface marries with his game perfectly whereas it takes Nadal out of his comfort zone.
That showed from the very first game, Roger just gave him absolutely no time to play his shots. He gave up zero ground on the baseline so even when Nadal looked like he was about to take over the rally the ball just came back with something extra on it for a clean winner or drew error. Check out some of those forehands in the highlight reel that leave Nadal signalling to his camp that it's too quick 🙂
As for Nadal, his unbeaten run on the hard courts comes to an end but he's had a very good run since the losses in Montreal and Cincy. I guess you can argue he's not faced top class opposition of late but the fact he's making finals on surfaces that don't lend themselves to his game style is a testimony to his adaptability. He beat both Dimitrov and Cilic here who should really have a huge advantage on quicker courts but Rafa just finds that way to win even when he's not got a hot hand.
So a peRFect return for Roger post US Open and a high-quality tournament where he got better round by round. The win also makes the Race for Year End Number 1 a bit more interesting now he's bagged 1000 points. I'm not sure on the permutations as I don't track the rankings but it's certainly closed the gap and the next stop is Basel for both Fed and Rafa which starts next weekend. Will they both play? Nadal was sporting tape on his right knee and Fed also had this to say…
I was thinking about Number 1 going into the Montreal finals and hopefully Cincinnati and the US Open but I mean it just all didn’t work out the way I was hoping – so no problem there. I’ll just try to be healthy now, go back to the drawing board when I go back to Switzerland tomorrow with my team and we’ll decide what I’m going to play – Basel, Paris – one of those tournaments or both or none – before I go to London because that’s my priority right now.