Monthly Archives: November 2010

Federer beats Nadal to win his fifth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals…

Roger Federer claimed his fifth year-end ATP finals title with a superlative performance over a defiant, but defeated world number one, Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 today.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer captivated audiences world-wide with a final that sparkled with explosive shot making, drama and as many twist and turns as a Shakespeare play; their 22nd meeting in an illustrious rivalry that will leave a great legacy for the game for years to come.

The world number one and two are polar opposites with one thing in common; an extraordinary will to win. While many began to question
Federer’s mental strength following his failure to capitalize on two match
points against an often mentally fragile Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the US Open earlier in the year, questions have also been raised of Nadal’s physical problems.

A shoulder injury in his serving arm caused Nadal to take a five week break before the ATP Finals and his recurring knee problems are
always a concern; many wondered how his body would cope after a grueling three set match against Britain’s Andy Murray in the semi-finals. Federer, however, seemed to have shrugged off any niggling doubts of his own authority in matches in the run up to the final. The tennis world waited with baited breath to see how the latest act in tennis’ greatest rivalry since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras would play out.

It certainly didn’t disappoint the animated crowd in London, which included the likes of footballer, Thierry Henry, the London Mayor, Boris
Johnson and previous X-Factor winner, Alexandra Burke. Oh, and a certain Argentine; the omnipresent, Diego Maradona.

In the opening set, Nadal described Federer as “unplayable”
and it was evident from the outset that the Swiss Maestro was back to his absolute best. The players went tactically toe to toe until the seventh game of the set when Nadal’s continued tactic of playing to Federer’s backhand backfired spectacularly as a superb cross court winner from that wing, gained the break of serve for the former world number one, who then closed out the first set 6-3 with a forehand winner in just 32 minutes.

But, with a dramatic swing of momentum, like an incensed lion released from its cage, Nadal characteristically pounced on Federer’s drop
in form in the second set, securing a break of serve in the fourth game,
switching tactics to work the Federer forehand with spectacular success.
Federer took a tumble in the fifth game following an unkind net cord for Nadal and so did his form, allowing the Spaniard to pull ahead with a comfortable 4-1 lead.

The second set went with serve and Nadal held his nerve after losing the first point when serving out the set at 5-3 by finishing Federer off with a wonderfully executed backhand slice right at the master’s feet. Game on.

It seemed as if Nadal had all of the momentum, but instead the first appeared to foreshadow the deciding set as Federer regained his
composure to tell the world and all who ever doubted him that he was back.

Brimming with a new found confidence and possibly with the
direction from his new coach, Paul Annacone (former coach of Tim Henman), Federer hugged the baseline and ventured forward forcing Nadal into more unforced errors from the outset.

Federer gained his first break of serve in the third game following a tense hawk-eye heart thumping moment of pure drama to give him the opportunity of a break point which he finished off with a volley. Nadal made him work especially hard for the following hold of serve, but a flurry of fantastic first serves and an ace at the end secured Federer a 4-1 lead.

There was no come back for the visibly tired Nadal as he was
broken again with the help of a backhand cross court return straight out of the textbook by Federer who looked particularly calm as he stepped up to serve for the match at 5-1.

Once again, Federer’s attacking tactics served him well as
he closed down the net to give himself three match points. Despite saving one, Nadal succumbed to a well and truly rejuvenated Roger Federer, 6-3, 3-6 6-1, who lifted the ATP World Tour Finals trophy aloft to the sounds of Coldplay’s iconic, ‘Fix you.’ Annacone certainly has Roger.

By winning the year-end event, Federer has once again reignited the rivalry between two of the world’s greatest ever tennis players,
who revealed the upmost respect for one another in the post match interviews on court, congratulating each other on yet another fantastic year. But who will reign supreme in 2011?

Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker said: “I wouldn’t be
surprised if Roger Federer isn’t the world number one at the end of next year.”

While former British number one, Tim Henman conceded: “Rafa
looked a bit jaded after the Murray match.”

Whatever transpires between the two in 2011, one thing
remains, the balance of power has once again shifted – for the moment, at
least.

This report was used by www.miamitennisnews.com

 


Preview to the ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena: Federer or Nadal?

Intense anticipation is building for the year-end climax to the men’s professional tennis season whereby at The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world will compete for the crown at London’s imposing 02 Arena.

The Finals kick off in spectacular style on Sunday, 21 November, with home grown, Brit, Andy Murray taking on in-form Robin Soderling in the first Group B singles match.

The players have been competing all season long for South African Airways ATP Rankings points in a bid to earn a coveted place in the final eight and a chance to win the $1.6m prize money on offer to the winner.

Competition for places was fierce in the run up to the finals, with Fernando Verdasco narrowly losing out to Andy Roddick, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych for the remaining three spots.

This year, world number one, Rafael Nadal faces a rejuvenated Novak Djokovic, Czech, Tomas Berdych and plucky American, Andy Roddick in Group A, while five-time finals champion and world number 2, Roger Federer faces the prospect of in-from Robin Soderling, Britain’s Andy Murray on home turf and diminutive Spaniard, David Ferrer in Group B.

All eight players were greeted by Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron – an avid tennis fan – at a reception held at 10 Downing Street on Thursday 17 November to signal the start of what bodes to be an incredibly exciting week.

“It’s fantastic that the ATP World Tour Finals tournament is back in London for the second year running. It’s great for London and great for the country,” Mr Cameron said.

The PM himself gave Murray a warm up in the dining room with a series of volleys back and forth, and the young Scot hopes to have the home crowd on his side on Sunday.

“Every tennis player will tell you when you play at home it really helps you to have the crowd behind you,” Murray said at a press conference in London.

Last year, despite winning two out of his three group matches, Murray failed to qualify for the semi-finals on game difference, but what are his chances now?

The Scot began the year in fantastic form reaching the Australian Open final, only to lose to his nemesis, Roger Federer. The psychological impact of this loss caused Murray to incur mixed fortunes and an inconsistent season which saw him overtaken by Robin Soderling in the world rankings. However, in reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Murray proved that a home crowd could play a significant role.

Soderling is arguably the man to beat. Currently riding high on the back of his victory over Gael Monfils to claim his first Masters title in Paris in November, coupled with his penetrating ground strokes indoors, many are tipping Soderling to win the year-end title.

After a break following tendinitis in his arm, world number one, Rafael Nadal, despite having a fantastic season, winning three out of the four majors and completing a career grand slam, is not favoured to do well, but anyone would be mad to bet against him.

Nadal, who failed to win a single match at the O2 last year, appeared relaxed outside Downing Street on Thursday, but insists he has put no pressure on himself.

“This tournament is a more difficult one for me because of the surface, because of the opponents,” he said.

Andy Roddick was forced to watch the 2009 World Tour Finals from the stands, after suffering from a knee injury earlier in the season. Roddick will want to prove his critics wrong, after many believed he would not even make it to London this year. Many feel he could well cause an upset this year, starting with his huge opening match against crowd favourite, Rafael Nadal, in his opening match on Monday night.  At their last encounter in Miami, Roddick defeated Nadal at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Not only did David Ferrer look out of place, being the only player in a grey suit when meeting Britain’s Prime Minister, many have written off the diminutive Spaniard’s chances. However, it would be wrong to dismiss him. His victories against Andy Murray and Robin Soderling this season, as well as a string of consistent performances in the past few tournaments, including his impressive win at the Valencia Open at the start of November, suggest he is in good form.

The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic, will be experiencing his first World Tour Finals, after rising to a career-high six in the world this year. However, the 25-year-old has faltered in recent weeks, failing to progress past the third round of any tournament. But could the buzz of London help him to end his season on a high?

Last but not least, anyone would be crazy to write off the 16-time Majors Champion, Roger Federer. But, despite his success at the recent Swiss indoor event in Basel, throwing away several match points to the unpredictable Gael Monfils in November’s Paris Masters semi-final has thrown a shadow of doubt over his invincibility.

The Bryan brothers are clear favourites to retain their doubles title from last year.

Follow Melina Harris’ coverage for MiamiTennisNews on twitter under the username @thetenniswriter