Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Federer v Nadal as it happened

Masters Cup semi-final, Shanghai: R FEDERER* (2) (SWI) v R NADAL (Sp)

First set: 6-4 Second set: 6-1

By Pranav Soneji

Federer 6-4 6-1 Nadal
Major apologies to Moobabe, who is very much on my side (although not too sure after the ‘goon’ comment on 606) after my Federer praising. However, something special from Nadal, who hits a beautiful top spin forehand return which just lands on the right side of the service line. But it’s all in vain – Federer records his sixth win against Nadal in 14 meetings when Rafa fires a backhand return into the net. Some consolation for Spanish fans, at least Federer will be up against David Ferrer in the final on Sunday.

Federer 6-4 5-1 Nadal
Brilliant opening rally sees Nadal claim a confidence-boosting point with the deftest of cross court volleys. He follows that up with an ace and takes the game to love.

Federer 6-4 5-0 Nadal
As much as I would like to reassure JMMClondon (see below), it’s difficult not to laud superlatives on Federer when he plays tennis from another planet. The world number one is sensational – he wins the game to love and Nadal looks like a beaten man.

JMMClondon on 606 (their capitals)

Federer 6-4 4-0 Nadal
Rafa’s confidence is ebbing – he surrenders a 30-15 lead through unforced errors to present Federer with a break point. And just when it couldn’t get any worse for Nadal, he double faults at the worst possible time.

Federer 6-4 3-0 Nadal
Just brilliant from Federer – his eighth ace sees him take a 40-0 lead. He wins the game when Rafa overhits a forehand beyond the service line. Rafa is attempting to pump himself up, but he’ll need to pull more than rabbits out of the hat to stop Federer in this form.

Federer 6-4 2-0 Nadal
Shot of the game from Federer – a beautiful floated backhand slice cross court gives Nadal about as much chance as I have of repeating that shot on the concrete courts behind BBC Television Centre. Roger has just moved up three gears – he’s making all the shots he was missing 20 minutes ago and breaks Nadal when the Spaniard fires a return into the net. Ominous signs for Rafa.

Federer 6-4 1-0 Nadal
More bullet serves from Federer and Nadal is starting to look forlorn. Probably not a good sign.

“Holy beejesus, Federer is serving well at the moment. Six aces already, 83% first serve.”
philosophicalarfster on 606

Federer 6-4 Nadal
The legions of Spanish supporters are willing their tyro on, waving the red and yellow flag at any given opportunity. But Nadal’s nerves desert him just when he needs them most as Federer takes a 0-40 lead. A Federer error, this time on the backhand, sees Rafa claw a break point back but a thumping forehand winner on the next point sees the defending champion take the first set.

Federer 5-4 Nadal
Although his strokeplay hasn’t been of the highest calibre, it’s Federer’s serve that is getting him out of trouble. He clinches the game thanks to a deft volley.

Federer 4-4 Nadal
An absolutely incredible backhand winner from Federer lands just on the line. He tries the same shot the next point, but this time finds the net. Rafa, wearing an electric blue sleeveless number, slams a forehand volley to take a 40-15 lead. And he wins the game the next point when Roger, clad in a maroony-red effort, fires a forehand into the net.

Federer 4-3 Nadal
Federer’s serve is as accurate as a laser-guided cruise missle, although Nadal rightly challenges a call on the third point. Rafa takes a 15-30 lead with a lovely backhand and collects his first break point with a thumping forward winner. More steely nerves from Federer, who holds on and wins the game with the first glimpse of serve-and-volley.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
Here’s a stat for you – Federer has won 33 successive semi-finals. He takes a 0-15 lead with a flowing forehand from a weak second serve. But the Swiss star makes two uncharacteristic unforced errors and Nadal holds out to take the game.

Federer 3-2 Nadal
The first bit of pressure on Federer as he goes to 0-30 down. However, this is Roger Federer we’re talking about. He eats pressure for breakfast. He proceeds to serve four successive aces to take the game. The crowd absolutely loved that. So did I.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
A brilliant chip return from Federer forces Nadal onto the back foot, setting up the platform to take the game to 30-30 with a sweet forehand winner. A great rally ensues in the next point, but Federer’s attempt at a forehand winner goes wildly out of court. Nadal wins the game with a forehand that just clips the edge of the service line.

Federer 2-1 Nadal
Federer somehow manages to land a cross court backhand volley from a fierce Nadal drive down the line at 30-0. And in keeping to the previous two games, serves an ace to retake the lead.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
‘Right back atchya’ says Nadal, who serves a faultless game, finishing off matters with an ace straight down the middle.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
A confident start from Federer, landing three of his four serves in to race to a 40-0 led. Nadal smashes a flowing forehand winner as Federer comes to the net, but the world number one wraps up the first game with an ace.

1138 : The players knock up for serve. Nadal is one of the only players in tennis with some sort of decent record against Federer, winning eight of his 13 previous matches.

1132 : Both men are introduced on to the court by a brilliant boxing-style introduction from the MC, so the Spaniard wanders in through a cacophony of “RAAAAAAAFFFFFAAAAEEEEEEEEEEL NAAAAAAAADAAAAAAAAL”. Meanwhile the world number one looks slightly embarrassed by the “ROGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRR FEEEEEEEEEEDEEERRERRRRR”. Imagine if they did that at Wimbledon.

Morning, afternoon – and if you’re lucky enough to be anywhere near Shanghai, a very good evening.

It’s another episode of the epic Federer v Nadal rivalry, this time the two will battle it out to see who will face Spain’s red-hot David Ferrer in Sunday’s final.

Story from BBC SPORT


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