Roger Federer, for the third time in four months, beat arch-rival Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the final of the Miami Open on Sunday. Federer beat Nadal 6-3, 6-4 to win his third title of the year and 26th Masters tournament of his career.
Federer was in sublime form against Nadal in Miami as he dispatched the Spaniard in an hour and 34 minutes. Federer broke Nadal’s serve in the seventh game of the first set and consolidated the break to make it 5-3. Nadal failed to read the Federer backhand yet again and eventually lost the set 6-3.
The second set saw Federer up the ante as he rarely broke a sweat on serve and broke Nadal in the ninth game. The 35-year-old eventually served out the match to claim his fourth win on trot against Nadal. This was Federer’s first Miami Open title since defeating his current coach Ivan Ljubicic in 2006.
“I think it was a close match,” said Federer. “Maybe if you didn’t see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you’re thinking it was straightforward with couple breaks and that was it. That’s not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today. It was more of a fight mode I was in today just trying to stay afloat. Physically, emotionally it’s been a draining week, so I did very well.” Federer’s win-loss record for the season stands at a staggering 19-1 already.
Federer has had a stellar 2017, which began with his outstanding win at the Australian Open final where he beat Nadal to claim his 18th Grand Slam title. After his spectacular win on Sunday, Federer completed his third Sunshine Double – winning the Indian Wells and Miami Open titles in the same year. Federer will rise to world No 4 after the latest rankings are released on Monday after he won his 91st career title overall.
For Nadal, it was a heartbreaking loss as he was fighting for the title for fifth time since 2005. Nadal was seeking his 29th Masters crown and 70th at the tour level. He is yet to win a hard-court crown since Doha 2014. “I think that I was close,” the Spaniard said. “I think I was close enough to win the first set. It was not my day. It is true that when somebody is coming with that dynamic like him that he’s winning a lot, all the things are going your way. So that’s what happened today, because in the first set I think anything could happen. Then in the second it was close. The same thing: one break and that’s it. That’s all. It’s easy to see that match was a close match. In my opinion, anything could happen and it went his way, so well done for him. Few things decided the points and the match. For me, it was much closer than what the result says and completely different than last week [in Indian Wells].”
Federer to rest till French Open
Federer said that he will in all probability skip the upcoming clay court season and may only feature in the French Open. The 35-year-old said he wants to be fully fit over the next two months before the three Majors that come in quick succession. “I want to stay healthy because when I’m healthy and feeling good I can produce tennis like this,” said Federer. “I’m not 24 anymore so things have to change in a big way and I probably won’t play any clay court events except the French. I need a rest, my body needs healing. I need time to prepare.”
There are four clay court events before the French Open starts in May – Monte Carlo, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome. “When I’m healthy and I’m feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. If I’m not feeling this good there’s no chance I would be in the final competing with Rafa. That’s why this break coming into clay court season and focusing everything on the French, the grass and then the hard-courts is going to be the key to me.”