Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
Rafa Is Again Roger's Master
Monte Carlo, Monaco
by ATP Staff|
Nadal rallied from 0-4 in the second set to beat Federer in the Monte-Carlo final for the third consecutive year and for the seventh time in eight career meetings on clay. Nadal leads Federer 9-6 in career meetings on all surfaces and snapped a two-match losing streak to the Swiss.
Nadal, who has ranked No. 2 behind Federer for a record 144 consecutive weeks (since July 25, 2005-present), has won 98 of 99 clay court matches since winning his first Monte Carlo title in April 2005. Nadal has not dropped a set during his past two title runs in Monte-Carlo.
Nadal became the first player to win four straight Monte-Carlo titles since New Zealand's Anthony Wilding from 1911-14. Last year he tied Ilie Nastase's Open Era mark of three consecutive titles from 1971-73
The left-hander now boasts a 24-1 career record (21 straight wins) in Monaco, with his only loss coming in the third round to Guillermo Coria in 2003. (He did not play in 2004 due to injury). He has only dropped four sets during the streak.
The 21-year-old Mallorca native was contesting his third ATP final of the season (from seven tournaments) and clinched his first title since Stuttgart in July 2007 nine months ago. Nadal improved to a 24-8 record in career ATP finals.
Nadal will play in Barcelona next week, where he also will chase a fourth consecutive title.
On clay in 2007 Nadal captured five of his six season titles at AMS Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, AMS Rome, Roland Garros and Stuttgart; his only loss on the surface came to Federer in the Hamburg final, which snapped a record 81-match clay court winning streak.
Federer came into the Monte-Carlo final on a nine-match clay-court winning streak, having claimed last week's title in Estoril - his seventh career clay-court title.
The Swiss was looking to win a 15th ATP Masters Series title and a seventh different AMS shield. However, he slipped to a 14-8 record in his 22 appearances in ATP Masters Series finals.
His 14 ATP Masters Series trophies is second only to Andre Agassi's 17.
Federer will now play ATP Masters Series events in Rome and Hamburg (where he has won four titles) leading into Roland Garros, the one Grand Slam to have eluded him.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Nadal: To win a fourth consecutive Monte-Carlo title? "Is very special moment for me. I played all the tournaments this year very well, but I didn't play the last match of every tournament well because I lost easy in Australia, I lost easy in Indian Wells and I lost easy in Miami... So winning for me fourth time in a row is very, very special. Probably one of the nicest tournaments of the world.
At 0-4 in the second set? "Just think about I gonna lose the set, but try to lose the set 6-2, not 6-0 or 6-1 to go to a third set with good feelings.
"That's what I was thinking at that moment and I just try to fight every point because he was playing fine and I was going a little bit more behind the court, one meter behind. So he has the control of the court, of the point, always in that moment. I thought I have to go a little bit more inside and try to fight for every point."
Federer: "I thought I played okay. Disappointing second set, I guess, after playing the right way against him and then letting him back into the match. It was disappointing. Maybe I didn't play my best for sure. But it's tough against him and he deserves to win in the end... because he's a helluva clay court player.
"Honestly for me it's a very positive week of coming back from the brink in the first round, and beating great players on the way to the finals. I'm pushing Rafa today, having the feeling I can beat him, if I play the right way. And I think that's the feeling I didn't have after Monaco last year.
"The amount of times I got broken today wasn't what I was hoping for but at least I was finally able to break him also on several occasions, which is the good part. Maybe my attacking game didn't work that well maybe like in the past against him."