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Federer Captures 20th Masters 1000 Crown

Madrid, Spain

Federer© AFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer won the Madrid title for the third time.

Roger Federer will return to No. 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday after winning a record-equalling 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday in Madrid. The Swiss defeated Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open.

"It’s been a great spell and I couldn’t be more happy right now coming off a break winning right away," said Federer, who was playing his first tournament since early April. "It’s always an ideal scenario for what’s to come."

The 30-year-old Federer tied Nadal’s short-lived record for most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. The Spaniard clinched his 20th title last month at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (d. Djokovic).  Federer is the all-time leader with 258 Masters 1000 match wins and won his first of the coveted trophies in Hamburg in 2003.

Federer’s return to No. 2 will see him hold the position for the first time since the week of 14 March, 2011. The Basel native has been in blistering form over the past eight months. Since losing out to Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals, Federer has compiled a 45-3 match record and has lost prior to the semi-finals just once in nine tournaments (l. to Roddick 3rd Rd in Miami).

Federer captured an ATP World Tour-best fourth title of the season, adding to triumphs in Rotterdam (d. del Potro), Dubai (d. Murray) and Indian Wells (d. Isner). He was contesting his first clay-court tournament of the year, and was extended to a third set tie-break in his Madrid opening match against Milos Raonic.

“I was worried about getting through the first round and was not even thinking about who was going to be my second round opponent," he said. "I was very realistic coming into this event. Confidence is coming back. I was away and it didn’t take much for me to get my confidence back, especially now that I’ve been playing so well for the past nine months."

Berdych made the better start to the final, breaking straight away for a 2-0 lead. The Czech was denied a set point chance in the eighth game, but closed it out on serve in the following game. Federer looked set to level the match after an early service break in the second set, but squandered a set point in the ninth game as Berdych fought back to level. A double fault from the Czech proved costly in the 12th game, though, as Federer broke once more to steal the set.

After saving two break points at the start of the third set, Federer broke through in the eighth game courtesy of successive double faults from Berdych, who had just rallied from 0/40 with three aces. However, Berdych again hit back, breaking immediately to level up at 5-5. The Czech’s lives ran out in the 12th game. He recovered from a 0/40 deficit, but could not deny Federer on his fourth match point as he prevailed in two hours and 38 minutes.

"It was tough. I was almost down the entire time," admitted Federer. "Finally I got the break in the third, and then he broke back. Things got tough again. I played great. It's always special winning a title 7-5 in the third. The crowd was amazing so I'm very happy."

It was Federer’s 11th win in 15 meetings with Berdych. He came into the clash with the Czech player having lost three of their past five matches, including defeat in the 2010 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Federer triumphed in Madrid for the third time in five finals. The right-hander lifted the trophy for the first time in 2006 (d. Gonzalez), when it was an indoor hard-court tournament, before regaining the trophy in 2009 (d. Nadal) on clay. He was runner-up in 2007 (l. to Nalbandian) and 2010 (l. to Nadal).

World No. 7 Tomas Berdych was bidding to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, following victory in Paris in 2005. This season’s Montpellier champion (d. Monfils) dropped to a 7-7 record in tour-level finals. He had been in impressive form throughout the week at La Caja Magica, storming through to the final without dropping a set, including victories over Fernando Verdasco and Juan Martin del Potro.

"I would just say that it was a very close game," assessed Berdych. "You sometimes need to make those small adjustments to win a match like this, but it wasn't my case today.

"The week was great until the last day," he continued. "Right now I am really upset and I am sad because of how I finished it. I lost the final but in a couple of hours I am going to see it in a more positive way. I had a great week, I beat a lot of great guys and made it to the finals."

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