I actually consider all the Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer match ups on any surface at any time a final. Even if Novak Djokovic is now officially on a 30 match unbeaten run. The final before the final will take place at the Mutua Madrid Open for the third straight year and it is something to look forward to. Since these are matches all on their own, I dare not to make a prediction so: May the best man win!
Before the Nadal reached the semis he played Michael Llodra from France and beat him easily in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. And with that win, Nadal is now 36 matches unbeaten on clay.
“I didn’t think I would win like that,” said the 24-year-old Nadal, who also beat Llodra in their only prior meeting on the challenger circuit in 2003. “He’s got a powerful serve and dangerous volley, so it’s hard to pass him. But in the first set he committed some errors. Winning that first set gave me a lot of confidence.”
Roger Federer had a tougher match, on paper at least, playing former French Open finalist Robin Soderling. Federer had a tough first set saving three setpoints versus the Swede before eventually closing the match 7-6, 6-4.
“Conditions were tough today, I didn’t know we could get such wind in a closed stadium,” Federer said. “But I thought I played a great match from start to finish.”
Federer is looking forward to playing Rafael Nadal. Head-to-head Federer is 8-15 overall and 2-10 on clay.
“I’m excited, I’m playing Rafa here in the next round,” he said. “I’ve beaten him here in the past, but it will obviously depend a lot on the day—but he’s the favorite on the clay.”
Other semifinalists are Brazilian Thomas Belucci who defeated Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-3 and Novak Djokovic, who stretched his unbeaten run to 30 but not before dropping a set, by defeating David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Djokovic has now surpassed Ivan Lendl on the list of longest unbeaten runs. Lendl was third and is now fourth. Busted Racquet called Lendl who apparently wasn’t even aware that he held the third longest streak until an ATP Official notified him about it. This is what Lendl had to say about it:
“I don’t mean to put it down,” he said, “obviously it was a great start to the year, but mine isn’t even the best out there.”
Photos of Roger Federer credit by Ralf Reinecke!