federer and nadal

Rafael Nadal overcomes Roger Federer in thrilling but emotional match

In a thrilling three set match Rafael Nadal defeated his oncourt nemesis Roger Federer with 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.  Nadal was visibly upset after watching the career highlights of golfer Seve Ballesteros who passed away Saturday morning before the match.  The victory was deemed too small for Nadal to dedicate to his friend and fellow sportsman.

“It’s a sad day for Spain, for all athletes,” said Nadal, who played golf with Ballesteros. “This win is much too small to dedicate to Seve—he’s one of the greatest players in the history of our sport.”

“Playing Federer always provides a special satisfaction as we have played so many important matches,” said Nadal, who improved to 16-8 overall against Federer. “It was a difficult game, not one of our best games for either of us.”

Nadal will meet Novak Djokovic in the finale of the Madrid tournament.  It’s the dream finale, as much as wel all love the match ups between Federer and Nadal.  Novak Djokovic defeated Brazilian Thomas Belucci in three sets 4-6, 6-4 and 6-1.

The win versus Belucci extended Djokovic’ run to 31-0 for the 2011 season.  Nadal is 37 matches unbeaten on clay.  This sounds promising for tomorrow’s match. Who is your favorite to win?

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FEDERER, NADAL ARE ROLLING AT ROLAND GARROS

As the second week of the 2010 French Open begins, fans can take a closer look at who is likely to be playing for the title next weekend.

Rafael Nadal, the king of clay and the four-time French Open champion, is the huge favorite in the French Open tennis betting.

Roger Federer, the defending champion, wants nothing more than to beat Nadal in the final and prove that he can beat the Spanish lefty on his favorite surface and continue to cement his case for being the greatest player of all time. He needs only to reach the semifinals to hold on to his No. 1 ranking for a 286th week and equal the all-time record set by Pete Sampras.

Among the outside dark horse picks are Robin Soderling, who shocked Nadal last year in the round of 16, Nadal’s only loss to date at the French Open. He will next play Federer in the quarterfinals in a re-match of last year’s final won by Federer. Soderling decisively beat Marin Cilic of Croatia in straight sets. Cilic was a trendy pick to potentially knock off Federer, so this result certainly shows the type of form that Soderling is in. Wouldn’t it be interesting that Soderling play the spoiler two years in a row at Roland Garros? Last year, ending Nadal’s streak of 31 straight Roland Garros match wins and this year, preventing Federer from equaling the ATP World Tour “weeks-ranked-No. 1-record.”

Novak Djokovic, ranked No. 3, is a dark horse choice of some to potentially snag the title as he has is not a player intimidated of Nadal on clay. The two could face-off in the semifinals. Besides Federer and Nadal, Djokovic has won a major title (the 2008 Australian Open) and has played in a Grand Slam final on one other occasion at the 2007 U.S. Open, losing to Federer.

Another player to watch is Tomas Berdych, who beat No. 4 seed Andy Murray, the Australian Open finalist earlier this year, in the round of 16 Sunday. Berdych, who beat Roger Federer en route to the final of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami earlier this year, is looking to take advantage of the 40th anniversary of his countryman Jan Kodes’ win at the 1970 French Open and become the first Czech to win at Roland Garros since Ivan Lendl’s last of three titles in 1987.

Roland Garros is one of the biggest opportunities for the tennis players to move up in the rankings and earn a place among the best in the world, especially if the players are clay-court specialists. However, surprises can happen as two Spanish clay-court monsters, David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero, were both upset – Ferrer losing to Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Ferrero to American Robby Ginepri. However, Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Almagro, are continuing to fly the Spanish flag along with Nadal.

Ginepri is the next opponent for Djokovic and Berdych will face Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

For the full French Open draws, go to www.RolandGarros.com.

ROGER FEDERER ON TARGET IN MADRID

Roger Federer made it the to semis at the Madrid Open beating Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.  Last month Ernests Gulbis turned into Federer’s “bête noir” beating Federer in Rome and Gulbig was looking to repeat. However, Federer got himself together and ensured victory in Madrid.

“I think it’s one of the toughest things in tennis if you lose against a player and you have to play against him in the next couple of weeks,” Federer said. “I was very happy with the way I was able to return and mix up the game a bit, and at the end I thought it was a really great performance.”

The renewal of the rivalry between Federer and Nadal is coming closer with Nadal also reaching the semis. Nadal faced Gael Monfils and beat him 6-1, 6-3.

“In the first set I played at a very high level,” said Nadal, who compared the high-altitude conditions of Madrid with his previous two tournaments.

“In Monte Carlo I played one of the best tournaments of my life on clay. In Rome, I played very well, too. This is the toughest tournament for me. The conditions are the most difficult of the year for me on clay, but I’m fine. Yesterday I played quite well (against John Isner), today better. I’m very happy.”

Roger Federer faces David Ferrer in the semis while Rafael Nadal plays fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro.

Ralf Reinecke was on the scene taking pics of the Roger Federer / Ernests Gulbis match.

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