Friday 18 October 2019

Nadal crushes Federer to claim third straight title

Rafael Nadal bites the trophy after winning the men's singles final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Rome Masters
Rafael Nadal bites the trophy after winning the men's singles final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Rome Masters

Nigel Whittaker

RAFAEL NADAL continued his stunning run of form by crushing Roger Federer in little more than an hour to win the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome.

The Spaniard, competing in his eighth final in a row since making a comeback from a seven-month injury lay-off in February, raced to a 6-1 6-3 win in one hour and nine minutes to claim his third straight title and sixth of 2013.

It was the first time the pair, who have won 28 Grand Slam titles between them, have met in a final since the 2011 French Open. Nadal won that encounter and the fifth seed showed his great rival no mercy once again yesterday.

The clay court master was at his clinical best, converting five out of six break-point opportunities, while the Swiss had to settle for one out of two.

It result took their head-to-head record to 20-10 in Nadal's favour.

"It's a very important day, a very happy day for me after a difficult year last year," said Nadal (pictured right), who was speaking in Italian.

"I am just enjoying the moment and valuing it more than ever because I know where we were just a few months ago.

"Being here a few months later with all I have achieved is really more than a dream."

In the women's final, world No 1 Serena Williams was an equally emphatic winner as she dispatched Victoria Azarenka 6-1 6-3 to claim her fourth straight title.

The American crushed her third-ranked opponent in one hour and 33 minutes to continue her ominous form ahead of the French Open.

It was Williams' 24th consecutive win on the WTA Tour and saw her add to the titles she has won in recent weeks in Miami, Charleston and Madrid.

The Belorussian simply had no answer to her opponent, who carved out 16 break points, taking six of them, as she dominated the Azarenka serve.

It means she will head into Roland Garros, where she has not got past the last eight since 2004, in the best possible form.

Irish Independent

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