Sunday 18 February 2018

Tennis: Federer finds his range to master the Magic Box

Roger Federer matched Rafa Nadal's record of 20 Masters titles when he fought back from a set down to beat Tomas Berdych 3-6 7-5 7-5 in a gripping Madrid Open final last night.

The Swiss maestro, who will also climb above his great rival Nadal to No 2 in the world when the rankings are updated, secured his fourth title of the season with a gritty display on the blue clay at the futuristic Magic Box arena.

Berdych made the stronger start and a break of the Federer serve in the second game was enough to settle an otherwise desperately tight first set. Federer responded with two breaks of serve in the second set that helped him level the match. A couple of double faults from Berdych put Federer 5-3 ahead in the decider, but the 16-times Grand Slam champion faltered when serving for the match.

However, with Berdych needing to hold to stay in contention at 6-5 down, Federer conjured another break, converting his fourth match point when Berdych netted a forehand.

Serena Williams beat world No 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-1 6-3 to win her first Madrid Open. It was Williams' first appearance in Europe this season and the world No 6 dominated the Belarussian over two sets to win her 41st singles title.

It took her just over an hour to win and confirmed her good form ahead of the French Open which starts on May 27.

Irish Independent

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