The Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry goes down as one of the greatest ever in sporting history and the season ending ATP finals saw the two champs pitted against each other in a group encounter. Federer emerged triumphant in an easy match which he won in just about an hour 6-3, 6-0 to book his place in the semifinals. It was one of his easiest wins over the Spaniard who looked well below his standards.
Federer’s forehand was literally unplayable and finished with 28 winners as against Nadal’s 4. He dominated from the baseline and it was his first ever 6-0 set between the two since Nadal mauled Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in the 2008 French Open finals. Federer said, “I’ve definitely seen Rafa play better, but I’ve also definitely played worse. I was able to do what I was hoping to do: dominate from the baseline, play close to the baseline, serve well and take his time away.”
Nadal on the other hand accepted defeat graciously, “Today he played too good for me, and that’s what happened, it’s not the moment to say goodbye, it’s the moment to keep fighting. I’m still in the tournament”, he said. Nadal has been having problems with his shoulder though he said that it had no role to play in his defeat. With this win Federer is already assured of a semifinals berth but Nadal has to win his match against Tsonga to go through.
With his win, Federer ruined Mardy Fish’s hopes of qualifying as he lost to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-1. Fish has been battling a hamstring injury and his participation in the ATP Finals was also very doubtful but he wanted to give it his best shot but ended up losing to Nadal and now to Tsonga. “You work so hard to get here for 10 months, 10½ months. I get all the way here and I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do”, Fish said. Tsonga will now play Nadal for a place in the semi finals.
In the other group, Novak Djokovic played hard to avoid becoming the other casualty like Andy Murray and managed to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in his match against Tomas Berdych. Djokovic has had a tremendous record this season with a win-loss record of 70-4. He has been fighting a shoulder injury and the latter part of the season hasn’t gone as well as he would have expected as he hopes to clinch his 11th title of the year.
The ATP Finals haven’t been as hard fought as the spectators would have liked mainly due to the long season and the injury concerns to the top players. It is a clear indication that the 2012 season should be shortened to sustain spectator interest and to help the players at the top of their form and play consistently without fitness concerns.