The Spaniard has conquered the Rome Open for the 7th time in his career, winning for the 20th time over Roger Federer. For the Swiss, it was his 111th final, and his 1100th career match. For Nadal, it was his 2nd win of the season in a MS1000 on the red dirt.
What more can you want, if you’re biting the cup, than just to have mangled Roger Federer?
Nadal doesn’t change the script, even as he hefts his 7th trophy of the Internazionale Bnl di Roma (2005-07, 2009-10, 2012-13,) his 6th title of the season, and the 24th MS 1000 title of his career.
It now appears that the naysayers were right, and the two can’t meet before a hypothetical SF in RG.
RAFA IS BACK: Thanks to this win, secured in barely 1 hr. 9 min., Nadal firmly asserts his assault on the race for the season. The Mallorcan’s results are 8 finals in 8 tournaments, 6 victories, and, as of Monday, the #4 ranking. If it’s not the best Rafa of old, very little is lacking. Most impressive has been the arc of his improvement over the week, from the near upset by the Estonian Gulbis, to the physical and technical dominance in the final.
IT WASN’T ROGER: Federer, although he was imposing in successive victories over Janowicz and Paire, he was suddenly faced with the Mallorcan fury, same as in IW, but amplified by the surface friendly to, and beloved of the Spaniard. Result: anyone who was hoping for a dream match for their 30th meeting began to rethink it after only a few minutes. Under the heavy blows and pressure from Nadal, the Swiss player began to make too many mistakes, ending with 32 UFEs (to Nadal’s 8,) and 6 break points conceded. When he finally broke back, at 1-5 in the 2nd set, it was already too late.
NOW, TO PARIS: Rome finishes with a match that pales in comparison to their 2006 final, won by the Spaniard in the 5th set, after having nullified 2 match points by Federer. ”I won’t always win, and for that reason I’m enjoying the moment,” said Nadal. ”It’s a dream for me, what is happening now.”
“Today I didn’t hit the ball well,” said Federer. ”Beating him at RG would be very difficult, but Djokovic did it in MC. If you want to win, you have to be perfectly prepared. Obviously, I have a better chance on cement.”