Roger Federer overcame Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win the fifth year-end title of his career with victory in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals.
The Swiss with a record 16 Grand Slam titles clocked his 66th career trophy and his eighth win against 14 defeats by Nadal. He has claimed fifth titles this season, three from his last four events.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing this week,” said the Swiss. “I hope I didn’t spoil Rafa’s vacation, he’s had a dream year, it was very special for him.”
The indoor surface has been the perfect compliment all week for Federer’s game, with the Swiss world number two now 3-0 against Nadal indoors, his previous wins coming in Shanghai at the year-end event in 2006 and 2007.
The all-star pair have won 21 of the last 23 Grand Slams (12 for Federer, nine for Nadal). They have held a stranglehold on the year-end top ranking for the past seven years and both entered the final undefeated on the week.
It was the first final at the year-end championship between number one and number two since Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker 24 years ago.
“Roger played well all the week,” said Nadal. “It’s been a great season for me — certainly the most emotional of my career.
“Roger was too good today. I’m glad I could show I can play on this court,” said the loser of all three group matches in 2009. “I want to come back and play even better next year.”
The first ten points of the match went with the server, with Federer’s first game lasting exactly one minute. He caught Nadal with a sizzling backhand cross-court winner on his way to the only break of the opening set for 5-3.
A game later, the opener was in the Federer pocket after 32 minutes. But the Swiss dropped serve for the first time in the second set, saving a break point but sending a forehand return wide on a second to trail 1-3 midway through the second.
Nadal levelled at a set each five games later to throw the contest into a deciding chapter. The Swiss preyed on the tiring Spaniard, who held a winning point in the fourth game but lost serve on a one-two pair of errors as Federer crept to 3-1. The Swiss consolidated smoothly, sending down his sixth ace for a 4-1 lead.
Federer ended the season in winning style against the fading Spaniard, who netted a fatigued backhand to go down a double break, 1-5. Federer finished off victory in just over 90 minutes to put his season to bed and head into 2011 with a huge psychological edge in the rivalry.
Keywords: ATP World Tour Finals