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ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Roger Federer downs Ferrer to set another Rafael Nadal clash

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Roger Federer became the first champion of the Madrid Masters 1000 event on clay at Caja Magica in 2009, taking down tired Rafael Nadal in straight sets. A year later, the Swiss was there to challenge the Spaniard in the title clash again, advancing into the 26th Masters 1000 final following a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 triumph over David Ferrer, the third home player in the last four after Nadal and Almagro.

It was the tenth triumph for Roger over David in as many encounters, repelling three out of four break chances and securing two return games from nine opportunities to cross the finish line and remain on the title course.

Federer was the more aggressive player on the court, firing 35 winners and unforced errors each and forcing almost 40 mistakes from the Spaniard to topple him with a single break in the decider. As was expected, Roger had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, building a massive advantage there and staying in touch with David in the more extended exchanges to move over the top and remain undefeated in Caja Magica.

Ferrer fended off three break chances at 1-1 and closed the game with a running forehand winner to give the crowd something to cheer about before another beautiful winner for a hold at love in game five. Federer created another break chance at 4-3 with a perfect drop shot, denied by an ace from Ferrer who fended off two more break opportunities for a 5-4 advantage.

On the other hand, Roger lost only one point in five service games, delivering quick and comfortable holds and hoping for more chances on the return in the closing stages. The Swiss finally grabbed a break at 5-5 when the Spaniard netted a backhand and fired three winners on serve for a 7-5 after 46 minutes, closing the set in style and hoping for more of the same in set number two.

Instead of that, Ferrer caused an error from the rival to clinch a break in game four, cementing it with a service winner a few minutes later and taking 13 of the last 18 points for a great run. A service winner sent the Spaniard 5-2 in front and he held at 15 in game nine to lock the set and set up a decider, seeking the first triumph over a notable rival.

Roger squandered break points in the second game before erasing one on his own serve a few minutes later with a forehand down the line winner, remaining on the positive side of the scoreboard and serving better by the end of the clash to mount the pressure on the other side of the court.

David fought well but that wasn’t enough to keep him safe at least until the tie break, losing serve in the eighth game and allowing Federer to seal the deal with an ace in the next game, setting another clash with his greatest rival Rafael Nadal.

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We spread rumours of Rafael Nadal doping’ because he was too good, says French star

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Gilles Simon believes doping rumours were spread about Rafael Nadal as many were uncomfortable with the idea he could simply be better than Roger Federer.

There were allegations of a connection between Nadal and Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who was ultimately jailed for his part in a Spanish cycle doping scandal.

No evidence has ever been produced linking Fuentes to Nadal, though, who has always very successfully denied any rumours to the contrary.

However, Simon believes the rumours only existed to discredit opinions that Nadal could actually be a better tennis players than Federer rather than just a better athlete.

“It is difficult to conceive [for some] that, in terms of game, Rafael Nadal could be better than Roger Federer,” Gilles Simon wrote in his new autobiography This Sport That Makes You Crazy

“We even spread rumours of doping on his account.

“Nadal does not fit into the framework. Moreover, I emphasize here that we never talk about the physique of Federer, who has little to envy that of Nadal.

“That he went five sets at 35 like what he did in Australia in 2017, it’s extraordinary. But no one noted this point.”

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