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Nadal beats Federer on half-clay, half-grass court

Nadal beats Federer on half-clay, half-grass court

In the end, Roger Federer's favorite surface cost him.
Two-time French open champion Rafael Nadal beat Federer 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (10) on a half-grass, half-clay court Wednesday after Federer couldn't reach Nadal's forehand as it took an awkward bounce across the green side of the court.
The four-time Wimbledon champion was leading 4-1 in the tiebreak before Nadal rallied. After the Spaniard double-faulted while leading 6-5, both players traded match points before the second-ranked Nadal hit three of the final four winners from the clay side in front a sellout crowd of about 7,000.
Nadal came into the match with a record 72 straight wins on clay, while the top-ranked Federer hasn't lost on grass in four years _ a 48-match run that includes four straight Wimbledon titles.
The grass threw up some awkward bounces throughout, especially with more tear as the match progressed, but both players showed little difficulty in adapting to the changing surfaces, with the only obvious change being shoes between games.
Aside from holding the home-court advantage, Nadal may have held a slight edge on the clay surface after grounds crew were forced to rip up the entire grass half of the euro1.2 million (US$1.63 million) court, which needed 19 days to prepare, Wednesday morning.
Nadal, serving from clay to start, won the first point of the match after a rally of ground strokes ended with Federer hitting his forehand into the net. Another Federer shot, a backhand, into the net gave the Spaniard the first game.
Nadal had two breaks of serve to take the first set, while Federer's one break while returning on grass was enough for the 10-time Grand Slam champion to prevail in the second.
After the players split the first two sets, the jokes dissipated as both players went for the win, with Nadal displaying his trademark fist-pump for the first time in the final set.
Nadal, who has won three straight titles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona, held a 4-0 lead over Federer on clay. Federer is 1-0 against the Spaniard on grass.
How the match will fit into the overall career meetings _ which Nadal leads 7-3 _ will be left to the imagination.


Updated : 2021-05-08 16:18 GMT+08:00