Nadal Flawless - Federer Gets Revenge Match

Madrid Open 2010
By Hiland Doolittle, May 14th, 2010
Rafael Nadal in Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal in Madrid Open

The number two seed in the $4.5 million Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, Rafael Nadal, brushed aside another stern challenge from 6’ 9” American powerhouse John Isner in just 87 minutes to assure his berth in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, top seed Roger Federer made fast work of countryman Stan Wawrinka to claim an opportunity to right the ship against Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who knocked off Roger just two weeks ago.

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On Thursday, Nadal’s clay court genius was on full display against the young American. Isner’s game is not geared for clay but his big serve and big strokes make him a threat at every event. Like injured Andy Roddick, points with Isner tend to be quick and to the point.

In his 7-5, 6-4 Madrid triumph, Nadal lost only eight service points. The feisty Spaniard broke in the 11th game to secure the first set. With a break point in the third game of the second set, Rafa powered a blistering backhand winner to claim the only break of the second set.

Nadal’s clay court season has been nothing short of spectacular. He is clearly the best clay court player on tour and may be the best of all time. Nadal is in hot pursuit of his 18th ATP World Tour Masters !000 title. The title would catapult the 23-year old past co-leader Andre Agassi. A Madrid win would also mark a clean sweep of the 2010 ATP World Tour Masters clay court tournaments. He has just completed wins at Monte-Carlo and in Rome.

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In his quarterfinal match, Nadal will play his friend Gael Monfils, who outgunned Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-4. Monfils is a gifted shotmaker and fleet ball hawker who is one of the few players to be faster than Nadal. The 18th ranked Monfils is returning to play after suffering an injury at Indian Wells. This is the Frenchman’s fifth quarterfinal appearance of the 2010 season.

Roger Federer celebrates his victory

Roger Federer celebrates his victory

Top seeded Roger Federer played like a man with a score to settle. And, he does. Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka probably wishes he was not placed between Federer and quarterfinalist Ernests Gulbis.

The defending champion, who defeated Nadal in the finals last year, blew past Wawrinka 6-3, 6-1. Gulbis, who defeated another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 7-7 (0), shocked Federer with a second round upset two weeks ago.

Based on Federer’s improved play and increased sharpness, Gulbis is unlikely to repeat the win. Last year, Wawrinka upset Roger in Monte Carlo so the top seed was focused this time around.

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Federer is seeking his sixth consecutive semi-final appearance in Madrid. Admittedly not the clay court genius of Nadal, Roger wins with consistent serving and deft groundstrokes. Last year, his triumph here paved the way to his first French Open Championship. By comparison, Nadal has championed at Roland Garros five times.

In other matches, Andy Murray ousted Victor Hanescu in short order 6-2, 6-1 and German Jurgen Melzer upset hot playing but ill Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-3. Get ready for a big-time display of clay court prowess in the quarters.


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