Roger Federer was at his ruthless best on Sunday, streaking to the Shanghai Rolex Masters title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal.
It was a vintage Federer performance, as the Swiss secured the 71-minute win with a dominant display, clinching a second Shanghai crown (2014) and 27th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level.
With the win, Federer notched his 700th match victory on hard courts and improved to 10-1 against the Top 10 this year. It was the 94th title in his storied career, which pulls him level with Ivan Lendl for second on the Open Era list. Only Jimmy Connors owns more trophies (109).
Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 23-15, but Federer is doing his best to narrow the margin, having won their past five match-ups. The trend continued in Sunday’s final, with the Basel native capitalising on the fast conditions under the lights on Stadium Court.
With torrential rain drenching the Qi Zhong Tennis Center, the roof was closed for the blockbuster clash of titans. Federer was in control from the first ball, looking to break down Nadal’s defence with an assault of forehands and backhands. The attacking Swiss made an immediate statement with a break in the opening game, carving a cross-court slice approach that caught Nadal out of position, followed by a boisterous backhand winner down the line.
In each of Federer’s three previous victories over Nadal this season – at the Australian Open and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami – the Swiss won more than 75 per cent of first serve points. His delivery was on song once again in Sunday’s final, claiming 83 per cent of total service points in closing out a 6-4 first set.
The second set featured more vintage Federer, as the second seed struck a stunning drop volley winner and forced Nadal to misfire on a forehand to claim the break for 3-2. Federer executed his gameplan to perfection throughout the 71-minute affair, sealing the win on his second match point when a Nadal forehand found the net.
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