Federer wins Madrid Masters
Roger Federer beats top tennis player Rafael Nadal on clay court.MADRID - Roger Federer defeated world number one Rafael Nadal to win the Madrid Masters on Sunday.
His win ended a five-match, 18-month losing streak against the Spaniard, a run which included three Grand Slam finals - the 2008 French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the 2009 Australian Open.
It also stopped Nadal's 33-match winning streak on clay.
Federer now heads into the French Open, which starts Sunday, 24 May.
"Clearly I'm very happy to win," said Federer. "I played well - you have to against Rafa on clay. There are no easy ways to beat him. I mixed it up well, served well and was dangerous on the return game.
"I took all the right decisions. In the end it looked very comfortable, it was a perfect win.
"It's not like a relief; I was so close to him at Melbourne and Wimbledon. But I always kept the belief that I could beat him again. That's what you need on this kind of surface, I stayed positive.
"I've had some bad losses this year but everything is starting to fall into place, it's the right time to get a victory like this."
Nadal, who won clay court titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome this spring, needed over four hours to defeat Novak Djokovic in his semi-final on Saturday.
It was a match too for the top seed after complaining of problems with his knees.
Sunday's result gave Federer his seventh career win against the world number one compared to 13 defeats. It was also his 58th title.
"I think this (fast clay) favoured Roger," said Nadal, who won nine of 11 clay meetings against his rival.
"He deserved this victory more than I did. He played well. I wasn't able to play aggressively enough."
"It didn't help that I had to play four hours yesterday," said Nadal.
"But even if I hadn't I don't know if I would have been able to stop Roger."
Federer won EUR 585,000 (CHF 885,000, USD 790,000) and a car.
Nadal still leads Federer 11-5 in finals.
The Spaniard's defeat was only his fifth on clay over 155 matches since 2005.
Scott Williams / AFP / Expatica