Nadal, Serena reign supreme in Rome

Last Updated 19 May 2013, 17:26 IST

In the 30th career meeting between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the Spaniard raced to a 6-1, 6-3 victory to capture the Rome Masters title here on Sunday.

He has now won six of his eight tournaments since returning in February from a seven-month break due to injury. Nadal, 26, heads to the French Open in tremendous form as he looks to win an Open-era record eighth title at Roland Garros.

With 11 wins in their 13 previous matches on clay, the Spaniard was a heavy favourite against Federer in Rome, but the manner of this victory was still mightily impressive.

Federer, 31, did not help himself with too many unforced errors in the early stages, and his forehand let him down as he was broken in game three. A fizzing backhand return at the start of game four was Nadal's 11th point out of 13 as he tightened his grip on the first set.

He broke again in a stunning rally that ended with a forehand winner that left Federer rooted to the spot, and the first set was over in little more than half an hour.

A humiliation was on the cards when Nadal fired a backhand across Federer to break early in the second set after the Swiss had chipped a backhand down the line and gamely approached the net.

Federer received loud and sympathetic applause when he held serve to claim only his second game of the match, making the score 6-1, 3-1 to Nadal.

He cut the deficit by two games to at least prolong the match beyond the hour mark, but Nadal was clinical when he got a second chance to serve it out, doing so to love.

Serena too good

Serena Williams won her fourth consecutive tennis tour title when she thrashed former World No 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 to take the Italian Open on Sunday.
The American, who has not lost a match since Azarenka defeated her in the Doha final in February, completely overpowered the Belarussian on the Rome clay.

Hesh-Bops lose

Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna ended runners-up at the Rome Masters after a tame straight sets defeat at the hands of top-seeded American team of Mike and Bob Bryan.

The sixth seeded Indian combination lost 2-6, 3-6 in the summit clash of the euro 3,204,745 clay court event.

(Published 19 May 2013, 16:41 IST)

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