Madrid Flashback: Roger Federer fires 46 winners and sets Rafael Nadal clash

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La Caja Magica at the Manzanares Park Tennis Center gathered the world’s best players in that first edition of the Madrid Masters on clay in May 2009. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro reached the semi-final and remained on the title course.

Roger defeated Juan Martin 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes to advance into the title clash against Rafael Nadal. It was their fifth meeting, and Roger was yet to drop a set against the promising youngster. Almost all the numbers were on Federer’s side, standing as the more efficient player on the first and second serve and dominating from the field.

The Swiss kept the points on his racquet and did not allow Juan Martin to fire up his forehand and move him away from the comfort zone. Also, Federer was a more creative player on the court, engineering points nicely in a mixture of well-placed serves, attacks, drop shots and net covering.

Roger took the rhythm out of the rival’s strokes and forced him to constantly think where the next point would land. Del Potro had four break chances in the opening three return games. He wasted them, and it was all over for him in the rest of the clash, as Roger sailed through the remaining service games to keep the pressure on the other side.

Roger Federer beat Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in Madrid 2009.
The Swiss stole 39% of the return points and broke the Argentine once in each set from six break chances to cross the finish line. Federer had a 21-11 advantage in service winners, which allowed him to play aggressive tennis and blast 25 winners against del Potro’s 12.

Roger was reliable from both wings and his volley, while Juan Martin could only rely on his forehand. Federer had 46 winners against the del Potro’s 23, a massive advantage before looking at the errors department. The Swiss wanted to keep the points on his racquet, which drew some errors.

He sprayed 19 unforced mistakes while del Potro stayed on more reduced 11. Also, Roger had ten forced errors while making Juan Martin hit seven (mostly from his backhand), not enough for the 20-year-old to make an impact. It was a swift and fluid match on a fast Madrid clay.

61% of the points ended in the shortest range with a maximum number of four strokes, and Roger had a 40-33 advantage. They were neck and neck in the mid-range exchanges from five to eight shots (18-17 for Federer), and the Swiss prevailed in the longest points 8-3 to complete his rock-solid performance and move into the title match against Rafael Nadal.

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