You can add another great win for Rafael Nadal, and another tough loss for Roger Federer. Nadal beat Federer in a semifinal match of the ATP World Tour Finals in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.
After Federer lost the first set, you could tell he knew his time was up against Nadal. Roger had some critical errors late in the second set that ultimately led to his loss. From the Guardian’s play by play blog for the game, you can just sense how Federer was feeling.
Another error from Federer allows Nadal to get to 15-15. That’s Federer’s 16th unforced error in this set and a sign the great man is becoming more fallible. He clubs one into the net at 30-15, and the game goes to 30-30 as a great roar goes around the O2. He tries to make something happen, marching up to the net and then plonking the ball straight into it again. Match point Nadal. Federer charges into the net again, but puts the ball out. Nadal wins.
About halfway through the second set, his head went down and his body language suggested he knew there was nothing he could do. You sense he’s chasing one last win before calling it a day. The worry is that it might not come.
Nadal was efficient without ever being immaculate today. The feeling was that he just had to keep hitting the ball back and Federer’s age, tiredness and declining ability would do the rest. Still, this is the first time Nadal has ever beaten Federer indoors, so he looks rightly pleased with himself as he goes into the final.
It hard to see Federer on a decline, it’s something we’re not really used to. But that what happens as you get older; age plays a big factor in tennis. That couldn’t be more true in this match between two of the greatest to play the game.