Federer Controls Nadal and Will Meet Ferrer in Final

Copyright The New York TImes
By HOWARD W. FRENCH
Published: November 18, 2007
SHANGHAI, Nov. 17 — Roger Federer followed up a routine-looking performance Friday against a player he usually dominates with a dominating performance Saturday against the only player who routinely challenges him.
For the first eight taut games of the Masters Cup semifinal pitting Federer against Rafael Nadal on Saturday, it was Nadal who perhaps played the cleaner tennis, if only just. From that point, though, it was almost all Federer, as he found his rhythm, renewed his acquaintance with a serve that had been the consistent highlight of his week here and ran away with the match.
Federer’s 6-4, 6-1 victory over Nadal roughly mirrored his performance against fifth-ranked Andy Roddick on Friday night.
“If he is playing very good, I have to play unbelievable,” Nadal said, before adding, “If not, it’s impossible, especially if he’s playing with good confidence.”
Federer, who like Nadal lost a match in the first stage of this round-robin tournament, seemed particularly pleased with his performances against Nadal and Roddick. He all but said the efforts should put to rest the idea that he was becoming more vulnerable after recent back-to-back losses.
“I’m happy to have proved myself, you know, yet again,” Federer said. “It was similar at the U.S. Open. I was struggling a little bit to get to the last 16 or quarters, and then I beat everybody in straight sets.”
In the final, Federer will face David Ferrer, a counterpuncher for whom this tournament has been something of a coming-out party. In Saturday’s first semifinal, Ferrer’s 6-1, 6-3 victory over Roddick was even more comprehensive than Federer’s had been.
Roddick was unable to trade shots for long from the baseline against Ferrer, whose speed, conditioning and a vastly improved forehand left a string of exasperated players. And when Roddick attempted to rush the net, often following ineffective approach shots, Ferrer, who has not lost in this tournament, passed him at will.
“I don’t think you can underestimate speed,” Roddick said. “I think everybody was predicting, you know, in the late ’90s that power was taking over the game.”
Of Ferrer, he added: “He’s fast. I mean, I don’t think you can say that lightly, you know. That’s a big factor in today’s game.”
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