Rome Masters: Rafa Nadal beats Roger Federer in just over an hour in Italy
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 20/05/13 5:07pm
Rafa Nadal: Rome master against Federer
Rafa Nadal took just over an hour to send Roger Federer packing and claim the Rome Masters title after winning the 30th ATP Tour clash between the two giants 6-1 6-3.
For their landmark meeting Federer produced one of his worst performances, with Nadal capitalising in ruthless fashion to move to 20-10 against Federer and 13-2 on his beloved clay surface.
In a perfect tune-up for next week's French Open for the 26-year-old Spaniard, Nadal took just an hour and eight minutes to pick up the title at the Foro Italica.
Federer's performance was littered with errors, as the Swiss made 32 unforced mistakes in just 16 games, while his serves was also misfiring as he could only find his first serve 58 percent of the time.
Nadal forced six break points and took five of them, while Federer managed just one break of the Nadal serve from his two break points.
Nadal continue to show no signs of the knee injury that kept him out of the game for seven months, with the win in Rome taking improving his run to three straight tournament victories.
It was also a sixth tournament win overall of the year, and he will head to Roland Garros in the best possible confidence as he goes in search of a eighth French Open title and fourth in a row.
"It's a very important day, a very happy day for me after a difficult year last year," said Nadal. "It is really emotional for me to win a tournament with such a long history as Rome.
"I am just enjoying the moment and valuing it more than ever because I know where we were just a few months ago. Being here a few months later with all I have achieved is really more than a dream."
Federer admitted he had been outplayed, adding: "It didn't go how I hoped and I was missing too many easy forehands and crucial points.
"He does an incredible job returning form the back of the court and it is hard because he covers the court so well. You need to serve accurately. When Rafa is at his best he creates opportunities in rallies and dictates. It was difficult to change."
Nadal was seeded just fifth in Rome, despite winning six titles in eight years in the event, after losing rankings points during his spell on the sidelines, but it was soon apparent who the top dog on clay is in the final.
The first set slipped away from Federer quick as a flash, with Nadal taking it 6-1 in just 23 minutes courtesy of two breaks of serve.
Federer was a touch better in the second set, and showed some resistance by breaking to make it 5-2 in the seventh game, but after a hold he could not repeat the dose as Nadal brought up his 24th Masters title.