Nadal again. Of course. No one would have thought anything different. But he lost a set. He had to fight off Ferrer, and he didn’t look quite as impossible to beat as last week.
7-5 6-2 in the final. It was a rainy, patchy affair, extremely well played at times. Here is the best point by far: http://www.tennistv.com/tennistv/20100502/atp-rome-hot-shot-final_2252185_2041550
But there are others things to say about Rome Masters than just “Vamos Rafa”.
Spaniards on clay
Yes, they are always a force on the red stuff and we were on match away from having two all-Spanish semi-finals. Verdasco and Ferrer both look very strong at the moment, although it did hur a bit to see “Nando” choke away the first set, going from 5-1 to 5-7 and also 0-3 in the second set against Ferrer. Losing nine games in a row is not something you would expect of the new, improved Verdasco. Feliciano Lopez also made a good impression, losing only to Gulbis in the quarters.
The Latvian mega-talent showed both heart and skill in Rome. He fought like a Roman warrior and was the only one good enough to take a set off Nadal, making that one the best on clay so far this season. He also beat Roger Federer. Read more about Gulbis in this post.
Why can’t the world’s best player bother with the Masters? These tournaments are second only to Grand slams and carry 1000 ATP points each. Yet Federer fails to display any kind of hunger for them. Are you that spoiled winning 16 slams that you won’t care about anything less? It is a shame really, because these events should really be great events with all the top players turning up. Hopefully he can find some kind of motivation for Estoril next week, otherwise his claycourt preparation this year will look more than shaky.