World no.1 Rafael Nadal was able to walk away clinching the semifinals despite a crowd cheering for his opponent at the Sony Ericsson Open semis on Friday. The stands were packed and the crowd clearly expected a close match, but it was an easy win for Nadal who beat crowd-favorite Roger Federer with a score of 6-3, 6-2, giving him the chance to face off with Novak Djokovic in the finals. Djokovic had earned his place at the finals by beating Mardy Fish with a score of 6-3, 6-1.
Federer was in trouble since the first set, committing four unforced errors to fall behind 2-1, while Nadal won 13 of 15 points. He did not have any luck against Nadal’s accurate ground strokes and precise serves. In the first set Nadal only lost 2 of the 18 points on his serve. In the second set, Federer then fell behind 3-LOVE, which prompted the crowd to start chanting his name. However, instead of feeling buoyed up, Federer had mixed feelings about the crowd’s expression of support.
“I’m not sure I wanted it or not, because it meant I was down in the score.”
“It wasn’t easy for him tonight,” Nadal said. “I played a very, very good match, very solid and serious.”
Speculations that Federer was going soft at 29 is fueled by this recent loss to the much-younger Nadal, an issue that the Swiss tennis champ is clearly getting tired of.
”…but I know that I can do many more things in the game. I’m very excited by what’s to come still. I don’t feel like I’m 35 like you guys make me sound I am. I’m still only 29, and I have many more years left,” Federer said during an interview.
The match was the first in the US between Nadal and Federer in six years and generated a lot of buzz. Tickets for the match sold out in no time. The next anticipated match is between Nadal, current world number 1, and Djokovic, currently world no. 2, for the championship. If he wins, this will be Nadal’s first Key Biscayne title. Djokovic won the tournament in 2007.