It is surely folly to place too much importance on a single match on the tennis calendar, a match that isn't even a part of a Slam. But this match, the singles final of the last Masters tournament before the French Open as contested by Federer and Nadal, has been the pivotal moment of the tennis year for each of the past two years. In 2008, Nadal won in Hamburg and went on to win three of the next four Slams and claim year-end #1. In 2009, Federer won in Madrid and did exactly the same. There is no reason to believe that it will happen again except for the fact that it very well could. Nadal now heads to Paris on an unprecedented clay season hot streak. And to think, just a few months ago, people were saying that Rafa might be finished.
Today's was not the greatest of Federer-Nadal matches but so much talent on one court never fails to inspire a few moments of unmatched brilliance. Nadal was the better man as he nearly always is on clay. It's hard to imagine anyone stopping him at Roland Garros now.
My risky picks did me no good in the draw challenge. Of my predicted semifinalists, only Rafa made it through. I finished in the bottom 1% - yikes! Overall, I'm now in the top 25%.
To follow up from yesterday, Barcelona took care of business, beating Real Valladolid 4-0 to claim the league title.