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Thursday / October 18.
  • Federer Earns Fifth Straight Win Over Nadal to Take Shanghai Title

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    Two weeks after they teamed up to win a doubles match at the Laver Cup, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were once again on opposite sides of the net in the Shanghai Rolex Masters final.

    And as has been the case throughout their matches in 2017, No. 2 Federer proved victorious over No. 1 Nadal, taking out his arch-rival, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Shanghai title for the second time (2014).

    The loss snapped a 16-match winning streak for Nadal dating to a quarterfinal loss to Nick Kyrgios in Cincinnati in August.

    It was Federer’s fifth straight win over Nadal, including all four of their encounters this year. It was also the 94th career title for Federer, tying him with Ivan Lendl for second all-time behind Jimmy Connors (109.) Federer also won his 27th Masters 1000 crown, and his sixth title of 2017, tying him with Nadal for the most this year.

    The win also keeps alive Federer’s chances of becoming the year-end No. 1.

    “And almost to this day, Rafa and myself we went to Majorca and opened your Rafael Nadal Academy,” said Federer, who trails Nadal 23-15 all-time. “We didn’t think we were going to have the year we did, I definitely didn’t, so it’s just nice to share this court with you today. Hopefully there’s more to come in the tournaments we got left, and it’s been a pleasure playing against you today.”

    Federer, 36, began the year by overcoming a 1-3 deficit against Nadal, 31, in the fifth set of the Australian Open to win his 18th career Grand Slam title.

    Federer then dominated Nadal in straight sets in the Round of 16 in Indian Wells and in the final in Miami.

    By the time they met in Shanghai, the two legends had split all four of the year’s Grand Slam titles, with Federer winning his 18th and 19th at the Australian and then Wimbledon, and Nadal winning his 15th and 16th at the French Open and then the US Open.

    The two could have met in the semifinals in New York, but Federer fell to Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterfinals, preventing the first Federer-Nadal matchup in New York, where Nadal bested South African Kevin Anderson in the final.

    In Shanghai, the conditions were ideal for Federer, who beat del Potro in the semifinals on Saturday on a very fast surface.

    For the final, the roof was closed, making it an indoor hardcourt match that favored Federer with his dominant serve and attacking style.

    Federer didn’t face a break point the entire match and broke Nadal three times, including twice in the second set.

    “I want to congratulate Roger and his team for a great year,” Nadal said. “And today I think you played a great match. Well done, congrats, many congratulations.”

    Federer has now beaten Nadal five times in a row for the first time in his career. Nadal has beaten Federer five straight times on three separate occasions.

    “And, of course, I hope to be back next year,” said Federer, who will be 37 then.

    Photo: Jose Morgado

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.