In 2009, the Madrid Masters 1000 event switched from October to May and from indoor hard surface to clay at Caja Magica. In the first edition, Roger Feder defeated Rafael Nadal in the title match, and the Spaniard served revenge a year later to lift the trophy in front of the home fans.
In 2011, Roger and Rafa met in the semi-final, battling to determine who would face the world’s leading player Novak Djokovic in the title clash. After two hours and 36 minutes, Nadal prevailed 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 for the third straight Madrid final.
He bounced back after a tight opener and left Roger behind with a strong pace in sets two and three. It was their 24th meeting and the 16th triumph for the Spaniard, who conquered 11 of their 13 encounters on clay. Landing 81% of the first serve in, Nadal fended off nine out of 11 break chances.
He secured five breaks from 12 opportunities to control the scoreboard in the second part of the match and propel himself over the finish line. Rafa had more winners than unforced errors, taming his shots nicely and earning a massive advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes to forget the victory.
Federer was in touch in the more advanced exchanges, but his initial shot and the first groundstroke let him down completely, especially in set number two. Trying to keep the points on his racquet, Roger fired almost 40 winners and over 40 unforced errors.
He could not defend his backhand in a way he wanted and lost steam after a reliable performance in the opener.
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the 2011 Madrid Open semi-final.
Nadal grabbed a break in the encounter’s first game following a loose backhand from the Swiss and landed an ace in the next one to confirm the advantage.
The Spaniard survived three break points in the fourth game and closed it with a volley winner to remain in front. Rafa squandered a break chance in game five that could have sent him 4-1 in front. Instead, Roger forced Rafa’s error in the eighth game to pull the break back and defended two break opportunities at 5-5 with powerful forehands.
The Swiss found angles with his backhand on the return in the next game. He clinched a break after a forehand down the line winner and secured the opener 7-5 after a challenging 64 minutes. Rafa opened the second set with a break thanks to a forehand winner and fended off a break chance with a service winner a couple of minutes later to cement the advantage.
The Spaniard had the upper hand in those moments and delivered another successful return game that sent him further in front. The crowd’s favorite fired three winners in the closing stages of the fourth game to defend two break points and open a 4-0 gap.
Federer wasted a chance in the sixth game before spraying a backhand error on serve in the next one to suffer a break and hand the set to Rafa. Roger hit a backhand mistake to waste a break chance in the final set’s third game, which marked the beginning of his end.
In the next game, he suffered a break and allowed Nadal to forge a 4-1 advantage after a hold at love. Serving for the victory at 5-3, Rafa faced a break chance following an incredible rally and Roger’s drop shot winner.
Federer netted a return to squander a massive opportunity before Nadal sealed the deal two points later for the third straight Madrid final and the 28th at the Masters 1000 level at 25!