Swiss Roger Federer returns a ball to Czech Tomas Berdych during their final match of the Madrid Masters on May 13, 2012 at the Magic Box (Caja Magica) sports complex in Madrid. (credit: AFP PHOTO/ PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU)
Roger Federer became the first ever men's tennis player to win a tournament on blue clay when he beat Tomas Berdych in the final of the 2012 Madrid Masters.
Roger Federer won the Madrid Masters title on Sunday, beating Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5. The victory was the Swiss's seventh title in his last ten tournaments and he will now head to the Rome Masters as the world number two.
The 30-year-old has made no secret of his desire to regain the world number one spot and he was ruthless in Madrid, with some of his play evoking memories of his utter dominance of men's tennis at the start of the century. He came through some tough matches in the Spanish capital with his clutch play, in particular his serve, very impressive.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were both highly critical of the blue clay in Madrid and although Federer admitted it wasn't ideal, he showed great mental strength and maturity to adapt his game to the courts and in the end no player was able to live with him on the new surface.
Berdych came close in Sunday's final, winning the first set after an early break and the Czech did well to level the second set after going a break down himself. However, unlike Federer, the world number seven's serve let him down at crucial moments and he was broken at the end of both the second set and the final set, losing both 7-5.
Federer will now head to Rome as the world number two and that will stand him in good stead for the French Open as it will mean that he is likely to have a smoother passage to the semi finals than previously imagined. The Swiss has not won a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon 2010 but on current form he has to be considered one of the favourites at Roland Garros.