Roger Federer appears to have Rafael Nadal’s DNA in his racket as he beat the Spaniard in two straight sets, 6-3 6-4 to lift the Miami Open title, two weeks after winning the Indian Wells Masters.
Federer, 35, became the oldest champion in the Miami tournament history. It was his third title and his first in 10 years.
Nadal, meanwhile, went home empty-handed again after five finals on Key Biscayne.
The pair shared 10 break points in the opening set, with Federer the only man to take one to crucially move 5-3 up.
He exuded control throughout, breaking at 4-4 in the second and serving out.
A sweeping backhand down the line in the final game summed up the confidence which poured from the champion from start to finish.
It helped him to move to an 11-match winning streak and improved his match record to 19 wins and just one defeat in 2017.
He looked cool and calm throughout and his dominance this year is perhaps all the more remarkable given he took six months off through the second half of the 2016 season to recover from a knee injury.
“I’m happy we’re both here together, and I enjoy playing against you,” Federer said, upon receiving his trophy and winners’ check for just over $1 million. “This is where it all started, in 2004, when you were a little boy that grew into a big man and strong man. We’ve had some epic matches over the years, which I didn’t always enjoy, but mostly we had some great battles.
“In 2005 I beat you very lucky in the finals here. I told you then you would win this tournament. I’ll say it again, you will win this tournament someday. You’re too good not to.”
Nadal thanked the crowd in English and Spanish, and congratulated Federer on his remarkable start to the 2017 season. Federer won the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami Open.
“Roger, congratulations on one of the best comebacks ever after an injury, so well done, I’m happy for you,” Nadal said.
“Thank you very much everybody in Miami. Even if I lost for the third time this year with Roger, it was a good start of the season, playing already three finals, disappointing for me that every three years I am here, in this position, but always with the smaller trophy.”
It was the 37th meeting between the Swiss and Spaniard, and the third this year. Federer won all three – in five sets at the Australian Open final, two weeks again at Indian Wells, Calif., and then on Sunday, in front of a packed stadium that showed love and respect for both players.
There were equal chants of “Vamos, Rafa!” as “Go Roger!” and late in the second half, the Federer fans sang: “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole! Ro-ger! Ro-ger!”
Nadal said: “I’m going to keep trying hard, and hopefully I won’t have to wait three more years to be in this position fighting again for a title.”
He then addressed the crowd in Spanish, drawing a huge cheer.
“To all the Latins here, thanks for all the love and support when I play here in Miami. For me it’s a very special feeling to play in front of you. I will see you next year.”
Federer said he doesn’t plan to play any clay tournaments until the French Open because “I’m not 24 anymore.”
But on Sunday afternoon, he looked like it.