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Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Saturday, 7 May 2011 15:03 UK

Rafael Nadal v Roger Federer as it happened


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By Piers Newbery

1800: That's your lot from me for today, Novak Djokovic takes on Thomaz Bellucci in the second semi-final later and if the Serb continues his unbeaten run, we'll be back for the final on Sunday. Thanks for your input this afternoon.

Rafael Nadal
1757: Rafael Nadal - "It's always a special feeling to play against Roger. It probably wasn't one of our best matches because we both made mistakes. I'm really happy for the victory but it's a terrible day for Spain, and for the world, because we lost one of the greats in sport." And on the final? "I would prefer to play against Bellucci, that's the truth."

Nadal 5-7 6-1 6-3 Federer
Federer hits a blistering forehand down the line when on the back foot and Nadal is under the cosh a little at 15-30. A key moment and the Spaniard unleashes a huge forehand. It's 30-30 and we get the rally of the day. Incredible stuff from both men, with Federer taking the initiative, and he grabs it with a killer drop shot. Break point.... and Federer nets a backhand return. That is his last chance as Nadal serves his way to match point... and closes it out with big fist pump.

* Nadal 5-7 6-1 5-3 Federer
A brilliant punched backhand winner suggests Nadal might be about to finish this one off on the Federer serve but the Swiss comes through and will make him close it out.

Nadal 5-7 6-1 5-2 Federer *
Nadal holds easily enough and this one appears to be done. Maybe Rafa wants to get back in time for So You Think You Can Dance.

alan_281 on Twitter: "Come on #Federer.. your forehand has been more erratic than my attendance at university!!"

* Nadal 5-7 6-1 4-2 Federer
Federer smacks away a smash to take the game to 15 but he looks a bit forlorn at the moment. As though he could have found better ways to spend the last two hours and 20 minutes.

Nadal 5-7 6-1 4-1 Federer *
Federer ambles over to change his racquet before the game starts and aims a couple of barbed comments towards the umpire. In fairness, I think ump got both contentious decisions correct. Nadal starts the game with a great forehand winner and holds to love in quick fashion. Hard to see a way back for Federer now.

* Nadal 5-7 6-1 3-1 Federer
A Nadal mishit lands on the baseline and helps him to 15-15 but Federer makes his way to game point and seems to have taken it with a forehand. Nadal thinks it's out though, and the umpire gets down from his chair to check it before agreeing with the world number one. Rog won't like that. He's even less pleased when Nadal chases down a drop shot and angles a backhand winner. Break point... and Federer goes long with the backhand.

Smarties1093 on Twitter: "Really really want Fed to win this one. He's still got it and a win here would be a good way to prove it."

Nadal 5-7 6-1 2-1 Federer *
Nadal gets pumped up after whipping over a heavy forehand winner when under pressure at 15-30. Some brilliant defence from Federer catches out the Spaniard and he earns himself what could be a decisive break point.... but sends a regulation backhand long. "Juego, Nadal."

* Nadal 5-7 6-1 1-1 Federer
Nadal pounces on a short approach from Federer and smacks a backhand winner up the line, before a decent return off that wing catches out Federer as the Swiss attempts to serve-volley. Federer gets back to 30-30 with a nice backhand winner into the open court and fires a forehand into the same corner for game point. Another beauty of a forehand and that game should be a confidence booster.

Nadal 5-7 6-1 1-0 Federer *
Nadal races to a love hold. Anyone fancy Rog for this now?

* Nadal 5-7 6-1 Federer
We are going to a third set. Nadal hammers a forehand drive volley for 15-30 and Federer then gets a dodgy bounce. Two set points.... and Nadal wraps it up to force the decider after one hour and 51 minutes.

Nadal 5-7 5-1 Federer *
Great footwork from Federer helps him sweep a forehand winner into the corner for 30-40 and break point.... but Nadal fires a backhand half-volley off the baseline that is Agassiesque as he sees it off. Federer has another half-chance at deuce but nets a backhand volley with the open court gaping and Nadal holds. That should ensure we'll be going to a third set.

Mattdavies26 on Twitter: "Would love to see federer put together some good results to challenge nadal and novak cause he is still class."

* Nadal 5-7 4-1 Federer
Nadal runs around a backhand to thump away a forehand for 30-40 and then scrambles a backhand right onto the baseline to force a Federer error. Deuce, and after seeing a game point slip by Federer misses a forehand to offer up break point.... big serve, high forehand drive from Federer and he holds.

A celeb has been spotted
Nadal 5-7 4-0 Federer *
Funny old match this, Nadal now facing two break points but fending them off with a couple of first serves, the second jamming into Federer's body. Film director Pedro Almodovar looks on from behind shades, doubtless dreaming up his latest wacky arthouse flick. Down in front of him, Nadal consolidates the double-break.

* Nadal 5-7 3-0 Federer
Federer is in trouble at 0-30 but plays his way back into the game with yet another wrong-footer and a crisp backhand up the line, followed up by a sharp volley. It's not enough though as break point arrives and Federer swings a cross-court forehand into the tramlines.

Text in your views on 81111
From Kevin, Sussex, via text: "I can confirm that the ball girls are indeed models having studied them closely during this set. Purely of course to establish accuracy in this live text."

Nadal 5-7 2-0 Federer *
A still fuming Federer plays a beautiful opening point and gets a huge slice of luck with a dead net cord to force deuce. An attacking forehand forces the error from Nadal and it's break point.... Nadal saves it with a first serve and goes on to hold.

* Nadal 5-7 1-0 Federer
Nadal responds with the heavy artillery as expected and bullies his way to 15-40 and two break points.... Federer wrong-foots him again on the first and attacks the net successfully behind a heavy slice on the second. A loose forehand hands Nadal a third break point though..... uh-oh, trouble. Federer insists that a Nadal forehand is out but both the line judge and the umpire disagree. Hawkeye tells TV viewers that the ball was in but, because this is clay, the technology is not available to the players. Which is ridiculous. Federer had actually returned the ball but stopped playing as he thought it was out.

Nadal 5-7 Federer *
Federer steps in and attacks a Nadal second serve on the opening point and dominates from the forecourt to make it 30-30. The Swiss then flips a stunning cross-court backhand winner past Nadal and it's set point.... great return and, after a slight slip, Federer finds his footing to crunch away a forehand. Quite a turnaround from 4-2 down and, despite 19 unforced errors, a reminder that Federer is still a major threat.

Brad Gilbert on Twitter: "That was a huge hold from the Fed from 0-40 clutch serving and playing very big from the back of the court."

* Nadal 5-6 Federer
A classic Nadal rally of deep, vicious topspin pins Federer back and forces the error for 0-30, and Nadal then hits a fearsome cross-court backhand for 0-40 and three break points.... three first serves followed up by a couple of terrific forehands behind Nadal save the Swiss and both men are finding their best stuff now.

Nadal 5-5 Federer *
Pressure on Nadal? Not so much. The world number one holds to 15 and, although he's not been at his best, a first-serve percentage of 85% is still making him very tough.

* Nadal 4-5 Federer
Well, well... Federer comes through his service game impressively and takes the lead, despite having played like a drain for most of the afternoon so far.

azkiya01 on Twitter: "Jakarta's traffic stands between me & Madrid semis on telly. Hope it's d'match that last longer than d'taxi driver's struggle."

Sunday Times correspondent Barry Flatman on Twitter: "Now Fed is getting into his stride, mixing things up and going on the offensive."

Nadal 4-4 Federer *
Federer is showing signs life as more positive play gets him to 15-30 but Nadal responds, and Federer's backhand breaks down with the game in the balance at 30-30. Nadal falters though and, at deuce, Federer plays a blistering forehand on the run. Break point... and Federer takes it with a heavy, angled backhand that Nadal nets.

* Nadal 4-3 Federer
What would Tim do? Whenever I face a tricky situation, I find that imagining what the Tiger would do never steers me far wrong. In this case, it's serve and volley and Federer does exactly that to kick off his best game of the day, rounded off with a smooth forehand down the line. A colleague has just given me a chocolate cupcake. Things are looking up.

Nadal 4-2 Federer *
Federer makes no impact at all on the Nadal serve as the Spaniard holds to love and this could already have been a lot worse than a single break the way he's playing.

* Nadal 3-2 Federer
Oof. Federer has a face like thunder after missing a sitter at the net, and moments later Nadal cracks a forehand up the line past the advancing Swiss. Break point.... but Nadal misses a backhand and Federer comes through.

Nadal 3-1 Federer *
Nadal looks almost comical as he tries desperately to run around his backhand as Federer repeatedly pins him into the corner. Good, aggressive stuff, and when Nadal thumps a forehand over the baseline it's 15-40 and two break points.... Federer goes long with a backhand on the first and nets a forehand under pressure on the second. Nadal then nets a backhand on the stretch but Federer cannot convert his third break point. Nadal takes the game after Federer has a bit of a whinge to the umpire about a ball girl who was too quick off the mark. Not sure if they're the models or normal ball girls, rest assured I will keep an eye on that. Meanwhile, I can hear the sound of thousands of children screaming deep in the bowels of Television Centre. Lordy, it's So You Think You Can Dance night.

* Nadal 2-1 Federer
Federer looks in control of the game at 40-15 but then blazes one forehand well wide and drags the next into the net. Nadal surprisingly misses with a backhand return and lets Federer off the hook, the Swiss finally seeing out the game.

sburnejames on Twitter: "Former No.1 Carlos Moya described this match as the Madrid-Barcelona of tennis, but without all the bad stuff. Amen to that."

Nadal 2-0 Federer *
A nice rolled backhand winner gives Federer a boost but that side then lets him down on the return and Nadal smacks an ace down the middle for an easy hold.

* Nadal 1-0 Federer
Nadal takes the first point of the day with a brilliant backhand cross-court pass, greeted by a huge cheer, and a Federer double-fault sees the Swiss taken to deuce. An error hands Nadal break point.... and Federer frames a backhand. Nervy start from Rog.

1514: The roof is across as Madrid has been hit with something of a deluge today apparently, and with the altitude also adding a bit of pace to proceedings, Federer might feel a bit more confident. Rog to serve...

5 live's David Law on Twitter: "A quite electric atmosphere inside the Magic Box as Nadal/Federer came out. Then they played a tribute to Seve. Nadal had tears in eyes."

1503: So to today's Madrid Open semi-final and the 24th edition of one of tennis's great rivalries. Nadal leads 15-8 but Federer did get one of only two victories on clay over the Spaniard in Madrid two years ago. Get in touch via twitter (#bbctennis) or, if you're in the UK, text on 81111.

1500: Afternoon. On a sad day for Spain, and beyond, one of the leading lights of a currently brilliant sporting nation pays tribute to one of the few to transcend their sport. "What Seve did in sport is unbelievable," says Rafael Nadal. "These are tough moments. He was one of the greats of this country without a doubt, a reference point for all Spanish athletes." Possibly the best tribute Nadal can pay is by showing us the very best of Spain and of sport, and there is no better way to showcase that than on court with Roger Federer.

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see also
Nadal & Federer to meet in Madrid
06 May 11 |  Tennis
Ragged Murray beaten by Bellucci
05 May 11 |  Tennis
Del Potro withdraws from Madrid
05 May 11 |  Tennis
Wozniacki falls to Goerges again
05 May 11 |  Tennis
Murray labours to Madrid victory
05 May 11 |  Tennis

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