Federer express derails Nalbandian

David Nalbandian usually got the better of Roger Federer as a junior and won their first five meetings on the senior circuit. Those days seemed a lifetime ago here yesterday as the world's best player won their semi-final in the Madrid Masters 6-4, 6-0 in just 58 minutes. In today's final, Federer will play Fernando Gonzalez, who beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-1 in a similarly one-sided contest.

There are just three world ranking places between Federer and Nalbandian, but the gulf in class was as wide as nearby Retiro Park. From the moment Federer opened with two aces, it was clear that Nalbandian's first semi-final since losing to the Swiss in the French Open would be an uphill struggle.

Federer pulverised the Argentine with glorious attacking strokes. The only blip came when he made four unforced errors to drop his serve for the first time this week at 4-2 in the first set, but he was quickly back on track. Nalbandian made plenty of mistakes, but most were the result of the pressure applied by Federer.

Not one for false modesty, Federer described the second set as "phenomenal". The last five points typified the variety of his play: an inside-out forehand winner down the line after wonderful movement of the feet, a high backhand volley behind a fine approach, a spanking backhand return winner down the line, a firm forehand winner into a corner, and a penetrating approach which forced a backhand error.

"The second set was when I could start to hit freely, to hit the returns more and take more chances," Federer said. "There were more and more good shots coming from my end. It was great fun. Maybe I made the crowd feel they were living through something special. In the end I told myself I might as well go for it - and it all worked out. It's a feeling you don't get very often."

Federer has reached the final of 14 of his 15 tournaments this year, his only slip having come in Cincinnati two months ago, when Andy Murray beat him in the second round. Rafael Nadal, who denied the Swiss in four finals in the spring, is the only other player who has beaten him since Nalbandian won their Tennis Masters Cup final in Shanghai last November.

Gonzalez played with confidence against Berdych, who was intimidated by the crowd's persistent jeers after the Czech had taunted them following his defeat of Nadal. Gonzalez has won 20 of his last 25 matches and reached the semi-finals or final of five of his last six tournaments, but the Chilean world No 10 will be acutely aware of his record against Federer, who has won all seven of their meetings.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate