Federer forced to yield on Mantilla's factory floor

At the outset of the Rome Masters final yesterday between Roger Federer, the Swiss world No 5, and Felix Mantilla, of Spain, ranked No 47, here yesterday a French colleague, Philippe Bouin, remarked that there was class on one side of the net, and working class on the other.

At the outset of the Rome Masters final yesterday between Roger Federer, the Swiss world No 5, and Felix Mantilla, of Spain, ranked No 47, here yesterday a French colleague, Philippe Bouin, remarked that there was class on one side of the net, and working class on the other.

Working class, in the shape of the industrious, unspectacular Mantilla, prevailed, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6, after two hours and 40 minutes in sweltering heat. Federer, a master of all the shots, was unable to hit winners when chances presented themselves, particularly in the opening set, and suffered the consequences of 69 unforced errors.

Having collected his first title since the Palermo event in 2001, the tearful, 28-year-old Mantilla thanked the spectators for their support during the most successful week of his career. His compatriot Albert Costa, the French Open champion, and a rejuvenated Yevgeny Kafelnikov figured among Mantilla's hard-fought victories en route to the final, and he completed his triumph by refusing to yield to Federer, the man in form.

The 21-year-old Federer arrived in Rome after winning his third title of the year in Munich, and extended his winning sequence of sets to 23 before conceding one to Filippo Volandri, an Italian wild card, in the quarter-finals. Yesterday was one of those occasions he thought he had put behind him, when he would dip into his bulging tool box and select a spanner when he needed a screwdriver.

Federer, unable to convert any of seven break points in the first set, was nailed by Mantilla's second opportunity in the 12th game. Giving ground to Mantilla is bad news on any surface, but especially clay, on which he has won each of his 10 titles. When he played Kafelnikov in Saturday's semi-finals, the Russian served for the match at 6-5 in the second set, but Mantilla emerged the winner, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Even though Federer converted his eighth break point to break in the opening game of the second set, hitting a deep drive that Mantilla could not keep in play, this did not deter the Spaniard, whose confidence and determination enabled him to level the set to 2-2 and then break twice more, in the sixth and eighth games.

Federer gave his best in the third set, recovering from 0-2, helped by Mantilla's double-faulting on break point in the third game, and then breaking for 3-2 after Mantilla had lead, 40-0. Federer held two set points when serving at 5-4, only to double-fault to bring Mantilla back to 5-5.

The next game, with Mantilla serving, was epic: 26 points played over 14 minutes, with 10 deuces, seven break points and five game points, ending with Federer netting a forehand.

Having converted only three of 17 break points, Federer was fortunate to force the third set into a tie-break after twice double-faulting in the 11th game. Thankfully, the shoot-out added more drama, Federer crafting two more set points and saving two match points before Mantilla took the third for 10-8, returning a second serve and then watching a Federer forehand fly over the baseline.

"The way I came back in the last two matches," the overjoyed Spaniard said, "shows that I am also mentally strong."

Federer, who leaves today to defend the Hamburg Masters title, said: "The whole match was a disappointment. He doesn't go for outright winners. He plays very patiently. It's a bit boring. He plays it the same all the time. It doesn't matter if you hit a good ball, or a worse ball.

"I lost so many points today, but I felt I did the right things. I walked off the court thinking it was meant to be, that he was meant to win."

Mantilla, the blue collar champion, left the factory €400,000 (£286,000) richer.

* Tim Henman has been drawn against the American Jan-Michael Gambill in the first round of the Hamburg Masters today. Victory could mean a meeting with the Frenchman Sebastian Grosjean. Juan Carlos Ferrero, who has a shoulder injury, has followed Andre Agassi in pulling out of the event, meaning that the top two players in the ATP Champions Race will miss the event.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living