Roger Federer scored his biggest victory against Rafael Nadal in more than three years, picking apart his top-ranked rival in the championship match of the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.
Federer, who completed an undefeated week in London, broke Nadal's serve twice in the final frame of a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory. Federer ticked his career mark against the Spaniard up to 8-14.
The celebrated Federer-Nadal rivalry has become better known for Federer’s epic defeats since the Swiss’s last big win against the Spaniard, in the final of Wimbledon in 2007. But Federer acquitted himself on Sunday with several searing one-handed backhands — including one for the crucial first-set break — that neutralized Nadal's customary game plan of attacking that weaker wing.
Nadal dropped only his second final of 2010 against seven titles, including the year's final three Grand Slams.
Federer’s fifth year-end title, and first since 2007, upped the 29-year-old’s chances of retaking the top ranking from his 24-year-old nemesis in 2011. The Swiss, who endured a Grand Slam slump by his standards after winning his 16th major at the Australian Open in February, closed the year with three titles in four events.