Roger Federer showed just why he’s the greatest tennis player of all time with a consummate performance against Rafael Nadal in the Shanghai Masters final.
The Swiss star came through in just 72 minutes, winning 6-4 6-3 to capture his sixth title of the year.
Federer has now beaten his Spanish rival four times in 2017 alone, highlighting just how well he is playing this year.
The 35-year-old attributed his success over Nadal due to a change in racquet, as well as avoiding the French Open champion during the clay season.
“I’ve not played him so much on clay - that’s helped me not lose there,” Federer said after the win, per Metro. “That’s definitely helpful to avoid the entire clay-court season.
“Other than that I think with the bigger racquet head size it allows me to come through the ball easier, I’m not having to slice the ball so much as I ever have against him.
“It also helps me on the serve to be honest. My serve has been very consistent ever since changing the racquet and getting used to it.”
Nadal reacted to the defeat on Twitter
The return of Federer and Nadal to the top of world tennis has been one of the best storylines in all of sport this year. Only Federer can prevent the US Open champion from being the number one at the end of the year.
Nadal remained in high spirits following the defeat. He followed up his win at Flushing Meadows with victory in the China Open and an appearance in the final in Shanghai, so there’s plenty of reasons to be confident.
And the 31-year-old’s tweet after his defeat to Federer shows his confidence hasn’t wavered.
“Great tour in China, with the title in Beijing and the final in Shanghai! This isn't over, let's keep going!” he wrote.
Federer, who has closed the gap in his head-to-head record against Nadal to 23-15, will now shift his focus to the ATP Finals in London next month.
“I'll go home and we will work out where I play next, Basel, Paris, one of those or none, before I go to London, which is my priority," he added, per BBC Sport.
"World number one I don't think will happen but if I play like this maybe I'll get close, who knows?"