Roger Federer will return to No. 2 in the ATP rankings today after beating Tomas Berdych to win the Madrid Open tennis tournament. Serena Williams won the women’s final to seal back-to-back clay-court titles.
Federer beat Berdych of the Czech Republic 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on the blue clay yesterday to claim a 20th Masters 1000 trophy, tying Rafael Nadal for the most titles in the tier below the Grand Slams.
Federer, 30, will take the No. 2 ranking behind Novak Djokovic from Nadal, the ATP World Tour said. Since losing to Djokovic in last year’s U.S. Open semifinals, Switzerland’s Federer has a 45-3 record in a run that’s yielded seven titles.
“It’s been a great spell and I couldn’t be more happy right now coming off a break winning right away,” Federer said in comments released by the ATP.
Nadal and Djokovic complained about the color and bounce of the blue clay in Madrid as they lost in earlier rounds. Tournament organizers said they switched from red clay to boost the event’s profile.
In the Madrid women’s final, Williams of the U.S. beat top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-1, 6-3 to follow up her success in Charleston, South Carolina, last month and claim her 41st career title.
Williams, whose WTA ranking rose three places to No. 6 with the victory, improved her record on clay this year to 13-0, having also won two Fed Cup matches on the surface.
The French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, starts May 27 in Paris.
“I actually love the clay but my results haven’t been stellar,” Williams said after beating Azarenka. “I have won the French Open and lots of clay-court tournaments, though. It’s really a myth about me not liking clay. I like it more than grass, which is weird. Hopefully I can start doing better.”