Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal in Charity Exhibition at Cape Town Stadium

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2020

Switzerland's Roger Federer reacts after a point against Spain's Rafael Nadal and American philanthropist Bill Gates during their double's tennis match at The Match in Africa at the Cape Town Stadium, in Cape Town on February 7, 2020. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP) (Photo by RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)
RODGER BOSCH/Getty Images

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in a charity match played at the Cape Town Stadium in South Africa on Friday. 

The match was created to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation, which provides education and athletic training to children in Africa. Both players also squared off in a doubles match earlier in the day, with Federer and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates beating Nadal and comedian Trevor Noah 6-3.

There was a notable moment for the home crowd before the start of play when Rugby World Cup winner Siya Kolisi presented Federer with a Springboks jersey.

A firm backhand gave Federer early control, but Nadal's service game was strong and so was his forehand. However, the Spaniard's serve was broken when he put a backhand wide and allowed Federer to take the first game.

It was 2-1 Federer when the Swiss stretched his advantage further by holding brilliantly on serve after racing into a 40-0 start. The players then traded holds, putting Federer closer to eventually seizing the set at 4-2.

Nadal's deft and precise lob at the net helped Nadal close it to 4-3. It was a well-controlled shot amid strong and difficult winds.

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The decorated veterans turned the clock back to their vintage best and treated the fans to some brilliant rallies:

Nadal soon returned the favour when his superb drop shot forced Federer into a stunning rescue from the baseline. Nadal got to the ball to return in style, with Federer slicing a forehand into the net.

Federer had lost the point, but he was still serving for the set at 5-4. An ace helped the 38-year-old see things out.

Nadal took control of the second set with an early break for a 2-0 lead. Federer broke back, but Nadal stayed on top en route to building a three-game advantage at 4-1, before the ballboy and ballgirl played a point:

The set was settled at 6-3 in Nadal's favour.

Federer's response was an emphatic one, wasting no time building a 3-0 lead thanks largely to a pair of quality service games. The score was 4-1 Federer when Nadal produced an exquisite trick shot, a terrific overhand volley when facing the other way, helping the 33-year-old halve the deficit.

As good as the shot was, Federer was still in a position to serve for the match three games later. He duly won with a clever drop over the net to hold serve to cap an occasion when two of the sport's greatest combined their talents to produce a true spectacle.

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