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March 23 2018, 01:35 | Van Peters
But this time he was up against it nearly right away.
It will now be the fourth time and third time in a final when Federer and Nadal will clash with each other this season.
The 19-time Grand Slam victor, who won his 94th tournament as a professional in Shanghai, can still finish this year with a flourish by regaining the World Number One spot.
Nadal, who has also got back to his best in the 2017 following on from severe injury issues that have threatened his future in the sport, claimed a 10th French Open championship on clay, but has come up short against Federer on every occasion throughout the calendar year.
"It's been a tough week, five straight matches is always a test and a challenge for anybody's body, especially with the pressure rising", he said.
"So I'm able to stay on the hard courts or on faster courts against him, but I have been playing very well when I have faced off against him", he added.
"I had no nerves before the match, surprisingly".
Federer holds a record 19 Grand Slam titles, three ahead of Nadal after both players cast off injuries to add two more major victories this year in a surprise resurgence.
But Nadal was quick to dismiss those queries, insisting he has no worries as the end-of-year ATP World Tour Finals approach.
Somewhere in the stadium somebody rattled a cow bell and Federer responded by making it 4-2 with two booming aces in a row. The 19-time Grand Slam champion broke in the opening game, played attacking points with objective and never permitted the 10-time Roland Garros to get comfortable or extend rallies. He needed three sets on both occasions.
The timeless Federer rubbished that notion as he seared his way to a 5-3 first-set lead.
In what was his first trophy since conquering the All England Club on the grass of Wimbledon in early July, Federer beat the Spaniard 6-4, 6-3 in emphatic fashion.
Nadal's defeat sees Federer close the gap at the top of the world rankings as the year approaches its climax.
The Spaniard called it "an emotional year".
He is on the wrong side of 35 and given the physical demands of the clay surface, it wouldn't surprise me if we never see the 19-time major victor appear on the surface again. "It's been a pleasure playing against you again today".
He declined to say if he had been hampered by a problem with his right knee, which had a bandage on it during the match.
"I thought it was a really good match". "After losing final is not the moment".