Federer downs Nadal in first exhibition

Published Dec. 21, 2010 12:00 a.m. ET

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday to open a two-match exhibition series for charity between the world's best tennis players.

Federer sealed victory on Nadal's serve with a backhand crosscourt return for a winner in front of 10,000 spectators at the sold-out Hallenstadion indoor arena.

It was the first time they have played each other in Federer's native Switzerland.

The match raised money for the Roger Federer Foundation which backs educational work with children in Africa. It currently supports projects in Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and his mother's native South Africa.

''This is a special match for me, which I will remember forever,'' Federer said. ''I'm just so proud and so happy that we all made it work.''

The friendly rivals travel to Madrid on Wednesday for a return match in Nadal's home country in support of the Rafael Nadal Foundation.

''It was an unforgettable experience. I'm very happy to be part of this event,'' Nadal said.


The good-natured match was the showpiece of a telethon-like event broadcast live by Swiss television.

Swiss sports stars, including Olympic champion cyclist Fabian Cancellara and Alpine skier Didier Cuche, helped auction prizes they donated.

Also attending was United States skier Lindsey Vonn. The Olympic women's downhill champion is a fan and friend of Federer, and arrived in Zurich hours after competing in a World Cup slalom race in Courchevel, France.

In tournament play, Nadal has the advantage with a 14-8 career record against Federer.

The Swiss won their most recent meeting, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London last month.



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