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Federer eyes French Open after Nadal breakthrough
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May 21, 2007 09:04 IST

Roger Federer is itching to get his French Open campaign started after beating Rafael Nadal on clay for the first time in Sunday's Hamburg Masters final.

Federer, playing more aggressively than in five previous defeats by Nadal on clay, came from a set down to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 and snap the Spaniard's 81-match winning streak on the surface, a run dating back to April 2005.

"It's absolutely a breakthrough," Federer said at a news conference. "It will be interesting to see how we both react to it in the French Open."

Federer's first title in five tournaments ended his worst drought since he became world number one in 2004 and it came in the first week since he split from coach Tony Roche.

"For me it's just nice to be playing well again," said Federer, who has won 10 Grand Slams but never the French Open. "It's not that I was playing so badly but it's my first clay-court title in a couple of years so that's great.

"I had a tough draw but I beat really top-class players. I'm feeling very good going into the French Open and I'm excited it's coming around now."

The French Open starts next Sunday at Roland Garros in Paris.

Nadal congratulated the Swiss on being the man to end his winning streak.

The 20-year-old Nadal, French Open champion for the past two years, put the defeat down to a punishing run that had already brought him four titles this year.

"I was mentally just a little off," Nadal said. "You can tell I was not quite right because otherwise taking a set off me 6-0 on clay is not that easy.

"But I'm very happy to have reached the final. I think I'm playing better tennis than ever."

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