Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal has saved two match points on his way to defeating top-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland in the final of the Rome Masters tennis tournament in Italy.
The 19-year-old Nadal needed more than five hours Sunday to battle back for a marathon 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 victory. With the win, Nadal tied Argentine tennis legend Guillermo Vilas' 1977 record of 53 straight clay-court victories. The Spanish teen can break the record with a win against Germany's Tommy Haas in the first round of the Hamburg Masters next week.
The world number two Nadal has now beaten the top-ranked Federer in four straight matches, including in the semifinals last year at the French Open.
The Rome Masters is a clay-court warm-up for the French Open, which gets underway May 28. Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.