Preview: After a week in which the surface rather than the players gracing it has made most of the headlines, the final of the Mutua Madrid Open takes place on Sunday.
Both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal exited the Masters 1000 event earlier than expected and heavily criticized the surface, even going as far to suggest that they would not return unless it is changed.
Roger Federer has battled on, though, and has been impressive in reaching the final where he will take on Tomas Berdych. For the former world No. 1, the six weeks he took off following the Masters Series event in Miami has paid off.
After surviving a big scare to squeeze past future star Milos Raonic in his opening match, Federer has rarely looked threatened as he won his next three matches in straight sets.
But the Swiss is expecting a tough battle against world No. 7, Berdych.
It's going to be a tough match. Berdych is playing well himself, Federer said, after overcoming Janko Tipsarevic in Saturday's semi-final, according to the ATP Tour website. It's quick conditions and he can be a big threat in the finals like that. I expect quick points and big shots from both sides.
There is huge incentive for Federer to get the win, though. Not only is there the opportunity to tie Nadal's record of 20 Masters 1000 titles, but the 30-year-old can also pass Nadal into second place in the ATP rankings.
It will likely not be easy-going on Sunday against Berdych who has won three of his last five meetings with Federer. But with a 10-4 overall advantage in head-to-heads with the Czech, including wins in both their clay-court meetings, Federer will be a heavy favorite.