Nadal, Federer highlight loaded draw at Master Series Hamburg

May 14, 2007 - 6:53 PM HAMBURG, Germany (Ticker) -- Rafael Nadal has been unbeatable on clay this season. The same cannot be said for Roger Federer.

Nadal and Federer headline a loaded draw at this week's $2.82 million ATP Masters Series Hamburg, which began Monday.

The world's second-ranked player and the No. 2 seed in this tournament, Nadal continued his dominance on clay Sunday by beating Fernando Gonzalez to win the Rome Masters event for the third consecutive season.

It was the 77th straight claycourt victory for Nadal, who owns the ATP all-time record for consecutive wins on a single surface. The previous record for most consecutive wins on any surface was John McEnroe, who won 75 in a row on indoor carpet from 1983-85.

Having not lost on clay since April 2005, the 20-year-old Nadal captured his 13th consecutive tournament on the surface, including the last two French Opens. Play at Roland Garros begins May 27.

Federer has not been nearly as successful on clay, losing to Nadal on the surface in the Monte Carlo final and being ousted by Filippo Volandri in the the round of 16 at Rome.

Despite the early exit, Federer retained the world's top ranking for a 172nd straight week. The Swiss star is just 7-4 since having his 41-game match winning streak snapped by Guillermo Canas in the second round at Indian Wells.

The event in Rome marked the fourth consecutive event that Federer has failed to capture a title - his longest drought as No. 1.

On Sunday, Federer announced on his web site that he was parting ways with coach Tony Roche.

Playing without a coach is not unprecedented for Federer. He had no guidance in 2004, when he won 11 tournaments, including three majors.

The top seed in this event, Federer has claimed three of his 47 career titles here, including back-to-back crowns in 2004 and 2005. He did not participate in this tournament last season.

Nine of the world's top 10 players are entered in this event, with fourth-ranked American Andy Roddick the only omission from that group. The top eight seeds all received first-round byes.

Monday's first-round schedule had 16 matches, including six featuring seeded players.

No. 10 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, 11th seed Richard Gasquet of France, 12th-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, 15th-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero and No. 16 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia all advanced to the second round with victories.

The only seeded player to fall Monday was 14th-seeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who was eliminated in straight sets by Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

Kohlschreiber broke Baghdatis three times in the first set and twice in the second en route to a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

First prize is $460,500.






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