MADRID — Roger Federer won the Madrid Open for the third time Sunday, rallying past Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on the new blue clay court and overtaking Rafael Nadal for the No. 2 ranking.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams overpowered top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 to capture the title. Azarenka, who had won her four previous tournaments, was so exasperated she smashed her racket to the ground.
Federer prevailed in a tournament in which top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Nadal had already been eliminated, both blaming the court their early exits.
“It is amazing to win here again,” said Federer, whose other titles came in 2006 and 2009. “It has been a tough tournament. Tough to move, but you’ve got to try to make the most of it. Here there was some good tennis and some bad tennis, but you see that in all tournaments.”
Federer defeated an opponent who had beaten him in three of their previous five matches. Berdych hit 14 winners and made just two unforced errors in a dominant first set.
The Swiss star, however, found his ground game, breaking twice to even the score and force the decisive third set. He finally won after Berdych saved three championship points.
“Tomas played very well,” Federer said. “I’m sure we will see each other many more times and they will be quality matches like this one.”
Berdych was in control most of the way but became erratic as the pressure grew in the deciding set. Serving to send the match to a tiebreaker, he fell behind 0-40. He rallied to force deuce, only to hit long and then net his final volley to end the match in just more than 2½ hours.
“He showed that he is really the star,” Berdych said.
In a match between two of the tour’s heaviest hitters, Williams battered Azarenka with her big serves and fierce returns to take the first four games.
“I can still do better,” said Williams, who took a yearlong absence because of illness in 2011. “This is really good. I have been working hard. I had some tough battles and really unfortunate circumstances so I really love this.”
Williams served 14 aces on her way to avenging her only loss in six previous meetings with Azarenka. The 13-time Grand Slam winner was beaten by the Belarus star in the 2009 final in Miami.
Williams won the 41st title of her career and second this season. She is unbeaten in her last 13 matches on clay. Azarenka had won her four previous tournaments.
As her frustration boiled over, Azarenka smashed her racket moments before Williams blasted a return by her to break a point. Williams sealed the victory in 64 minutes with her final ace.