The King of Clay ruled in this oddest of matches between the two best players in tennis.
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5 4-6 7-6 (10) in an exhibition on Wednesday on a half-grass, half-clay court when the top-ranked Swiss failed to reach a forehand that took a funny bounce across the green side.
"We're used to playing long, hard games with a lot of tension involved," Federer said. "So it's fun to play on this half-grass, half-clay surface."
Nadal came into the match with a record 72 straight wins on clay. Federer hasn't lost on grass in four years - a 48-match run that includes four straight Wimbledon titles.
"It was a long match, with many changes of pace and with little time to adapt," Nadal said. "My feet are suffering as a price of having to adapt to the grass."
Federer was leading 4-1 in the tiebreaker before Nadal rallied. After the Spaniard double-faulted while ahead 6-5 the players traded match points. Nadal then hit three of the final four winners from the clay side before a sellout crowd of about 7,000.
The grass caused some tricky bounces, especially as the match progressed. But both players showed little difficulty in switching surfaces, as they changed shoes at changeovers.
The grounds crew on Wednesday's morning had to rip up and relay the grass court, which cost USD 1.