Nadal Passes Federer On Masters 1000 Wins Leaderboard

Spaniard improves to 4-0 against Argentina's Pella

For a guy who doesn't like to play in the wind, Rafael Nadal sure made a good impersonation of someone who prefers a gust here and there during his record-breaking performance on Thursday.

The World No. 2 steamrolled ahead in Montreal, beating Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 to win his 379th ATP Masters 1000 match, breaking a tie with Roger Federer for the all-time lead. Nadal said he doesn't enjoy playing in windy conditions, but he also relishes the mental challenge the conditions provide.

“[It was] a tough day in terms of wind. But we are used to playing like this. When we play on outdoor courts, that's part of the game, too. Of course it is better to play without this kind of wind,” Nadal said.

“At the same time, it is beautiful to play under tough conditions because then the player who has different options to play has better chances to survive these kind of days.

"It's about adapting and being focused mentally. Of course, I prefer to play without these conditions, but in some way I enjoy.”

Nadal, the all-time ATP Masters 1000 titles leader (34), was on top of the Argentine from the start, breaking in the second game and nailing 1-2 punches Pella couldn't handle.

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When the rallies did extend, Nadal had those mostly under control as well, delivering a crowd-pleasing skyhook overhead midway through a rally in the opening set. The Spaniard faltered in the sixth game of the second set, suffering his lone break of serve, but broke back immediately to regain the advantage.

The top seed improved to 36-8 at the Canadian Masters 1000 event. Nadal must reach the final to prevent Federer from displacing him as World No. 2 on Monday when the new ATP Rankings are released.

The Spaniard will next meet Italy's Fabio Fognini, who beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 7-5. Nadal leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Fognini 11-4, although Fognini beat him in straight sets earlier this year at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Nadal needs to reach the final to keep Roger Federer from 

“He's having a great season, one of the best of his career, if not the best,” Nadal said. “I need to be playing well. I think today I played better than yesterday, so I hope tomorrow I continue with this improvement. That's what I need if I want to keep having chances to be through.”

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The Spaniard is playing in only his second tournament since winning his 12th Roland Garros title in June, but he's yet to drop a set this week through two matches, beating Brit Daniel Evans in his opener. Nadal commented on playing in windy conditions while defending his Paris title two months ago.

When it's too windy in academy, I go to the indoors... Of course being from an island, we have wind, yes. But if you ask me if I prefer to play with wind or without, I prefer to play without,” Nadal said. “Another thing is normally I adapt myself well to windy conditions.”

He has been adapting to any conditions and any tournament of late, reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals last month (l. to Federer). Nadal is trying to defend a hard-court title for the first time in his career and become the first player this season to win two Masters 1000 titles (Rome).

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