Rafa & Roger: The Rivalry Page 4
by ATP Staff | 19.05.2013
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2005 Roland Garros, Paris, SF. Nadal d. Federer 63 46 64 63
Theirs was the most eagerly awaited match of the tournament. Federer was already No. 1 in the world and fast-rising Nadal was at No. 5.

Nadal came to Roland Garros on the heels of clay-court titles at the ATP Masters Series events at Monte-Carlo in April (d. Coria) and at Rome in May (d. Coria again). Federer, meanwhile, was fresh off of his second straight clay-court crown at Masters Series Hamburg in May (d. Gasquet).

Federer evened the score by winning the second set, but after that his form fell as the wet and dark conditions set in. Nadal kept the pressure on, ousting Federer in four sets on the way to winning the Roland Garros title on debut (d. Puerta in the final).

2005 NASDAQ-1OO Open, Miami, F. Federer d. Nadal 26 67(4) 76(5) 63 61
Federer was primed for revenge. Again he came into the Miami event with only one loss for the year (to Safin in the semifinals of the Australian Open) and fresh off a title in Indian Wells (d. Hewitt). Nadal was a year older and wiser, already having won three ATP titles.

The balls were flying at Federer from Nadal's exploding topspin groundstrokes, and the Spaniard was running down every ball in sight. Before he knew it, Federer was down 5-3 in the third set tie-break, two points from defeat. But he rallied back, and leveled the head-to-head series at 1-1

2004 NASDAQ-100 Open, Miami, 3rd RD. Nadal d. Federer 63 63
Federer came into the ATP Masters Series event on a roll, having won the Australian Open final over Marat Safin in February and the Pacific Life Open (also a Masters Series event) in Indian Wells over Tim Henman just before coming to Miami. He had lost only once in 2004 prior to this match (in the quarterfinals of Rotterdam to Henman).

Nadal, the youngest man in the tournament at 17, was just starting to emerge as a force on the ATP circuit and hadn’t yet won a title.

He breezed by Federer in only 69 minutes for the best win of his career at that point. The Spaniard said after the match that it was probably the best he had ever served.

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