ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Roger Federer thumps Gonzalez to set Rafael Nadal clash

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ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Roger Federer thumps Gonzalez to set Rafael Nadal clash

Competing at Monte Carlo Masters 1000 event for the sixth time in 2006, Roger Federer scored his best result in the Principality up to that point, advancing into the first out of three consecutive finals. A year earlier, Richard Gasquet prevailed over the Swiss in the deciding set tie break in the quarter-final and Roger came back stronger 12 months later, beating the upcoming star Novak Djokovic in the first round and dropping just six games against Alberto Martin and Benjamin Balleret to find himself in the quarters.

There, Federer needed an hour to dismiss world no. 15 David Ferrer, setting the semi-final clash against Fernando Gonzalez. It was their sixth meeting (the fourth on clay) and Roger produced a dominant 6-2, 6-4 triumph in 69 minutes to remain unbeaten against the Chilean, advancing into the first Monte Carlo final where he would lose to Rafael Nadal.

Like in the previous three encounters, Federer had the upper hand all the time, fending off all three break chances and mounting the pressure on the other side of the court all the time. Gonzalez lost 42% of the points in his games, suffering three breaks from six opportunities offered to the Swiss to propel him into the title match.

They had a similar number of errors and Federer was the one who dominated in the winners segment, hitting 20 direct points and keeping his rival on mediocre seven. Gonzalez stayed in touch in the mid-range and most extended exchanges while Roger had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four shots, forging his victory in that segment with sharp serves and the first groundstrokes.

Federer drew first blood already in the opening game, stealing Gonzalez's serve with a forehand down the line winner and confirming the break with a smash winner in game two. The Swiss remained in front with a perfect slice winner in game four, securing another break a few minutes later following a double fault from Fernando and opening a 4-1 advantage.

Serving in game six, Federer fended off two break chances and brought the game home with a service winner, sealing the opener with three winners at 5-2 in less than 30 minutes. Gonzalez made a better start in set number two, delivering two holds and earning a break chance at 2-1 that Roger denied with another booming serve, landing a forehand winner to close the game and level the score at 2-2.

With the momentum on his side, Federer grabbed a break at 15 in the next game with a drop shot winner, moving in front and holding with a service winner to gain a 6-2, 4-2 advantage. Serving at 3-5, Fernando saved a match point with a drop shot winner, repelling another one with a service winner and holding after another lovely drop shot to at least prolong the encounter.

That was all we saw from him, though, with Federer sealing the deal after a hold at love in game ten for the place in the 13th Masters 1000 final, the ninth in the last 11 tournaments at that level!