Facing each other for the first time in Miami 2004, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal forged one of the most thrilling tennis rivalries, dominating the rest of the field in those years and fighting for Major and Masters 1000 trophies.
Nadal scored four straight wins over Federer at Roland Garros between 2005-2008, while Roger had the upper hand in the Wimbledon finals in 2006 and 2007 to extend his incredible streak on grass that started in 2003. Making significant progress on the fastest surface, Nadal would reach two Wimbledon finals in the mentioned years, challenging Roger harder and harder and preparing another assault in 2008 after the fourth straight Roland Garros crown.
Nadal and Federer were the favorites at the All England Club and reached the third consecutive final. Since 2003, Roger had 40 successive triumphs in the cathedral of tennis, with Nadal breaking that incredible streak following an epic 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 victory in four hours and 48 minutes!
Thus, Rafa became the first player since Bjorn Borg with a "Channel Slam," adding the fifth Major to his tally just after turning 22 and carving his path towards the greatest players of all time. Nadal won five points more than Federer, fending off 12 out of 13 break opportunities and earning four breaks to prevail and celebrate one of the most significant moments in tennis history.
Federer had more winners and errors, losing ground in the closing stages for the first Wimbledon loss since 2002. Rafa stayed in touch with a great rival in the shortest points up to four strokes, improving his initial shot to reach Roger's level and delivering incredible tennis on those break chances to give it away only once.
Rafael Nadal prevailed over Roger Federer in an epic 2008 Wimbledon final.
The Spaniard grabbed a break in the third game and survived a scare on serve at 5-4 to fend off two break chances and clinch the opener for a massive boost.
Federer forged a 4-1 advantage in set number two before getting broken in game seven to bring Nadal back into contention. With the momentum on his side, Rafa grabbed another break at 4-4 with a forehand winner, served for the set in the next game and repelled a break chance to move two sets to love in front.
In a manner of a true champion, Roger found a way to bounce back in sets three and four, prevailing in a tight fourth-set tie break after being 5-2 down to force a decider where he was the favorite. The players had to leave the court in the fifth game of the final set due to rain and returned half an hour later to continue the incredible encounter.
Roger created a break chance with a forehand down the line winner at 4-3, denied by a smash winner from Nadal, who leveled the score at 4-4 with another forehand winner. At 5-5, Rafa earned two break opportunities with a forehand down the line winner, unable to convert any of those or make an extra step two games later.
In the 15th game, the Spaniard seized more opportunities on the return and earned a break after a colossal forehand error from the Swiss. Serving for the title in the next one, Rafa hit a service winner at deuce and moved over the top following Roger's forehand mistake to celebrate one of his brightest victories ever.