Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I led 4-1 in the third set against Roger Federer in Miami'



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Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I led 4-1 in the third set against Roger Federer in Miami'

After two notables seasons in 2003 and 2004 and a place in the top-50, Rafael Nadal was ready for serious action in 2005. The young Spaniard reached the Australian Open fourth round and claimed two titles on clay before heading to Miami.

An 18-year-old played on a high level to become the second-youngest Masters 1000 finalist, beating David Ferrer to set Roger Federer clash in the title chase. A year ago, Nadal beat Federer in Miami in their first meeting and had everything in his hands in that 2005 final.

A teenager had a 6-2, 7-6, 4-1 advantage, moving just two games from his first Masters 1000 trophy. In the end, Federer turned the tables and used everything from his arsenal to prevail 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes of a titanic battle!

Like in 2004, Nadal made a furious start and left world no. 1 far behind in the opener. The Spaniard won the second set in the tie break and looked good to seal the deal and celebrate a massive trophy at 18. Down and beaten, Federer fell 4-1 behind in the third set before starting a marvelous comeback to stay competitive.

Nadal was two points away from victory in the tenth game and the decider, never making an extra step and missing match points. Rafa led 5-3 in the tie break and served, only to lose four straight points and suffer a massive blow.

Rafael Nadal squandered a massive advantage against Roger Federer in Miami 2005.

Out of a sudden, Federer was the leader of the pack, raising his level on both serve and return to take the fourth set 6-3 and earn a massive boost ahead of the decider.

After squandering his opportunities, the youngster had nothing more left in the tank and won only four games in sets four and five to propel Federer towards his first "Sunshine Double." In a manner of a true champion, Nadal would recover only a few weeks later and claim his first Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo.

"I always want to improve my game while staying in the top-2 alongside Roger. I played well on hard in Auckland last year and in Melbourne at the beginning of this season. I also had two sets to love advantage and a 4-1 in the third against Roger in Miami," Rafael Nadal said.