Rafael Nadal made his debut at the Paris Masters only in 2007. The Spaniard reached the final of the final Masters 1000 of the season after a tight 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 over Marcos Baghdatis. It was Nadal's third consecutive season despite early starts in Cincinnati, the US Open and Madrid, winning the third Roland Garros trophy and playing in the second Wimbledon final.
Following the quarter-final defeat in Madrid, Rafa arrived in Paris for the first time and defeated Filippo Volandri, Stan Wawrinka and Mikhail Youzhny without dropping a set, expecting more of the same against Baghdatis in the semi-finals.
The Cypriot pushed Rafa to the limit, winning the first set and taking a break advantage in the second before the Spaniard turned things around and won sets two and three to stay on track for the title. It was his fifth game since Indian Wells 2006 and the No.
2's fifth win, that he lost serve three times and made four breaks to cross the finish line first. Baghdatis kept up with Rafa in the longest exchanges, and the Spaniard forged victory in the shorter and medium rallies that sent him over the top.
Marcos had more winners and unforced errors, unable to dominate his blows in the decider and score a notable victory. Rafa was zero in the opening game with a winning shot and scored five straight points on the return for a 2-0 lead.
Finding the punches from him, Baghdatis hit a forehand on the winner's line in the fifth game to pull the break back and painted a backhand on the line in the next to level the score at 3-3.
Billie Jean King reflects on Nadal
In a recent interview with AS, Billie Jean King spoke about a number of topics, including the domination of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and which member of the Big 3 she likes the most.
"They are all three different. I adore Nadal," the 39-time Slam champion told AS. "Ilana (Kloss) and I met him when he must have been 14 or 15 years old, in South Africa. I don't think he remembers, but we do, because they said he was the child with the greatest potential.
So we went and we looked at him and we were like, 'Oh my gosh, this guy is so good.' So I love watching him play. What I like the most about him is how much he respects tennis and how he gets angry when other players don't respect him.
That is why children want to be like him more than others when asked and they say that Nadal is their favorite," she added. "In that, he is number one."