Rafael Nadal recalls: 'Roger Federer's defeat surprised us all'



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Rafael Nadal recalls: 'Roger Federer's defeat surprised us all'

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal faced each other in the title match in Miami 2005, battling over five sets and producing one of the season's most thrilling finals. A teenager had a massive chance to beat world no. 1 in straight sets, standing two points away from victory before Federer bounced back to steal the third set and dominate the fourth and fifth to emerge at the top.

Federer and Nadal were ready for another duel in Monte Carlo a few weeks later, with both reaching the quarter-final and facing Gaston Gaudio and Richard Gasquet before that anticipated semi-final clash. Nadal did his part of the job, toppling the reigning Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio 6-3, 6-0 in 62 minutes for a place in the last four.

It was the first triumph for Nadal over Gaudio after three losses, overpowering the opponent in every segment to control the pace and race over the finish line in no time.

In Monte Carlo 2005, Richard Gasquet saved three match points against Roger Federer.

Serving at 85%, Rafa lost eight points behind the initial shot, challenging Gaston to repeat that and stealing 55% of the return points to earn four breaks from five opportunities.

Instead of Roger Federer, Nadal's semi-final opponent would be the young Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who ousted the Swiss 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 after fending off three match points in the deciding tie break! It was the first notable victory for a qualifier ranked just outside the top-100, holding his nerves and landing a perfect backhand down the line winner at 9-8 in the tie break to end Roger's 25-match winning streak and set Rafael Nadal clash.

Rafa knew that Richard would be dangerous after beating world no. 1, saying he expected a tough battle against his coeval and a junior rival. "Nobody thought Federer would lose today, even less against Gasquet. Still, I have to say Gasquet has a lot of potential.

It cost him a bit of effort to make the next step, but now he is here, and I believe we will see more from him. He is going to improve his ranking in the future. I think Gasquet won 16 matches in a row; he is playing well, and it will be a tough encounter. Also, it will be a nice battle against the rival who is my age," Rafael Nadal said.