When Rafael Nadal dominantly claimed the first Acapulco crown



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When Rafael Nadal dominantly claimed the first Acapulco crown

In 2005, Roger Federer was still the player to beat on the ATP Tour, with a young opponent ready to challenge him in the years to come. A teenager Rafael Nadal claimed 11 titles that year, just like Roger, setting many age records and lifting his first Major crown at Roland Garros, just after turning 19.

The Spaniard won 79 matches that season, showing incredible consistency and an unmatched fighting spirit that led to numerous challenging triumphs. However, Acapulco was not among them, as Rafa grabbed five straight-sets wins to lift the third ATP crown and the second in two weeks after Costa do Sauipe.

Unlike the previous week, when he spent over seven hours on the court in the last three encounters, Nadal was the dominant figure in Acapulco, dropping 30 games in ten sets and delivering a one-sided final. The youngster ousted Alex Calatrava 6-4, 6-4, Santiago Ventura 7-6, 6-2 and Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-3, prevailing in the crucial moments and suffering only two breaks.

The Spaniard toppled Mariano Puerta in the semis (they would play the Roland Garros final in June) to set the title clash against a compatriot Albert Montanes. It was the third ATP final for the more experienced Spaniard and the third loss, with an 18-year-old storming over him to forge a 6-1, 6-0 victory in 52 minutes!

Serving at 78%, Rafa lost eight points in seven service games, never facing a break chance and mounting the pressure on the other side.

Rafael Nadal claimed his third ATP title in Acapulco in February 2005.

As a result suggests, Montanes was far from those numbers, giving away 60% of the points behind the initial shot and suffering five breaks from nine chances offered to Nadal.

The youngster had over 20 winners and under ten unforced errors, having the upper hand in the shortest and more advanced exchanges to seal the deal in no time and claim already the season's 17th victory. Rafa held at 15 in the first game to get his name on the scoreboard and secured a break in the next one after Albert's double fault.

A teenager opened a 3-0 lead with three winners in the third game and settled into a perfect rhythm. Montanes sprayed an error from his one-handed backhand to give serve away for the second time and fall 4-0 down, with Nadal moving further in front thanks to an incredible forehand winner a few minutes later.

Serving at 0-5, Albert held at 15 to avoid the bagel before Rafa closed the opener with an ace in game seven for 6-1. At the beginning of the second set, the younger Spaniard scored another break and cemented it with a hold at love after a volley winner.

Nadal landed a forehand down the line winner for a break and a 3-0 advantage, already putting one hand on the trophy. Rafa extended the lead with a service winner and placed a backhand winner to grab the return game and serve for the title at 5-0.

Three winners in that sixth game were more than enough for a teenager to wrap up a perfect week and celebrate the third ATP crown at 18.