When Rafael Nadal left Pete Sampras behind

by   |  VIEW 11942

When Rafael Nadal left Pete Sampras behind

Rafael Nadal made an incredible comeback from the injury in 2013, lifting ten ATP titles and securing the year-end no. 1 honor. Nadal remained the player to beat in early 2014, securing his 14th Major crown at Roland Garros and matching Pete Sampras.

Rafa confirmed the tenth consecutive season with at least one Major title. Still, things did not work well for him in the rest of 2014, experiencing a right wrist injury that kept him away from the court after that shocking Wimbledon loss to Nick Kyrgios.

Rafa stayed sidelined until Beijing in September and did not play well in the last couple of tournaments, skipping the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals and undergoing surgery on November 3. Michael Berrer stunned Rafa in the first round in Doha at the beginning of 2015.

The Spaniard lost the Australian Open quarter-final to Tomas Berdych and the Rio de Janeiro semi-final to Fabio Fognini. Moving to Buenos Aires a week later, Rafa finally found the form against four lower-ranked Argentines from outside the top-55 to lift the first ATP trophy since Roland Garros last June and his 46th ATP title on clay.

World no. 146 Facundo Arguello played well in the opener before Nadal shifted into a higher gear and grabbed a 6-4, 6-0 triumph in 65 minutes, delivering five breaks to move safely into the quarters where he took down Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-1 in 63 minutes.

Carlos Berlocq kept Nadal on the court for almost two hours in the semis before the Spaniard prevailed 7-6, 6-2, bouncing back from 6-1 down in the tie break and dominating set number two to secure a place in the final.

Rafael Nadal claimed the 65th ATP title in Buenos Aires 2015.

Rafa took down his great friend and the doubles partner Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 27 minutes, claiming the first title since last June and earning another milestone.

Nadal secured his 12th consecutive season with at least one ATP title and moved in front of Pete Sampras with 65 ATP trophies in his collection, leaving the American on 64. Hitting under ten winners and almost 30 unforced errors, Monaco stayed in touch in the opening nine games before losing steam.

The Argentine could not endure exchanges with the Spaniard, who never faced a break point and played better as the match progressed to bring it home and celebrate a much-needed title. Rafa had the advantage in the shortest and most advanced exchanges, firing 18 winners and 15 unforced errors to control the pace and bring the victory home in rainy conditions.

Juan saved a break chance in the first game and delivered two great holds after that in front of his great compatriot Guillermo Vilas to stay 3-2 in front. That all changed at 3-3 when Monaco netted a backhand, losing serve and allowing Nadal to close the opener with a hold at 15 in game ten.

Juan played a terrible drop shot to lose serve in the second set's first game and sent another backhand long to fall 3-0 behind and drift further away from the finishing line. Nadal held at 15 in game six and sealed the deal with a break at 15 a few minutes later.