Rafael Nadal made a name for himself in 2005, winning 11 ATP titles and becoming world no. 2 behind Roger Federer. In a memorable season crowned with a Major title and four Masters 1000 trophies, Rafa scored almost 80 victories and showed incredible skills on both clay and hard.
Competing for his third ATP title and the second in as many weeks in Acapulco in February, an 18-year-old stormed over his compatriot Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0 in 52 minutes! It was another masterclass performance from the determined youngster, who celebrated every critical point with his famous fist pump.
Serving at 78%, Rafa lost eight points in seven service games, stayed away from troubles behind the initial shot and mounted the pressure on the other side.
Rafael Nadal claimed his third ATP title at 18 in Acapulco 2005.
Montanes was far from those numbers, losing 60% of the points behind the initial shot and suffering five breaks to propel Nadal towards the trophy.
The youngster had over 20 winners and under ten unforced errors, controlling the shortest and more advanced exchanges to emerge at the top in no time. Rafa held at 15 in the first game to get his name on the scoreboard and secured a break after Albert's double fault for an early advantage.
A teenager opened a 3-0 lead with three winners and increased the lead following the opponent's backhand error. Nadal moved 5-0 in front thanks to an incredible forehand winner a few minutes later before Albert held at 15 to avoid the bagel.
Rafa closed the opener with an ace for 6-1, gathering a boost and fighting even harder in set number two. The younger Spaniard scored a break at the beginning of the set and held at love thanks to a volley winner. Nadal landed a forehand down the line winner for a break in game three, rattling off nine out of ten games and putting one hand on the trophy.
Rafa extended the lead with a service winner and placed a backhand winner to steal the opponent's serve for the fifth and last time and move 5-0 ahead. Three winners in the sixth game propelled a teenager towards the third ATP title at 18, with plenty more to come in the following months.
"Rafa came to Acapulco after winning the title in Brazil and was already the favorite despite his age. I won only one game against him in the final, as I could not match his level. I had some hopes before the match, but he was just too tough to beat.
He did not play aggressive tennis but was rock-solid from the baseline, staying focused and celebrating the crucial points like he scored a goal," Albert Montanes said.