When Rafael Nadal prevailed over Robby Ginepri



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When Rafael Nadal prevailed over Robby Ginepri

In one of the best seasons for teenagers in the Open era, Rafael Nadal claimed 11 ATP titles from 12 finals in 2005. He became a Major champion at Roland Garros and world no. 2 behind Roger Federer. An incredible youngster displayed his full potential on beloved clay and hard court.

He almost beat Federer in the Miami final and conquered Canada, Beijing and Madrid. At such a young age, Nadal embraced an almost-perfect 28-2 score at the Masters 1000 events. He lifted trophies in Monte Carlo, Rome, Montreal and Madrid and secured a place among the most notable players of this series established in 1990.

Nadal claimed his first and only indoor crown title in October, defeating Ivan Ljubicic in front of the home crowd in Madrid to wrap up the season on a high note. Nadal took down Victor Hanescu, Tommy Robredo and Radek Stepanek to advance into the semi-final in the Spanish capital.

He worked hard against Robby Ginepri, prevailing 7-5, 7-6 in an hour and 41 minutes on October 22 for his fifth Masters 1000 final of the season! Well-capable of playing on a high level at hard-court Masters 1000 events, Ginepri advanced to the semi-final for the second time in a row after Cincinnati, where he took a set away from Roger Federer.

The American defeated Sebastien Grosjean, Nikolay Davydenko and David Ferrer to set Nadal clash, trying to reach the biggest final of his career. Despite a great effort, Ginepri fell in two tight sets, as Nadal won nine points more and claimed three breaks from eight opportunities.

Robby blasted an ace to bring the first game home and responded in game two to get his name to the scoreboard.

In 2005, a teenager Rafael Nadal reached the final at home in Madrid.

The lower-ranked player hit three winners from 30-0 down in the third game and fired four more two games later for a hold at love and a 3-2 lead.

Rafa landed a forehand winner to create his first break opportunities in game seven, wasting them after some strong hitting from the American. Still, the Spaniard converted the third when Ginepri netted a backhand and built the advantage.

Instead of confirming the break, Nadal got broken a few minutes later after a shaky performance, netting a backhand and keeping Ginepri alive. Three winners in the ninth game sent Robby in front, and Nadal leveled the score at 5-5 despite being 30-0 down and two points away from losing the set.

Facing more troubles on serve in the 11th game, Ginepri repelled two break points with beautiful winners before Nadal converted the third after a loose forehand from his opponent. Serving for the set in game 12, the Spaniard again found himself 30-0 down.

That was not an obstacle for him after delivering three great serves and a forehand winner that sent him over the top. Both players served well in the second set's first six games, and Nadal punched the first strike with a break at 15 in game seven following the American's backhand mistake.

Suddenly, Robby pulled the break back in the next one thanks to a weak forehand from Rafa, getting the second chance and closing the ninth game with a forehand drive-volley winner for 5-4. With no room for errors, Nadal hit a service winner to level the score at 5-5 before two good holds on both sides that introduced a tie break, a must-win one for the American.

He made a poor start, though, spraying another backhand error and falling 2-0 down after Nadal's forehand winner. Robby claimed the next point on the return with a well-constructed attack and spoiled that with two unforced errors that pushed Rafa 4-1 in front.

A service winner in the seventh point gifted five match points for the home star. He converted the first when Ginepri sent a forehand long, advancing to his second title match at home that year after Barcelona.