When young Rafael Nadal used what he learned against Roger Federer
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3268
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met at the Miami Masters in 2004 and 2005. The young Spaniard stunned world no. 1 in straight sets in 2004 before challenging him in the title clash a year later. Nadal grabbed the opening two sets, had a 4-1 advantage in the third and moved closer to another victory over Federer.
Roger bounced back from the verge of defeat to steal the third set and survive. The more experienced player took charge and raced toward the finish line in the fourth and fifth, lifting the trophy and leaving a teenager empty-handed in his first notable final.
Nadal became the second-youngest player in the Masters 1000 final after Michael Chang. The Spaniard did not have to wait too long to advance into the second title clash, achieving that a couple of weeks later in Monte Carlo on his beloved clay.
Nadal faced a formidable obstacle in the defending champion Guillermo Coria in the final. The Spaniard overpowered the Argentine 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 in three hours and nine minutes to become the second-youngest Masters 1000 champion at 18 years and ten months.
After two dominant sets, Nadal lost the ground in the third, throwing it away before opening a 4-1 gap in the fourth. Coria pulled the break back and leveled the score at 4-4. Nadal started to think about that Miami clash against Federer.
Using the experience from that one, Rafa stayed composed and prevailed with a late break in game 12 to move over the top and celebrate his young career's first notable title.
Rafael Nadal claimed his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo 2005.
"This is my best tennis moment alongside the Davis Cup.
It's my first big title, and the feeling is unbelievable. I played well in the opening two sets, especially with my forehand. Then, Guillermo started to play better, and I gave the third set away. I was also way behind in the fourth, and I had already started thinking about Miami and the same scenario against Roger Federer.
I was scared but managed to come back and win the set 7-5. I did not miss too many balls this week. My groundstrokes worked well, and I improved my serve after beating Gael Monfils in the first round. The experience from that Miami match against Roger helped me a lot today.
After wasting such a massive advantage against Roger in Florida, I focused on not repeating the same mistake. My concentration was high when I came back in the fourth set, and it was vital for me to score a win," Rafael Nadal said.