In Rafael Nadal's words: 'Nobody thought Roger Federer would lose against..'



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In Rafael Nadal's words: 'Nobody thought Roger Federer would lose against..'

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal faced each other in the title match in Miami 2005, battling for five sets and producing one of the most thrilling finals of the season. A teenager had a massive chance to beat world no. 1 in straight sets, standing two points away from victory before Federer bounced back to steal the third set and dominate in the fourth and fifth to lift the trophy.

Federer and Nadal were ready for another duel in Monte Carlo a few weeks later, with both reaching the quarter-final and facing Gaston Gaudio and Richard Gasquet before that anticipated semi-final clash.

Nadal did his part of the job, toppling reigning Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio 6-3, 6-0 in 62 minutes for the place in the last four.

It was the first triumph for Nadal over Gaudio after three losses, dominating in every segment to control the pace and race over the finish line.

Serving at 85%, Rafa lost eight points behind the initial shot, challenging Gaston to repeat that in his games and stealing 55% of the return points to earn four breaks from five opportunities. Instead of Roger Federer, Nadal's semi-final opponent would be the young Frenchman Richard Gasquet who ousted the Swiss 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 after fending off three match points in the deciding tie break.

It was the first notable win for a qualifier ranked just outside the top-100, holding his nerves and landing a perfect backhand down the line winner at 9-8 in the tie break to end Roger's 25-match winning streak and set the clash against Rafael Nadal.

"Nobody thought Federer would lose today, even less against Gasquet. Still, I have to say Gasquet has a lot of potentials. It cost him a bit of effort to make the next step but now he is here and I believe we will see more from him.

He is going to improve his ranking all the time. I think Gasquet won 16 matches in a row; he is playing well and it will be a tough encounter. Also, it will be a nice battle against the rival who is my age." It was the first notable win for a qualifier ranked just outside the top-100, holding his nerves and landing a perfect backhand down the line winner at 9-8 in the tie break to end Roger Federer's 25-match winning streak and set the clash against Rafael Nadal.