Rafael Nadal matches Roger Federer's Masters 1000 record

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Rafael Nadal matches Roger Federer's Masters 1000 record

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have been the players to beat at the Masters 1000 series since 2005, earning numerous records and conquering mind-blowing 100 titles after joining forces. Producing one good season after another, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have been the players to beat at the Masters 1000 level, proving their consistency and staying competitive for over 15 years.

A few weeks ago, Nadal and Djokovic battled in the Rome Open final, with Rafa beating Novak in three sets to join him on 36 Masters 1000 trophies. It was Nadal's first Masters 1000 semi-final of the season following the quarter-final losses in Monte Carlo and Madrid, reaching the last four at the premium ATP level for the 17th consecutive season!

Nadal's first Masters 1000 semi-final came in Miami 2005 when he was still 18, reaching four more in the rest of the year and securing four titles for an unmatched feat considering he was a teenager. Rafa has been competitive ever since, earning many Masters 1000 records and joining Roger Federer on those 17 straight seasons with one semi-final.

Federer had 17 consecutive years with one semi-final between 2002-2019, ending the streak last year when he didn't compete after January. Nadal had only two chances to keep his run in 2020, missing it in Rome and advancing into the semis in Paris to check another season before matching Federer with his performance in Rome a few weeks ago.

Rafael Nadal has reached at least one Masters 1000 semi-final for 17 straight seasons.

Eager to perform better than in Monte Carlo and Madrid, Rafa had to work hard in the first match in Rome, suffering three breaks against the fellow top-20 player Jannik Sinner and trailing 4-2 in the second before securing a 7-5, 6-4 triumph.

In Rome, the Spaniard took down Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 in the third round after saving two match points! Denis blasted over 40 winners and stayed in touch with the king of clay in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to come close to the finish line.

Still, Nadal returned from a 6-3, 3-0, 40-30 deficit, kept his composure and stole the second set to prolong the action. The Canadian was a break in front in the final set before the Spaniard erased the deficit, wasting his opportunities on the return at 5-5 and playing against those two match points at 5-6.

Rafa saved those and sealed the deal in the tie break to advance into the quarters, beating three more rivals to lift the tenth Rome Open trophy. Carried by this momentum, Nadal ousted Alexander Zverev, Reilly Opelka and Novak Djokovic to claim the tenth Foro Italico crown and gain a boost ahead of Roland Garros.