Roger Federer recalls: 'Rafael Nadal and I played a memorable final in Maimi'



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Roger Federer recalls: 'Rafael Nadal and I played a memorable final in Maimi'

Roger Federer claimed his 28th and so far the last Masters 1000 crown in Miami two years ago, playing well at the new venue and beating John Isner in the title clash. Recalling his previous Miami Open titles, Federer mentioned that thrilling victory over Rafael Nadal from 2005, calling it remarkable.

Federer and Nadal started their incredible rivalry on March 28, 2004, when the 17-year-old Spaniard took down world no. 1 in straight sets in Miami. Twelve months later, they were the finalists in Florida, and Roger prevailed 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes after a titanic battle!

It was the first Masters 1000 final for an 18-year-old Nadal, who became the second-youngest finalist at this series after Michael Chang. A teenager had everything in his hands until the middle of the third set, leading 6-2, 7-6, 4-1 before Roger started one of the career-best comebacks to secure the trophy.

The Swiss took the third set tie break and played better and better as the match progressed to lift the first Miami Masters and a "Sunshine Double" after previously winning Indian Wells two weeks earlier. Roger won just seven points more than Rafa and was two points away from losing in the third set's tenth game and the tie break where Nadal had a 5-3 advantage and a serve for 6-3 and possible match points that never came.

Federer won four points in a row to steal the set in a pivotal moment and dropped just four games in sets four and five to march towards the finish line and grab the maiden crown in Florida.

Roger Federer spoke about that epic 2005 Miami final vs.

Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard was on the same level as the Swiss in the shortest points, and Roger took charge in the mid-range exchanges and stayed in touch in the most extended rallies that earned the triumph for him. Nadal defended his second serve more efficiently but had to play against 13 break chances, getting broken on seven occasions, including the last three service games.

Federer gave serve away five times from nine opportunities (four in the opening set alone) offered to Nadal. Roger raised his level after the third set significantly, delivering fury from the initial shot and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.

Rafa squandered his chances for straight sets triumph and faded from the court in sets four and five, unable to leave the third set's closing stages behind him and start all over. It was the 18th consecutive triumph for Roger in the ATP finals and his 22nd victory in a row, the 48th in the last 49 matches for complete domination over the rest of the men's field!

"The Miami final against Rafa was exceptional in many ways. I felt like it reflected who I have become until that moment. Was that in 2004, 2005 or 2006? It's a blur. Being able to fight back and find a way to win was amazing; I know I got lucky in that match before ending up playing unbelievable tennis in the fifth set. I feel like it was a big moment in my life and career," Roger Federer said.