Monte Carlo Flashback: Roger Federer sets Rafael Nadal title clash



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Monte Carlo Flashback: Roger Federer sets Rafael Nadal title clash

Roger Federer played his first Monte Carlo final in 2006 and lost to a defending champion Rafael Nadal. Federer was the second-best clay-courter behind the Spaniard in those years, suffering title match defeats in Monte Carlo, Rome and Paris in 2006 and hoping for a better run a year later.

Roger had to dig deep against a qualifier Andreas Seppi in the 2007 Monte Carlo second round, prevailing in two tie breaks before a more relaxed day at the office versus Hyung-Taik Lee. The Swiss ousted David Ferrer in under an hour in the quarter-final.

Roger played better and better as the encounter progressed to set the semi-final meeting with Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Spaniard won the title in Monte Carlo in 2002 and 2003, but there was no chance to add the third in 2007.

Roger scored a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 25 minutes for a place in the second straight Monte Carlo final. Ferrero defeated Federer in their first encounters on the Tour, and it was all about the Basel native after that.

Federer won seven of the following eight clashes and toppled the Spaniard for the fifth straight time in Monte Carlo after playing on a higher level when it mattered the most. Roger saved three out of four break chances in the opening two service games.

He grabbed three return games from four opportunities and took 12 points more than his rival to march into the final. Interestingly, there was nothing to separate them in the mid-range and most extended exchanges. Juan Carlos used his skills to remain in touch with world no.

1 and create those return chances.

In Monte Carlo 2007, Roger Federer beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets.

On the other hand, Federer forged his triumph in the shortest rallies up to four shots. He fired more service winners and did more damage with the first groundstroke to seal the deal in straight sets and remain on the title course.

Roger brought the first game home with a volley winner at the net before netting an easy forehand in the third to suffer a break. Ferrero held at love with a service winner to confirm the lead and open a 3-1 gap. The Spaniard settled into an excellent rhythm and showed why he claimed two titles in the past.

In the fifth game, Roger saved two break chances with forehand winners (the second after a lucky net cord) to avoid an even more significant deficit. After a couple of deuces, he closed the game to remain one break behind and gain some momentum.

That game became even more meaningful after a break at love for the Swiss a few minutes later. He leveled the score at 3-3 and moved in front with a hold at 15. A smash winner secured the second straight break for Roger. He opened a 5-3 gap and dominated in those moments to wrap up the opener with a hold in game nine after 36 minutes.

The Swiss rattled off five straight games for a complete turnaround and a boost. Fading from the court in the previous 20 minutes, Juan Carlos gave serve away in the second set's first game. Federer picked up an incredible volley for a hold at love in the next one and a massive 6-3, 2-0 advantage.

Serving well, Roger clinched the eighth game with a forehand winner. He moved over the top with four winners at 5-4, sealing the deal with a beautiful backhand down the line winner and securing the final ticket against Rafael Nadal.