Recognized among the most talented players born in the early 80s, Roger Federer and David Nalbandian were fearsome rivals since their junior days. The Argentine won the first five encounters on the Tour between 2002 and 2003 for a massive lead in their H2H.
Federer had turned the tide in the next four matches before David grabbed that incredible 2005 Masters Cup final for one of his best victories ever. Roger had the edge on clay in Rome and Roland Garros in the spring of 2006, and their 13th encounter came in Madrid on October 21, with two great rivals fighting for a place in the final.
David loved to play at this event but could not find a way toward the second final in three years. Roger delivered a masterclass performance to thump the opponent 6-4, 6-0 in 59 minutes, advancing into the 16th Masters 1000 final and the first in Madrid.
Super aggressive Federer fired almost 30 winners and left Nalbandian below ten, dominating every segment and playing better and better as the match progressed to cross the finish line in no time. The Swiss lost 12 points in eight service games and suffered one break of serve.
Roger erased that deficit with a brilliant performance on the return, taking 56% of the points behind David's initial shot and earning five breaks from ten opportunities. Roger kicked off the encounter with a hold at love, closed the third game with another good serve and landed a return winner in the next one to open a 3-1 lead.
Roger Federer defeated David Nalbandian in 59 minutes in Madrid 2006.
Three winners earned the fifth game for the Swiss, doing everything right before suddenly losing serve in game seven following a volley mistake. David got back on the scoreboard and leveled the score at 4-4 after fending off three break chances in the next one.
Losing the edge a bit in the last ten minutes, Federer brought the ninth game home with an ace and broke David at 15 a few minutes later to wrap up the opener 6-4 and gather momentum. Roger opened the second set with four winners and clinched a break in game two with a backhand return winner to forge a set and a break lead, looking good to carry the victory home from there.
Three winners pushed Federer 3-0 up before he grabbed another break, firing from both wings and outplaying Nalbandian with deep and precise groundstrokes. Driven by those, Roger landed three winners in the fifth game and stole David's serve at love a few minutes later to seal the deal and secure a place in the title match.