ATP Finals Flashback: Roger Federer scores double bagel and writes history

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ATP Finals Flashback: Roger Federer scores double bagel and writes history

The ATP Finals moved back to Shanghai in 2005, settling into a fantastic Qizhong Tennis Center with a unique roof shaped like a magnolia flower above the carpet surface. Rafael Nadal withdrew before the tournament due to a left foot injury, and the Argentines were the dominant nation with four players in the season-ending elite event!

A tow-time champion Roger Federer battled against three of them in four out of five encounters, losing to David Nalbandian in a thrilling title match. Roger wrote the ATP Finals history in the semi-final, toppling Gaston Gaudio 6-0, 6-0.

Thus, the Swiss became the first player with a double bagel at the ATP Finals! Like most South Americans, Gaston played his best tennis on clay, finishing his career with just 14 ATP wins on the carpet surface. Two of those came that week in Shanghai, sending him into the semi-final and offering a chance to battle against the world's leading star.

It was their fifth and last meeting, and Federer was victorious in all of them, including two triumphs on clay. The Swiss dominated from start to finish in the Shanghai clash to destroy the opponent and advance into his third straight ATP Finals title match.

One of the reasons for the Argentine's pale performance is that he played a long encounter against Fernando Gonzalez the night before. Gaudio fended off three match points in a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory and had nothing left in the tank for the most formidable opponent the next day.

It could have been a better performance from Roger, making the same number of mistakes as his rival. However, he kept the match's strings firmly in his hands as the natural attacker and a much better mover on that surface. The Swiss mixed his shots nicely, defending his backhand correctly and using the slice approach to move the Argentine from the ideal position and finish the points with his picture-perfect volleys.

Roger Federer stormed over Gaston Gaudio with a double bagel in 2005.

Federer dominated with his serve and forehand, making the crucial advantage in the shortest rallies where he overpowered his rival completely. Gaudio could not impact his serve or the initial groundstroke and move Roger from the ideal hitting zone.

He never found an open space and closed the clash with no direct points from his forehand wing! We already mentioned they had the same number of errors. Still, it all came because Federer always had a positive result, earning the freedom to attack and take the rhythm off his opponent.

Looking at the scoreboard, Gaston probably deserved to win at least one game, with seven deuces in total and two game points, one on Roger's serve. Still, he failed to produce a couple of good points in a row and put his name on the scoreboard.

Roger landed 11 service winners while Gaudio hit four, missing those free points badly after having nothing to work with from the court. Also, the difference in the field's direct points was enormous. Federer hit 17 winners, eight from forehand and volley each, while Gaudio added three.

The Swiss fired 28 winners in comparison to his opponent's seven, an excellent illustration of his dominance. Things were not that bright for world no. 1 in the errors department, closing the match with 12 unforced mistakes while Gaudio stayed on eight.

On the other hand, it was 10-6 for the Argentine in forced errors, bringing the tally of errors to 18 for each. Gaston's game was plagued with double faults, hitting nine and ruining his chances of avoiding a disaster. Gaston stayed in touch with Roger in the most extended exchanges, winning 14 out of 34 and showing why he reached the semi-final.

Nonetheless, Federer forged his triumph in the shortest rallies up to four strokes. The more aggressive player took 35 out of 46 thanks to a better serving and efficient forehands right after the initial shot, leaving Gaudio with no answer.