'Dominic played with Roger Federer a few times', says top coach

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'Dominic played with Roger Federer a few times', says top coach

Rafael Nadal made an impressive debut at Roland Garros in 2005, beating five opponents and facing world number 1 Roger Federer in the semi-finals on his 19th birthday. The Spaniard defeated the Swiss 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 47 minutes, becoming the fifth-youngest finalist in the Open Era.

It was his third meeting and the first in Majors. Rafa beat Roger for the second time and prevented him from reaching the title clash at the only Major missing in his collection. Nadal won just 11 more points, serving 73% and defending the second serve well to come out on top against the more experienced opponent.

The youngster saved six of 12 break points and picked up nine breaks from 13 chances to seal the deal and set the clash at the Mariano Puerta. Rafa kept in touch with Roger on the shorter range, up to four shots, and outplayed him on the more advanced ones, though there wasn't much to separate them.

Federer committed more winners and 60 unforced errors, hurting his chances for a better result. The youngster got a break to 15 in the first game and held after two deuces in the next for an early lead. The Spaniard held serve in the fourth game and got another break to put him 4-1 ahead after a forehand winner.

Federer capitalized on the fourth break chance in the sixth game with a backhand winner to cut the deficit. However, his forehand missed her again in the next game to lose serve for the third time and fall 5-2. Nadal wasted two set points on his serve in the eighth game and allowed Federer to extend the set.

However, the young man closed the set with his fourth break in the ninth game, 6-3. The Swiss raised his level after a slight rain delay in the second set, playing better after the initial blow and breaking the Spaniard at 1-1.

Roger converted the fourth break chance in the fifth game to carve out a 4-1 lead and held on at love to go a game away from the set.

Sven Swinnen pays tribute to Federer

118th in the world at 20, Dominic Stricker is considered by many observers to be one of the successors to Swiss tennis and Roger Federer.

His coach, Sven Swinnen, interviewed by the ATP site, spoke about Federer's legacy and his influence on the new generation of which his player is a part. “We will always say the same kind of thing to young children. Everyone goes their own way, focus on that, focus on improving and it's just great to have someone like Roger in Switzerland.

This may also motivate them to play. They also get to know him. Dominic played with him a few times, so that was a good experience as well."