Competing at the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 event for the sixth time in 2006, Roger Federer scored his best result in the Principality, advancing into the first out of three consecutive finals. A year earlier, Richard Gasquet prevailed over the Swiss in the deciding set tie break in the quarter-final.
Roger came back stronger 12 months later, beating the upcoming star Novak Djokovic in the first round and dropping just six games against Alberto Martin and Benjamin Balleret to find himself in the quarters. There, Federer needed an hour to dismiss world no.
15 David Ferrer and set the semi-final clash against Fernando Gonzalez. It was their sixth meeting (the fourth on clay), and Roger produced a dominant 6-2, 6-4 triumph in 69 minutes to remain unbeaten against the Chilean, advancing into the first Monte Carlo final where he would face Rafael Nadal.
Like in the previous three encounters, Federer had the upper hand all the time, fending off all three break chances and mounting the pressure on the other side of the court. Gonzalez lost 42% of the points in his games and suffered three breaks from the Swiss' six opportunities to propel him into the title match.
They had a similar number of errors, and Federer was the one who dominated in the winners segment, hitting 20 direct points and keeping his rival on mediocre seven. Gonzalez stayed in touch in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, while Roger had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four shots, forging his victory in that segment with efficient serves and the first groundstrokes.
Roger Federer reached his first Monte Carlo final in 2006 after beating Gonzalez.
Federer drew first blood already in the opening game, stealing Gonzalez's serve with a forehand down the line winner and confirming the break with a smash winner in game two.
The Swiss remained in front with a perfect slice winner at 2-1 before securing another break a few minutes later following a double fault from Fernando that sent him 4-1 up. Serving in game six, Federer fended off two break chances and brought it home with a service winner, sealing the opener with three winners at 5-2 in under 30 minutes.
Gonzalez made a better start in set number two, delivering two holds and earning a break chance at 2-1 that Roger denied with another booming serve, landing a forehand winner to close the game and level the score at 2-2. With momentum on his side, Federer grabbed a break at 15 with a drop shot winner and held with a service winner for a 6-2, 4-2 advantage.
Serving at 3-5, Fernando saved a match point with a drop shot winner, repelled another one with a service winner and held after another lovely drop shot to at least prolong the encounter. That was all we saw from him, though, as Federer brought the tenth game home at love to seal the deal and advance into the 13th Masters 1000 final, the ninth in the last 11 tournaments at that level!