ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Roger Federer downs Ferrero to set Rafael Nadal encounter

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ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Roger Federer downs Ferrero to set Rafael Nadal encounter

Roger Federer played his first Monte Carlo final in 2006, losing to Rafael Nadal and hoping to change that a year later. In those years, Federer was the second-best clay-courter behind the Spaniard, suffering title match defeats in Monte Carlo, Rome and Paris in 2006 and seeking at least one notable crown in the following season.

Roger had to dig deep against a qualifier Andreas Seppi in the second round, prevailing in two tie breaks before a more relaxed day at the office versus Hyung-Taik Lee for the place in the quarter-final. There, the Swiss ousted David Ferrer in under an hour, playing better and better as the encounter progressed to set the semi-final meeting with a former Roland Garros champion 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, with Roger scoring a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 25 minutes for the place in the second straight Monte Carlo title match.

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 and grabbed three return games from four opportunities, taking 12 points more overall to march into the final. Interestingly, there was nothing to separate them in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, with Juan Carlos using 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, firing more service winners and doing more damage with the first groundstroke to seal the deal in straight sets.

Roger brought the first game home with a volley winner at the net before netting an easy forehand in the third game to suffer a break and give the rival an early advantage. Ferrero held at love with a service winner to confirm the break and open a 3-1 lead, setting into an excellent rhythm and showing why he claimed two titles here in the past.

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

That game became even more meaningful after a break at love for the Swiss a few minutes later, leveling the score at 3-3 and moving in front with a hold at 15. A smash winner secured the second straight break for Roger, who opened a 5-3 gap, dominating in those moments and closing the opener with a hold in game nine after 36 minutes, rattling off five straight games for a complete turnaround.

Fading from the court in the previous 20 minutes, Juan Carlos gave serve away in the second set's first game, with Federer picking 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 and moved over the top with four winners at 5-4 to seal the deal with a beautiful backhand down the line winner and secure the second final ticket against Rafael Nadal.