2006 Rome F: Nadal defeats Federer 6-7(0) 7-6(5) 6-4 2-6 7-6(5)

Nadal had established himself as the King of Clay by winning his first French Open in 2005. Two weeks before this Rome final Federer had lost to Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters series.
At the time, the Rafa-Fed rivalry was just peaking, and some tennis analysts like Carillo thought Nadal would just be another clay court specialist like Bruguera or Kuerten (how wrong she was…)

<After 5 hours of play and two match points saved, the Spaniard emerged as the winner. He equalled Vilas record of 53 consecutive wins on clay and also improved to 5-1 against the world No 1.

Rafael Nadal

Is it me or the Swiss Maestro always looks grumpy when he plays against Nadal?

Roger Federer

Tony Roche then Federer’s coach:

Tony Roche

Toni Nadal:

Toni Nadal

Federer got an early break in the fifth set, led 4-1 and then wasted 2 match points at 6-5 with two forehand errors. The Swiss was up again 4-2 in the tiebreak but
couln’t hold on. As always Nadal never gave up and won it 7-5 on his first match point.

A very emotional Rafa:

Rafael Nadal

More screenshots on my Flickr account.

A few weeks later those two met again in FO final and Rafa handed Federer his first ever defeat in a Grand Slam final.

– Nadal had won a 5th set tiebreak against Guillermo Coria to capture Roma Masters Series in 2004
– with his Roma victory, he equalled Bjorn Borg’s record of 16 titles as a teenager
– Nadal broke Vilas’ record of consecutive victories on clay in the first round of 06 RG against … Robin Soderling

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