Roger & Rafa: The Rivalry, Matches 1-10
A recap of every match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal...
2007 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final, Monte-Carlo, final, Nadal d. Federer 64 64
Federer entered Monte-Carlo on the heels of two surprisingly early exits, seeing his career-high 41-match winning streak come to an end with an opening round loss to Guillermo Canas in Indian Wells and losing to the Argentine again in the fourth round at Miami.
He regrouped at the year's first clay court ATP Masters Series event to set up a final rematch with two-time defending champion Nadal.
But Nadal, who dropped serve just three times in his five matches, proved too much for the top seed in their first meeting of the 2007 season. He broke Federer's serve once in each set and saved all three break points he faced to capture his eighth career ATP Masters Series shield and extend his Open Era record-winning streak on clay to 67 matches.
2006 Tennis Masters Cup semi-final, Shanghai, indoor hard, Federer d. Nadal 64 75
Federer notched his second straight victory over Nadal, ending with a vicious cross-court winner to become the first player to reach four consecutive finals at a circuit-ending championship since Ivan Lendl.
He broke Nadal early in the opening set and clinched it with a second break of the Spaniard after 49 minutes. Nadal got out of jail twice on match points in the tenth game from Federer errors, but could not hold off the World No. 1 as Federer wrapped up the win two games later.
The Swiss went on to capture his career-best 12th title by defeating James Blake in the final and finished the season with a 92-5 record.
2006 Wimbledon final, London, grass, Federer d. Nadal 60 76(5) 67(2) 63
The pressure was on Federer, as the top seed and three-time defending champion was playing in his favorite surface, riding a 47-match grass court winning streak and facing Nadal in a surface that the Spaniard had not managed to produce good results prior to this year's Wimbledon.
Federer started the match in hot form, breaking Nadal in the second, fourth and sixth games to take the set 6-0. The Spaniard would break Federer in the first game of the second set and serve at 5-4 but fail to close it out. Federer won the second set in a tie-break 7-5 but ended up losing the third set also in a tie-break (7-2). In the fourth set Federer took early control, breaking Nadal at 2-1 and 4-1 and eventually winning the Championships when serving at 5-3.
Federer, who captured his 39th career title and eighth Grand Slam crown, became the sixth man to secure four straight Wimbledon titles.
2006 Roland Garros final, Paris, clay, Nadal d. Federer 16 61 64 76(4)
The stakes had never been higher in a Federer-Nadal showdown than when the top two players in the INDESIT ATP Rankings went head-to-head in the Roland Garros final.
Playing in his first Roland Garros title match, Federer was attempting to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four straight Grand Slam events, and just the third player in history to achieve the feat.
Nadal was looking to become the youngest player to defend the Roland Garros title since Bjorn Borg in 1974-75. The Spaniard also was trying to improve his perfect record at Roland Garros to 14-0, his clay court winning streak to 60 matches and to notch his 100th career clay court win.
Federer broke Nadal twice in the first set to race to a 5-0 lead. But then Nadal began to dominate the match with his crushing forehand and Federer struggled with many unforced backhand errors.
Nadal did not drop serve again until he tried to close out the match at 5-4 in the fourth set. But he clinched the match soon after in the tie-break. Nadal won his 14th consecutive final (second only in the Open Era to Federer's mark of 24 straight finals won).
2006 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final, Rome, clay, Nadal d. Federer 67(0) 76(5) 64 26 76(5)
In May, only three weeks after their Monte-Carlo match, Federer and Nadal were at it again. Federer rested in the time in between the two tournaments, while Nadal went to Barcelona and won the title (d. Robredo).
This match was the best between the two warriors yet, lasting five hours and five minutes. Federer forced the action, successfully approaching the net again and again. The Swiss tennis genius won more points than Nadal, 179 to 174, just like he had in Dubai.
But once more Nadal won the big points. Federer had two match points with Nadal serving at 5-6, 15-40 in the final set. But he missed forehands on both opportunities.
With the victory, Nadal tied Guillermo Vilas’ Open Era record of 53 straight match wins on clay. He also lifted his career record in finals to 16-2, the best winning percentage in Open Era history. Even after the defeat, Federer had an incredible 2006 record of 39-3, with all three losses at the hands of Nadal.
2006 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final, Monte-Carlo, clay, Nadal d. Federer 62 67(2) 63 76(5)
Between the Dubai match and this one in April, Federer went undefeated, winning Masters Series events for the third year in a row at Indian Wells (d. Blake) and the second year in a row at Miami (d. Ljubicic). Nadal, meanwhile, reached the semifinals of Indian Wells (l. to Blake) and fell in the second round at Miami (to Moya).
But Nadal regained his footing at Monte-Carlo. He took the exciting match in three hours and 49 minutes and overcame a 0-3 deficit in the final tie-break.
2006 Dubai Tennis Championships final, Dubai, hard, Nadal d. Federer 26 64 64
Federer came into the pair's first encounter of the 2006 season undefeated, having won the title at Doha (d. Monfils) and the Australian Open (d. Baghdatis). Nadal was just getting his groove back after suffering an ankle injury at the Madrid Masters Series event in October. Dubai was only Nadal's second tournament since suffering the injury. He opened the year with a semifinal showing at Marseille in February (l. to Clement).
This was the first match between Federer and Nadal with the Spanish superstar holding the ATP Ranking of No. 2.
Nadal won the encounter despite winning less points: 71 to 78. They each broke serve three times, but Nadal won the points that mattered. The win represented his 10th straight victory in finals. Nadal’s victory also broke Federer’s Open Era record of 56 straight match wins on hard courts.
2005 Roland Garros semi-final, Paris, clay, Nadal d. Federer 63 46 64 63
Theirs was the most eagerly awaited match of the tournament. Federer was already No. 1 in the world and fast-rising Nadal was at No. 5.
Nadal came to Roland Garros on the heels of clay-court titles at the ATP Masters Series events at Monte-Carlo in April (d. Coria) and at Rome in May (d. Coria again). Federer, meanwhile, was fresh off of his second straight clay-court crown at Masters Series Hamburg in May (d. Gasquet).
Federer evened the score by winning the second set, but after that his form fell as the wet and dark conditions set in. Nadal kept the pressure on, ousting Federer in four sets on the way to winning the Roland Garros title on debut (d. Puerta in the final).
2005 NASDAQ-1OO Open final, Miami, hard, Federer d. Nadal 26 67(4) 76(5) 63 61
The two had met only once at this point in history, but Nadal had already made it very clear that he would be a talent to be reckoned with in the years ahead and that he would have no problem challenging the Swiss champion. During their first meeting, in Miami in 2004, the Spaniard dismissed Federer 6-3, 6-3, needing only 70 minutes to introduce himself to the right-hander.
A year later, Federer was primed for revenge. He came into Miami with only one loss on the year (to Marat Safin in the semi-finals of the Australian Open) and fresh off a title in Indian Wells (d. Hewitt). Nadal had won three ATP World Tour titles during the past year and was going for his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.
The balls were flying at Federer from Nadal's exploding topspin groundstrokes, and the Spaniard was running down everything in sight. Before he knew it, Federer was down 3/5 in the third set tie-break, two points from defeat. But he rallied back, stringing together four consecutive points to force a fourth set. During the final two sets, the Swiss wouldn't have to rely on late heroics. He dominated Nadal to come back from two sets to love down and complete the Indian Wells-Miami “Sunshine Double” for the first time in his career.
2004 NASDAQ-100 Open third round, Miami, hard, Nadal d. Federer 63 63
Federer came into the ATP Masters Series event on a roll, having won the Australian Open final over Marat Safin in February and the Pacific Life Open (also a Masters Series event) in Indian Wells over Tim Henman just before coming to Miami. He had lost only once in 2004 prior to this match (in the quarterfinals of Rotterdam to Henman).
Nadal, the youngest man in the tournament at 17, was just starting to emerge as a force on the ATP circuit and hadn’t yet won a title.
He breezed by Federer in only 69 minutes for the best win of his career at that point. The Spaniard said after the match that it was probably the best he had ever served.