Rafael Nadal: ‘Robby Ginepri was a tough rival, I had to reduce unforced errors’

Rafael Nadal was among the players to beat in 2005, finishing the season with 11 titles and world no. 2 honor. The Roland Garros winner also added four Masters 1000 trophies to his tally, playing well on both clay and hard and following Roger’s pace outside Majors. Rafa had to slow down a bit in the closing stages after so many matches that year, withdrawing from Vienna and dealing with tendonitis at home in Madrid. Despite slight pain, Nadal advanced into the final after beating Victor Hanescu, Tommy Robredo, Radek Stepanek and Robby Ginepri, earning a place in the season’s fifth Masters 1000 title clash! In the semis, the Spaniard prevailed over Robby Ginepri 7-5, 7-6 in an hour and 41 minutes, playing better in the closing stages of both sets to seal the deal in straight sets and preserve energy for the final.

Rafael Nadal overpowered Robby Ginepri in two sets in Madrid 2005.

Nadal grabbed three breaks and scored nine points more than Ginepri to emerge at the top, with Ivan Ljubicic or David Nalbandian standing between him and the title. Robby survived early break points before Rafa stole his serve at 3-3. The home favorite netted a backhand in the next game to squander the lead, starting all over at 5-5 and closing the set after taking the final two games. Like in the opener, they traded breaks in set number two and reached a tie break that Rafa won 7-1 to move over the top. Praising his opponent, Nadal said that Robby played aggressive tennis, feeling thrilled to pass him in two sets and with the fact he didn’t make too many unforced errors.

“I’m feeling fine. I felt a bit tired at the beginning of the clash. Now that it has ended, my knee hurts a bit; I hope it’s nothing serious. I can’t evaluate it now; I hope it will be fine tomorrow. I performed well against Ginepri, making a good start before he started playing better. Things became tough at some point, but I fought back and grabbed the second chance. Ginepri is playing with a lot of confidence after his latest results. He played very aggressively, and we traded breaks in both sets to stay neck and neck. It wasn’t easy to play against him, and I’m happy with my win. It was an important match against a good player. I didn’t make too many unforced errors, and that proved to be essential. I feel fine physically, and when I’m able to move as I want, I can catch many balls and stay away from mistakes. Both Ivan Ljubicic and David Nalbandian are very tough to beat when they find their A-game; I will have to compete on a high level to defeat either of them,” Rafael Nadal said.