Rafael Nadal: ‘Roger Federer’s loss came as a surprise’

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played an incredible match in the Miami 2005 final, with Nadal leading two sets to love and 4-1 in the third before falling in five sets. Two great rivals were ready for another encounter on the Masters 1000 level after being drawn in the same half in Monte Carlo in April. Rafa faced Gaston Gaudio in the quarter-final while Roger battled against the young Frenchman Richard Gasquet, hoping to score wins and set another duel. Nadal did his part of the job, toppling the reigning Roland Garros champion Gaudio 6-3, 6-0 in 62 minutes to reach the semi-final in style.

It was the first triumph for Nadal over Gaudio after three losses, dominating every segment to control the pace and race over the finish line. Serving at 85%, Rafa lost eight points behind the initial shot, challenging Gaston to repeat that in his games and stealing 55% of the return points to earn four breaks from five opportunities. Instead of Federer, Nadal’s semi-final opponent would be Gasquet, who ousted the Swiss 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 after fending off three match points in the deciding tie break! It was the first notable win for a qualifier ranked just outside the top-100, holding his nerves and landing a perfect backhand down the line winner at 9-8 in the tie break to end Roger’s 25-match winning streak and set Nadal clash in a battle for the final.

Roger Federer wasted three match points against Richard Gasquet in Monte Carlo 2005.

Speaking about that match, Rafa was surprised to see Richard on the winning side, as he expected another encounter against Roger. The Spaniard praised the Frenchman and his abilities, 

“Nobody thought Federer would lose, especially not against Gasquet. Still, I have to say Gasquet has a lot of potentials. It cost him a bit of effort to make the next step, but now he is here, and I believe we will see more from him. He will constantly improve his ranking. I think Gasquet won 16 matches in a row; he is playing well, and it will be a tough encounter. Also, it will be a nice battle against the rival who is my age,” Rafael Nadal said.