Roger Federer: ‘Beating Rafael Nadal in Miami Open final was a special one’

Roger Federer claimed his 28th and so far the last Masters 1000 crown in Miami 2019, playing well at the new venue and beating John Isner in the title clash to secure the title. Recalling his previous Miami Open titles, Federer mentioned that thrilling victory over Rafael Nadal from 2005, calling it a special one. Federer and Nadal started their incredible rivalry on March 28, 2004, when the 17-year-old Spaniard took down world no. 1 in straight sets in Miami. Twelve months later, they reached the final in Florida, and Roger prevailed 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 in three hours and 43 minutes after a titanic battle in one of the best ATP finals in the previous two decades! It was the first Masters 1000 final for an 18-year-old Nadal, who became the second-youngest finalist at this series after Michael Chang. A teenager had everything in his hands until the middle of the third set, leading 6-2, 7-6, 4-1 before Roger started one of the career-best comebacks to cross the finish line first.

The Swiss took the third set tie break and played better and better as the match progressed to lift the first Miami Masters and a “Sunshine Double,” winning Indian Wells two weeks earlier. Roger won just seven points more than his rival and was two points away from losing in the third set’s tenth game and the tie break where Nadal had a 5-3 advantage and a serve for 6-3 and possible match points, which never happened. Federer won four points in a row to steal the set in a pivotal moment of the entire encounter and dropped just four games in sets four and five to march towards the finish line and grab the maiden crown in Florida.

Roger Federer spoke about that famous 2005 Miami final vs. Rafael Nadal.

Surprisingly, the Spaniard was on the same level as the Swiss in the shortest points. At the same time, Roger took charge in the mid-range exchanges and stayed in touch in the most extended rallies that earned the triumph for him in the end against an incredible baseliner.

Nadal defended his second serve more efficiently but had to play against 13 break chances, getting broken on seven occasions, including the match’s last three service games. Federer gave serve away five times from nine opportunities (four in the opening set alone) offered to Nadal. However, we have to say that he raised his level after the third set significantly, delivering fury from the initial shot and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net. It was the 18th consecutive triumph for Roger in the ATP finals and the 22nd victory in a row, the 48th in the last 49 matches for complete domination over the rest of the men’s field!

“The final against Rafa was exceptional in many ways. I felt like it reflected who I have become until that moment. Was that 2005? 2004? 2006? It’s a blur. You know, being able to fight back and find a way to win, I know I got lucky in that match, but then ended up playing unbelievable tennis in the fifth set and all that. I feel like it was a big moment for me in my life, in my career,” Roger Federer said.