In one of the best seasons for teenagers in the Open era, Rafael Nadal claimed incredible 11 ATP titles from 12 finals in 2005, becoming a Major champion and world no. 2 behind Roger Federer. A fantastic youngster displayed his full potential on beloved clay and hard court, almost beating Federer in the Miami final and conquering Canada, Beijing and Madrid! Nadal embraced an almost-perfect 28-2 score at the Masters 1000 events, lifting trophies in Monte Carlo, Rome, Montreal and Madrid to secure a place among the most notable players of this series. At home Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid, Rafa took down Victor Hanescu, Tommy Robredo and Radek Stepanek to advance into the semis, where he had to work hard against Robby Ginepri.
The crowd favorite prevailed 7-5, 7-6 in an hour and 41 minutes for the fifth Masters 1000 final of the season! Well-capable of playing on a high level at hard-court Masters 1000 events, Ginepri advanced to the semi-final for the second time in a row after Cincinnati, where he took a set away from Roger Federer. The American defeated Sebastien Grosjean, Nikolay Davydenko and David Ferrer to set Nadal clash, battling for the career-best final. Despite Ginepri’s tremendous effort, the Spaniard sealed the deal in two tight sets, winning nine points more than his rival and claiming three breaks from eight opportunities to emerge at the top. Robby blasted an ace to bring the first game home, and Nadal made a similar response in game two to get his name on the scoreboard.
In 2005, a teenager Rafael Nadal reached the final at home in Madrid.
Robby hit three winners from 30-0 down in the third game to avoid break chances and fired four more two games later for a hold at love and a 3-2 lead. That all changed at 3-3 when Rafa landed a forehand winner to create first break opportunities, wasting them after some strong hitting from the American before converting the third when Ginepri netted a backhand. Nadal got broken a few minutes later after a shaky performance, netting a backhand and keeping Ginepri on the positive side instead of confirming the break. Three winners in the ninth game sent Robby in front again, and Nadal leveled the score at 5-5 despite being 30-0 down and two points away from losing the set. Facing more troubles on serve in the 11th game, Ginepri repelled two break points with beautiful winners before Nadal converted the third after his opponent’s loose forehand. Serving for the set, the Spaniard found himself 30-0 down, but that was not an obstacle for him, delivering three great serves and a forehand winner that sent him over the top.
Both players served well in the second set’s first six games, and Nadal punched the first strike with a break at 15 that drove him 4-3 up following Ginepri’s backhand mistake. Out of a sudden, Robby pulled the break back in the next one thanks to Rafa’s weak forehand, getting the second chance and closing the ninth game with a forehand drive-volley winner to move 5-4 in front. With no room for errors, Nadal hit a service winner to level the score at 5-5 before two good holds on both sides that set the tie break, a must-win one for the American. He made a poor start, though, spraying a backhand error and falling 2-0 behind after Nadal’s forehand winner. Robby claimed the next point on the return with a well-constructed attack and spoiled that with two unforced errors that propelled Rafa 4-1 in front and closer to the finish line. A service winner allowed the Spaniard to go 6-1 up, and he moved over the top when Ginepri sent a forehand long, celebrating another final on the home soil after Barcelona in April.