Madrid Flashback: Roger Federer destroys David Nalbandian to reach final

Recognized among the most talented players born in the early 80s, Roger Federer and David Nalbandian were fearsome rivals since their junior days. The Argentine won the first five encounters against the Swiss on the Tour between 2002-03. Federer had turned the tide in the next four matches before David grabbed that incredible Masters Cup final in 2005 for one of his most notable victories ever. Roger had the edge on clay in Rome and Roland Garros next spring, and their 13th encounter came in Madrid on October 21, with two great rivals fighting for a place in the final. David loved to play at this event but could not reach the second final in three years. Federer delivered a masterclass performance to thump the opponent 6-4, 6-0 in 59 minutes, advancing into the 16th Masters 1000 final and the first in Madrid.

Super aggressive Federer fired almost 30 winners and left Nalbandian on under ten, dominating every segment and playing better and better as the match progressed to cross the finish line in no time. The Swiss lost 12 points in eight service games, suffering one break of serve and erasing that deficit with a brilliant performance on the return, taking 56% of the points behind David’s initial shot and earning five breaks from ten opportunities to march into the title match. Roger kicked off the encounter with a hold at love, closed the third game with another good serve and landed a return winner in the next one to open a 3-1 lead.

Roger Federer defeated David Nalbandian in 59 minutes in Madrid 2006.

Three winners carried the Swiss towards the fifth game, doing everything right ahead of the seventh game when he got broken at 15 after a volley error. After fending off three break chances in the eighth game, David got back on the scoreboard and leveled the score at 4-4. Losing the edge a bit in the last ten minutes, Federer brought the ninth game home with an ace and broke David at 15 a few minutes later to secure the opener 6-4 and gather momentum ahead of set number two. He opened it with four winners and clinched a break in game two with a backhand return winner to forge a set and a break lead, looking good to carry the victory home. Three winners pushed Roger 3-0 up before he grabbed another break, firing from both wings and outplaying Nalbandian with deep and precise groundstrokes. Driven by those, Federer landed three winners in the fifth game and stole David’s serve at love in the next one to seal the deal and book a place in the title match, winning his 33rd match from 36 encounters at the Masters 1000 level that year!

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