A year after their semi-final clash in Paris, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were once again the players to beat on clay in 2006. They pushed themselves to the limit in the finals in Monte Carlo and Rome (the one of the greatest games of all time). time) before setting up another title match at Roland Garros.
Nadal was the defending champion and Federer played his first final in Paris. The Swiss was hoping to complete a career Grand Slam at 24 and enter the record books as the third player to hold all four Majors after Don Budge and Rod Laver.
It was another classic encounter between the two best players in the world, and Nadal emerged victorious after three hours and two minutes. Rafa beat Roger 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 for his second Major crown after turning just 20 and his 60th consecutive triumph on clay!
Rafa won 12 points more than Roger, serving at 77% and saving seven out of ten break points. Nadal was only broken once after a slow start in the first set and kept the pressure on the other side. Roger faced 12 break points and lost serve four times.
He stayed in contact with his great rival until the last point but missed the opportunity to send the match into a deciding set. Roger tried his best to maintain the same level as Rafa, but he finished with too many unforced errors, like many times in their encounters.
Shortest points down to four shots was the dominant segment, and Nadal secured the crucial advantage. Federer was level with Nadal in the longer points, but it wasn’t enough to give him the lead or force the deciding set.
The Swiss had to work hard from the start, saving two break points in the opener of the encounter and avoiding an early setback with a service winner. He beat Rafa in game two for a promising start and hit a forehand volley for a 3-0 advantage.
The Swiss had the advantage so far and he beat the defending champion in game four to extend the lead. Rafa squandered three break points in the fifth game and put his name on the scoreboard in the next.
Rafael Nadal defended the Roland Garros title against Roger Federer in 2006.
It was too late for any comeback, as Roger fell in love in game seven to wrap up the opener 6-1.
Nadal had a great hold early in the second set and beat his rival 40-0 in game two with a cross backhand strike for his first advantage. Federer pulverized a backhand error to find himself 3-0 up, and Nadal forged a 5-1 lead when the Swiss sent a long volley.
Rafa closed the set with a service winner in game seven, leveling the overall score and gaining momentum for the sets to come. The Spaniard held the fourth game of the third set after defending four break points and getting a boost.
He broke Federer in the next after a terrible forehand from the world number one. 1. A forehand winner cemented Rafa’s break in game six, and he blasted another at 4-3 to retain the lead. Serving for the tenth set, Nadal held at 15 after Federer’s backhand error and became the favorite to bring the game home and defend the title.
Rafa got off to the best start in the fourth set, breaking Roger in the opener with a forehand winner and advancing 2-0 with an unreturned serve. Nadal served for the triumph at 5-4, but Federer was not to be denied then.
The Swiss fell back after a costly forehand error from his rival and locked the result at 5-5. Two easy holds took them to a tie-break, and Roger won the first mini-break after another forehand error from Rafa. Suddenly, Roger sprayed two unforced errors, which would cost him dearly.
He lost the advantage and sent the momentum to Nadal’s side of the net. A fantastic defense pushed Rafa 5-2 before earning two match points with another good backhand serve from Roger in the tenth point. He converted the first with a forehand volley winner, falling to the ground and celebrating the most significant success of his career.