Federer vs Nadal: Their top five matches of all-time
Another chapter of the “Federer vs Nadal (Fedal)” rivalry is about to be written on Friday as the pair play each other for a place in the 2019 Roland Garros final. The pair have shared many of their most important moments of their career against each other and they each consider each other as their biggest rival. As we wait for the mouth-watering semifinal clash, let’s have a look at the top five Fedal matches of all-time.
5. 2005 Miami Final (Federer d. Nadal 2–6, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–3, 6–1)
This was only the pair’s second career meeting. However, Federer knew the danger of Nadal already by then, as the Spaniard blew the Swiss off the court 6-3 6-3 in just 70 minutes the year prior at Miami.
It looked as though history was about to repeat itself as Federer found himself down 3-5 in the third set tie-break, two points from defeat. But the Swiss rallied back and came back from two sets to love down to beat Nadal and won the “Sunshine Double” (winning Indian Wells-Miami back-to-back) for the first time in his career.
4. 2006 Rome Final (Nadal d. Federer 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5))
The pair played a few weeks prior in the Monte Carlo Masters final, with Nadal winning that match. A few weeks later, they played again in the Rome final. This final lasted five hours and five minutes, with Federer having championship points in the fifth set. Ultimately, it was Nadal that prevailed. And with this title, the Spaniard equalled Guillermo Vilas’ record of 53 consecutive wins on the red dirt and improved his career finals record to 16-2 (the highest percentage in Open Era history).
3. 2009 Australian Open Final (Nadal d. Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2)
Federer was looking to equal Pete Sampras’ all-time Major record of 14 Major titles in this match. On the other hand, Nadal was looking to be the first ever Spaniard to win the Australian Open.
Federer was the favorite coming into this match, as Nadal played Verdasco in five hours and 14 minutes (then the longest match in Australian Open history) the match before. The biggest mark was whether Nadal could recover both mentally and physically for the big final.
Ultimately, the Spaniard prevailed in five physical sets. One of the most memorable moments in tennis came during the trophy ceremony. Federer was in tears and Nadal consoled the Swiss by saying: “I’m sorry for today. I really know how you feel. But remember – you are one of the best players in history.”
2. 2017 Australian Open Final (Federer d. Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3)
Prior to this match, their last meeting at a Major final was in Roland Garros 2011. Not many thought there would ever be a Federer-Nadal Major final again. Records were on the line in this match as Nadal was looking to be the first man to win each Major twice, and Federer was looking to be the oldest man to win a Major since Ken Rosewall in 1970.
What makes this match so special is the comeback Federer completed as it all seemed over for Federer when he fell 1-3 behind in the fifth set. However, the Swiss found another gear and reeled off five straight games in a row to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the sixth time. This was Federer’s 18th Major title and breaking his near five-year drought of not winning Majors.
1. 2008 Wimbledon Final (Nadal d. Federer 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(8) 9-7)
Not just the greatest Federer-Nadal match, but is also considered by many as the greatest tennis match ever played.
One of the most highly anticipated matches of all time: Federer was looking to win his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title and 13th overall Major title, whereas Nadal was seeking his first Wimbledon title.
Momentum shifted back and forth in the match. Nadal was two sets to love up, before Federer evened the match to two sets all and was forced to save championship points in the third and fourth set. After four hours and 48 minutes, and serving for the championship for the fourth time, Nadal clinched the title 9-7 in the fifth set.
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