In 2005, Roger Federer was still the player to beat on the ATP Tour, with a young opponent preparing to challenge him in the coming years. A teenager Rafael Nadal claimed 11 titles that year, just like Roger, setting many age records and lifting his first Major crown at Roland Garros just after turning 19.
The Spaniard won 79 matches in 2005, showing incredible consistency and unmatched fighting spirit that led him toward numerous triumphs in challenging situations. Acapulco was not among them, though, as Rafa grabbed five straight-sets wins to lift his third ATP crown and the second in two weeks after Costa do Sauipe.
Unlike in the previous week, where he spent over seven hours on the court in the last three encounters, Nadal was the dominant figure in Acapulco. He dropped 30 games in ten sets and delivered one of the most one-sided finals in a previous couple of years to lift the trophy.
The youngster ousted Alex Calatrava 6-4, 6-4, Santiago Ventura 7-6, 6-2 and Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-3 after getting broken only twice.
Rafael Nadal claimed his third ATP title in Acapulco 2005 in dominant style.
Rafa toppled Mariano Puerta (they would play Roland Garros final in June) in the semi-final and set the title clash against a compatriot, Albert Montanes.
It was the third ATP final for the more experienced Spaniard and the third loss, with an 18-year-old storming over him to forge a 6-1, 6-0 victory in 52 minutes! Serving at 78%, Rafa lost eight points in seven service games, never facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side.
As a result suggests, Montanes was far from those numbers. He dropped 60% of the points behind the initial shot and suffered five breaks from nine chances offered to Nadal. The youngster had over 20 winners and under ten unforced errors.
He had the upper hand in the shortest and more advanced exchanges to seal the deal in no time and claim already the 17th victory of the season. Rafa held at 15 in the encounter’s first game to get his name on the scoreboard.
He secured a break in the next game after Albert’s double fault and opened a 3-0 lead with three winners in the third game. Montanes sprayed an error from his one-handed backhand to give serve away for the second time and fall 4-0 down.
Nadal moved further in front thanks to an incredible forehand winner in the next game, forcing the rival to serve to stay in the set. Albert held at 15 to avoid the bagel before Rafa closed the opener with an ace in game seven for 6-1 and a boost.
The younger Spaniard scored another break at the beginning of the second set, cemented it with a hold at love after a volley winner and landed a forehand down the line winner for a break that sent him 3-0 in front. Rafa extended the advantage with a service winner and placed a backhand winner to clinch another return game and forge a 5-0 lead.
Three winners in that sixth game were enough for a teenager to wrap up a perfect week and celebrate his third ATP crown, preparing the ground for an even better spring streak that would make him the Masters 1000 and a Major champion.
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