Home » Rafael Nadal, 18, wins his third ATP title in Acapulco in a flashback.
Rafael Nadal, 18, wins his third ATP title in Acapulco in a flashback.
Although a new rival was gearing up to challenge him in the upcoming years, Roger Federer was still the player to beat on the ATP Tour in 2005. Rafael Nadal, who was still a youngster, won 11 titles that year, matching Roger. He set numerous age records and won his first Major championship at Roland Garros shortly after turning 19.
The Spaniard won 79 games in 2005, displaying amazing consistency and an unequaled attitude of perseverance that helped him achieve multiple victories in difficult circumstances. Acapulco was not one of them, as Rafa won in five straight sets to capture his third ATP title and second in as many weeks after the Costa do Sauipe tournament.
Nadal was the dominant player in Acapulco, in contrast to the previous week when he played the last three matches for more than seven hours. To win the championship, he lost 30 games in ten sets and produced one of the most lopsided finals in recent memory.
After only twice being broken, the teenager defeated Alex Calatrava 6-4, 6-4, Santiago Ventura 7-6, 6-2, and Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-3.
In a strong performance, Rafael Nadal won his third ATP championship in Acapulco in 2005.
In the semi-final, Rafa defeated Mariano Puerta (with whom he would play in the Roland Garros final in June), setting up a championship match against fellow countryman Albert Montanes.
The more seasoned Spaniard lost his third ATP final, as an 18-year-old stormed past him to claim a 6-1, 6-0 triumph in 52 minutes. Rafa lost eight points in seven service games while serving at 78%, never encountering a break point and increasing the pressure on the opposing side.
Montanes was far from those numbers, as the above implies. He lost five of the nine breaks that Nadal was given, dropping 60% of the points after the opening stroke. The youthful player made fewer than 10 unforced errors and more than 20 winners.
He quickly sealed the deal and already had his 17th victory of the year after having the upper hand in the shorter, more complex exchanges. Rafa managed to keep the score at 15 in the opening match to record a point.
After Albert committed a double fault in the following game, he was able to secure a break. He then used three wins in the third game to take a 3-0 lead. Montanes lost service a second time and fell behind 4-0 when he sprayed a mistake with his one-handed backhand.
With a superb forehand winner in the following game, Nadal extended his lead and compelled his challenger to serve to stay in the set. When Rafa ended the first match with an ace in game seven to make it 6-1 and give him a boost, Albert held at 15 to avoid the bagel.
At the start of the second set, the younger Spaniard broke again. He then solidified his lead with a hold at love following a volley winner and a forehand down the line winner for a break that put him 3-0 up. After a service winner and a backhand winner, Rafa increased the edge to 5-0. He also won another return game.
Three victories in the sixth game were sufficient for a youngster to cap off an ideal week and celebrate winning his third ATP title. This set the stage for an even greater spring run that would see him win both the Masters 1000 and a Major.