Classic Rivlaries – Federer vs Nalbandian
When people think about Roger Federer’s biggest rivals, they immediately think Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. However, there was one player who battled Federer as hard as those guys. His name was David Nalbandian. Nalbandian played Federer 19 times, with Federer edging out the rivalry 11-8. In Grand Slams, Federer led 4-2.
People tend to forget how good David Nalbandian really was. Between 2002 and 2007, he finished in the top ten five times, reaching the finals of Wimbledon, alongside five Grand Slam semifinals appearances. He also captured the 2005 ATP finals, and two Masters series events. Not too shabby. Unfortunately for Nalbandian, he was plagued by injury during the second stage of his career. Here’s the top three matches these two tennis greats disputed.
2004 Australian Open Quarterfinals
Federer had lost to Nalbandian in their previous two Grand Slam meetings, both at the 2003 US Open and the 2003 Australian Open. Additionally, Federer was 1-5 against Nalbandian going into this quarterfinal. Federer would prevail in four hard fought sets to build off a winning trend for the rest of their rivalry. 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
2005 ATP Finals
Their most epic match would pit Federer against Nalbandian in the final. There would be five epic sets, with three tie breaks. Nalbandian would lose the first two sets in a tiebreak before mounting an incredible comeback against a Roger Federer that seemed unbeatable around this time. Federer would lose the third and fourth set by a score of 6-2, and 6-1, before succumbing in a fifth set tie break 7-6. 6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6.
2007 ATP Masters Madrid
Madrid would be the last big match these two would play, and it would stop a four match losing streak against Federer in one of Europe’s biggest clay court tournaments. Roger would win the first set easily before Nalbandian would storm back to win the next two to claim one of his two Masters Series events. 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
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