Rafael Nadal's 5 biggest titles as a teenager
Rafael Nadal won his 85th singles title by beating Taylor Fritz in the final of the 2020 Acapulco Open. In the process, the Spaniard extended his own record of winning consecutive title-winning seasons to 17, which is just one shy of Andre Agassi and Roger Federer's record of winning ATP titles in 18 (non-consecutive) seasons overall.
The Spaniard is the all-time leader in Masters 1000 titles (35) and has won the most matches (384) in the tournament category. Moreover, Nadal's tally of 19 Grand Slam titles is only one behind Roger Federer (20) in the all-time leaderboard.
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Nadal has won at least two titles every season since winning his first career singles title at 2004 Sopot as an 18-year-old. On that note, let us have a look at 5 big titles the Spaniard won when he was in his teens.
#5 2005 Monte Carlo
After winning two matches on his Masters 1000 debut at the same tournament in 2003, Nadal returned to Monte Carlo two years later to lift his first Masters 1000 title.
The 18-year-old beat Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Olivier Rochus and Gaston Gaudio in straight sets before beating Richard Gasquet in three to reach his second Masters 1000 final.
In the final against reigning 2004 Roland Garros runner-up Guillermo Coria, Nadal took the first two sets before the Argentinian bageled Nadal in the third to prolong the contest. The Spaniard, however, regrouped to take a four-set win for his first Masters 1000 title, and the first of a record 11 titles in Monte Carlo.
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#4 2005 Madrid
In what turned out to be his last tournament of the season, Nadal beat Victor Hansecu, Tommy Robredo, Radek Stepanek and Robby Ginepri in straight sets before seemingly meeting his match in Ivan Ljubicic in the final.
Perhaps with the tiredness of a long season setting in, the young Spaniard trailed by two sets to find himself on the brink. But in a remarkable turnaround, Nadal clawed his way back into the contest by winning the next two sets. He then prevailed in a fifth-set tiebreak to win his 11th title of a career-best season.
That marked only the second time Nadal had lifted an indoor title. With 79 wins and 11 titles in the season, it was the best-ever season by a teenager on the ATP Tour; the Spaniard ended the year as the ATP No. 2 for the first time in his career.
#3 2005 Coupe Rogers
Playing only his 5th hardcourt Masters 1000 tournament at the 2005 Coupe Rogers in Montreal, Nadal needed three sets to see off his compatriot Carlos Moya. He then reeled off successive straight-sets wins over Ricardo Mello, Sebastian Grosjean, Mariano Puerta and Paul-Henri Mathieu to reach the final.
In the title match, Nadal was up against American legend Andre Agassi for the first time. The Spaniard took the opening set but Agassi fought back to force a decider.
Reasserting his ascendancy in the third, Nadal dropped only two games to win the first hardcourt title of his career.
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#2 2006 Rome
Having won five Masters 1000 titles in his young career, Nadal arrived at the 2006 Rome Masters after a successful title defence at Monte Carlo earlier in the season.
Like it was at the Principality, it was World No. 1 Roger Federer who stood across the other side of the net in the 2006 Rome final against the Spaniard.
Facing Federer for the sixth time (4-1 Nadal), the Spaniard conceded the first set to the world's top-ranked player in a tiebreak. But he regrouped to take the second set on another tiebreak, before going on to take a two sets to one lead.
Far from being overwhelmed, Federer dropped only two games in the fourth and led by a break in the fifth before Nadal got back on serve.
In the ensuing tiebreak, Federer would rue pulling the trigger prematurely and squander two championship points. Nadal eventually beat the then seven-time Grand Slam champion for the fifth time in six meetings between the pair.
It marked Nadal's 16th title as a teenager, which is an ATP record.
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#1 2005 Roland Garros
Making his first appearance at the claycourt Major in 2005 after missing the previous two editions due to injury, Nadal beat World No. 1 Federer in four sets to reach his first Grand Slam final.
In what was the first all-lefty Roland Garros final in the Open Era, and ninth overall at all Slams, Nadal faced Argentine Mariano Puerta for the title.
After dropping the first set on a tiebreak, Nadal dropped only four games in the next two sets before taking the fourth set 7-5. That made him the first teenager since Pete Sampras (1990 US Open) to win a Grand Slam title.
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