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Federer vs Nadal: 5 instances when Roger Federer let a critical lead slip away against Rafael Nadal

  • Rafael Nadal has defeated Roger Federer numerous times, but there are some matches that Federer had in his grasp.
Gaurav Singh
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 21:35 IST

Rafael Nadal has enthralled the world with his tennis for years now. Although he is 32, he still has the ability to bulldoze past his opponents with his tremendous power tennis, which is a sight to behold.

Things don
Things don't always go your way and Roger Federer knows that better than any player on the tour

If there is one player has experienced that mighty sight from close quarteres, it is none other than Roger Federer. The number of times Nadal has comeback to derail Federer is quite impressive.

Tennis is game of margins, and not just margins, but thin margins. Thin margins are something that have defined and decided many a Fedal clash.

In this article, we look at five instances when Federer took a tiny and/or big lead against Nadal, but subsequently failed to capitalize and ended up on the losing side.

#5) 2005 - French Open semifinal

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open

This match took place when their rivalry was in a nascent stage. Federer was looking to capture his first French Open, which would have established his dominance on all surfaces.

But Nadal was absolutely savage in the first set as he broke Federer in the opening game and got a double break of serve to lead 5-2 and went on to win the set 6-3.

In the second set, Federer got a break of serve at 1-1 to lead 2-1 and hung to win the second set 6-4. In the third set, Nadal got under Federer's skin when Federer was serving at 4-5 on serve.

Nadal was striking the ball with alarming precision and had two set points at 15-40. Federer saved both the set points, but Nadal was not to be denied, as he converted his third set point after stretching Federer out of court and following it up with a tremendous volley.


Next came the decisive moment in the fourth set when Federer broke Nadal early in the fourth set and raced to a critical 3-1 lead. It looked like Federer would win the set and the match would go to the fifth set.

But that wasn't to be as Nadal quickly broke Federer back to cancel the 3-1 lead to make it 3-3, and broke Federer's serve to lead 5-3 and successfully served for the match to book his place in the final.

Federer let a 3-1 lead slip away in the fourth set. Had he played a bit more meticulously at that juncture, he would have clinched the fourth set and one wonders what would have happened in the fifth set.

Match result – Nadal won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Match duration – 2 hours and 47 minutes

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Published 19 Feb 2019, 22:02 IST
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