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Re-living the 3 occasions when Rafael Nadal was bagelled on a claycourt

  • Nadal is known as the King of Clay, but there have been times when he has been thrashed by his opponents on the surface.
Modified 10 Mar 2020, 00:18 IST

Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal is called the 'King of Clay' for a reason. The 19-time Grand Slam champion is a behemoth on the surface; his claycourt win-loss record of 436-39 (91%) is almost six percentage points better than that of the player in second place on the list.

The Spaniard is the first player to win 10 titles at a claycourt tournament - a feat he has accomplished at three separate tournaments. He is also the the first player to win 50 titles on the surface.

Nadal's 12 titles at Roland Garros is the most that any player has won at a Grand Slam or for that matter at any tournament, while his 11 Monte Carlo titles are a record for most titles at a Masters 1000 tournament. The 33-year-old's 81-match win streak on clay is the longest that any player has accomplished on any surface.

But there have been times when he has faltered on clay, getting blanked by his opponent. Let us have a look at the three occasions the King of Clay was bagelled on his favourite surface.

#1 Buenos Aires 2005 quarterfinal - Lost to Gaston Gaudio 6-0, 0-6, 1-6

Nadal at 2005 Buenos Aires
Nadal at 2005 Buenos Aires

Making his debut in the Latin American 'Golden Swing', Nadal won two matches at the 2005 Buenos Aires Open - beating Agustin Calleri and Potito Starace - to reach the quarterfinals.

Nadal looked on course for his maiden semifinal appearance at the tournament when he took the opening set against local hope Gaston Gaudio without conceding a game. But in a stunning turnaround, the Argentine returned the bagel compliment with one of his own, before running away with the match for the loss of just one game in the third.

In the process, the then 18-year-old Spaniard suffered his first 0-6 set on clay.

#2 Monte Carlo 2005 final: Beat Guillermo Coria 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5

Nadal beats Coria to win his first Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo 2005
Nadal beats Coria to win his first Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo 2005

Making a brisk start, Nadal dropped only four games against Guillermo Coria as he took a commanding two-set lead.

Coria reduced the arrears by bagelling the Spaniard in the third set. But the comeback proved short-lived as Nadal regrouped in the fourth to close it out 7-5 and lift his first Masters 1000 title.

That would be the only time Nadal would concede a 6-0 set on the surface while going on to win the match.

You may also like: Nadal's 5 biggest titles as a teenager

#3 Hamburg 2008 final: Lost to Roger Federer 6-2, 2-6, 0-6

Federer beats Nadal (left) in the 2008 Hamburg final
Federer beats Nadal (left) in the 2008 Hamburg final

Having lost his first five matches on clay to Nadal, Federer looked on course to continue his misery against the Spaniard after dropping the first set 6-2 in the 2008 Hamburg Masters final.

But at the tournament where Federer won his first Masters 1000 tournament six years earlier the Swiss maestro was determined to put one across the King of Clay.

Federer restored parity by taking the second set 6-2, and then handed the Spaniard a rare bagel in the third to win his 4th title at the tournament.

The third set of the match marked Nadal's third and latest occasion when he was bagelled on his favourite surface.

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Published 10 Mar 2020, 00:18 IST
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