Recognized among the most talented players born in the early 80s, Roger Federer and David Nalbandian have been fierce rivals since their junior days. The Argentine won his first five meetings on Tour between 2002 and 2003 for a huge lead in his H2H.
Federer turned the tide in the next four matches before David won that incredible 2005 Masters Cup final for one of his best ever victories. Roger had the advantage on clay in Rome and Roland Garros in the spring of 2006, and their 13th meeting took place in Madrid on October 21, with two great rivals fighting for a place in the final.
David loved playing in this event but couldn’t find his way to a second final in three years. Roger produced a masterful performance to defeat his opponent 6-4, 6-0 in 59 minutes, advancing to his 16th Masters 1000 final and his first in Madrid.
A super-aggressive Federer fired almost 30 winners to leave Nalbandian under ten, dominating every segment and playing better as the match went on to cross the finish line in the blink of an eye. The Swiss lost 12 points in eight service games and had one break of serve.
Roger erased that deficit with a brilliant return game, taking 56% of the points behind David’s forehand and earning five breaks from ten chances. Roger started the match holding at love, closed the third game with another good serve and returned a winner in the next to open a 3-1 lead.
Roger Federer beat David Nalbandian in 59 minutes in Madrid 2006.
Three winners earned the fifth game for the Swiss, doing everything right before suddenly losing serve in the seventh game on a volley error. David got back on the scoreboard and tied the score at 4-4 after saving three break chances in the next.
Losing a narrow lead in the final ten minutes, Federer took the ninth game home with an ace and broke David at 15 a few minutes later to close out the opener 6-4 and gather momentum. Roger opened the second set with four winners and broke in the second game with a backhand return winner to build a set and break lead, looking good to take the win home from there.
Three winners put Federer 3-0 up before he grabbed another break, firing from both wings and outplaying Nalbandian with deep and accurate groundstrokes. Buoyed by the team, Roger reeled off three winners in the fifth game and minutes later stole David’s serve at love to seal the deal and secure a place in the title match.