Nadal wins Madrid epic

Nadal fights back for Madrid crown
By Eurosport

23/10/2005 at 19:29Updated

World number two Rafael Nadal fought back from two sets down for the first time in his career to win the Madrid Masters, his 11th title of 2005, over Croatian eighth seed Ivan Ljubicic on Sunday. Nadal ended Ljubicic's 16-match winning streak with a 3-6 2

Nadal wracked up his 79th victory of the season, the most for a teenager since Mats Wilander won 82 in 1983 in front of 10,000 spectators at the Pabellon de Cristal.

For Ljubicic, the 26-year-old from Banja Luka was magnanimous in defeat bringing to an end any dream of capturing three titles in as many weeks.

"It was a beautiful feeling to play here and I'm really happy for Rafa because he's young and will have a lot of victories ahead of him still to come," Ljubicic said.

Ljubicic, who hit 32 aces in his first Masters Series final, moved into a 4-3 lead and broke Nadal once again to secure the opening set.

With a short take-back on his groundstrokes - similar to John McEnroe - Ljubicic continued to mix his game up and earned a break in the third and seventh games to seal an two sets to love lead to leave 19-year-old Nadal shaking his head.

Refusing to surrender, Nadal used the Madrid support to finally break Ljubicic's serve for a 6-3 third set.

With the bit between his teeth, Nadal broke to go 2-1 up in the fourth set after two full-stretch winners and kept his focus to serve out 6-4 and level the match.

Nadal secured a 3-0 lead and never looked back to claim victory 7-3, in the tie-break, for a remarkable comeback in a three-hour 50-minute final.