Nadal equals Vilas record

Nadal equals Vilas record
By Eurosport

14/05/2006 at 12:38Updated

Rafael Nadal saved two match points to beat World number one Roger Federer 6-7 7-6 6-4 2-6 7-6 tying Guillermo Vilas' all-time record of 53 consecutive wins on clay.

The 19-year-old Nadal began his streak at the Monte Carlo Masters in April 2005 and has now won nine straight tournaments on clay. His 16th title also tied him with Bjorn Borg for most titles won as a teenager.

Vilas set his streak in 1977, beginning with a win in May at the French Open and ending with a loss to Ilie Nastase in October in Aix en Provence, France.

"Fifty-three matches is a lot of matches. Every week when I start a tournament I think: this week I'm going to lose.

"For me it is nice to equal Borg but he achieved a lot more in his career. I still have a lot to learn and a lot to improve," added Nadal, who will defend his French Open title from May 29.

The match was allways close, but at the end Federer lost the match due to tension.

Federer never managed to upset the second seed, even in the deciding set with a break in advance.

At this moment, the world number one showed glimses of tension when he could kill the match.

But the teenager appeared lost as Federer stormed through the resulting tiebreak without losing a point.

The second set also went to a tiebreak as both players held serve comfortably. But both a long forehand approach shot and a netbound passing attempt saw Federer lose out.

Nadal then broke Federer at 3-2 in the third and held that advantage to take the lead for the first time.


But Federer broke his opponent twice in the fourth set to again level the match and force a decider.

Federer came so close to beating Nadal that perhaps the chance of Winning Roland Garros enter his mind at the beginning of the fifth set.

Federer missed two crucial forehands, allowing Nadal to force the match's third tiebreak.

Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when Federer hit another forehand long.

Federer will hope to exact revenge in Hamburg as he prepares for the French Open, the only Grand Slam title to elude him.

"It is a pity for me because I started well and had my chances to win, but he caught me on the finish line," said the Swiss.

"Even in Monte Carlo it was extremely close, but this was even closer. I came in to the net more and he hardly passed me all today, so I think I'm on the right track."