FACING an 18-year-old in an ATP final is usually a promising sign, as your rival lacks experience from the notable matches. Of course, that was not the case when Albert Montanes faced the young compatriot, Rafael Nadal in the 2005 Acapulco final.
Turning 19 in June of that year, Rafa claimed 79 wins and 11 titles in a historic season for a teenager, becoming World No. 2 and Roger Federer’s greatest rival. Nadal stormed over his opponents in Acapulco, claiming the second ATP title in Costa do Sauipe a week earlier and gathering a boost ahead of his debut in Mexico.
Rafa was the dominant figure in Acapulco, dropping 30 games in ten sets and delivering a one-sided final. The youngster ousted Alex Calatrava 6-4, 6-4, Santiago Ventura 7-6, 6-2 and Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-3, prevailing in the crucial moments and suffering only two breaks.
The Spaniard toppled Mariano Puerta in the semi-final (they would play the Roland Garros final in June) to set the title clash against a compatriot, Albert Montanes. It was the third ATP final for the more experienced Spaniard and the third loss, with an 18-year-old forging a rock-solid 6-1, 6-0 victory in 52 minutes!
Serving at 78%, Rafa lost eight points in seven service games, never facing a break chance and mounting the pressure on the other side.