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Federer sets up repeat of Nadal epic

This content was published 9 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Seven years may be a long time ago but tennis fans still recall the day when Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in an epic five hour five-set match in Rome. The 2006 final which saw Nadal triumph 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 helped confirm the rivalry of the two great players. It was the last five set match here but a 30th career match between the pair promises everything on Sunday as Federer looks for a first ever career trophy at the Internazionali BNl d’Italia. The Swiss ace set up the meeting with a 7-6, 6-4 victory over young Frenchman Benoit Paire and was then asked to recall his memories of the memorable 2006 occasion. “I am not sure if it was super painful,” he said. “But I was a little disappointed. It was a great atmosphere in the old centre court and I thought I deserved it. He fought so hard and I regret the outcome but I don’t have any regrets because I went for it. “I was not going to pretend that I was not in control and I wanted for him to feel I was in control and so it was a bit disappointing at the moment. “I think it might have crushed my spirit in the first instance but if I can hang on with him for five hours in Rome then I can do is somewhere else. That is his best surface.” Federer’s win over Paire, a player he beat at the Australian Open, was workmanlike rather than spectacular. “I expected to be tougher than the last time in Australia and I had to put him into a situation where he was in a notch,” said Federer. “I think the clay helps him and he moves well and I have practised with him on clay. He makes you somewhat uncomfortable and he takes some time to set up his great backhand and so he has many assets to his game that can put you into trouble. “With the tiebreak he didn’t serve well and I took advantage of that and then I went in the lead. I think that it was a tough match and I was lucky to come out in straight sets.”

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