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Nadal vs. Federer: 10 Years And Counting

Miami, U.S.A.

It was 10 years ago Friday that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal began their legendary rivalry on the ATP World Tour. The two met for the first time in the Miami third round, with Federer, already twice a Grand Slam champion and the top seed, facing Nadal, still finding his game, seeded No. 32.

Federer, the Basel native, recalled that first match against his Spanish rival after defeating Richard Gasquet on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals.

Rivalry: Nadal vs. Federer

"It was a tough tournament," said Federer. "I came off of sunstroke in Indian Wells after beating [Tim] Henman in the finals. I was in bed for four or five days, and then came here."

Federer knew little about his third-round opponent that year and fell 6-3, 6-3 to Nadal.

"He played great and I was impressed with what I saw," said Federer.

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"Everybody thought he was just a clay courter, and he proved that he was probably going to be more than just that," the Swiss added. "He went on to have this great career that many expected him to have."

As a precursor to many entertaining battles to come, Federer bounced back the following year in Miami - their second encounter - to avenge the loss with a 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1 victory in the final.

The two have played each other 33 times, with World No. 1 Nadal winning 23 of those encounters, most recently in the 2014 Australian Open semi-finals this past January. Their rivalry is tied for sixth place in the list of most matches played between two players in the Open Era, with that of Federer's against World No. 2 Novak Djokovic. The Nadal-Djokovic rivalry leads the pack, with 39 meetings in that FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

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