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It’s an eternal debate that perhaps has no single answer that everyone can agree on. If the final played by Rafa Nadal in the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome in 2005 was not the best he has played on clay in his career, it is certainly up there. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was one of his most thrilling, most captivating and closest. The Spaniard claimed his first crown in the Foro Itálico 15 years ago by beating Guillermo Coria 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6) in the decider.

 

It was the second time he had squared off against the Argentine in a month. A few weeks prior he had won his first ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo after beating the same opponent. In the Italian capital, Coria was after revenge, but the man from Manacor had other ideas in one of the most epic matches he has produced in Rome’s tournament, lasting five hours and 14 minutes.

 

The 2005 final is one of the two Nadal has won in the fifth set on clay. He did the same a year later at the same venue against Roger Federer

 

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