Rafael Nadal has bagelled both Federer and Djokovic when they were ranked World No. 1
Rafael Nadal might not have dominated the World No. 1 spot like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic but it has helped the Spaniard in other ways. No one has beaten the World No. 1 more times than the 21-time Grand Slam champion, who has recorded 22 wins against players in the top spot.
While the Mallorcan has beaten Djokovic nine times in this scenario, he has scored 13 victories over Federer. Interestingly, the World No. 4 has also bageled both when they were World No. 1.
With three bagels served against the World No. 1, the 35-year-old is at the top of the list of players who have managed to defeat the top-ranked player 6-0 in a set. Nadal is followed by Ken Rosewall, Guillermo Vilas, Boris Becker and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, all of whom have served two bagels against players ranked No. 1.
Without further ado, here is a look at all three of the instances mentioned above:
#1 2008 Roland Garros final: Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer
Rafael Nafal handed Roger Federer his worst Major loss at the 2008 Roland Garros
The 2008 Roland Garros was the site of Rafael Nadal’s fourth straight title run in Paris, a feat that would see him enter the history books as the third ever player to win the tournament without dropping a set.
The Mallorcan faced Roger Federer in the final, the same man he had vanquished in the previous two years’ finals. While the Spaniard was the favorite to take the title this time around as well, the manner in which he did so was unexpected.
After taking the first two sets 6-1, 6-3, the former World No. 1 stepped up his game in the third set to take it 6-0. The defeat marked the Swiss’ worst ever loss at a Grand Slam — a fact that remains true to this date. Interestingly, during all three aforementioned matches (four, if the 2005 semifinal encounter is taken into account), Federer was the top-ranked ATP player.
#2 2019 Rome Masters: Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal defending his title at the 2019 Rome Masters with a bagel over Novak Djokovic
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took on top seed Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2019 Rome Masters in a repeat of the previous year’s semifinal fixture. The result was the same once again, only this time the Spaniard threw in a bagel to mix things up.
Although the Mallorcan took the first set 6-0, he ended up losing the second 4-6. The third set was a return to the usual way of things in Rome, as the 21-time Grand Slam champion secured it 6-1 in dominant fashion to notch up his ninth title at the tournament and a then-record 34th Masters 1000 triumph.
#3 2020 Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal won the 2020 French Open without dropping a set
The 2020 Roland Garros was historic in more ways than one for Rafael Nadal. In addition to racking up his record-equalling 20th Grand Slam, the World No. 4 won the tournament without dropping a set.
He also became the first player to win 100 matches at the French Open, and facing Novak Djokovic in the final, denied him the Double Career Slam achievement in his first attempt.
The Serb came into the clash after a marathon five-setter against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, and his exhaustion levels were evident. The 35-year-old made good use of the opportunity and broke his first three serves to take the first set 6-0. Although the World No. 1 recovered a little as the match progressed, he proved no match for the Spaniard and lost 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
In addition to handing the 21-time Major winner his record-extending 13th French Open title, it also meant that the three-time defending champion got his fourth straight victory over Djokovic on clay.