Nadal v Gaudio in Blockbuster ATP Stuttgart Final

Posted on July 24, 2005

The ATP stop in Stuttgart set up its dream final Saturday when No. 1 seed and French Open champion Rafael Nadal (d. Nieminen) and No. 3 seed and former French champ Gaston Gaudio (d. (2) Davydenko, who retired in the second set with a stomach illness) advanced to the final.

"I'm happy with this victory and to be in the final and I will try to play my best tomorrow," said Nadal, eying the additional Mercedes that goes to the winner. "The car is a good motivation for me, but my main motivation is to win my next match."

The 19-year-old Nadal has won seven titles in 2005, one short of Roger Federer's eight, and has won 33 straight on clay, short of Ilie Nastase's 36, the fifth-highest streak behind Thomas Muster (38, 40), Bjorn Borg (46), and Guillermo Vilas (53).

Gaudio leads the career series with Nadal 3-1, though Nadal won their most recent meeting.

"It will be a very difficult match," Nadal said. "He is playing well, he won in Gstaad last week and he is in the final again here. I know it will be difficult and I have to play my best tennis to win. I think that Gaudio and I are amongst the best players in the world on clay so it will be a good match."

Nadal will also rise to a career-high No. 2 on Monday when the new ATP Rankings are released.

"It's a lovely situation to play against him -- and try and take his record away," Gaudio said.

The doubles final will be all-unseeded in Hood/Robredo (d. Nadal/Verdasco in the semis) versus Acasuso/Prieto (d. (WC) Beck/Rieschick).