Since 2005, Rafael Nadal was the dominant determine on clay, profitable nearly all of large titles and establishing domination in Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros. Along with his eyes units on these three tournaments, Nadal needed to sacrifice the third Masters 1000 occasion on clay in Hamburg, taking part in there in 2003 on the age of 16 and lacking the subsequent three editions. In 2007, Roger Federer defeated him within the last and Nadal had just one extra probability to rejoice in Germany, with Hamburg shedding the standing of Masters 1000 occasion from 2009, changed by Madrid Open at Caja Magica. The mighty Spaniard who was already one of many biggest clay-courters of all time had misplaced some tight battles on onerous court docket within the first three months of 2008 season however was again at house on his beloved floor, conquering Monte Carlo and Barcelona earlier than an early loss in Rome as a result of extreme blisters.
Rafa used the subsequent couple of days to relaxation and determined to attempt to win Hamburg, defeating Potito Starace, Andy Murray and Carlos Moya in straight units to set the semi-final conflict towards Novak Djokovic, prevailing after three hours and three minutes of an epic battle. Similar to in 2007, Roger Federer stood on the opposite facet of the online, hoping to defend the crown and declare the fifth Masters 1000 title in Hamburg since 2002. Regardless of that conflict with Novak that price him quite a lot of vitality, Nadal was prepared for an additional stern check on the subsequent day, overpowering Roger 7-5, 6-7, 6-Three in two hours and 52 minutes, changing into solely the third participant with all three Masters 1000 titles on clay after Marcelo Rios and Gustavo Kuerten. This was already the 11th Masters 1000 crown for the 21-year-old Spaniard, matching Pete Sampras and marching in direction of the record-holder Andre Agassi who was the chief at that time with 17.
Similar to in Monte Carlo, Federer gave his finest to remain in contact with the most important rival, pushing one another to the boundaries within the opening two units earlier than Rafa discovered the profitable components within the decider for the tenth win over Roger in 16 encounters and the eighth in 9 matches on clay. After almost three hours, Nadal received simply seven factors greater than Roger, decreasing the variety of errors and standing not far behind the Swiss within the winners division to cross the end line first, creating 17 break possibilities and changing six. Alternatively, Federer grabbed 4 breaks and that was sufficient to maintain him protected solely within the first two units, unable to match Nadal's stage within the decider. The defending champion had the sting within the shortest rallies as much as 4 strokes however the factors have been on Rafa's racquet as soon as they might get extra prolonged, with the Spaniard controlling the mid-range and most extended exchanges to forge the win and write historical past on Might 18, 2008, in Hamburg.
Roger continued the place he left within the final 12 months's last when he received the third set 6-Zero, breaking in sport two after a double fault from Nadal. A forehand error from the Spaniard pushed the Swiss Three-Zero up after solely 11 minutes and this was the absolute best begin at his favourite clay occasion versus the hardest opponent. Rafa lastly held in sport 4 with a service winner and created a break level within the subsequent sport that Federer saved to maneuver Four-1 up after an ace. Nadal was but to search out the rhythm and he received damaged at love in sport six, sending Roger 5-1 in entrance after solely 27 minutes and having to lift the extent considerably to problem the group favourite. In one of many essential video games for the whole encounter, Federer wasted a set level within the subsequent sport and suffered a break after a weak volley, conserving Nadal within the set earlier than creating one other set level on the return in sport seven, denied by a forehand winner from Rafa who blasted one other one for a maintain.
The Spaniard began to hit with extra tempo in these moments, touchdown one other forehand crosscourt winner in sport 9 to drag the second break again and achieve an enormous increase. Unable to defend his backhand or impose pictures as he would have wished, Federer sprayed a forehand error at 5-5 to present serve away for the third time in a row, permitting Nadal to rattle off six straight video games and steal the set with a service winner in sport 12 after exactly an hour. The Spaniard was the one participant on the court docket in the intervening time, kicking off the second set with one other forehand winner and the fourth break in a row earlier than Roger broke again because of a compelled error from the opponent. Going through two break factors in sport three, Federer received 4 fast factors for a vital maintain, taking the lead and forcing a mistake from Rafa to interrupt him and leap right into a Three-1 benefit.
A service winner secured one other good maintain for the Swiss who raced right into a Four-1 lead, hitting one other unreturned serve at Four-2 to maneuver nearer to the end line in set quantity two. Serving for the set at 5-Three, Federer once more lacked that one final push, just like the opening set, shedding serve after an attractive backhand crosscourt winner from Rafa who was again on the scoreboard once more, leveling the rating at 5-5 and creating three break factors within the 11th sport that would have sealed the deal for him. Very quickly in any respect, Federer repelled these with three service winners, bringing the sport house with a volley winner and forcing the rival to serve for staying within the set. Nadal did that in type to arrange a tie break that Roger claimed 7-Three with a deep return, sending the encounter right into a decider after two hours and 4 minutes of play.
Leaving the earlier set behind him, Rafa delivered two straightforward holds originally of the ultimate set and secured a break in sport 4 after a backhand error from Federer. One other free forehand from the Swiss pushed the Spaniard additional in entrance and he had extra possibilities to interrupt Roger's resistance after a smash winner in sport six. Federer erased three break factors (lovely volley winner on the third), closing the sport with one other good volley to remain inside one break deficit. Roger even created a break level within the subsequent sport however Nadal saved it with a well-constructed assault, opening a 5-2 hole and crossing the end line with 4 winners in sport 9, celebrating the primary title in Hamburg and the place within the historical past books at such a younger age.