Invincible Djokovic vanquishes Nadal
Novak Djokovic did it again on Sunday, defeating world number one Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) to win the ATP Miami Masters crown and remain unbeaten in 2011.sports Updated: Apr 04, 2011 08:48 IST
Novak Djokovic did it again on Sunday, defeating world number one Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) to win the ATP Miami Masters crown and remain unbeaten in 2011.
Djokovic has now won all 24 matches he has played this year, the best start to a season since Ivan Lendl began 1986 25-0.
The Serbian, ranked second in the world, has captured four titles, including the Australian Open, Dubai and, now, back-to-back elite Masters titles at Indian Wells and Miami, both with victories over Nadal in the finals.
As in the championship match at Indian Wells a fortnight earlier, Djokovic surrendered the first set to Nadal.
But after a slugfest lasting almost 3 1/2 hours on a steamy stadium court it was Djokovic who emerged the victor, blasting a forehand cross court for the victory on his third match point.
"It was such a close match," Djokovic said. "To win against the No. 1 player of the world in a tiebreak in the third set, it's just incredible."
Djokovic added a second Miami title to the one he captured in 2007. And he joined Roger Federer, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras as the only players to win the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami -- the three most important early-season events -- in the same year.
Nadal seized the early advantage with a break for a 2-1 lead in the opening set - the first time Djokovic had been broke in the tournament.
Nadal broke Djokovic again for a 4-1 lead, but surrendered his own serve while serving for the set in the eighth game.
Two games later, after nearly an hour, Nadal secured the first set.
Djokovic drew first blood in the second, breaking for a 2-0 lead. Despite moments of frustration -- including a testy bounce of his racquet after allowing Nadal a break chance -- Djokovic held on to claim the second set with an ace.
Both players held throughout the final set, although Nadal applied some pressure when he pushed Djokovic to 15-30 in the final game before Djokovic held on to force the tiebreaker.
The momentum swung Djokovic's way when Nadal delivered his sixth double-fault of the match to fall behind 3-2 in the tiebreaker.
Djokovic won the next three points, giving himself a 6-2 lead and three champoinship points with a backhand down the line.
"This is one of the best matches I've played in a while," Djokovic said. "I was able to find my rhythm at the end of the first set, and then throughout the whole second and third set I played quite well, especially on my service games."
Nadal finished runner-up in Miami for the third time after falling in the final in 2005 and 2008.