Paris Flashback: Novak Djokovic destroys Rafael Nadal

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Paris Flashback: Novak Djokovic destroys Rafael Nadal

In 2009, Novak Djokovic claimed 78 wins and stayed in the top-3 for almost the entire season. The Serb won titles in Dubai, Belgrade, Beijing, Basel and Paris, while losing four Masters 1000 finals in Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome and Cincinnati against three great rivals.

In the Paris Masters semi-final, Novak played one of his best matches of the year against Rafael Nadal, toppling the Spaniard 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 17 minutes! It was already the 20th meeting between the new generation's best players and only the second on an indoor court, with Nadal winning the previous one at the Masters Cup in 2007.

He stood no chance in this one, though, being completely outplayed by Novak, who hit almost 40 winners and did just about everything right on the court to score one of his most dominant wins over Rafa! After the opening four games, Djokovic shifted into a higher gear to rattle off seven games in a row and break Nadal's resistance, controlling the match from start to finish to march into the title clash.

It was one of Djokovic's best performances from the baseline, spraying 11 errors and keeping the points on his racquet with deep and aggressive groundstrokes that crushed Nadal's rhythm. The Spaniard never found his range and finished the match with no forehand winners, a clear indicator of how good Novak was from the baseline!

Also, Rafa made too many forced errors, unable to match the pace of Novak's shots or defend his forehands. The Serb had more service winners and delivered fury from his forehand that disarmed Nadal, probably like never before.

Novak was particularly impressive in the opening set, making just three errors in eight games. Simultaneously, the other eight mostly came when he already had a lead in the second set, with room to play more risky shots and maintain the upper hand.

In Paris 2009, Novak Djokovic stormed over Rafael Nadal in under 80 minutes.

Djokovic's shots placement was well worth textbooks, playing with the same velocity on both the crosscourt and down the line strokes to find the open space for his winners or Nadal's forced errors.

Novak served at 58% and lost 13 points in nine service games while offering no break chances to Rafa. On the other hand, Nadal struggled on both the first and second serve to give away almost half of his games' points, facing three break points and failing to save any.

He fought better in the second set after a break he suffered, but that was not enough to stay in touch, as Novak was too strong. Djokovic had a 13-10 lead in service winners and made the most significant difference from the court after firing 25 direct points, 14 from his forehand alone.

Rafa stayed on eight, none from his most potent forehand wing. Interestingly, the Spaniard had only five unforced errors, but he gained mediocre three points in that segment, with Novak standing on eight despite such an aggressive approach.

Djokovic made three forced errors, untroubled by Nadal's groundstrokes that could not harm him on that day, letting Rafa count to ten, six from his forehand. The Serb hit four double faults in comparison to two from his rival, but that could not change the scoreboard.

Novak had a 27-18 advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, did more damage with his initial groundstroke and confirmed the lead in the mid-range zone from five to eight shots, where he won 18 out of 28 points.

The Serb claimed ten of the 15 most extended exchanges and was brutally good in every element to sailing into the final. Overall, Novak had 38 winners in 55 points he won, combined with just 15 errors, while Rafa stood on 18 winners and 17 errors, which shows how good Djokovic was.