ATP Finals Flashback: Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal, but both fail..

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ATP Finals Flashback: Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal, but both fail..

The ATP Finals moved from Shanghai to London in 2009, offering incredible excitement in a group with Roger Federer and Andy Murray. In the other, Rafael Nadal and the defending champion Novak Djokovic failed to pass the round-robin stage.

The world's leading players lost three out of four matches to Nikolay Davydenko and Robin Soderling, who moved into the semi-final instead of them. Novak grabbed two victories, but it was not enough to advance, despite a 7-6, 6-3 triumph over Nadal in the last round-robin clash.

It was their 21st meeting and the seventh triumph for the Serb, the third in a row that season after Cincinnati and Paris. Djokovic served at 51%, but it was hard to notice that. He lost serve twice and scored three breaks from five opportunities on the return.

Rafa could not find his strokes, hitting ten winners and over 30 unforced errors. Novak forced more mistakes from his opponent and hit twice as many winners to control the pace. Interestingly, the Spaniard built a massive advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes.

However, he lost ground in the mid-range and most extended exchanges like not many times before to leave the competition without a win. Rafa's first big mistake came in the opening game when he netted a forehand to suffer a break.

The Spaniard pulled it back in the next one following Novak's similar error. Djokovic grabbed the second straight break at 1-1 when Nadal hit a double fault and saved a break point a few minutes later to bring the game home and open a 3-1 gap.

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the 2009 ATP Finals.

Rafa held after two deuces in game five with a service winner and hit a rare forehand winner at 2-4 to stay in touch. Djokovic lost the advantage in the eighth game following a backhand mistake.

The defending champion found himself behind for the first time after another loose backhand at 4-4. Serving to stay in the set in game ten, Novak held at 30 to extend the set before Rafa delivered a hold at love for 6-5. The Serb also held at love to introduce a tie break and won a massive exchange that pushed him 4-2 ahead.

Rafa came back to 5-6 before spraying a forehand error that handed the set to Novak after a grueling 67 minutes. Nadal received a medical timeout on a lower back after the second set's third game and netted a forehand in the next one to give serve away and find himself 3-1 down.

Rafa survived another challenging game at 1-4 and opened a 30-0 lead at 3-5 when Novak served for the victory. Djokovic bounced back to earn two match points, and Nadal saved them to extend the battle. The Spaniard created a break chance, and the Serb erased it with a forehand down the line winner. Novak sealed the deal on his third match point and celebrated his third straight triumph over Rafa.