Miami Flashback: Novak Djokovic downs Rafael Nadal and passes Andre Agassi
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2769
Novak Djokovic did not make a good start to the 2014 season, at least by his standards. The Serb changed that in March during his favorite 'Sunshine double,' playing at a high level and beating his great rivals in two finals.
After conquering Indian Wells over Roger Federer, Novak met Rafael Nadal in the Miami Open final. Novak beat Rafa 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 24 minutes for his 18th Masters 1000 title, leaving Andre Agassi on 17. The Serb grabbed the seventh triumph in the last nine encounters on hard courts against the Spaniard.
Djokovic earned it after hitting more winners and fewer unforced errors, controlling the pace with a sharp display on both serve and return. Nadal was powerless against the sheer power of Djokovic's shots. He fell behind in the shortest, mid-range and most extended rallies to finish runner-up for the fourth time in Miami in the last nine years, still seeking the elusive Florida crown!
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2014 Miami final.
Both players served at 71%, and Novak drew the most from that. The Serb lost 11 points on serve and repelled the only break point to keep the pressure on the other side.
Nadal dropped 44% of the points behind the initial shot, playing against four break chances and suffering three breaks to propel Djokovic over the finish line. Novak tamed Rafa's forehand like probably no one before. He forced the Spaniard to cover the entire court, spreading him from one side to another with clinical hitting from both wings.
Interestingly, Rafa created that lone break opportunity in the encounter's opening game after placing a forehand winner. Novak denied it with a well-constructed attack and forced the rival's error in game six to draw first blood and move 4-2 up.
A service winner cemented the Serb's lead, and he hit another in the ninth game to wrap up the opener 6-3 after 39 minutes. Ruling the court, Novak opened space in the second set's first game to place a backhand crosscourt winner and earn an early break.
He took 21 of the last 30 points for complete domination! Rafa saved a break chance in the fifth game to stay within one break deficit, never getting an opportunity to pull the break back and serving at 3-5 to remain in the tournament.
Eager to take the trophy as soon as possible, Novak broke in that ninth game with a crafty point at the net to celebrate the crown and deliver a vital win over the rival who took the throne from him in the previous season.