Miami Flashback: Novak Djokovic sets Rafael Nadal clash

Novak Djokovic defeated Mardy Fish in the 2011 Miami Masters semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
Miami Flashback: Novak Djokovic sets Rafael Nadal clash

Novak Djokovic was a player to beat in 2011. Novak conquered the Australian Open, Dubai and Indian Wells, heading to Miami as the top favorite. The Serb dropped 18 games in the opening ten sets in Florida, looking good to claim his first Miami title in four years.

Novak faced Mardy Fish in the semi-final and delivered a 6-3, 6-1 triumph in an hour and 26 minutes. Thus, Djokovic claimed his 23rd straight victory in 2011 and set the final clash with Rafael Nadal. Novak and Mardy met for the sixth time, and the Serb delivered his sixth victory.

Djokovic struggled a bit on the second serve but kept his service games intact after fending off all four break points. Fish served at 54% and plagued his chances for a more favorable result. Djokovic delivered four breaks to control the pace and sail into the title clash.

Novak tamed his strokes nicely and hit a similar number of winners and unforced errors. He forced over 20 mistakes from Fish, who also made many unforced mistakes to ruin his chances. Interestingly, the American was on level terms with the Serb in the more extended rallies.

However, he lost ground in the shortest ones, as he could not pass Novak with service winners or attacks from the opening groundstroke, something he needed badly to fight for the win. The home player drew first blood with a forehand winner in game three that offered him two break chances.

Djokovic denied them with two booming serves and closed the game to avoid an early setback.

Novak Djokovic defeated Mardy Fish in the 2011 Miami semi-final.

The rain moved them from the court for about an hour in the fifth game, with Mardy earning another break chance when they returned.

Like with the opening two, Novak erased it with a service winner and found the range on the return in the next game to secure a break after a 27-shot rally that sent him 4-2 up. Serving for the set at 5-3, Djokovic played against two more break opportunities, surviving them and taking the opener with a service winner after 50 minutes.

Mardy sprayed a forehand error in the second set's first game to find himself a set and a break down. Novak held at 15 after an ace to establish a 6-3, 2-0 advantage and take another big step toward the finish line. The Serb's win became inevitable following another break at 3-1, and he saved a break point in the next one with a service winner to move closer to the top.

Djokovic sealed the deal with another break at 5-1 when he landed a forehand winner that propelled him into another final.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Mardy Fish