Shanghai Flashback: Nikolay Davydenko spoils Djokovic vs. Nadal party

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal could have met in the inaugural Shanghai final in 2009

by Jovica Ilic
Shanghai Flashback: Nikolay Davydenko spoils Djokovic vs. Nadal party
© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the favorites at the inaugural Masters 1000 event in Shanghai in October 2009. Two great rivals reached the semi-final, moving two wins away from the desired title clash. Nikolay Davydenko had other plans, ousting Novak 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in three hours and three minutes and setting the title clash against Rafa.

Davydenko beat Djokovic for the second time in four encounters. He won three points more and prevailed in the decisive moments, as nothing separated them. The Russian defended six out of seven break points while seizing one of nine break opportunities.

Nikolay had the upper hand in the winners and forced errors. Novak took charge in the unforced mistakes to stay in touch, barely missing a chance to cross the finish line first. The Serb produced better numbers in the shortest range up to four strokes.

The Russian erased that deficit in the mid-range exchanges while they stayed neck and neck in the most extended ones. Djokovic closed the encounter's opening game with a forehand winner and fired a crosscourt one at 1-1. Novak saved two break points in the fifth game, and they closed games seven and eight with winners to extend the battle.

The Serb survived deuces in the ninth game, moving 5-4 up and keeping the pressure on the other side. Novak broke Nikolay at 15 in game ten when the Russian sprayed a backhand mistake, wrapping up the opener after 56 minutes.

Davydenko held in the second set's second game with a smash winner and faced two break points two games later.

Nikolay Davydenko prevailed over Novak Djokovic in Shanghai 2009.

Novak wasted a massive chance to move a set and a break up, as Nikolay grabbed four straight points to escape and level the score at 2-2.

Djokovic erased a break opportunity in the fifth game before Davydenko forced his mistake right after the serve at 3-3 to earn a break at 15 and move in front. The Russian cemented the lead with a hold at 30 and created two set points on the return at 5-3.

Novak repelled them with brave winners and fired another from a backhand to bring the game home and reduce the deficit. Serving for the set in game ten, Nikolay cracked an ace down the T line for a hold at love, gaining momentum ahead of the decider.

Novak brought the fifth game home in style after a mighty forehand crosscourt winner and created a 40-0 lead on the return in the next one, looking good to seal the deal. Davydenko stayed calm, defended them and rattled off five points for a great escape and momentum.

The seventh game lasted over ten minutes, and Novak erased two break points to remain on the positive side. Serving at 4-5, the Russian landed a service winner to level the score. The Serb clinched the 11th game after an incredible winner and one of the encounter's best points, hoping to seal the deal on the return in the next one.

Serving to stay in the match for the second time at 5-6, Nikolay painted an ace to introduce a deciding tie break. Djokovic kicked it off with a forced error, and Davydenko moved 2-0 up after another incredible baseline rally.

Serving at 0-3, Novak netted an easy forehand before falling 5-0 down after Nikolay's brilliant backhand crosscourt winner. Returning at 6-1, the Russian fired a forehand crosscourt winner to seal the deal and advance into the title clash against Rafael Nadal.

Nikolay Davydenko Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal