Kicking off the season from just outside the top-15 and with big goals on his mind, Novak Djokovic lost to Roger Federer at the Australian Open 2007 before reaching the first Masters 1000 final. Rafael Nadal proved to be too strong in Indian Wells and Novak learned the lesson well, setting another clash against the Spaniard in Miami quarter-final and beating him for the first time.
World no. 1 Roger Federer wasn't among the title runners at the opening Masters 1000 events of the season, losing to Guillermo Canas in both Indian Wells and Miami and leaving the space for the youngsters to show their true colors.
At both events, Novak played against his coeval Andy Murray in the semis, thrilled about the fact the young guns were making their way towards the top after a couple of Roger Federer's dominant seasons. Novak needed an hour and 37 minutes to beat Rafa 6-3, 6-4, winning 15 out of 20 points behind the second serve and saving four out of five break chances to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
Nadal couldn't stay at that pace, having troubles after missing the first serve and getting broken thrice to propel Novak into the semis.
Djokovic forged his triumph in the mid-range and extended exchanges, hitting more winners than unforced errors.
Novak forced a mistake from Rafa in the fourth game to move 3-1 in front, gathering momentum before suffering a break at 15 when his forehand landed long, brining the Spaniard back to the positive side of the scoreboard.
Djokovic forced another mistake from Nadal to secure the second straight break, cement it with a hold at love and clinch the set with an incredible volley in the ninth game. In the third game of the second set, Nadal survived three break points to stay in touch, earning a break opportunity in the next game with a volley winner.
Novak dismissed it with a powerful forehand, bringing the game home with a volley winner to level the score at 2-2. Nadal netted a slice backhand in the fifth game to suffer a break, sending the younger opponent in front and allowing Djokovic to serve for the victory at 5-4.
Novak passed the most severe test in that tenth game, fending off three break chances and sealing the deal with an ace to notch the first triumph over Nadal. "I'm expecting a nice battle against Andy, competing against each other in the second straight Masters 1000 semi-final; he must be fitter than in Indian Wells.
It's a great thing for tennis to see youngsters like Nadal, Murray and me playing at this level and bringing something new to tennis. Emotions are important for the sport. If the crowd sees a lot of emotions, thrilling points and winners from the upcoming players like us, it's always a good thing, as they want to see something new. I think you all had enough of Roger Federer winning every tournament, so it's good," said Novak Djokovic.