ThrowbackTimes Miami: Novak Djokovic scores first victory over Rafael Nadal

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ThrowbackTimes Miami: Novak Djokovic scores first victory over Rafael Nadal

Starting the season ranked 16th, Novak Djokovic didn't need much time to become the third-strongest link in men's tennis in 2007, entering the top-10 for the first time after reaching the Indian Wells final. Rafael Nadal halted the Serb in that one, but it was the other way around in Miami two weeks later.

Djokovic went all the way in Florida to claim the first Masters 1000 title at 19, serving revenge over the Spaniard in the quarter-final. It was their third meeting and the first win for Novak over Rafa, delivering a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 37 minutes to advance into the semi-final.

The Serb produced an incredible performance on the second serve (taking 15 out of 20 points) and fended off four out of five break chances to keep the pressure on Nadal. The Spaniard couldn't forge the same numbers behind his initial shot, struggling on the second serve big time and getting broken three times from seven chances offered to the Serb.

They stayed neck and neck in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, and it was Djokovic who had the upper hand in the mid-range and more extended exchanges, leaving Rafa behind after hitting more winners than unforced errors.

After three great holds on both sides, Novak forced a mistake from Rafa in the fourth game to move 3-1 in front.

In 2007, Novak Djokovic scored his first victory over Rafael Nadal in Miami.

The Serb gathered momentum before getting broken at 15 in the next one when his forehand landed long, bringing the Spaniard back to the positive side of the scoreboard.

Djokovic's forehand worked much better in the next game when he forced Nadal's to secure the second straight break and open a 4-2 gap. Unlike the last time he served, Novak delivered a hold at love with a service winner to cement the advantage, wrapping up the set with an incredible volley in the ninth game for 6-3.

In the second set's third game, Nadal survived three break chances to stay in touch and earned a break opportunity a few minutes later with a volley winner. Novak dismissed it with a powerful forehand and brought the game home with a volley winner to level the score at 2-2.

Nadal netted a slice backhand in the fifth game to give serve away, sending the younger opponent in front and allowing Djokovic to gain a 4-2 lead with a hold at love a few minutes later. Serving for the victory at 5-4, Novak passed the most challenging test and fended off three break chances with brave hitting, sealing the deal with an ace to notch the first triumph over Rafa and remain on the title course.