Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met for the 23rd time at the 2010 ATP Finals, facing each other in the second round-robin match after scoring initial wins. The Spaniard earned a 7-5, 6-2 victory in an hour and 52 minutes, beating the Serb for the 16th time and maintaining a perfect score in London.
After an early Paris Masters exit, Novak came to London and played well in the first round-robin clash versus Tomas Berdych. He also made a good start against Nadal before experiencing the right eye irritation in the eighth game, taking a medical time out and changing his contact lenses a couple of times.
The Serb could not improve his sight, and he played the second set almost with one eye, never standing a chance against such a strong opponent. Novak's timeout outside the court took seven minutes, and Nadal said nothing while waiting for his opponent.
Nonetheless, the Spaniard got asked to speed up a bit while serving while the action resumed, and he argued with the chair umpire about that. After the match, Rafa explained that he had nothing against Novak's extended timeout but that it also did not feel right for the referee to rush him after missing out to serve in time for two or three seconds.
Nadal saved four out of five break chances and took 43% of the return points and delivered four breaks to seal the deal in straight sets and beat Djokovic for the second time that season. Unable to control his shots, Novak sprayed 30 unforced mistakes and lost ground from the closing stages of the opening set, playing bold tennis and going for all-or-nothing strokes as the only option.
Nadal grabbed the first break at 2-2 in the first set after an entertaining point at the net before losing serve in the next one and wasting two break points in game seven.
Novak Djokovic dealt with an eye irritation vs. Rafael Nadal in London 2010.
Novak started to feel the problems with his eye in the eighth game and left the court while trying to find a solution.
The Serb served well in the ninth game before spraying a backhand mistake at 5-5 to hand the break to his opponent. Nadal erased three break chances and claimed it after grueling 75 minutes. Novak tried to fix the problems with his eye ahead of the second set, but it only worsened, losing serve in games one and three to send Rafa 3-0 in front.
Nadal moved 4-0 ahead with a service winner and held at 30 in game six with a smash winner to control the scoreboard. Djokovic held at 15 in the seventh game before Nadal emerged at the top with a service winner a few minutes later.
"The umpire told me I had to be faster between the points. I think the medical timeout is three minutes, and Novak stayed away from the court for seven. No hard feelings, though, as I have an excellent relationship with Novak.
I waited for Novak for seven minutes, which was not a problem, and the umpire warned me about being a couple of seconds late while serving. That's what I wanted to discuss with him, as he pressured me to take less time between serves.
I'm not against the rules, and I know I have to be faster as I'm often late on serve. I think the situation was different today; I waited a lot, and the umpire could not say to me in the very next game that I had to be faster, as I waited for Novak twice," Rafael Nadal said.