Rafael Nadal after losing to Novak Djokovic: 'My backhand let me down'

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Rafael Nadal after losing to Novak Djokovic: 'My backhand let me down'

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal met in the 2007 Miami quarter-final for the third time. Nadal defeated Djokovic in their first two encounters, and it was the Serb's turn to celebrate, beating the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4 to claim his first win over world no.

2. Novak ousted Rafa in an hour and 37 minutes, playing incredibly well on the second serve and taking 15 out of 20 points while fending off four out of five break chances to keep the rival under pressure. Unlike in Indian Wells, Rafa could not follow the rival's pace behind the initial shot, struggling on the second serve and getting broken three times from seven chances offered to Novak.

They stayed neck and neck in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, and Djokovic forged the triumph in the mid-range and most advanced exchanges, hitting more winners than unforced errors. The encounter kicked off with three commanding holds on both sides before Djokovic forced Nadal's error to grab a break in game four and open a 3-1 lead.

Thanks to Novak's loose forehand, Rafa pulled the break back in the next one and returned to the positive side. Djokovic fixed his forehand in the next game and grabbed another break after forcing Nadal's error for the second break in a row and a 4-2 advantage.

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal for the first time in Miami 2007.

Novak held at love with a service winner in game seven and wrapped up the set with a thrilling volley winner on his serve at 5-3. Rafa survived three break chances at 1-1 in the second set and landed a volley winner in the next one to earn a break opportunity.

Djokovic denied it with a powerful forehand and locked the result at 2-2 with another fine point at the net. Nadal got broken in the fifth game when his slice finished in the net, and Djokovic confirmed it with a hold at love that sent him 4-2 up.

Serving for the victory at 5-4, Novak passed the most challenging test, fending off three break points with brave hitting and sealing the deal with an ace to secure the first triumph over Rafa. "I was not on the same level as in Indian Wells two weeks ago.

Also, Novak reduced the number of errors. I had my chances in the opening set when I came back, but Novak broke again and gained the advantage. It was a critical moment. Novak played on a very high level; he is a very good competitor, and I congratulate him on the win.

My foot has been causing me some trouble, but it's not the right moment to speak about that. It hurt even when I won Indian Wells, so that does not make a difference. My biggest problem tonight was my backhand; it did not work well.

I needed deeper balls from my backhand wing and fewer errors. When you have problems with your backhand, your forehand will struggle too. I do not know if I have improved my hard-court game, but I'm giving my best every week.

I was without a title between the last year's Roland Garros and Indian Wells, but I was in the quarters, semi or final all the time," Rafael Nadal said.