Novak Djokovic after losing to Rafael Nadal: 'Defeat will not put me down'

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Novak Djokovic after losing to Rafael Nadal: 'Defeat will not put me down'

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal met three times in the first half of the 2007 season at the Masters 1000 events. After splitting victories in Indian Wells and Miami, Nadal took charge in the Rome quarter-final and beat Novak 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 41 minutes.

Nadal faced only one break point and defended it to keep the pressure on the other side. Despite giving his best, Novak was far from those numbers, dropping half of the points behind the initial shot and losing serve four times to propel the king of clay into the semis.

Rafa had 30 winners and ten unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and leaving Novak behind in the most extended rallies to sail over the top. In the opening game, Djokovic sprayed a forehand error to experience a break, and Nadal held at 15 in game two to confirm the lead.

Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2007 Rome quarter-final.

The Serb faced seven break points in the following games, struggling to impose his strokes and moved the Spaniard away from the comfort zone. Novak survived those and earned a break chance in game six that could have pushed him back to the positive side.

Nadal saved it and broke at 15 in game seven to open a 5-2 gap. Rafa secured the set a few minutes later on his serve and gathered a boost ahead of set number two. Djokovic stayed in touch until 3-3 before playing a loose service game to fall 4-3 behind.

Rafa fired a forehand winner in game eight to confirm the advantage and broke at love a few minutes later to seal the deal and advance into the semis. "After Monte Carlo, I have been working hard on my physical preparations.

I wanted to be ready for Rome, Hamburg and Roland Garros. I had difficult matches in Rome, but I felt good on the court today. We had long games and points, and I'm not tired. That's positive news ahead of Roland Garros.

I prefer hard court, but I play well on clay too. This defeat will not put me down, as I lost to a player who has almost 20 straight victories. I'm still confident, and I believe I'm among the world's best clay-courters.

The court is fast, and that will offer a chance for someone to challenge Rafa. Still, it seems he likes the conditions too. He can play on every surface; he proved that at Wimbledon last year. Rafa has played on a high level since Monte Carlo, leaving us no chance of beating him," Novak Djokovic said.