'Rafael Nada would not give up, even at 0-5,' Novak Djokovic recalls
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 14156
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal set a blockbuster semi-final in Montreal 2007. Nadal had beaten Djokovic three times in the previous months, and the Serb was eager to change that in Canada and advance into the title clash.
Novak beat Rafa 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 51 minutes to move into the final on his Canada Masters debut. Djokovic became the third U20 player with three Masters 1000 finals within a season after Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal. Novak defended all eight break chances and kept the pressure on the other side.
Rafa got broken once in each set to hand the victory to his rival and finish the campaign in the semi-final. Djokovic is the more aggressive player, firing 25 winners and forcing Nadal's 30 mistakes. The Serb created a massive gap in the shortest range up to four strokes and overpowered the Spaniard in the extended ones to seal the deal and advance into the final.
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in Montreal 2007.
Rafa fended off a break chance at 1-2 in the opener with a forehand winner and brought it home with a service winner. Djokovic served well and opened a 4-3 advantage before Nadal grabbed the next one with a powerful backhand crosscourt.
Novak defended three break points at 5-5 to remain on the positive side and gain a boost. He forced Rafa's mistake in game 12 to earn a break and wrap up the opener. Djokovic had to dig deep on serve early in the second set, fending off a break chance in the opening game and four more at 1-1.
He never experienced trouble on serve again, and the pressure was on Nadal. Rafa served at 3-4 and netted a slice to suffer a break and push world no. 3 in front. Djokovic served for the win in game nine and held at love to seal the deal in style and advance into the third straight hard-court Masters 1000 final.
"I faced world no. 2, and you can not expect an easy match. Rafa and I had already played a couple of times before, and I beat him on hard. I had positive thoughts before the match, knowing I had to play aggressive tennis and control the rallies.
I'm thrilled to seal the deal in straight sets. I had to stay focused all the time, as I knew Nadal would not give up even at 0-5. I had to control the crucial points on break chances and not let him take advantage. Rafa struggled in his games, and I broke him at the right moment in both sets.
It was an impressive match, and I'm satisfied with the level I produced. The surface in Montreal is fast, and I had to go for my shots and make him uncomfortable. I had to stay patient and aggressive simultaneously, and my serve helped me a lot," Novak Djokovic said.