World Finals: Nadal Remains Favorite, Upsets Djokovic
Nadal’s muscles frustrated Djokovic as a dream final against Federer is about to take shape. The Spanish world champion upset third-seeded Djokovic for the second time in a reiterated US Open final at the O2, London. Nadal finished the Serb in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 to become the first player of the World Tour Finals to play the semi finals despite one game remained. Nadal broke Djokovic in the fifth game of the opening set, but this was immediately returned by the Serb. Things came back to normal as both won their serves again. Suddenly the Spaniard, who came in London for claiming his first Finals trophy, broke Djokovic once again in the 11th game just when the set looked to end in a tie-break.
This time, Nadal paid more attention to take advantage of the rally and won the last game on his own serve as Djokovic became confused. The second set brought the kind of Nadal who threats to win everything in London. The second set saw the 23-year-old Djokovic claiming his first game barely in the fifth one as Nadal was already following two breaks that propelled him to 4-0. But Djokovic’s first game didn’t mean anything in Nadal’s equation. It was enough for the Spaniard to win the games on his own service, which he did. So the second game won by Djokovic saw him conceding the next one which brought Nadal’s second victory and top spot of the group A.
Rafa comes after another win obtained in front of Andy Roddick on Monday. Then the Spaniard would concede the first set to come from behind and pass him. But it is today that this year’s three-time Grand Slam winner looks much closer to a World Tour Finals last term. Rafa join Roger Federer who also has two wins so far, the Swiss elading the group B after defeating David Ferrer and Andy Murray on Tuesday.
Next Nadal plays Tomas Berdych, the Czech going 1-1 after passing Andy Roddick on Wednesday afternoon. The Spaniard looked very pleased with the victory over third Djokovic, claiming that he is happy with first set’s performance rather than the second one which he claimed much easier. Indeed, he hit tremendously forehands, but the serves went also perfectly for the title favorite. Nadal beat Djokovic for the second time after they also played the US Open final which the Spaniard won this summer at the Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic was widely frustrated by a problem on his right eye. The Serb received medical treatment during the match, but everything ruined since. This might have also affected his poor performance last night. But the seven-time winner of the season Nadal continued his great job to claim the victory in just less than two hours. “I am really happy how I played because the serve worked much better, especially in the first set. The forehand, I played with less mistakes than the other day, with better rhythm. I think was a big change from the first day, the first match, between this one. That’s very good news and I’m very happy for that,” said the Spaniard at the end of the game.
It’s been a fantastic year for Nadal, who won three Grand Slam tournaments in a row to go and fight for the fourth one next January. The end also looks very bright for the 24-year-old Spaniard. Nadal improved his match-record of the season to 69-9. So this is why he is the main favorite for the Finals trophy. He has more chances now to do it, taking into account that he already beat group’s main favorites for the second place.
The number one ATP is in the semi finals for the third time in career. He also reached the last four phase in 2006 and 2007, which he lost to Roger Federer both times.
Apart from this, sixth seed Tomas Berdych beat Andy Roddick in the afternoon 7-5, 6-3, the American being now just one step from leaving the tournament earlier than probably expected. The Czech ruined Roddick’s hopes despite he committed 28 unforced errors. Berdych’s confidence raised as the game progressed this hitting 28 winners, as well, while Roddick’s powerful serves couldn’t help too much. Berdych claimed the victory in one hour and 25 minutes but remains second favorite for the second place in the group. Djokovic still can make it for the semi finals, the Serb being expected to face Roddick on Friday.
Concerning doubles matches, little changes took place in the group B. Namely Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic went top spot after edging Manesh Bhupathi / Max Mirnyi pair in two tie-breaks. The Serb-Canadian couple claimed the victory 7-6(5), 7-6(1) and are now one step into the semis, while Bhupathi and Mirnyi sits second. Pair Moodie / Dick Norman also climbed with one win after passing Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 and have real chances for the last four round, as well. On contrast, the Austro-Polish team drops last with two losses.
Thursday see Bryan’s fighting for a last chance to reach the semi finals. The two Americans world champions meet Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes, while group’s A leaders Mariusz Fyrstenber and Marcin Matkowski play Jurgen Melzer / Philipp Petzschner who compete Bryan’s for second position. As for singles, Roger Federer will face fourth ATP Robin Soderling, who came in London as the main danger after claiming the French Open, but whose chances faded as he already lost to Andy Murray, the Scot being now the main favorite for the second place in group B. Finally, David Ferrer will meet Murray, the Spaniard keeping the least chances for a place in the semis after two losses.11