All the talk this week from the British press was how Novak Djokovic was leaving Andy Murray behind. One year ago these two were similarly placed in the world rankings and now Djokovic has cemented himself in third place in the rankings and won his first grand slam.
Today though, the young Serb was brought crashing back to earth with another loss to Nadal, this time 6-4 6-2 7-6(7-3). Rafael Nadal showed why on Sunday he will equal Bjorn Borg’s record of 4 straight French Open Titles.
These two had played 10 times already, with Rafa winning 7, to Djokovic’s 3. But the last time they played, Djokovic at least stretched the clay king to three sets in the Hamburg semi-final. Today was a much more convincing win for Nadal, despite a wobble at the end of the third when Rafa was closing out the set.
Djokovic won the toss and served first, though this would be one of the only things that Novak would win today. Nadal broke early in the first set and went on to hold his own serve without giving up one break point.
The first serve was overshadowed though with two code violations in the final game, one for each man. Nadal first receiving a time violation for slow play and then Djokovic one for hitting a ball into the crowd.
The Second set started Much the same way as the first with Nadal gaining an early break, this time he would add another break of service to lead 4-1 and would go on to win the set comfortably 6-2.
The start of the third set didn’t get any better for Djokovic, he was broken twice in the first three games for Nadal to take a 3-0 lead, Djokovic did fight this time though, he broke back and held serve to make 2-3, Nadal responded holding serve in his next two services games, with Djokovic also holdingserve bringing the score to 5-4 and Rafa with chance to serve out the match.
In the one blip in almost perfect match for Nadal, Djokovic matched the Spaniards game to break back to level things up at 5-5, both players held serve to take the match into a tie breaker. There was to be no miraculous comeback for Djokovic. Nadal ran of the tie breaker in style winning it 7-3.
On Sunday, Rafael will undoubtly become a 4 time French Open champion. Only injury or a really really bad at the office could prevent this.
After the match today, nadal had this to say,
Maybe the way the match turned out today was easier than I expected. I was not expecting to play at this level. I was very dominant, I could put the ball anywhere I wanted. I was dominating both on my forehand and backhand, and I didn’t think that I could make mistakes. That was key.