Novak & Rafa: The Rivalry, Matches 21-30
Read a recap of every match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal...
2012 Australian Open final, Melbourne, hard, Djokovic d. Nadal 57 64 62 67(5) 75
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to seven straight matches over No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal in the longest Grand Slam championship final on record over five hours and 53 minutes. It surpassed the previous record of four hours and 54 minutes when Mats Wilander defeated Ivan Lendl at the 1988 US Open. In a pulsating contest on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Djokovic rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the fifth set, to fight back and claim a dramatic victory. He continued to narrow the gap in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with the Spaniard to 14-16. Nadal had never previously lost a Grand Slam final after winning the first set.
2011 US Open final, Grand Slam, New York City, hard, Djokovic d. Nadal 62 64 67(3) 61
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic claimed his third Grand Slam title of the season and his first at the US Open when he defeated defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1 in a rematch of the 2010 final. With the victory, Djokovic improved to a 6-0 mark against the Spaniard in finals this season. The pair showed what was in store for the final, with their hard-hitting rallies averaging 10 strokes in the opening game. In both the first two sets Nadal led by a break of serve, and both times Djokovic came roaring back, putting Nadal under constant pressure with his retrieval skills on the baseline and his clever use of the angles, drawing the errors from the Spaniard’s racquet. Ten-time major champion Nadal showed his mettle in the third set, winning it in a tie-break after Djokovic had served for the match at 6-5. However, the Spaniard could not maintain his high level and with both men tiring in the intense contest, it was Nadal whose resistance broke down first and Djokovic broke serve twice to claim victory in four hours and nine minutes. The 24 year old became the sixth man in the Open Era to win three major titles in the same season.
2011 Wimbledon final, London, grass, Djokovic d. Nadal 64 61 16 63
The current World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 titlist, met the soon-to-be No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. For two sets, Djokovic was superb hitting 22 winners past Nadal, who was unable to hit top form in lengthy baseline rallies. But Nadal hasn't won 20 straight matches at the All England Club for nothing. The top seed battled back to win the third set to raise hopes of a first two-sets-to-love comeback in a Wimbledon final since 1927, when Henri Cochet defeated Bill Tilden. Both players exchanged breaks of serve at the start of the fourth set, before Djokovic regained control to complete a 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and 28 minutes of play to lift his third Grand Slam championship title. It capped a dream fortnight for the Serbian, who will become No. 1 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on 4 July.
2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia final, Rome, clay, Djokovic d. Nadal 64 64
One day after a thrilling semi-final win over Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic defeated defending champion Rafael Nadal for a second consecutive Sunday in a clay-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final. The Serbian broke the World No. 1 four times - including the final games of the first and second sets - to become just the second player (Davydenko) to record four straight victories against the Spaniard. He also became the first player to win four Masters 1000 titles in one season since Nadal and Roger Federer claimed four apiece in 2005. On Saturday evening, Djokovic had come within two points of defeat before rallying to defeat Murray in a third-set tie-break. His streak of 39 successive tour-level victories following the Rome final was the sixth-longest winning streak in the Open Era.
2011 Mutua Madrid Open final, Madrid, clay, Djokovic d. Nadal 75 64
Novak Djokovic notched his 34th consecutive victory as he brought to an end Rafael Nadal’s 37-match unbeaten run on clay by beating the defending champion 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open. Despite never having beaten Nadal on clay in nine previous attempts, Djokovic raced out to a 4-0 lead in the Masters 1000 final. Nadal fought back and broke the Serbian to bring himself back level in the ninth game, but Djokovic claimed the opening set three games later. After recovering a service break early in the second set, Djokovic broke Nadal again in the final game to seal victory in two hours and 17 minutes. “Under the circumstances, I’ve played probably the best match of my life on clay against the World No. 1 and the player to beat on this surface,” declared Djokovic.
2011 Sony Ericsson Open final, Miami, hard, Djokovic d. Nadal 46 63 76(4)
In one of the most electrifying men’s singles finals in Sony Ericsson Open history, Novak Djokovic defeated World No. 1 Rafael Nadal for the second consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event after winning at Indian Wells two weeks earlier, upending the Spaniard 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to win his second Miami title. With the win, he improved to 24-0 on the season and increased his overall streak to 26 wins in a row, dating back to December’s Davis Cup Final. Djokovic became the first player since Roger Federer in 2006 to win both Indian Wells and Miami in the same year, a feat that’s been achieved eight times on the men’s side.
2011 BNP Paribas Open final, Indian Wells, hard, Djokovic d. Nadal 46 63 62
Novak Djokovic just cannot stop winning. The Serb extended his unbeaten run to 20 matches as he came from a set down to defeat World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a gripping finale. The 23-year-old Djokovic has not lost a match since falling to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last November. “I don't think anybody is unbeatable. I do have the best period of my life on the tennis court, but nobody is invincible,” he said. “Still you are just trying to play your best in each match you're playing.” Victory marked Djokovic’s 21st tour-level title and his sixth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. A day earlier, in a semi-final clash that also had the No. 2 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking on the line, Djokovic had defeated Federer, making him the third player to beat Nadal and Federer in the same tournament on two occasions, joining Nikolay Davydenko and David Nalbandian. He first defeated the duo in back-to-back matches at the 2007 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Montreal.
2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals round robin, London, indoor hard, Nadal d. Djokovic 75 62
In a eagerly anticipated clash, Nadal overcame Djokovic for the second time in succession. The first set was closely fought, but Djokovic required treatment for an eye problem after the seventh game of the first set that spelled the end of his challenge in front of a 17,000-strong crowd. Just as in his opening group match against Andy Roddick, Nadal took time to find his rhythm but secured two breaks of serve to Djokovic's one break in the opening set. Djokovic, unable to hit top form in the second set, explained afterwards, "Playing with one eye, especially against Nadal, is not enough. It's just incredible that this happened to me because it never happened in my life. I was feeling great. But my right eye got irritated, and from 5-5 I could not play. I could not see a ball, especially the return." The match lasted one hour and 52 minutes.
2010 US Open final, New York City, hard, Nadal d. Djokovic 64 57 64 62
Nadal reversed a three-match losing streak against Djokovic, defeating the Serbian 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to win his first US Open title and become the seventh man to complete the career Grand Slam. Though rain delayed their meeting by a day, Nadal made a confident start to the championship match Monday as he broke Djokovic. Though the Serbian drew level at 2-2, Nadal regained the lead as he converted on his sixth break point opportunity of the next game. The pair was locked at 4-4, 30/30, in the second set when rain suspended play for one hour and 57 minutes. When they returned, Djokovic broke the Spaniard for a third time to force a set off of Nadal for the first time during the 2010 US Open. Djokovic was unable to maintain the momentum, however, with Nadal continually putting pressure on his serve. The top seed created 16 break point chances through the final two sets and converted on three of them (6 for 26 during the match). He claimed the victory as his opponent’s return sailed wide on championship point after three hours and 43 minutes.
2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals round robin, London, indoor hard, Djokovic d. Nadal 76(5) 63
Djokovic denied Nadal his 400th tour-level match win (399-91 mark) by defeating the Spaniard 7-6(5), 6-3, but was unable to book a spot in the semi-finals after Nikolay Davydenko beat Robin Soderling in the final round-robin match of the elite eight-man tournament. The match got off to a scrappy start with three successive service breaks before Djokovic was able to carve out a 3-1 lead, saving a break point in the process. Nadal levelled in the eighth game and with the crowd urging him on he was able to force a tie-break. It was Djokovic who produced the better tennis in the first part of the tie-break, moving Nadal around with a drop shot-lob combination to earn a 6-2 lead. A brief lapse in concentration from the Serbian saw Nadal fight back to 6-5, but Djokovic was able to sneak over the line as a forehand error from Nadal – one of 35 unforced errors he committed in the match – handed him a one-set lead. Nadal required a medical timeout to receive treatment on his lower back early in the second set and Djokovic immediately pounced in the fourth game, taking advantage of errors from Nadal to lead 3-1. Djokovic went on to wrap up victory in one hour and 57 minutes.