/ Tennis

Djokovic slams Nadal in Madrid Open

Updated: Sunday, 08 May 2011 20:37

Novak Djokovic - remains unbeaten in 2011 after beating Rafa Nadal in the final of the Madrid Open
Novak Djokovic - remains unbeaten in 2011 after beating Rafa Nadal in the final of the Madrid Open

Novak Djokovic continued his stunning start to the season with a brilliant victory over world number one Rafael Nadal in the final of the Madrid Open on Sunday evening.

Djokovic, the world number two, made it 32 wins out of 32 in 2011 and clinched his sixth successive title of the year after defeating home favourite and defending champion Nadal 7-5 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes.

That was Djokovic's first win in 10 meetings with Nadal on clay, while it also brought an end to the Spaniard's 37-match winning streak on the surface.

The victory also means Djokovic's current winning streak is the second-best to start an ATP season since 1975, with John McEnroe holding the record with 42 successive triumphs in 1984.

The last time the two players met here, in the 2009 semi-finals, it needed over four hours to separate the pair before Nadal recorded a 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (11/9) victory, and it was a similarly captivating contest tonight - albeit in half the time.

The match was a rollercoaster ride right from the start, with Djokovic having to save two break points in the opening game of the first set.

The Serbian managed that, though, and then raced into a 4-0 lead after twice breaking Nadal and holding his other service game to love.

It was looking worrying for Nadal at that stage but, backed by a partisan crowd at La Caja Magica, he pulled a break back in the fifth game, aided by a Djokovic double fault on the decisive point, and then did the same in the ninth game.

The momentum looked to have dramatically shifted to Nadal, but Djokovic recovered and forced three sets points on his opponents serve in the next game, the 10th of the set.

Nadal managed to save all of them, but it was to prove only a brief reprieve for the Spaniard as Djokovic won the next eight points - including breaking Nadal to love in the 12th game with the help of two fortunate net-cord bounces - to take the first set.

The second set started in similarly remarkable fashion as the first had ended, with Nadal gaining revenge for the previous game by also breaking Djokovic to love - one of the Spaniard's winners being a brilliant through-the-legs lob shot that sent the Madrid crowd and even Djokovic wild.

Once again, though, Djokovic hit back straight away, breaking Nadal's serve in the next game to level the scores up at 1-1.

The third game passed with little incident, Djokovic holding to 15, but there was another break point in the fourth, although this time Nadal was able to hold.

There were no more break points until the 10th game of the set, when Djokovic raced into a 15-40 before breaking Nadal to clinch a thrilling victory.

Earlier, Petra Kvitova clinched the women's title at the Madrid Open after defeating fourth seed Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 in what was the Czech's first WTA clay court final.

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