'Rafael Nada would not give up, even at 0-5,' Novak Djokovic recalls

“Rafael Nada didn’t even give up at 0: 5,” recalls Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal set up a blockbuster semi-final in Montreal 2007. Nadal had beaten Djokovic three times in the previous months and the Serb was keen to change that in Canada and advance into the title fight. Novak beat Rafa 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 51 minutes to advance to the finals in his Canada Masters debut.

Djokovic became the third U20 player with three Masters 1000 finals in a single season, after Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal. Novak defended all eight break chances and kept the pressure on at the other end. Rafa was broken once in each set to hand the victory to his rival and end the campaign in the semis.

Djokovic is the more aggressive player, firing 25 winners and forcing Nadal’s 30 errors. The Serb created a massive gap in the shortest range down to four strokes and overpowered the Spaniard in the extended to seal the deal and advance to the final.

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in Montreal in 2007.

Rafa fended off a break chance at 2-1 in the opener with a forehand winner and brought it home with a service winner. Djokovic served well and opened a 4-3 lead before Nadal snapped the next with a powerful backhand crosscourt.

Novak fended off three break points at 5-5 to stay on the positive side and get a boost. He forced Rafa’s mistake in game 12 to earn a break and end the opener. Djokovic had to dig deep early in the second set on serve, fending off a break chance in the opening game and four more at 1-1.

He never had trouble on serve again and the pressure was on Nadal. Rafa served at 3-4 and scored a play to suffer a break and push the world No. 1. 3 front. Djokovic served for the win in game nine, holding at love to seal the deal in style and advance into the third straight hard-court Masters 1000 final.

“I faced the world No. 2 and you can’t expect an easy game. Rafa and I had already played a couple of times and I hit him hard. I had positive thoughts before the game because I knew I was going to be aggressive had to play tennis and control rallies.

I’m thrilled to seal the deal in straight sentences. I had to stay focused the whole time as I knew Nadal wouldn’t give up even at 0-5. I had to control the crucial points for 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 happy with the level achieved. The Montreal surface is fast and I had to take my shots and make him uncomfortable. I had to be patient and aggressive at the same time and my serve helped me a lot,” said Novak Djokovic.

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