Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal fought a scandalous semi-final in Montreal in 2007. Nadal had beaten Djokovic three times in the past few months and the Serb was keen to change that in Canada and progress in the title fight. Novak defeated Rafa 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 51 minutes to reach the final in his Canadian 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 of his break chances and kept the pressure on at the other end. Rafa broke once in each set to hand victory to his rival and end the campaign in the semis.
Djokovic is the more aggressive player, shooting 25 winners and forcing Nadal’s 30 errors. The Serb created a huge gap in the shorter range of up to four strokes and dominated the Spaniard in the longer ones to seal the deal and advance to the final.
A break chance at 1-2 was fended off by Rafa early on with a forehand winner and brought it home with a serve winner. Djokovic served well and extended a 4-3 lead before Nadal scored the next with a powerful crosscourt backhand.
Novak fended off three break points at 5-5 to stay on the positive side and gain momentum. He forced Rafa’s mistake in game 12 to earn a break and end the game. Djokovic had to work hard on his serve in the second set, fending off a break point chance in the first game and four more at 1-1.
On serve he had no problems again, the pressure was on Nadal. Rafa served 3-4 and cut to break and put the world No. 3 in front. Djokovic served to win the ninth game and held love to seal the deal in style and advance to their third straight Masters 1000 hard-court final.
Fritz talks about Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has been the subject of heated discussions in recent weeks as the tennis season heads towards the US Open. “It’s difficult. On the one hand, I think it’s difficult to make certain exceptions to the rules for certain people.
I don’t know how I feel about that, but at the same time, we’re not generally the COVID-safest country, you know how we do things. So it seems, you know, what’s the harm in letting the best player in the world play at the US Open? said Taylor Fritz.
“It’s good for every player when Novak isn’t in the draw,” he said with a smile. “I don’t know. Novak is one of the few guys on the tour I’ve never beaten, so I don’t know.”