Wow. Another unreal display from the world number one to smash Nadal 6-2, 6-2 and win his 8th title for the year. It was also his 56th career title. Can just say too good, no? The truth is Nadal was actually playing very well by his recent standards and definitely looks like he is improving. And one could argue that Djokovic could have played better given that he made 20 unforced errors, but still a very good performance from him.
This is what I expected after the slump in form against Ferrer. Don’t be fooled by the scoreline. Djokovic played on another level compared to the semis. And Nadal played much better than Ferrer. Especially in the first set Nadal was threatening to make it a competitive match. After the first point of the match, I could pretty much tell Djokovic is back in the zone when he won a superb baseline rally with some surgical shotmaking.
He went on to break Nadal to 15. Then with Djokovic serving at 3-2 he was 0-30 down and at 15-40 Nadal held two break points to break back and level at 3-3. This was a key point in the match because once Djokovic held serve there he raced away. Since Nadal could not take advantage of his break chances at 3-2 it wasn’t unexpected that Djokovic broke him in the next game from 0-40 down.
In that game, there was a terrific rally where Djokovic lobbed Nadal and Nadal hit the tweener lob only for Djokovic to hit the overhead winner. Djokovic then held serve to love at 5-2 and clinched the opening set with a missile forehand winner. After the big onslaught by Nadal in the first set which ended up in him losing it 6-2 the second set was easier going for Djokovic, even with the usual MTO tactic from Nadal.
Djokovic: “You’re just another victim, kid”
He stopped play in the middle of a game for the MTO and then right afterwards ran around like nothing happened. It didn’t deter Djokovic at all as he broke serve to take a 2-1 lead and then at 3-1 there was another point where Djokovic lobbed Nadal and this time Nadal didn’t even bother to run for it. It’s always delicious to see Djokovic lobbing Nadal and watching Nadal scurrying back, but this lob left Nadal with no chance.
Djokovic was toying with Nadal like a cat would toy with a mouse. He broke for a 4-1 lead and in the next game Nadal created a small opening with one of those ridiculous forehand down-the-line passes, but Djokovic crushed his hopes with a Becker-like volley on the next point. At 5-2 Djokovic screwed up a couple of match points but on the third he made no mistake as he closed it out in style with his 7th ace.
- Final Thoughts
Well, that was another thoroughly enjoyable match as is always the case when Nadal loses but it was also great to see Djokovic taking no prisoners and destroying him. This means the head-to-head improves for Djokovic to 22-23, and he is now 8-1 vs Nadal in their last 9 matches and 15-7 since the beginning of Djokovic’s prime in 2011. Djokovic is owning both Federer and Nadal these days and it’s great to see.
At least Federer is putting up some better scorelines than Nadal though and winning the odd match. But it also has to be said that Nadal improved this week. In the first set especially against Djokovic, he looked close to his best level and the fact that he lost 2 and 2 to this Djokovic at Beijing doesn’t mean much. Djokovic is just that good and if I was a Fedfan I’d be concerned with Nadal’s form.
Especially since he is in Federer’s half in Shanghai. Nadal will take a lot of confidence from this week and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes semis in Shanghai. I hope he does anyway, and I hope the same for Federer. A Fedal meeting is long overdue and tennis needs it. As for Djokovic, he looks the opposite of burned out after a long season and I can see him dominating the indoor season the same way he dominated the rest of the season.
After another unbelievable week in Beijing where he didn’t concede more than 3 games in a set he now has a record to set straight in Shanghai where he lost to Federer in the semi-final last year. Will we have another Djokerer final or another Djokodal final? Or a Djorinka final for that matter? Stan also won a title today in Tokyo with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Paire and goes to Shanghai with maximum confidence.
So the bottom half in Shanghai should be interesting. In the top half, the only guy who could probably be a threat to Djokovic is Murray but with Djokovic in his current form it’s hard to see him losing to Murray. Djokovic is currently equaled with Murray for most Shanghai Masters titles(2) and I think he wants to pull ahead this year. It’s been quite extraordinary what Djokovic achieved this year so far and the scary thing is that he is not done yet.
It’s been highly enjoyable to watch Djokovic dominate Federer and Nadal of late and 2015 has been my favorite tennis season to date. The Wimbledon and US Open finals have been the highlights, but it’s not done yet. I hope Djokovic wins all the remaining events he plays and this becomes the greatest tennis season in history. Like one of my readers said today: “Be afraid, be very afraid”(or happy if you prefer ).
Looking forward to Shanghai!
- Match Stats
The is in your court.