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WINNER! Cracking opening point from Djokovic, playing more of that freeflowing tennis from the baseline and dragging Nadal from side to side, going 15-0 up on the Spaniard's serve. Nadal responds with an outrageous serve - sliding so wide that there's nothing Djokovic can do. The Serb does get a racquet to a serve down the line, but follows it up with a forehand into the net. Nadal earns a first match point with a 103mph ace out wide, and converts it with another serve that Djokovic returns wide
He gets a second game to his name in comfortable fashion - as Nadal takes his foot off the gas. Nadal sends a tame forehand into the tramlines to go 30-0 up, and watches a forehand return sail over his head and out for 40-0. Nadal pounces on a weak second serve for 40-15, but Djokovic secures a morale-boosting hold of serve to keep his slender chances of a comeback alive
The crowd roars as Rafael Nadal moves one game closer to victory with a swerving smash from the service line - finishing off another comfortable hold against a game (but clearly struggling) Djokovic.
That's more like it! Djokovic goes 15-0 up with some brilliant ground-strokes to the baseline corners, before clipping a limp forehand on the run into the net for 15-all. The pace seems to drop a notch in the third point, but Djokovic hits two or three shots that should be winners, but Nadal somehow claws them back in. Djokovic goes 30-15 up with a perfect volley to the left basline corner, and a couple of huge serves secure a first game on the board in this second set!
Djokovic looks to be sinking with a whimper as his gets his footwork all wrong and batting a return well out for 0-30 on Nadal's serve. The earns a brief reprieve at 30-15, but overhits a forehand over the baseline for 40-15, and hands Nadal a four-game advantage with another woeful return. The life has been sucked out of this match now, Djokovic just can't compete.
BREAK! Djokovic finds himself 30-15 down on serve, but digs himself out of trouble with a huge serve. His first serve percentage has dropped considerable since midway through the opening set (from the 70s to the 50s), and he's just not getting any easy points on serve any more. Djokovic again comes into the net, and again fails to pass it with a volley to hand Nadal a double-break point. The Serb throws everything at the final point, but Nadal converts with an absolutely tremendous forehand.
Much better from Djokovic, returning Nadal's heavy top-spin with venomous intent, and watching a forehand drop beyond the basline for 30-15 against the Spaniard's serve. A wayward return sends the score to 30-all, and another unconvincing approach shot from the Serb is thrashed crosscourt by Nadal for a single game point. Djokovic slams the ball from side to side on the final point, but sends a volley into the net to hand the game to Nadal.
BREAK! Djokovic starts the second set as he finished the first - lashing a forehand wide of the tramlines and immediately clutching his eyes. He follows it up with a backhand into the net, and the disappointment in the Arena is tangible - the world number three is a mere shadow of the man who emerged for the first set. He sends a forehand a yard wide of the left tramline to give Nadal three break points, but surrenders the break on the first with a volley beyond the baseline.
Nadal is also visibly annoyed at the moment, storming around in the shadows and remonstrating with an official. Not sure what that's all about...
Djokovic cuts a forlorn figure at the moment - slamming a water bottle into the ground and remonstrating with the trainer and the doctor about his eyes.
SET! Djokovic loops a long forehand long of the baseline after a vicious, spinning forehand from Nadal proved too hot to handle. It's set-point Nadal... CONVERTED! Djokovic lashes his return into the very bottom of the net, and immediately clutches his eyes again. He's not happy at all, and he's got a mammoth task ahead of him now.
Nadal cheers as he thinks a wide forehand clips the line, but the line judge calls it out late. Hawkeye confirms it, and that's another break point! Nadal saves it again with a terrific crosscourt forehand to the right baseline corner, before giving Djokovic a third break point with a wild forehand wide of the opposite corner! Once again, the world number one saves it, thrashing another forehand at the baseline and watching Djokovic hack a lob into the tramlines...
Djokovic hits a return into the net to let Nadal up to 30-15, but Nadal returns the favour on the next point - netting a simple volley to let the Serb back to 30-all. Another tremendous rally ensues, and Djokovic gets a huge slice of luck as a looping forehand drops right onto the baseline, and Nadal nets the return! Break point Djokovic... NADAL SAVES IT! He drags Djokovic left and right, and the Serb nets a forehand from the baseline for deuce...
Djokovic finds the left baseline corner with a lovely two-handed backhand, and charges into the net. Nadal puts the ball down at his feet and Djokovic hovers in no-mans land on the service line! Nadal sends a backhand into the net to let the Serb off the hook, but claws his way back to 15-all as Djokovic hooks a forehand wildly high and wide of the left tramlines. Djokovic is wiping his eyes after every single point now, and that's not a good sign for the Serb's temperament...
BREAK! Nadal suddenly puts himself into the ascendancy on Djokovic's serve, storming to 30-15 with Djokovic completely losing his rhythm. The Serb hammers a ferocious second serve into the net to give Nadal two break points, and doesn't look at all comfortable serving at the moment! Nadal gives his second serve short thrift again, and Djokovic surrenders the break with a forehand long of the baseline! He bounced the ball 10 times on that last serve - a tell-tale sign of nerves!
Djokovic returns a solid serve into the net on the first point, before again clawing at his eyes. Nadal fires the next serve into Djokovic's body, and the Serb can only return it into the sidelines. Nadal deals swiftly with a limp Djokovic return by clattering it into the right baseline corner, before sealing the hold to love with one last, huge serve. Perfect response from the Spaniard, but that seven minute break has taken this match off the boil somewhat
Djokovic is back out, and wins the first point with a huge serve down the middle, and Nadal finds himself 40-0 down in a matter of seconds as Djokovic really gets that serve ticking over nicely. The Spaniard tries to pounce on the final serve with a forehand down the line, but he can't guide the ball inside the sideline and Djokovic holds! The most straight-forward game we've had in half an hour, lets see how Rafa responds!
Djokovic sprints off to the changing rooms to change his contact lenses, and we'll have a brief break in play in this fast-becoming mammoth set! 50 minutes in, and counting...
Djokovic apologises to Nadal for the break in play, and comes back onto the court. He sends a forehand return into the net, and again paws at his eye. The linejudge calls a Nadal forehand out on the left sideline, but the umpire overrules. Let. He drags Djokovic back out to the left sideline with a backhand, before slamming a crosscourt forehand into the right baseline corner to go 40-0 up. A huge serve from the Spaniard seals the game!
Djokovic mis-hits a backhand long over the baseline to kick-off game eight, and calls for the trainer to get something put in his eye! I'm guessing this is some sort of contact-lense issue, but the Serb certainly looks uncomfortable at the moment...
Djokovic saves the break point again! He hammers the ball back down the line time and time again, and eventually Nadal hits a forehand long. A great serve down the middle from Djokovic hands the Serb a game point, which he snaps up with another big serve that Nadal can only return long of the baseline! Crucial hold for Djokovic, and a simply epic game of tennis
Djokovic tries to serve-volley, and again Nadal passes him down the line! What a peach of a passing shot from the Spaniard, bending a forehand around Djokovic's racquet and inside the left tramline! Djokovic saves the break-point with a tremendous serve, and earns advantage with another. An absolutely sensational rally follows - with Nadal going from defence to attack with a stunning forehand right into the left baseline corner, before hammering the ball into the opposite corner from the net!
Nadal makes a solid start to game seven, taking the first point, but can only watch as Djokovic absolutely clatters a crosscourt forehand into the baseline corner for 15-all. Djokovic hits a huge serve which Nadal blocks back over the net, but Djokovic's approach shot again isn't good enough and Nadal passes him with a hooked forehand down the line for 15-30! A sloppy forehand into the net from Nadal draws the score back to 30-30...
BREAK! A thunderous serve out wide brings the Spaniard back to 15-30, but Djokovic earns two break-back points with a fabulous double-handed backhand winner down the line! Have that! A relatively limp second-serve puts Nadal on the backfoot on the first break point, and he follows it up with a backhand into the tramlines! Brilliant response from Djokovic!
Djokovic goes 15-0 up on Nadal's serve, before finding himself in another tremendous rally! Djokovic hits three or four forehands to the baseline corners that would beat almost any other play, but Nadal somehow tears across the baseline to get the ball back! He eventually hits a backhand inches wide of the sideline, giving Djokovic a hint of a break at 30-0 up!
We're averaging six minutes per game at the moment, thanks to these tremendous rallies! The trainer is out for Nadal, but he looks to just be loosening the Spaniard's foot-strappings
BREAK! Nadal finds a remarkable angle on a crosscourt forehand right onto the sideline, which Djokovic hits into the tramlines for another break point! He saves it again when Nadal mis-hits a backhand, but Djokovic's body-language isn't right at the moment - he looks permanently frustrated! He fires a forehand long of the baseline for a third break point, which is finally converted when Djokovic sends a forehand drop-shot low into the net!
Djokovic approaches the net on a backhand to the baseline, but Nadal fires the ball low to the Serb's left and Djokovic watches the ball drop agonisingly into the net. Breakpoint Nadal... SAVED BY DJOKOVIC! He gets a bit lucky with a looping forehand which drops right onto the baseline, and Nadal skews his forehand wildly out of play. A big serve gives the Serb advantage, but a wayward groundstroke puts the score back to deuce...
Djokovic opens the scoring in game five with a vicious crosscourt backhand, and he's enjoying himself at the baseline at the moment, refusing to let Nadal finds his comfort zone. He makes a rare forray into the net at 15-0, and Nadal sweeps a backhand pass down the line for 15-all. The Spaniard returns another big first serve into the net, and watches Djokovic loop a forehand over the baseline for 30-30...
Vintage Nadal on the opening point, looping a forehand right onto the corner of the baseline, before thrashing a follow up forehand past Djokovic at the net. The Serb responds with some beautifully-timed baseline hitting, followed by a sweet backhand down the line to wrong-foot Nadal. Djokovic chastises himself after netting a regulation forehand to put Nadal 30-15 up, before Nadal seals the hold with some dominant net-play, and an ace out wide.
Djokovic responds with an ace of his own out wide, which slams right onto the edge of the sideline! Nadal returns the next serve long of the baseline, and the Spaniard is really struggling to find his range. He sends another return into the net - this time a slice backhand - before Djokovic hammers another ace for another hold to love! Dominant from the Serb, who has yet to drop a point on serve!
...Djokovic misjudges a backhand drop-shot, finding the tramlines for 40-30. Nadal then hits a first serve into the net, and Djokovic absolutely clatters the second serve into the baseline corner for deuce! Nadal's body language is all wrong at the moment, and the Spaniard sends a backhand wide of the tramlines to give away a break point! Djokovic shanks the forehand return, and we're back at deuce. Another return sinks into the net, and Nadal wraps up the with an ace down the middle!
Brilliant rally on the very first point on Nadal's serve, with both players settling into a routine of big baseline hitting. Nadal trying to pin Djokovic into the corner with hooking crosscourt forehands, and Djokovic replying with venomous forehands of his own. Djokovic sends a forehand long of the baseline to give up the first point, but claws himself back to 15-all as Nadal hits long. The Spaniard mis-hits a looping forehand for 15-30, but draws level with a 131mph serve...
The Serb shows immediate attacking intent with a couple of big forehands to keep Nadal on the back foot - exactly what he needs to do to keep the Nadal freight train at bay. Djokovic goes 30-0 up when Nadal sends a flat forehand over the baseline. A 126mph ace down the middle puts Djokovic 40-0 up, before a huge, flat serve out wide sees out an opening hold to love! Cracking start from the Serb
Djokovic wins the coin toss, and the players sprint back to their respective baselines for a quick knockabout
Djokovic gets a rock star's reception from the London crowd as London Calling by The Clash rings out across the vast O2 Arena. Nadal is next to emerge from the smoke, and the 17,000 spectators errupt in applause
Nadal has - traditionally - been rather poor at the season-ending World Tour finals, but the Spaniard did just enough to earn a
This is round number 23 of Nadal v Djokovic, and Djokovic actually has the better record against the Spaniard on hard courts! It's 7-4 in the Serb's favour, but Nadal does lead the overall head-to-head 15-7, having beaten Djokovic every time on every other surface!
Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic have just defeated Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi 7-6 7-6 in the mens doubles, freeing up the court for the world numbers one and three Nadal and Djokovic who will get underway in roughly 10 minutes!
We've already had a Group A match today, and Tomas Berdych came out on top to keep his hopes of progressing alive.
I'm rather excited about this one. A win for Djokovic will see him safely through to the last four of the World Tour Finals, whereas a win for Nadal
Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic!
|Rafael Nadal||Novak Djokovic|
|Manacor||Place of birth||Belgrade|
|1.85 m||Height||1.88 m|
|85 kg||Weight||80 kg|