World number 1 Novak Djokovic stormed past Spaniard Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinal of the elite 8 man World Tour Finals, to set up a mouthwatering final clash against Swiss great Roger Federer. In a startling turn of events, Djokovic and Nadal came into this match with their fortunes reversed: Nadal topped his group with an indomitable 3-0 record, whereas Djokovic recently succumbed to a poor loss against Federer.
The first set started off with a tightly contested first game; however Djokovic held off a few spectacular winners by the Spaniard, and finished off the game with an impeccable cross-court forehand. In the next game, Djokovic broke to love with 4 fantastic returns, to cap off what may have been his best return game of the season. Despite Nadal doing nothing wrong and being extremely aggressive throughout, the Serbian strolled through the next game to take an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Nadal easily held his next service game, to get on the board after a Djokovic error. The world number 1 held the next game with minimal fuss, with Nadal's stunning crosscourt backhand winner in vain. Nadal seemed to have found a bit of his rhythm back as he holds his next service game with a brilliant in-air smash. With the match at 4-2, it had been a high quality affair so far. The next game went Djokovic's way in less than 73 seconds, as he served his way to the hold. Nadal responded with an impressive love hold of his own, to add some intensity to the match. Djokovic finally closed out the first set 6-3, relying on some big-serving to take him though.
So far, although Nadal had been playing quality tennis, Djokovic seems to be 2 steps ahead of him at all times. The set started off with a tough hold by Nadal, straightaway followed by an easy love hold by Djokovic to equal the score. The Spaniard then had a much better service game to 15, as he pulled forward. Despite Djokovic not playing as well as he did at the start, his serving and returning were still been on point. The world number 1 then served up a love hold, which included a backhand into the net by Nadal, to level out the set. An unrelenting Djokovic then broke Nadal in the next game to edge past. The game included a stunning point, which sent Nadal scurrying in all directions before he finally succumbed with a backhand into the net. They both easily held their next service games, but that break earlier in the set was proving very costly for Nadal. Djokovic's next service game showed it's first hint of strain as it's bought to 30-30, but he pulled himself out of danger with a spectacular point that made Nadal move from corner to corner, before subjecting him to a passing forehand winner. Djokovic easily broke in the last game, to finish the match off, and breezed though to yet another final.
With this win, Djokovic equals his all-time record against Nadal at 23-23 and has won at least 2/3 of matches against every other Top 15 player - except Federer, whom he trails 21-22.