World number one Novak Djokovic served up an absolute beatdown in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final, knocking off Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-2. The win gave the Serb his first ever title in Doha and moved Djokovic ahead in his head-to-head with Nadal as he now leads the series 24-23.
Dominant Djokovic Does Not Look Back After Saving Break Point
Nadal, who was looking for a second title in Doha, had the first looks to break, but the Serb would not succumb to the pressure placed on him by the Spaniard as he held with an ace down the tee for 1-0. From potentially going 0-1 down, the Serb found himself 2-0 up after breaking Nadal at 15.
The world number one went on to consolidate the break, before it took some magical tennis from Nadal to get on the board. Djokovic continued to impose his will on the Spaniard who looked clearly outmatched. He earned a double break lead at 5-1 with a superb backhand winner as the first set looked done and dusted.
A hold at love for Djokovic closed out an exceptional set of tennis for him, some could even say that it was his best set of tennis ever against the Spaniard. The stats were all in Djokovic’s favor, he hit 16 winners in pale to the four unforced errors. The 28-year-old’s 16 winners were more points than Nadal won, 13.
The serving numbers were brilliant too. Djokovic won 78 percent of his first serve points and 67 percent of his second serve points. You compare that to Nadal who won only half of his first serve points and 20 percent of his second serve points.
Djokovic Just Too Good For Nadal
Nadal opened up the second set serving with a glimmer of hope that he could somehow find a way to remain in the match. That was all dashed in a heartbeat. He saved two break points, but the third time was not the charm as his challenge was incorrect to give Djokovic the break lead to open up the second set.
The baseline battle was well in favor of Djokovic at this point who won more than double the points Nadal did at this stage of the match, 22 to 9. Nadal dug himself out of a 15-30 hole to get on the board at 1-2, but it looked too little too late for the former world number one. Djokovic took a double break lead at 4-1. It was no mercy from the Serb who finished it one and two for the Doha title.
The Players Speak
During the trophy ceremony, Nadal told the Doha crowd that he found “a new coach” as he searched for the fan who yelled out at him. After that though, he added he’s ready to fight in Melbourne, "I am here to fight again, and I am going to keep working so hard to try to be ready for Australia."
For Djokovic, he said the title meant a lot to him, "This trophy reminds me of someone special in my family,my grandfather used to call me Falcon so it means a lot.”