Davydenko stuns Nadal with Doha final fightback
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:52
Nikolay Davydenko saved two match points in the second set and fought back from a break down in the third on his way to a 0-6 7-6(8) 6-4 victory over Rafael Nadal in a dramatic Qatar Open final in Doha.
The Russian, who beat Roger Federer for just the second time in his career in the semi-finals on Friday, might not have been in line to claim his 20th title when he looked dead and buried after the Spaniard won the first set without dropping a game.
The ATP World Tour Finals champion upped the ante in the second to reach a tie-break, and after Nadal failed to take two championship points Davydenko leveled the match.
“I was just fighting. I never thought about winning. I didn’t think I could win”
The Russian then fought back from 3-1 down to take the deciding set against the world No.2 and become only the second player after David Nalbandian to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same tournament twice.
“I was just fighting. I never thought about winning. I didn’t think I could win,” said Davydenko after the gruelling two-hour 43-minute final. “For every point I was fighting. And at the end it was just amazing.”
The result was a cruel blow for Nadal, who had dropped just one point on serve in the first set and looked to have his first ATP title since May 2009 in the bag when he brought up two match points.
Davydenko saved the first, but on the second Nadal found himself with a regulation upcourt forehand to finish the job, but inexplicably dumped it into the net.
Nevertheless, the Spaniard was gracious in defeat, saying Davydenko deserved his victory.
“In this tournament I came back to play my best tennis for a long time,” he said. “I lost today but he played unbelievable tennis – he was just better.”
Nalbandian is the only other player to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same tournament on two occasions – at the Madrid and Paris Masters in 2007.