Djokovic romps past Nadal to defend London crown
Originally published on: 11/11/13 00:00
The Serb extended his winning streak to 22 matches as he powered to a 6-3 6-4 victory at the O2 Arena to claim the $1,923,000 winner’s cheque.
In only the third time since 1986 that the world’s top two players had gone head-to-head in the final of the season-ending event, it was the world No.2 who dictated play from the outset to clinch a commanding victory for his third victory at the event.
Djokovic hit 19 winners to Nadal’s nine as the Spaniard, who ends 2013 with 75 wins from 82 matches, was unable to find a way back into the match after a lacklustre start.
With 13 Grand Slams, an Olympic gold medal, Davis Cup success and a record 26 Masters 1000 crowns, the ATP World Tour Finals is the one major title that continues to elude him.
Nadal, who will finish the year as world No.1 after a stunning comeback from a seven-month layoff with a knee injury in February, paid for a sluggish start as Djokovic powered to a 3-0 lead.
Playing in his 14th final of the season, the 27-year-old began to find his range as he got back to 3-3, but Djokovic pulled away once more, breaking for a 5-3 lead after a scintillating rally that saw both players exchange volleys at the net.
Nadal struggled on serve as he continued to give away cheap points, and soon found himself a break down in the second set as Djokovic, whose last defeat came at the hands of Nadal in the US Open final, tightened his grip on the match.
Nadal had won 22 of 38 previous meetings against Djokovic, but the eight-time French Open champion had no answer to the Serb’s commanding play from the baseline, winning 50% of points on Nadal's second serve.
Serving to stay in the match, Nadal saved match point on his own serve to keep his fading hopes of victory alive, but it merely delayed the inevitable as Djokovic converted his third championship point to wrap up victory in an hour and 36 minutes.