The 2008 Sony Ericsson Open men’s final was contested between Spain’s Rafael Nadal, the second seed, and Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, the fourth seed. Davydenko prevailed 6-4, 6-2 and made history by becoming the first Russian man to win the singles title.
Davydenko’s straight sets win in the finals was in contrast to his earlier matches. Nikolay was almost ousted in the first round where he faced a match point against Ernests Gulbis and all his other matches consisted of three set battles where he came from behind in each to advance.
At the onset of the match, it appeared that the heat might play a role in deciding the victor. Davydenko’s coach was said to be concerned about how the blistering temperatures would affect Nikolay’s chances. However, luck was on Davydenko’s side. For the first time in the tournament’s history, the men’s final was to be contested as the best of three sets not five.
Leading 3-2 in the first set, Nadal appeared in control and about to extend his perfect record against Davydenko. But, Davydenko had other plans. Using his secret weapon, a new racquet that he debuted at the tournament, the Russian turned the set around and cruised to a win. What makes the racquet story worth mentioning is that Davydenko utilized the same racquet for all of his matches at the Sony. Incredible considering that today’s players often change racquets during a match.
Although the Russian has consistently remained in the top five for the last four consecutive years, Davydenko has not received the same media attention as many of his peers. Each year Miami’s residents are treated to banners showcasing the images of the Sony Ericsson’s past champions and fan favorites. It will be interesting to see if Davydenko’s image will grace the Rickenbacker Causeway in the run up to next year’s tournament.
As the 2008 Sony Ericsson comes to an end and we count down to the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open, MiamiTennisBlog.com will continue to provide our readers with local and global tennis coverage.