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Nadal Dusts Off Ferrer For Fifth Masters Title In Rome

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Nadal Dusts Off Ferrer For Fifth Masters Title In Rome

Despite giving it the old college try, neither the rain nor David Ferrer could alter Rafael Nadal’s destiny.  In the finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia ATP Masters 1000, Nadal bested Ferrer 7-5,6-2 to grab his fifth trophy in Rome. In addition to garnering his 27th clay court title, Nadal tied Andre Agassi’s record of 17 Masters shields.

Following two easy service holds, Ferrer sent a forehand crosscourt long to face double break point.  With two un-returnable serves, Ferrer got to deuce. After dismissing five break points, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Ferrer held for 3-2.  The subsequent game, Ferrer had 15-30 with a crosscourt backhand pass for a winner.  However, Nadal connected on a few forehand winners to guard serve.  Then, by double faulting and netting a forehand, Ferrer was behind 0-30.  Still, by serving well and being aggressive at the right time, Ferrer maintain serve for 4-3.  Upon the heels of an uncomplicated game by Nadal, with Ferrer at play and 40-15, sprinkles turned into heavy rain causing the match to be suspended.

After nearly an hour intermission, Ferrer double faulted when play resumed.  Yet, with a return error by Nadal, Ferrer stayed ahead 5-4.  Next, with two consecutive miscues by Nadal, Ferrer had a 0-30 opening.  Unfortunately, Ferrer misfired on a second serve return. With three additional errors, Nadal equalized the set.  Subsequent to committing a double fault to allow a third game point to evaporate, Ferrer’s mistakes on two forehands gave Nadal the break and a 6-5 edge. Later, Ferrer crushed a backhand crosscourt return resulting in an error by Nadal on the next stroke and Ferrer’s first break point.  However, that break point was quickly wiped off when Ferrer sent a return long.  With a forehand volley winner, Nadal arrived at set point.  Nadal converted when Ferrer’s return missed its destination.

Ferrer started out the second set with mistakes leading to 15-40.  But, with well struck serves, Ferrer got to deuce.  Then, with a volley winner off a dropshot, Ferrer carried the game for 1-0.  After a comfortable hold, Nadal terminated a long rally with a volley winner for 0-15.  Perhaps feeling the effect of the prior point, Ferrer committed two miscues to hand Nadal triple break point.  Although Ferrer got to deuce, because a few more errors, Nadal eventually captured the break.  Again, there was a prolonged pause due to rain.  Upon returning, with backhand down the line winner, Nadal consolidated at love for a 3-1 lead.  Following an easy game, Ferrer placed pressure on Nadal at 30 all. Once more, let down by his forehand, Ferrer failed to progress further as Nadal maintained serve for 4-2.  Then, with back to back double faults, Ferrer eyed double break point.  As another of Ferrer’s forehand landed long, Nadal widened his advantage to 5-2.  Next, with a forehand volley winner, Nadal had double championship point.  When Ferrer’s returned sailed out of play, Nadal secured for the fifth time consecutive Masters shields in Rome and Monte-Carlo.

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Djokovic Comes Full Circle By Taking Ultimate Showdown In China

With archrival Rafael Nadal booted out of the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai by a bum knee, defending champion Roger Federer was the odds-on frontrunner for the title.  Yet, still troubled by a bad back, Federer petered out in the round robin stage.  Instead, the final was pretty much a one sided affair with Serb Novak Djokovic defeating Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 7-5.

For reigning Australian champion, Djokovic, this year has been a roller coaster. After starting out blazing, the Serb cooled off midway.  Except for ousting Nadal in the ATP masters final in Miami, Davydenko has had dismal results. Although Davydenko lost to Djokovic in round robin play, in the semifinals he convincingly beat Brit Andy Murray. Moreover, Djokovic had a tough match against Frenchman Gilles Simon. Thus, it’s a shame the Russian could not perform better in the finals. 

Two words best summarize the first set, fast and dull. Djokovic’s seemingly interminable ball bouncing extended the set more than the actual playing time.  After holding serve, Djokovic put away a forehand winner. Then, Novak drew a backhand error from Nikolay for double break point.  When the Russian netted a backhand, the Serb secured his first break for 2-0.  Djokovic broke down his opponent’s backhand to pull ahead 5-1.  While serving for the set, Novak made two unforced errors and overcooked a volley to face double break point.  However, with two good serves and a crosscourt forehand error by Davydenko, Djokovic arrived at deuce.  Subsequently, with a flaming crosscourt backhand, Djokovic forced another backhand error from the Russian and punctuated the set.

With his first serve deserting him, his backhand on early sabbatical and his stronger wing, the forehand, cracking, Davydenko really had no chance. After Nikolay got on the board in the second set, with well-angled serves, Novak put away the short balls to level things at 1-1.  Due to a double fault, Davydenko gave Djokovic another break point chance in the third game and went down 1-2 after misconnecting on a backhand volley. With movement not Davydenko’s stronger suit, Djokovic exploited that weakness, running him corner to corner. Nevertheless, despite facing numerous break points, the Russian kept his disadvantage to a single break.  As Djokovic served for the championship at 5-4, he committed two unforced errors while Davydenko came up with a timely forehand volley for double break point.  Then, thanks to a double fault, Davydenko stayed alive. After this momentary lapse, Djokovic converted a backhand crosscourt winner, duplicated it on the forehand, and then got a backhand down the line error from Davydenko for double break point.  When Davydenko made another forehand error, Djokovic was again in the driver seat at 6-5.  Subsequently, the Serb rounded out the match with a love game to take his first year-end trophy.

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