Miami Flashback: Novak Djokovic edges Rafael Nadal and extends streak


Novak Djokovic extended his perfect start to the season in Miami 2011, winning the first title in Florida since 2007. Novak faced Rafael Nadal in the title clash for the second time in two weeks and scored a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory in three hours and 22 minutes! Djokovic moved to 24-0 that season and became the fourth player since 1990 with trophies at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. The Serb joined Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer on the exclusive list. Novak delivered his ninth victory from 14 hard-court encounters against Rafa, coming from a set down to prevail and secure the title. Nadal gave his best while chasing the first Miami Open crown, recovering after losing the second set and pushing Djokovic to the limits in the decider before falling in the tie break. Novak won 13 points more than Rafa, defending his second serve superbly and losing serve two times from four chances given to his rival.

The Spaniard erased seven out of nine break points to remain in touch for over three hours before falling in the decisive moments to leave Miami empty-handed again. Djokovic had the upper in the more advanced rallies, playing aggressive tennis and forcing Nadal’s mistakes to emerge at the top first. Novak held at love in the encounter’s first game before Rafa clinched a break at 1-1 with a cracking backhand down the line winner. Djokovic pushed strong on the return in game four, creating three break chances and squandering them to fall 3-1 behind. Novak lost ground in those moments and landed a forehand wide in the fifth game to experience a break at 15 and fall 4-1 behind. Rafa denied a break point in game six and closed it with a service winner to open a 5-1 gap and almost wrap up the set after 36 minutes. The Spaniard served for the opener at 5-2 and hit a forced error to drop serve and keep the Serb in contention.

Novak Djokovic prevailed over Rafael Nadal in the 2011 Miami Open final.

Djokovic held after deuce in game nine, and Nadal clinched the set at 5-4 after the rival’s forehand error. Rafa sprayed a massive forehand mistake in the second set’s second game to find himself 2-0 down. Novak played a loose backhand in the third game, facing a break point and smashing his racquet. However, he stayed calm and grabbed three straight points to cement the advantage. Djokovic closed the fifth game at love with a lob winner and earned three break chances at 4-1. Nadal saved them, brought the game home and remained within one break deficit. Novak won the seventh game with a volley winner at the net and fired four winners while serving for the set at 5-3 to force a decider. Rafa needed nine minutes to claim the third set’s opening game and played better at 1-1 to wrap it up with a smash winner. Novak claimed four points from 30-0 down in the fourth game and locked the result at 2-2 with a forced error.

Nadal opened a 3-2 gap with a service winner, and Djokovic responded with a forehand crosscourt winner in the next one for 3-3. Both players served well in games seven and eight, and Nadal opened a 5-4 lead after Djokovic’s forehand error. With no room for mistakes, Novak held at 15 in game ten to extend the match and faced another stern test at 5-6 following Rafa’s hold at love. The Spaniard hit a cracking backhand down the line winner in the 12th game to open a 30-15 gap and move two points away from his first Miami Open crown.

Showing no sign of nerves, Djokovic took the following three points to wrap up the game and introduce a deciding tie break. Rafa moved 2-1 up thanks to another crosscourt bullet from his backhand before Novak climbed back to 2-2 thanks to his mighty forehand. Nadal hit a double fault in the fifth point, running out of steam and finding himself 5-2 behind when Djokovic seized two points behind the initial shot. With momentum, Novak painted a forehand down the line winner in the eighth point to create four match points. Nadal saved two before Djokovic converted the third at 6-4 with a forehand crosscourt winner to win a memorable final and celebrate his seventh Masters 1000 crown. 

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