Djokovic clinches blockbuster Nadal tie to storm into final
Djokovic, who is enjoying a 16-match winning streak, remains on course to win a fourth Masters 1000 tournament in succession, after capturing the titles at the BNP Paribas Masters at the end of 2014 and completing a third Indian Wells-Miami double last month. The only other player to have won four Masters 1000 events in a row was Nadal in 2013.
The 27 year old is also aiming to become the first player to win the opening three Masters 1000 events of the season. He will square off with Tomas Berdych in the final. The Serb, who moved one step closer to winning a second title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (2013), claimed an Open Era record 43rd meeting between the two rivals, edging closer to Nadal in the FedEx ATP Head2Head, which now stands at 23-20 in favour of the Spaniard.
Djokovic started slowly, falling behind an immediate break for an 0-2 deficit in the opening set, but the Belgrade native would reel off six of seven games to clinch the opener in 43 minutes. A high-octane battle from start to finish, Nadal was unable to withstand the World No. 1’s baseline onslaught in the second set as Djokovic broke in the seventh and ninth games to seal the victory. He fired a total 23 winners, converting on four of 10 break point chances.
Nadal, meanwhile, who won here every year from 2005-12, was looking to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final since blasting to the title match in Rome 11 months ago (l. to Djokovic). The Spaniard’s loss to nemesis Djokovic here in the 2013 final brought an end to his 81-match winning streak on clay in the month of April and his 46 consecutive wins at this event.