‘He is able to play with no mistakes ‘ Djokovic beat Nadal in semis

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ATP World Tour Finals – When Novak Djokovic is smoking his first serve, twisting around, hitting the lines, aiming wherever he wanted to do go, to be able to beat him these days, he is nearly untouchable.

On Saturday, Djokovic out-hit him and bested Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final. Once the rallies began, the Spaniard was in there, but he couldn’t shake him. Not only was he unable to read his serve – try 0/0 on break points – but also he couldn’t knock him back for the most part.

Very few people are willing to go toe-to-toe against Nadal’s ferocious forehand, but Djokovic was just fine there. The righty moves quickly forward with his two-handed backhand and made sure that the lefty Nadal’s heavy forehand doesn’t go way up past his shoulder. Djokovic reads the ball coming up fast and he hits it before it goes into the sky. Without a doubt, it is impossible to be on top of every single shot against the 14-time Grand Slam Nadal, but he was more than good enough, and in reality, he was better on every turn.

How about Djokovic when he was cracking his first serve: try 25/28 points won on his first serves. The Serbian nailed nine forehand winners, and the Spaniard hit four forehand winners. Djokovic wailed nine backhands, while Nadal’s weaker backhand only had one winner.

Djokovic hit three incredible rolling lobs after Nadal was right on the top of the net and couldn’t jump high enough. In the last game, Djokovic could sense that he should jump on him now. He attacked immediately, going down the line with a backhand and then a forehand. It was over, the fourth time that Djokovic has beaten him this year, at the ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo, Roland Garros, Beijing and now the ATP World Tour Finals. The Serbian has won all nine sets.

Now, head to head, they are tied up 23-23. It’s the first time that the 28- year-old Djokovic and the 30-year old Nadal are tied. Nadal beat him back in 2006 at Roland Garros. It took a very long time to catch up.

“Obviously after 46 matches and 10 years of professional tennis, I managed to tie my head-to-head score with Nadal,” Djokovic said. “It took a lot of time. I think I was a few levels under him at the beginning of my career when I started playing professional tennis. Nadal was alongside Federer dominating the tour. I just couldn’t really do much against him. But because we played so many times I had a chance to really shorten the gap, and now even the score.”

Nadal has been better at the end of this year. He was hurt during the second half in 2014, and he returned in 2015, but he wasn’t 100 percent. But gradually, he became slightly more confident. He was unable to win any of the majors or the ATP 1000s, but he did beat Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and David Ferrer at the ATP World Tour Finals. Pretty close, but no cigar. In fact against Djokovic, he is a long way off.

“Hitting amazing. Well, the return always amazing,” Nadal said of Djokovic. “This year he serving great, I think. And then he is able to play with no mistakes and changing directions so easy, playing so, so long. He’s doing everything good. He was better than me and he deserved to do what he did during the whole season. He played just fantastic. When somebody’s doing like this, just the only thing I can do is congratulate him.”

Nadal will go home in Mallorca. It’s a long time that he was able to play from January to November. At the very least, he can practice every day and when he arrives at Australia Open, maybe he will be closer against Djokovic.

“My body is healthy, is strong. I feel good physically,” Nadal said. “I am able to practice a lot. I am able to compete great in long matches, too.
Today I am not worried about my body. I was much more worried when I started this season than how I am today. I played the full season with not many problems. I finished the season healthy, with good health.

That’s so important for me to keep practicing, have confidence in my body, my movements, and another important thing: if you want to improve your game, you need to practice.”

Djokovic to meet Roger Federer

While Stan Wawrinka almost knocked off Roger Federer in the semifinals here last year, he wasn’t to be, losing 7-6(6) in the third. This time, he started quickly, but then Federer was on top of him, smacking his forehand, chipping him around, and attacking his second serves. He grabbed it 7-5 6-3.

Wawrinka is now done for the season, too, winning Roland Garros for the fist time. He was incredibly good on clay in Paris, but the 30-year-old still have work to do against the Big 4 boys. When he goes up against Federer, Wawrinka is up and down, he is not secured at the net, and he can get sullen.

This year, even though he was unable to win a Grand Slam this season, Federer appears to get better and better at the net cords. Against Wawrinka, he went 24/32 at the net points in two sets – pretty darn good.

He will have to do much the same against Djokovic. Yes, Federer did upend him early this week in the round Robin, but the final is another story. The Serbian wants to win badly as he will end this season nearly perfect. But the same goes with Federer, who has won six titles at the ATP Final and who loves indoors. It’s a pick-em, really.

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