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Nadal sees off Djokovic in epic

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:29

Nadal had looked on course to suffer only his fifth defeat in four years on clay as he lost the opening set to an inspired Djokovic and then faced four break points in the second set whilst also battling an injury problem. The world number one then faced three match points after the epic match had gone to a final set tie-break.

However, the Spaniard, who had just two break points in the whole match compared to eight for Djokovic, somehow managed to hang in there and finally clinched an astonishing match 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (11/9) victory in four hours and three minutes.

“In a game like that with so many match points I think you need luck to win, there’s no doubt about it, but I played with great courage and I think everything went well for me,” said Nadal, who has now won all nine of his clay meetings with Djokovic.

“I played the first set poorly, and it looked very bleak for me. But I think that little by little I was able to get my rhythm and ended up playing well.”

The victory means Nadal, judged by many to be the best clay court player ever, has now won 150 of 154 matches on the surface since 2005 and recorded 33 consecutive victories stretching back over a year.

For Djokovic, who was struggling with cramp during the final set, the defeat was doubly disappointing as he would have regained his spot in the top three of the ATP world rankings with a victory today having been replaced by Andy Murray earlier this week.

“This happens too often so I’m disappointed that I can play this well and still not win the match,” said the Serbian.

The second semi-final proved to be much more straightforward as world number two Federer kept alive his hopes of a first title this year by beating fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina 6-3 6-4.

In the women’s event top seed Dinara Safina will play number nine Caroline Wozniacki in the final after both players claimed straight-sets victories in their respective semi-finals.

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