Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Djokovic & Nadal get off to winning starts

Novak Djokovic dominated the match from the opening point © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal exorcised his ATP World Tour Finals demons by completing a hard-fought comeback in a marathon 3-6 7-6 6-4 victory over Andy Roddick in his Group A opener.

It has not been a favourable event for world No.1 Nadal and it looked as though his London woes might continue as Roddick raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set on the back of his powerful service game.

Roddick, who hit 18 aces in the match, showed he was not a one-trick pony with one of the shots of the match, managing to steer a snap-reaction half-volley in court after Nadal had powered his half-court passing opportunity directly at the American's toes.

That helped Roddick take the first set, but Nadal grew into the match in the second and started to find his forehand range. The players traded breaks but Nadal levelled things up with a tight 7-5 tie-break, giving him the momentum needed to set up victory by taking the sole break point opportunity for either player in a tight deciding set.

Nadal wrapped up the match with his own addition to the highlights reel, somehow digging out a half-volley that landed on the baseline for a clear winner.

Novak Djokovic powered past Tomas Berdych to get his London campaign off to a winning start.

The world No. 3 needed an hour and 28 minutes to outgun a misfiring Berdych 6-3 6-3 to go top of Group A.

The last time the pair met in London, Berdych upset Djokovic in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July, but Djokovic, who had his revenge in Serbia's Davis Cup victory over Czech Republic in September, came flying out of the blocks.

It was a nervy start from Berdych, who served two double faults in his opening service game to surrender the advantage to his opponent, and a break to the good, Djokovic looked imperious.

After an easy hold of serve, Djokovic nearly made it 3-0 after battling back from 0-40 down, forcing Berdych to dig deep and save four break points to finally get on the scoreboard.

Berdych was misfiring, while everything was going in Djokovic's favour. The Serb's winners were tickling the lines; Berdych's shots were sneaking just long, or wide.

The world No. 6 was unable to find any way past Djokovic's serve, winning just five points on return in the opening set. And Djokovic carried his momentum into the second, and grabbed another early break to put himself in the driving seat.

Berdych battled valiantly, and saved match point with a perfectly-timed lob, but he had left himself too much of a mountain to climb, and the Serb wrapped up a convincing victory.

"It was a great start for me," Djokovic said. "Tomas is always a tricky opponent on any surface, he has a big serve. He didn't serve well today so whenever I could I used my opportunities, I served well when I needed to and I am just happy.

Courtesy: ESPN

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