MIAMI: Six-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic claimed his fourth Miami Masters crown with a dominating straight sets win over world number one Rafael Nadal yesterday.
Second seed Djokovic cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win in the men’s final of the combined ATP and WTA Tour hardcourt tournament.
“I played a great match. Everything was working really well,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t give him a chance to come back in the match. I am really excited.”
Djokovic, who benefitted from two walkovers, didn’t drop a set winning his third Miami title in four years and fourth in total to add to triumphs in 2007, 2011, and 2012.
Djokovic clinched the victory on his first championship point, capping a long rally with a clever volley that landed in the open court at the Crandon Park Tennis Centre.
The 26-year-old Serbian had a relatively easy time beating Nadal. His serve was bigger and his defence stronger as he came in with the perfect game plan to collect the $787,000 (572,000 euros) winner’s cheque.
He blasted five aces, won 30 of 35 points on his first serve and had no double faults in the 83-minute contest.
Djokovic captured his second straight Masters title having won two weeks ago in the California desert at Indian Wells. He has fond memories of playing in the US and especially on the hardcourts in Florida.
“We come here to play in the United States for four weeks,” Djokovic said. “It gives you plenty time to recover. I love the hardcourts and it is my most preferred surface. In 2007 I won my first big title here in Miami.”
The match started evenly until Djokovic broke Nadal in the first set to go up 3-2. He took the set when Nadal failed to return a serve.
Djokovic broke to open the second set then broke the Spaniard again in the final game of the match.
Djokovic said once he got into a good flow the shots were falling right where he wanted them to.
“I just started swinging freely and had good percentages on my first serves,” Djokovic said. “He had a hard time reading my serve.
“I had a few game plans. I wanted to get out there and see what works the best.
“He serves and likes to move to the backhand corner. He runs around his backhand so that he opens the court for his opponent on forehand side.”
Thirteen-time major winner Nadal was looking for his maiden win in Miami after losing in the final in 2011, 2009 and 2008.
Nadal, who has won two titles in 2014 in Doha and Rio de Janeiro, had two aces and won just 59 percent of his first-serve points.
“He was better than me in everything,” said clay-court specialist Nadal. “He was able to find the right spot, the right position.
“Playing against him is the worst thing that can happen to me because he has a better return than mine, he has a better serve than my one, especially on this surface.”
Nadal says he can’t put his finger on the reason he is unable to win in Miami. He said Miami should be no different than the other 26 Masters events he has triumphed in.
“In no tournament have I lost this many finals,” he said.
Asked if he had a mental block he said, “I don’t think so, no, no.
“Maybe you tell me. There is no mental block on something you have won 26 times. Need to find another excuse.”
Yesterday was just the second time the top two players in the world have faced each other in the Miami final. In 1995, Andre Agassi squared off against Pete Sampras.
In an unprecedented twist, both had advanced from the final four without lifting their racquets after their semi-final opponents -- Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych withdrew, Nishikori with a groin injury and Berdych with a gastric ailment. REUTERS