Saturday, July 2, 2011
Novak seeks 5th finals win vs. Nadal in 2011
By Kenton Wong
In a tennis universe owned in the past eight years by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it's remarkable that Novak Djokovic has broken through to become 2011’s most dominant force.
The Serbian's lone loss on the year came in the French Open semifinals to Federer, as Djokovic fell one win shy of tying John McEnroe's record for best start to a calendar year (42-0 in 1984).
Djokovic entered this year 7-16 in his career against Nadal, including an 0-5 record in finals. But 2011 has been a different story: Djokovic is 4-0 against Nadal, with all four wins coming in finals.
On Friday, Djokovic took the No. 1 ranking from Nadal by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and reaching the final. On Sunday, he will look to beat Nadal on grass and at a Grand Slam for the first time.
Of course, beating Nadal in a Masters 1000 tournament and beating him at a Grand Slam is an entirely different task. All 11 of Djokovic's wins against Nadal have come in best-of-three matches. Of their five meetings in Grand Slams, the only time Djokovic even got the match to four sets was at the 2010 U.S. Open.
Since Wimbledon in 2008 -- Nadal's first non-French Open Grand Slam title -- Nadal has lost only five Grand Slam matches (David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro, Robin Soderling and twice to Andy Murray).
In those wins against Nadal, Ferrer, del Potro, Soderling and Murray took control against Nadal's serve. They combined to win 40 percent of points against the Spaniard’s first serves and 56 percent of points against his second serves.
Nadal hasn't shown those serving deficiencies yet this year at Wimbledon. He's won 79 percent of points on his first serve and 59 percent on his second serve.
A Nadal win would tie him with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg for fourth most Grand Slam titles with 11. Fate might be with second-seeded Djokovic, though, as the past three Wimbledons have been won by the 2-seed (Nadal in 2008 and 2010 and Federer in 2009).