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‘Rafael Nadal never ceases to amaze us’, says ATP ace

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal starred in a heart-stopping semifinal at the 2007 Canadian Masters held in Montreal. Nadal had beaten Djokovic three times in the previous months, and the Serb was keen to change that in Canada and advance to the title clash.

Novak beat Rafa 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 51 minutes and reached the final in his debut at the Canadian Masters. In this way, Djokovic became the third U-20 player with three Masters 1000 finals in the same season, after Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal.

Novak defended eight break chances from him and kept up the pressure on the other side. Rafa was broken once in each set to deliver victory to his opponent and end his streak in the semifinals. Djokovic was a more aggressive player, shooting 25 winners and forcing all 30 of Nadal’s errors.

The Serb created a huge gap at shorter range of up to four shots and dominated the Spaniard at longer range to seal the deal and advance to the title clash. Rafa fended off a break chance at 1-2 in the opening set with a forehand winner and brought it home with a serve winner to avoid an early backhand.

Djokovic served well and opened up a 4-3 lead before Nadal clinched the eighth game with a powerful backhand cross. Novak defended three break points at 5-5 to stay on the bright side and build momentum. He forced Rafa’s mistake in the 12th game to earn a break and close out the match.

Djokovic had to go all out on serve early in the second set. He prevented a break chance in the first game and four more at 1-1.

Zeballos talks about Nadal

Doubles specialist Horacio Zeballos reckons Rafael Nadal ending his career could be due to more mental issues than physical ones.

“If it is the end, it would be because of something more mental than physical. It is very difficult to say because he has surprised us many times with his ability to come back so well after injuries. I speak to you as a tennis fan more than from logic.

I hope he will be there this year because it is very nice to see him play,” he said. “Like Federer, like Djokovic, Nadal have shown that he can stop and come back with inhuman achievements. He gets injured and then wins, I don’t know, how many more Grand Slams.

Age does not help things to be the same as 10 years ago. Seems difficult for him to return to the top level he has shown for so many years, but he never ceases to amaze us. Let’s hope he comes back strongly,” he added.

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