Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met for the 23rd time at the 2010 ATP Finals, meeting in the second round-robin match after scoring opening wins. The Spaniard cruised to a 7-5, 6-2 victory in one hour and 52 minutes, beating the Serb for the 16th time and maintaining a perfect score in London.
After an early exit from the Paris Masters, Novak arrived in London and played well in the first round-robin duel against Tomas Berdych. He too made a good start against Nadal before experiencing irritation in his right eye in game eight, taking a medical break and changing his contact lenses a couple of times.
The Serb couldn’t improve his eyesight and he played the second set with almost one eye, standing no chance against such a strong opponent. Novak’s timeout off the court took seven minutes, and Nadal said nothing as he waited for his opponent.
However, the Spaniard was asked to speed up a bit as he served as action resumed, and he argued with the chair umpire about it. After the match, Rafa explained that he had nothing against Novak’s extended time-out, but it also didn’t feel right to be rushed by the referee after missing serve on time for two or three seconds.
Nadal saved four of five break chances and took 43% of return points and delivered four breaks to seal the deal in straight sets and beat Djokovic for the second time that season. Unable to control his shots, Novak committed 30 unforced errors and lost ground from the closing stages of the first set, playing fearless tennis and looking to all-or-nothing shots as the only option.
Nadal took the first break at 2-2 in the first set after an entertaining point at the net before losing serve in the next one and wasting two break points in the seventh game. Novak began to feel the problems with his eye in the eighth game and left the court while trying to find a solution.
The Serb served well in game nine before adding a backhand error at 5-5 to hand the break to his opponent. Nadal erased three break chances and claimed it after a grueling 75 minutes.
Nadal suffers from a rare degenerative disorder
Rafael Nadal, while speaking about coping with the pressure and uneasiness before a high-profile match, opened up about a bad habit of his.
Nadal, after explaining how cleaning and polishing his boots and arranging his equipment help him calm his nerves, admitted, “My mother and sister, chuckle when they remember this. Because they say that when it comes to sport, I am disciplined and orderly person.
But in everything else, I am distracted and chaotic. They are right. My room at home is always a mess. My hotel room when I am travelling too and I often forget things,” he added. Nadal now, after taking weeks of much-deserved rest, is all set for the upcoming hard-court season.