In Montreal in 2007, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had a thrilling semifinal match. Djokovic was desperate to overtake Nadal in Canada and advance to the title match because the Spaniard had defeated the Serb three times in the preceding months. In his first appearance at the Canada Masters, Novak defeated Rafa 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 51 minutes to advance to the final.
After Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic became the third player under the age of 20 to reach three Masters 1000 finals in a single season. All eight break attempts were stopped by Novak, who also kept the pressure on the opposing team. Rafa was broken once in each set, allowing his opponent to win and advance to the semifinals.
The more aggressive player is Djokovic, who scores 25 victories while forcing 30 errors from Nadal. In order to win and progress to the final, the Serb massively outperformed the Spaniard in the shorter range (up to four strokes) and the longer ones.
Rafael Nadal was defeated by Novak Djokovic in Montreal in 2007.
With a forehand winner and a service winner, Rafa thwarted a break attempt at 1-2 in the first set. Good serving from Djokovic gave him a 4-3 lead, but Nadal quickly took the next point with a strong backhand crosscourt.
At 5-5, Novak saved three break opportunities to maintain his composure and gather momentum. In order to earn a break and win game 12, he provoked Rafa’s error. Early in the second set, Djokovic had to work hard to hold his serve, thwarting four break attempts at 1-1 and a chance to break in the first game.
He never again had issues with his serve, and Nadal was under pressure. Rafa served at 3-4 and missed a slice, taking a break and moving the world’s no. 3 ahead. In game nine, Djokovic served for the victory and held at love to secure the victory and proceed to the third consecutive hard-court Masters 1000 final.
“You cannot expect an easy match while facing the world no. 2 like I did. I had already played against Rafa a few times, and I consistently defeated him. Prior to the match, I had optimistic ideas because I knew I had to play aggressive tennis and manage the rallies.
To complete the deal in straight sets makes me very happy. I had to maintain my concentration at all times because I knew Nadal would not give up, even down 5-0. On break chances, I had to maintain control of the key points and prevent him from gaining an edge. Rafa had trouble in his games, and in both sets, I broke him just when I needed to.
It was a great match, and I’m happy with my performance on that level. Since the surface in Montreal is swift, I had to go for my shots and spook him. I had to be both persistent and aggressive, and my serve was very helpful “said Novak Djokovic.