Djokovic outduels Nadal to win BNP Paribas Open

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Djokovic outduels Nadal to win BNP Paribas Open


Novak Djokovic celebrates a match point against Rafael Nadal during the final of BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Sunday in Indian Wells, Calif. [AFP/YONHAP]

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Novak Djokovic beat top-ranked Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open title on Sunday, keeping the Serbian undefeated this year.

Djokovic improved to 18-0, including victories at the Australian Open and in Dubai last month.

Djokovic moved into the No. 2 spot in the ATP Tour rankings yesterday, bumping Roger Federer down to third after beating him in the semifinals. Nadal remained No. 1 with a 14-3 record.

“It definitely says good things. I am playing with a lot of confidence. I’m feeling the ball well on the court,’’ Djokovic said. “I’m very dedicated. I have a big will to win each match. I want to keep on going and keep on playing good tennis.’’

Djokovic became just the third player to beat Nadal and Federer in the same tournament twice, having last done it at Montreal in 2007. Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final at Indian Wells that year, then won in 2008.

“I know that the season is very long and I don’t want to be too euphoric about the win,’’ said Djokovic, who plays at Miami this week. “I need to celebrate a little bit and then move on.’’

Nadal had beaten Djokovic in all five of their previous finals meetings and he broke him twice to win the first set this time.

Djokovic broke to lead 5-3 in the second set, then survived a five-deuce game on his serve to take the set, winning when Nadal’s backhand went wide.

It was the first of six straight games he’d win as the Spaniard’s first-serve percentage dipped to 25.

“At the end of the first set, I started to serve really bad. Even if I won the games because he had more mistakes than usual with the second serve return, I play less aggressive,’’ Nadal said.

“I was thinking too much about the serve more than the game. The serve was the difference,’’ Nadal added.

Djokovic broke an error prone Nadal twice in the first three games of the third set to take a 4-0 lead. He then served out the match at 40-love to keep Nadal without a title since October.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki defeated 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to win the title a year after the Dane lost in the final.

Wozniacki won her WTA Tour-leading 19th match of the year and her second title. Sunday’s match was also her third consecutive final.

Wozniacki won on her second match point when Bartoli’s backhand sailed beyond the baseline.

Bartoli was playing in her first final since 2009, and she fell to 2-6 in matches against the No. 1 player.

Wozniacki was already assured of remaining No. 1 through the upcoming two-week Miami tournament. Bartoli, of France, is currently ranked at No. 10 in the rankings and is her first time back in the top 10 since June 2008.

“If every single match I could play like that throughout the years, I would be pretty happy,’’ Bartoli said. “Even though I came up a bit short at the end and she was better than me, I think it was really a great fight.’’

Said Wozniacki: “I can keep playing out there for hours and hours. It’s definitely a good sign for me when I can see the opponent getting a little bit more tired.’’

Bartoli earned the only two breaks of the second set, when Wozniacki seemed content to stay back and rally instead of trying to go for as many winners as she did in the opening set.

“She just went for her shots. She started to hit even harder,” Wozniacki said. “I didn’t feel I played badly. I thought actually I played pretty good, but she was very steady, keeping the pressure.’’

Wozniacki broke Bartoli after two deuces to open the third set.

She owned a triple break point in the third game but missed a forehand that allowed Bartoli to hold. Wozniacki then asked for her coach, her father Piotr, to come on court. She responded by holding serve in the next game before Bartoli double-faulted to fall behind 4-1.

“He said, ‘You’re playing great. Just keep it up. It’s just one break in the second set. Just hang in there,’’’ she said.


Related Korean Article[경향신문]

코트는 ‘조코비치의 시대’…페더러 이어 나달도 완파

BNP파리바스오픈 우승…올 18전 전승, 랭킹 2위로

1980년대 테니스계에는 이반 렌들(51·체코)과 존 메켄로(52·미국)가 있었다. 90년대에는 피트 샘프라스(40·미국)와 안드레 아가시(41·미국)가 뒤를 이었다. 2000년대야 두말할 것도 없이 로저 페더러(30·스위스·세계 3위)와 라파엘 나달(25·스페인·1위)의 시대.

그렇다면 2010년대는? 나달에게 맞서는 노박 조코비치(24·세르비아·2위)가 드디어 전성기를 맞이하고 있다.

조코비치가 ‘황제’ 페더러를 넘어 나달의 아성을 위협하고 있다. 조코비치는 21일 미국 캘리포니아주 인디언웰스에서 열린 남자프로테니스(ATP) 투어 BNP 파리바스오픈 단식 결승에서 나달에게 2-1(4-6 6-3 6-2) 역전승을 거뒀다. 전날 준결승전에서 페더러를 잡은 데 이어 나달까지 격파한 조코비치는 세계랭킹을 2위로 한 계단 더 끌어올렸다.

조코비치와 나달은 지금까지 24번 만났다. 아직까지는 16승8패로 나달의 절대 우세. 그러나 올해 들어 조코비치의 상승세는 나달을 압도하고 있다. 지난해 연말부터 20연승을 달리고 있으며, 올시즌엔 18전 전승이다. 호주오픈과 두바이오픈에서도 모두 우승컵을 들었다. 이제는 나달이 더 이상 두렵지 않다.

프로 스키선수이자 축구선수인 아버지 밑에서 자란 조코비치는 어린 시절부터 테니스에 뛰어난 자질을 보였다. 2003년 프로전향 후에도 승승장구했다. 그러나 나달과 페더러의 ‘양강구도’를 깨기는 쉽지 않았다. 2007년부터 지난해까지 4년 연속 연말 세계랭킹에서 3위에 그쳤다. 지난해 2월 처음으로 2위로 올라서며 테니스팬들을 흥분시켰지만 다시 페더러에게 추월당했다.

그러나 올해는 다르다는 평가다. 조코비치는 나달을 꺾은 뒤 “지금까지 이뤄온 성과에 대해 왕관을 받은 기분”이라며 “올해들어서 생애 최고의 테니스를 하고 있다는 생각이 드는데 계속 상승세를 이어가고 싶다”고 자신감을 보였다.

렌들과 메켄로는 총 36번(렌들 21승15패) 맞붙어 명승부를 펼쳤다. 샘프라스와 아가시는 34번(샘프라스 20승14패)이나 만났다. 선배들처럼 한 살차 라이벌인 조코비치와 나달은 이미 24차례 접전을 벌였다. 이들은 이제 24살과 25살. 훗날 ‘전설’이 될지도 모르는 명승부는 이제부터 시작이다.

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