Djokovic beats Nadal to win 4th Key Biscayne title

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm •  Published: March 30, 2014
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"Because of Rafa and because of Roger, I am what I am today," Djokovic said. "All the big matches I lost to these guys, not winning the big matches, they made me understand what I need to do on the court."

Nadal and Djokovic have played 40 matches, the most of any men's pairing in the Open era, and few have been so lopsided.

"I didn't have any letdowns throughout the whole match," Djokovic said. "I was in a very high level — serve, backhand, crosscourt, forehand. I have done everything right, and I'm thrilled with my performance."

Nadal stood six feet behind the baseline to return and often remained on the defensive from there, with his shots lacking their normal depth. Djokovic was quick to step into the court and even won a point playing serve and volley.

Chasing down shots Nadal usually counts as winners, Djokovic won the majority of long rallies. Serving well, Djokovic also won most of the short points.

Nadal said he felt fine physically, and his problem was Djokovic.

"He was having too much success with every shot," Nadal said.

Nadal's lone break-point chance came in the opening game, and he failed to convert. Djokovic broke in the sixth game, hitting three consecutive winners before Nadal put a backhand in the net.

Djokovic broke again in the opening game of the second set by winning a 22-shot exchange, and he held serve the rest of the way.

"I did not want to lose focus for a second," Djokovic said, "because I knew that Rafa is a kind of a player that if you allow him, if you give him a chance, he's going to capitalize."

The clay-court season looms, and the result might be different when the rivalry resumes on Nadal's favorite surface. He still leads the series, 22-18.