Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic sets Rafael Nadal clash

Novak Djokovic debuted at the Canada Masters in Montreal 2007. The 20-year-old came to Canada as world no. 4 and one of the favorites. Novak kicked off the action with comfortable victories over Nicolas Kiefer and David Nalbandian and reached the quarter-final. Djokovic played against world no. 3 Andy Roddick and earned a hard-fought 7-6, 6-4 win in an hour and 46 minutes. Thus, he moved into the semi-final and set the clash against Rafael Nadal. Novak grabbed six points more than Andy and saved two out of three break chances. The Serb stole the rival’s serve twice to advance into the next round.

Djokovic defended break chances in the opener’s sixth game to remain on the positive side and moved in front with a backhand down the line winner at 5-5. Serving for the set in game 12, Novak hits a double fault to keep the opponent in contention. Djokovic started all over after the setback and took the tie break 7-4 with a service winner for a massive boost. Roddick was ready to fight in set number two, and he fended off three break chances at 3-4 to remain competitive. Novak stayed in touch on the return in game ten and stole the rival’s serve to move over the top and set the semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic moved into the Canada Masters semi-final in 2007.

“Against big servers like Andy, it’s always important to serve well, which I did today. Also, I returned well, especially in the second set, to put him under pressure. Andy is probably the strongest server in history. I prevented him from taking free balls and made him play more extended rallies. Still, I struggled a bit with my groundstrokes after making a nervous start. I knew I had to serve well from the opening game and take my chances from the baseline. It was a difficult match, and I survived it despite not playing at my best. It was our first meeting, and I had to find a way to deal with his serves. He served well in the opener, and I did not play well from the baseline. Andy failed to use his opportunities, and I embraced my when I got them. I could not serve out for the set, and I fixed that in the tie break with a solid performance,” Novak Djokovic said after beating Andy Roddick.