Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) to secure his place in the finals at the Rogers Cup in Canada. He will play Milos Raonic on Sunday.
The semifinal was anything but routine and proved to be the exciting “final in a semifinal” level match, as it was touted by some. Rafa had an early 5-2 lead in the first set, showcasing excellent return of serve, great forehand winners, and a few assists from Djokovic’s multiple double faults. He maintained his lead to win the set 6-4. The second set went to Djokovic, who upped his game and reduced his errors, 6-3.
The third set was intense and not without controversy. Rafa hit Djokovic in the chin, unintentionally, and apologized. The apology was apparently not accepted at that moment, going by Djokovic’s reaction. The set was well-played on both sides and ended in a tie-breaker. Rafa closed the set at 7-6(2) with an immense lead in the TB to win the match.
To beat Novak on any surface is very important. His level is always high and you have to play well … almost perfect to beat him.
I tried my best in the tiebreaker. I had to hit some fantastic shots to compete well against a big player like Novak. I’m very, very satisfied. You cannot let up against the top players for even a minute.
Good luck in the final, Rafa!
Photos: Paul Chiasson/Associated Press, Christinne Muschi/Reuters, Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America