Novak Djokovic was a player on the mission in 2015, conquering the opening three notable titles and seeking the fourth in Monte Carlo. It became inevitable when he defeated an eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.
An in-form Serb used his momentum to produce a 6-3, 6-43 victory, his second over the king of clay in the Principality within three years. It was Djokovic’s fifth win over Nadal on the slowest surface, passing a formidable obstacle and advancing into the title clash against Tomas Berdych.
Novak won all four encounters against Rafa that season and offered him no chance in Monte Carlo, earning his seventh consecutive victory over the struggling Spaniard! Djokovic can tame Nadal’s shots and keep the points on his racquet like no other player.
Also, the Serb can stay in touch with the Spaniard in extended exchanges and break his weapons and rhythm in the shortest rallies to gain momentum. Rafa did not play badly. However, it was not enough for a more favorable result, losing ground at 3-3 in both sets to hand the victory to world no.
1. Nadal could not overtake Novak in the essential points or find some of his old magic to turn the scoreboard in his favor. Before this encounter, Djokovic had an enormous 15-2 lead in the meetings when he would keep Rafa under 50% of the second serve points won.
He did that again in Monte Carlo after reducing the Spaniard to 48% of the points earned after missing the first serve. Novak served at 75% and had troubles in three of the first four service games. He fended off two out of three break chances to limit the damage and sailed through the last five games to keep his rival in the danger zone.
Nadal had a break chance in the grueling first set’s seventh game, missing the opportunity and losing serve in the next one to give Djokovic the edge. Something similar happened in the second set’s seventh game when Rafa squandered five game points to suffer a break, which sealed his fate.
Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Monte Carlo 2015.
The crucial element in Novak’s triumph was undoubtedly his backhand, like many times against Rafa. The Serb controlled the pace from the baseline and moved the Spaniard around the court to dictate the pace.
Nadal hit many forehands from the ad court, and it was hard for him to return to the deuce side and defend his backhand like he would have wanted. Also, Novak dominantly tamed the rival’s forehand, leaving one of the most brutal tennis shots without power or depth.
Rafa hit seven winners from his more substantial wing while spraying 22 errors, 13 unforced! Djokovic painted the court with his backhand, crushing them down the line to force Nadal’s mistakes and drawing the opponent out of his comfort zone.
They had a similar number of service winners; Novak hit 12 in comparison to Rafa’s ten. The Serb was 22-18 in front in the winners from the field, firing 11 from his forehand alone. After an opening couple of games, Novak settled into a nice rhythm, and they had a similar number of unforced errors (18-17).
However, he forced Rafa’s 15 forced mistakes, staying on only eight due to better court positioning and stronger groundstrokes. Nadal had three double faults and was on a negative ratio with 28 winners and 35 errors against Novak’s 34 winners and only 26 mistakes.
Nothing could separate the rivals in the rallies with five strokes or more, with Nadal leading 31-30. On the other hand, Novak earned his victory thanks to a dominant display in the shortest range up to four shots, ousting his opponent 39-23 in the quickest points to seal the deal in straight sets.