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Djokovic shuts down Nadal's winning streak

Latest update : 2008-08-03

Spaniard Rafael Nadal lost to Serb Novak Djokovic 6-1 7-5 on Saturday, bringing his 32-match winning streak to a halt. Djokovic advanced to the final of the Cincinnati Masters, where he will face Andy Murray.

CINCINNATI, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic beat Rafael
Nadal 6-1 7-5 on Saturday to reach the final of the Cincinnati
Masters and bring the Spaniard's 32-match unbeaten streak to a
halt.
 

Serb Djokovic will meet Andy Murray in the final after the
21-year-old Briton overcame giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the
day's other semi-final.
 

Nadal, who is set to replace Roger Federer as world number
one, was a shadow of the player who romped to the Wimbledon and
French Open titles this year. He conceded before the match that
he was struggling.
 

"No one is unbeatable but the way he was playing we all
thought he's not going to lose any time soon," said Djokovic.
 

"I tried not to think of his winning streak and what his
new ranking spot will be. I tried just to focus on my game.
 

"It was my intention to have a fast start and to step in
and go for it. And in the second set I just tried to stay with
him."
 

Australian Open champion Djokovic got off to a roaring
start and broke Nadal's opening two serves to go 5-0 up before
taking the first set in less than half an hour.
 

Nadal made a fight of it in the second, carving out a break
point at 3-2, but Djokovic saved it with a fierce forehand.
 

Five games later Djokovic made the crucial break after a
series of brilliant baseline rallies before closing out the
match.
 

Briton Murray reached his first Masters Series final when
he beat Karlovic 6-4 6-4 and the semi-final victory guarantees
his rise from world number nine to six, his highest ranking.
 

It also increased the chances of achieving his goal of a
top-eight seeding at the U.S. Open in three weeks' time.
 

RETURN STRATEGY
 

Maintaining the momentum that carried him to the
quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time last month and
the semi-finals of the Masters Series in Toronto last week,
Murray won well against a uniquely difficult opponent.
 

The 2.08-metre Karlovic leads the tour for the second
successive year for the number of aces and the number of
service games won.
 

Briefly it seemed that Karlovic might build on his
career-best success after earlier knocking out Federer when he
broke the Murray serve to go 2-0 up. But the canny Scot found a
way to return the tour's best serve.
 

Murray frequently stood more than two metres behind the
baseline to receive, but often leaped forward to take the
delivery earlier than expected. His ability to anticipate the
location of Karlovic's serves improved as the game went on.
 

Murray broke back right away and again to go 4-3 ahead
before sealing the first set.
 

Karlovic managed to get some good ground strokes going in
the second set and the match was balanced at 4-4, but Murray
eventually broke the serve-volleyer down to reach the final.

Date created : 2008-08-03

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