As expected, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the players to beat in Rome 2014. Two great rivals have overcome all obstacles to set up the title clash. Novak went all the way to beat Rafa 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 19 minutes to claim his third Rome title and advance to Roland Garros.
Rome was Novak’s 19th Masters 1000 title, moving him two behind Roger Federer and closing the gap on Nadal. It was the 41st and 19th win for the Serbs, 15th in their last 23 clashes and fourth in a row.
Djokovic leads 12-9 in ATP finals and 7-5 in Masters 1000 title clashes. Novak Rafa won for the fourth time in 17 matches on clay and for the fourth time came from a set to oust the Spaniard. Djokovic had a 19-point lead, hitting 45 winners and 30 unforced errors to dominate the second and third sets.
Nadal grabbed four return games, which wasn’t enough to keep him going. Novak took half of the return points and converted 6 breaks out of 14 chances. Djokovic outlasted Nadal in four straight sets to clinch the title.
Despite not playing well, Rafa gave 120% to stay in touch and challenge the world no. 2. The Spaniard pulled out a break midway through the decider before the Serbs shifted into high gear and brought home the win.
Nadal said he needed more energy in the closing stages to meet Djokovic as his legs failed him.
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2014 Rome final.
“It’s hard for everyone to beat Novak, not just me.
He is one of the best players in the world and it is normal to lose against him. I played well at some points and got my chances. I needed more energy to connect with him for another ball or two in the crucial moments, but my legs couldn’t handle that after a hard week.
Novak had an early advantage in the rallies, and it was difficult for me to prepare for the shot and change the dynamic of the point. I could have done better, but I’m still happy with my performance. I played one last this week and took 600 points; It’s a good result.
I beat strong opponents like Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov and stayed tied with Novak. I feel better than my chances at Roland Garros a week ago. I played well to take a 4-1 lead in the opener and then he started playing well.
To deal with Novak, I needed more fuel in the decider with 3-3, the better the first earthquake and the right strength. Novak’s return worked like a charm and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have lost to Novak four times in a row and I have to work hard to prepare for our next match, said Rafael Nadal.