Maiello: Defeat the Press
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, aka the Italian Open, stretching his unbeaten streak to 39 matches and seven titles, but more importantly, beating Nadal in consecutive red clay court matches. It was a tough, high quality match, well-played by both men.
One of my coworkers is an avid fan and player. We agree that the remarkable thing about Novak is that there is no one stroke or strategy behind his success - he is simply playing straighforward tennis and doing everything right. He serves well and returns well. He stays in rallies when it makes sense, he presses when there is an opening, he finishes points with authority. When an opponent makes an incredible physical play, he maintains his composure.
Nadal is the guy who made Roger Federer look mortal over the last several years, and now Djokovic seemingly owns Nadal on his best surface. Everyone wonders if Djokovic can maintain that level of play over best of five sets, in the heat, but the ATP notes that he won this match after a long, tight match against Andy Murray the night before:
After fighting back from the brink to defeat Andy Murray [6-1, 3-6, 7-6] in a dramatic late-finishing semi-final on Saturday night, it was expected fatigue could play a part in Djokovic’s performance in the final. However, there was no evidence of tiredness in the Serb’s legs as he broke down Nadal’s defences ...
I hope they replay that match.
Update 1: My coworker thought the key was that Djokovic was able to punish Nadal's backhand, get easy replies and hold his shot until Nadal committed one way or the other. I thought Nadal, after being drawn wide, was putting up a lot of high arc shots off both wings to try to gain time, but Djokovic was putting those shots away.
The men's game is much more compelling right now, but Maria Sharapova decked Samantha Stosur 6-2, 6-4 to win the women's title. Stosur had never defeated Sharapova, and gave up four games before she even looked to be in the match. Sharapova took out world #1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semis.