Sunday, January 10, 2010

Davydenko Outlasts Rafa For Doha Crown

He may have been hammered 6-0 in the first set by Rafael Nadal, but Nikolay Davydenko, after saving 2 match points, stunned the Spaniard in a thrilling match for the Qatar Open title. Rafa played a lights out opening set, not giving Davydenko any chance to find his game by dictating the points relentlessly. The world number 2 lost just 1 point in 3 service games. In the 2nd game of the 2nd set, Davydenko finally got on the board, and after trading breaks and holds, was forced into a tiebreaker. The Russian held a commanding, 2 mini-break advantage, but then squandered the lead, and even allowed Rafa to hold 2 match points, which he saved with powerful baseline tennis.

In the deciding set, Davydenko fell behind a break early, but upped his aggression, winning 65 percent of the points on Nadal's 2nd serves. Serving at 4-5, the 23 year-old Rafa fell behind early, allowing Kolya to hold a match point, which he converted, to win $185,850 in prize money, and his 20th career ATP World Tour title.

“The first set was 6-0, everybody saw it," said Davydenko, who cracked 54 winners in the 0-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 win. "But if you saw the match, it was not so easy. I tried every point but Nadal had very good concentration and played very well every point. I really had the chance to win some games, but I played a little bit slowly, he played much faster."

Nadal told the media that he feels he is playing at the same level as he was in 2008, when he won 2 Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal. “Sure, it’s better to win, especially when you have the chance," Rafa said. . "But, that’s tennis and probably this match I needed a little bit more calm. But playing at this level I am sure I’m going to win [a title].

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