Doha: World No.1 Novak Djokovic started 2016 with a title win at the $1,283,855 Qatar Open by defeating arch-rival Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-2 in the men’s singles final here on Saturday.
With the win, the Serb bagged the winner’s cheque of $201,165 and a glittering trophy stylised in the shape of Qatar’s national bird, a falcon.
Djokovic had his grip on the match right from the start, it only got firmer as the match progressed.
In the first game of the first set, Nadal came rather close to breaking Djokovic, but the Serbian had other plans. He not only retained his serve but broke Nadal in the immediately with an impressive 40-15 margin to stamp his class early. It would have been 40-0 had the left-hander not won a disputed line call.
Djokovic was clinical in his approach, soon making it 3-0, enough to subdue the chants of ‘vamos Rafa’.
Nadal finally managed to win the fourth game to crawl to 1-3. But the Serbian was in no mood to settle with just one break, and claimed another in the sixth to go 5-1 up. It was 6-1 in no time and the set was in Djokovic’s pocket.
With the first set gone, Nadal had been pushed to the wall, psychologically at least.
There were rallies in the first game of the second set. The World No.1 retained his serve to go 2-0 up. Another rally in the fifth game resulted in another break in favour of Djokovic and he was already 4-1 up.
Djokovic won the next game to go 5-1 up. With great effort, Nadal retained his serve, but could do little when Djokovic served in the last game of the evening. The Serbian retained his serve 40-15 and with that the set was his 6-2.
One and quarter of an hour later, Djokovic was sitting pretty with the title under his belt.
“It’s a great feeling. What can I say? I am living the best time of my life and career. It’s easy to lose confidence than it is to gain. I am very grateful to have a start like this in Doha. He always presents a great challenge, the rivalry goes back 10 years, but this is the first time I have beaten him set-to-set,” said Djokovic.