The Russian needed 48 minutes to appear on the scoreboard! In the 2nd set, he wasted a double set point serving at 5:4. In the ensuing tie-break, saved two match points on Nadal’s serve: 5:6 (Nadal’s BH wide trying to pass) & 7:8 (Nadal’s FH error). The Spaniard had also his chances in the decider: led 3:1* (40/15) – second break point Davydenko saved with the help of three volleys; at 4-all the serving Davydenko was 0/30 before winning the crucial game (two deuces). After the 2-hour 43-minute encounter, the Russian commented: “The first set was 6-0, everybody saw it. 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. In the 2nd set I started to find my game and started to come back. I should have won the second set at 5:4 with set point, but I didn’t and I was lucky in the tie-break. The match was long, I was really tired, but in the 3rd set I still felt I had some power and maybe I could continue and win the match. I don’t know what happened to him at the end. He tried a winner at 4-all, he didn’t make it and it was 5:4 for me. I think he lost a little bit of concentration and lost the match. For me it was a really good fight today.” It’s arguably the bitterest ‘best of 3’ defeat in Nadal’s career. Three years ago in Rome, he avoided a similar defeat to Davydenko in Rome, then he lost the 2nd set 8/10 too.
Davydenko’s route to his 20th title:
1 Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-0
2 Marco Chiudinelli 6-3, 6-4
Q Ivo Karlovic 7-6(4), 7-6(7)
S Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4
W Rafael Nadal 0-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 – 2 m.p.
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