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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rafa's Miami misery... and Djokovic's missing link

Rafa's Miami misery... and Djokovic's missing link

April 01, 2014 08:00 IST

Rafa's Miami misery... and Djokovic's missing link

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Sunday's defeat to arch rival Novak Djokovic meant Rafael Nadal failed in his fourth attempt to win the Miami Masters.

Here's a look at a few similar instances in Masters Series events where a player has come close to winning an elusive tournament on multiple occasions, only to fall at the final hurdle.

'The quality of the tournament is Masters 1000 that I won 26, so I cannot have a mental block on that.'

- Rafael Nadal, when asked to explain his inability to hoist the Miami trophy.

It was on March 28, 2004 that a 17-year-old Spaniard, ranked no.34, announced his arrival on the global stage in style, knocking out the then world No. 1 Roger Federer in the third round in just 70 minutes (6-3, 6-3).

Federer had become No. 1 for the first time just seven weeks earlier and come into the Miami event with a 23-1 record for the year. The result marked the start of the Nadal–Federer rivalry.

It also marked the start of an endless wait for Nadal.

It's been 10 years since. And Nadal, who has won almost everything the sport has to offer in the period, is yet to win the Miami Masters.

It’s not that the Spaniard hasn't come close to winning it in this Florida event. It's just that whenever he came close, he fell at the final hurdle.

His first final in Miami (2005) ended in a five-set loss to Federer. Nikolay Davydenko dominated him in 2008, but 2011 was another close call, Novak Djokovic winning the third set tie-break.

Djokovic's triumph on Sunday albeit was a demolition, one that extended Nadal's wait for the elusive title, often dubbed as the 'fifth major'.

- Please click NEXT for few similar instances in Masters Series events.

 


Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain holds the runners-up trophy after losing to Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final in Miami
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Sharapova has come up short on five occasions in Miami

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Maria Sharapova

Event: Miami

What Rafa Nadal is to men’s singles in the Sony Open, Maria Sharapova is to the women's.

The Russian made it to the final on five occasions, and fallen short each time.

From losing in straight sets to Kim Clijsters in the 2005 final to coming up short against Serena Williams last year, despite winning the opening set, Sharapova has witnessed the title slip away on each occasion.

The Russian also lost the decider in 2006, 2011 and 2012.

This year too, Serena curtailed her charge in the semi-finals.

- Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during her match against Serena Williams of the USA at the Miami Masters Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Cincinnati is the lone trophy missing in Djoker's cabinet

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Novak Djokovic

Event: Cincinnati

For trivia buffs, Novak Djokovic has won eight of the nine Masters Series events.

Sunday's 6-3, 6-3 demolition of Rafa Nadal earned the Serb his fourth Miami Masters title.

So which is the only one missing from his trophy cabinet?

The answer happens to be the Cincinnati Masters in August.

Djokovic reached the final in Ohio on four occasions (2008-09, 2011-12) but come up short on each one of them.

While Andy Murray got the better of him in two of those finals (2008, 2011), on the other two occasions (2009, 2012) it was Roger Federer who denied Djokovic the title.

- Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia walks off the court after a defeat
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Federer is yet to win in Monte Carlo...and Rome

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Roger Federer

Events: Monte Carlo and Rome

In his illustrious career, Roger Federer won 21 Masters Series events from 35 finals.

The Swiss star has won seven of the nine tournaments in the category. And to his credit, made repeated attempts to win the two elusive ones.

However, while Rafael Nadal has come between him and a Monte Carlo title in each of three occasions (2006-08), Federer was rather unfortunate in Rome (finalist in 2003, 06 and 13).

While in the 2003 final he lost to unheralded Spaniard Felix Mantilla, in the 2006 final against Nadal, Federer was just two points away from winning the title. 


Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland shows his dejection after a straight sets defeat
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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