ATP Montreal: Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic Preview

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While the bottom half of the draw in Montreal opened up to allow an all-Canadian semi final, no such thing happened in the top half with  Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic progressing to this stage as expected. Given the other semi-final, this match is almost a de facto final – much like their French Open semi final meeting which Nadal came out on top in. It will be the 36th meeting between them, with Nadal leading the head to head 20-15 currently.

Nadal is yet to drop a set in his three matches this week to extend his unbeaten hard court record to eight matches on the year. He dropped just two games in his opener with Jesse Levine but would not find it so easy against Jerzy Janowicz. The Pole would serve for the first set but would be unable to close it out. The ensuing tiebreak also saw Janowicz take a dominant position, but would lose six of the next seven points from 5-2 up to go a set down. The second set was much the same with Nadal coming from a break down to take the match in straights. It would be back to normal in the quarter finals as Marinko Matosevic was defeated 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile, the two times defending champion Djokovic began his campaign with an easy win over Florian Mayer but it was his post match dancing that attracted much of the attention after the match rather than ease of which he began his campaign. Denis Istomin was a surprisingly tricky second round opponent with Djokovic having to come from a set down to make the quarter finals. In a rematch of last years final, Richard Gasquet was defeated in even more emphatic style than the 2012 meeting – picking up just three games.

While there is no doubt that Nadal has reasserted his dominance against Djokovic on the clay with four of the last five meetings on the surface between the two going to the Spaniard, including the marathon match at the French Open this year, the outlook on hard courts looks much more positive for Djokovic.

He has won his last four matches against Nadal on the surface, with the most recent meeting being the 2012 Australian Open final in which Djokovic outlasted his opponent in just under six hours. That match is reflective of many of the recent meetings which have been long drawn out affairs with three of them going the distance while the 2011 US Open Final was won in four sets by Djokovic.

Prediction – Novak Djokovic in a tight 2 setter

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