Kicking off the 2007 season from just outside the top-15 and with big goals on his mind, Novak Djokovic lost to Roger Federer at the Australian Open. In March, the Serb reached the first Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells. Rafael Nadal proved to be too strong for Novak, who learned the lesson well ahead of their next clash two weeks later in Miami.
World no. 1 Roger Federer was not among the title runners at the opening Masters 1000 events of the season, losing to Guillermo Canas in both Indian Wells and Miami and leaving the space for the youngsters to show their true colors.
Novak played against his coeval Andy Murray in the semi-final in Indian Wells and Miami. Djokovic was thrilled that the young guns were making their way towards the top after a couple of Roger Federer’s dominant seasons.
Novak needed an hour and 37 minutes to beat Rafa 6-3, 6-4 in the Miami Open quarter-final. Djokovic took 15 out of 20 points behind the second serve and fended off four out of five break chances to keep the pressure on the other side.
Nadal could not follow that pace, having troubles after missing the first serve and getting broken thrice to propel Novak into the semis. Djokovic forged the triumph in the mid-range and extended exchanges, hitting more winners than unforced errors.
Novak forced a mistake from Rafa in the fourth game to move 3-1 in front before suffering a break at 15 in the next one when his forehand landed long. Djokovic forced another Nadal’s mistake to secure the second straight break.
Novak Djokovic reached back-to-back Masters 1000 finals in March 2007.
The Serb cemented it with a hold at love and clinched the set with an incredible volley at 5-3. Rafa saved three break points in the second set’s third game to stay on the positive side and landed a volley winner in the next one to earn a break chance.
Novak dismissed it with a powerful forehand and brought the game home with a volley winner to level the score at 2-2. In the fifth game, Nadal netted a slice backhand to suffer a break, sending the younger opponent in front and allowing Djokovic to serve for the victory at 5-4.
Novak passed the most challenging test in that tenth game, fending off three break chances and sealing the deal with an ace to notch the first triumph over Nadal. “I’m expecting a nice battle against Andy, competing against each other in the second straight Masters 1000 semi-final; he must be fitter than in Indian Wells.
It’s a great thing for tennis to see youngsters like Nadal, Murray and me playing at this level and bringing something new to tennis. I think you all had enough of Roger Federer winning every tournament, so it’s good,” Novak Djokovic said.