3. A more confident Nadal 

Although, the Spaniard lost the match but the manner in which he played the first set and a half was absolutely top class, like the older version of himself.  He was badly beaten, 6-1, 6-2, in their earlier meeting this year in the final of the Qatar Open. Any success against the Serb, however relative it is, must be appreciated.

After Nadal saved a match point in the fourth round, his misfiring forehand has suddenly come to life and is coming back to its bullying best and he is certainly gaining his confidence back.  Nadal consistently posed problems for Djokovic and forced the first set into the tie break where he lost marginally to the Djoker 5-7.

Rafael Nadal was beaten by Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal was beaten by Novak Djokovic

“I played well during the week,” Nadal said. “I won very interesting matches, good ones, fighting. Today was closer than the last couple of times against the best player of world, so it was a very positive week for me. That’s the way I’m going to try, to follow this way to keep going with this level. If I am able to play weeks in a row at this level, then you start to think about the chances to compete for everything.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5AyUuq9zSI

“I think I played well for a set and a half; then I think he played well the last part,” said Nadal. “I played bad again with my serve at 3-2, and then he finished playing well the last two games. Played at high level.

“I had my chances in the first set. I felt for a moment that I was competing at the highest level possible. At the beginning of the tie-break and at the end of the first set with some 0/15 that I had, I made a few mistakes with my forehand. That’s the only thing.”

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