Davydenko destroys Nadal to win Miami Masters
Nikolay Davydenko won the 12th title of his career in commanding style with a dominating 6-4, 6-2 victory over Rafael Nadal Sunday at the Miami Masters. ( dpa )
The success in one hour, 21 minutes left the fourth-seeded Russian two-for-two in Masters finals after claiming Paris Bercy in 2006.
"I cannot believe I won," said the stunned Russian. "I need to ask God how this happened. It's such a surprise to stand here. I've never played well in Miami. Now I've won my second Masters. It's crazy for me."
The loss was the third in a final for Nadal since the Spanish world number-two won the last of his 23 trophies in July in Stuttgart. Since then, he's gone down in title matches at Paris Bercy and Chennai.
Davydenko saved two match points in each of his first two matches at Crandon Park and played the entire event with just one racket after changing to an experimental model this month.
"I had just one racket here. I didn't have a backup," said the winner. "Three of my matches went three sets, and I didn't break a string. I think I'll be keeping this one forever."
Nadal was unable to impose his normally big game on Davydenko, who has declared his innocence in a long-running ATP probe into suspicious online betting activity surrounding a match he lost in August.
The Russian beat a top-10 opponent for the first time in four finals as he also clocked his first career victory over Nadal, who has stood second in the world behind Roger Federer for 140 straight weeks since late July 2005.
"I congratulate Nikolay. He played unbelievable," said the Spaniard, whose opponent beat Andy Roddick in the semi-finals.
"I couldn't play any better today. He was playing unbelievable. This was an important hard court month for me. I made semi-finals at Indian Wells, ( California), and a final here. It's not easy to lose a final like this."
Nadal dropped serve four times and managed only a handful of winners, while Davydenko struck 19.
The Spaniard must now rush to Germany to prepare for next weekend's Davis Cup semi-finals in Bremen.
The loss was the second to a Russian in a 2008 final for Nadal, after the three-time Roland Garros winner was beaten by Mikhail Youzhny to start the season in Chennai.
Davydenko struck first in the opening set with a break of Nadal for a 2-1 lead, only for the Spaniard to break back for 2-2.
Persistence paid off the for Russian, with Davydenko taking a 4-3 lead on another break and running his lead to 5-3 as Nadal lost 11 straight points into the ninth game.
Davydenko persevered as he served for the match, reaching two set points. Nadal saved the first with a return to the empty court before the fourth seed grabbed the opening set after three-quarters of an hour.
The hard luck continued in the second set for Nadal, who saved a break point in the opening game but committed his fifth error of the game to go down a break, 0-1.
The momentum shifted decidedly to the first Russian man to play the Miami final as Nadal faced a break point in the fourth game. A cross-court winner from Davydenko sent the pair to the changeover with the underdog leading 4-1.
The Russian kept up the immense pressure, producing a love game with a winner to the empty court for a 5-1 margin.
The desperate Nadal weighed in with a love game, but the initiative remained with Davydenko, who served out the victory with a forehand winner.