Sunday, June 05, 2011

"I stepped onto the court today believing I could win"

MADRID -- Novak Djokovic kept up his perfect start to the season and against Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

Djokovic defeated Nadal on clay for the first time in 10 tries, beating the top-ranked Spaniard 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the Madrid Open, to extend his unbeaten start to the season to 32 matches.

The second-ranked Djokovic squandered a 4-0 lead in the first set, but recovered to end Nadal's latest winning streak on clay at 37 matches and earn the Serb his third straight victory over Nadal in finals this season.

Djokovic's sixth title of 2011 allowed him to surpass Bjorn Borg's 31-match season-opening run in 1980. He trails only John McEnroe's 42-0 start in 1984.

"Probably it's right at the top," Djokovic said about beating Nadal on clay on Spanish soil. "Under the circumstances I was playing an unbelievable match. ... I stepped onto the court today believing I could win. I needed to be aggressive and it was a great match."

Djokovic's run of 34 straight wins since Serbia's Davis Cup triumph in December is the eighth best of all time.

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