Nikolay Davydenko, perhaps the most unheralded No. 4-ranked player in the world, blitzed Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open yesterday in Miami to capture his second Masters Series title. The Russian recently has been best known for an ATP investigation into heavy wagering on a match he lost last August at an obscure tournament in Poland. He retired in the third set, citing a foot injury, and says he did nothing wrong. While the burden of the drawn-out investigation has allegedly weighed heavily on Davydenko, it certainly wasn’t apparent on Key Biscayne. The Russian played brilliantly on Sunday, blasting sharply-angled howitzer forehands to Nadal’s backhand and forcing the Spaniard to repeatedly hit his shots late and wide. Davydenko opened the court with laser-like backhands, too. “He’s playing unbelievable tennis,” said the No. 2-seeded Nadal. “People like to write more about Roger (Federer), about me, about Andy (Roddick). People outside tennis can think different about Nikolay, but we know he’s a very, very good player.” Davydenko played with one racket, a new model which he used for the first time, in all six matches. “I have only one,” the Russian said. “Surprising I didn’t break a string. Warm up and play a match, warm up and play match, every match, and I finish with the racket. I’m going to keep forever this racket.” Davydenko crunched 19 winners with the new Prince frame and committed only 12 unforced errors. Nadal hit 12 winners and had 16 unforced errors. Davydenko boomed one serve at 132 mph and won five service games at love. Federer, struggling and without a title in three previous tournaments this year, had come to Miami hoping to re-establish his dominance. Roddick squelched those hopes, taking out the top-ranked Swiss star 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals Thursday night. It was the American’s first win in 12 matches against Federer and improved his record to 2-15 against the Swiss Maestro. Roddick’s euphoria was deep-sixed the following night, though, when he ran into the buzzsaw named Davydenko. The Russian prevailed 7-6, 6-2, breaking the American three times in a row in the second set to sweep the final five games. Nadal had an uneventful trip to the final, dropping but one set to James Blake in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Davydenko became the first Russian to win Key Biscayne and picked up his 12th career title in 15 ATP finals. The tour now moves to Europe for the clay-court season leading up to the French Open beginning late next month.
Davydenko Sinks Nadal on Key Biscayne
Previous post: Solid Win Propels Djokovic Closer to No. 1