Video: Rafael Nadal's backhand hits Novak Djokovic in the face
Novak Djokovic got hit smack in the face by a Rafael Nadal backhand on Saturday night in Montreal, Canada. And he wasn't too happy about it.
During his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) win over Djokovic in the Rogers Cup semifinal, Nadal drew Djokovic into the net with a lofted drop shot at 2-2, 30-all in the third set. Djokovic sent a short drop shot right back, and Nadal raced forward, tried to go cross-court, and hit Djokovic smack in the face. Nadal immediately apologized but Djokovic was having none of it. He turned away from Nadal's apology and shook his head, leaving Nadal to simply shrug towards the crowd.
Djokovic might not have liked it, but Andy Murray, who was still in Montreal after making the doubles final with Colin Fleming, seemed to enjoy it:
“I said yesterday the only chance to win against Novak, the only tactic is to play very well,” Nadal said after the match. “To play very well, I have to play aggressive. If not, I cannot play very well on this kind of surface. And I did. I played a very high level tonight, I think. I played with the right decisions in the important moments.”
"I had my chances," Djokovic said. "He had his chances. You know, I guess at the end he played better… Whenever we play against each other, it's always a thrilling match for the crowd to see. We are both competing at the high level. We both want to win these matches.”
Nadal now holds a 21-15 edge over the top-ranked Djokovic, who came into the tournament as the two-time defending champion. The Spaniard finally edged Djokovic in a third set tiebreaker after Djokovic played a surprisingly conservative tiebreak to allow Nadal to race to a 6-0 lead. The Spaniard closed it out three points later to advance to his 10th final in 11 tournaments this year and his second straight ATP Masters 1000 hard court final. He'll try to earn his 25th ATP Masters title when he faces Milos Raonic in Sunday's final. Regardless of the result, Nadal will rise to No. 3 in the ATP rankings on Monday.
Here are the last three points of the tiebreak, Nadal's finger-wagging celebration, and the warm handshake between the two at the net: