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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Sunday, 8 May 2011 17:32 UK

Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic as it happened


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By Piers Newbery

laolu_akins on Twitter: "So djokovic has done it... The unbeaten streak continues... Has to be favorite for french open nw... #bbctennis"

batesonboy on Twitter: "I think everyone is blowing this match way out of proportion. 1 win against Nadal is hardly a dethroning from the king of clay."

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From Sharon, London, via text: "This is not normal! This is Rafa on clay! He is unbeatable and in straight sets is impossible! What kind of legend could NoDjo become?!?!"

From James via text: "I was also at that match in London, Djokovic is a completely different player to the one I saw get crushed by Federer."

Novak Djokovic
2005: That was quite something. Nadal's clay-court run ends after 37 wins and just under two years, while Djokovic is now unbeaten in 32 matches this year and 34 in total. And the imminent French Open just got a whole lot more interesting. It's the second-best season start since John McEnroe went on a 42-game winning streak at the start of 1984, and that mark no longer looks so out of reach.

Nadal 5-7 4-6 Djokovic
Djokovic wins the first point, yet again taking the initiative off the return and finishing at the net. A clean backhand return winner makes it 0-30. Very tense at the Caja Magica now - it's quite tense in Shepherds Bush. A long rally unwinds... before Djokovic creams another backhand winner! Three match points.... Djokovic works the opening and goes for the backhand down the line... but it just misses. Agonising for the Serbian. Match point two and it's another humdinger of a rally... and Nadal goes wide!

* Nadal 5-7 4-5 Djokovic
Djokovic leans in and cracks a stunning backhand winner for 0-30 but then goes for a little too much before finding the net. They might as well start each game at 30-30 now, it's that tense. Djokovic dictates the crucial point behind a good serve and sees out the game with another winner. One game away now. Or possibly two hours away.

DeepPoet8705 on Twitter: "Rooting for Rafa! but kudos to 'The Joker' for the men's game extra-exciting cos now we have a 3rd musketeer in the sport #bbctennis"

A celeb has been spotted
Nadal 5-7 4-4 Djokovic *
Kooky film director Pedro Almodovar is back in the house and receives more than polite applause. Meanwhile, his compatriot is in trouble again at 0-30 but stops the rot when he forces Djokovic to miss with successive backhands, and a thumping winner earns Nadal game point. Djoko steps in on the return and dominates the rally to get to deuce but Nadal survives, and we pass the two-hour mark. A colleague has just left a tray of six cupcakes within arm's length. Very foolish.

* Nadal 5-7 3-4 Djokovic
The Djokovic forehand is the side that is usually more likely to break down but he pounds away with abandon on that wing to get to 40-15. However, with a tempting gap up the line he then sends a forehand well over the baseline to give Nadal hope. Not for long - an ace out wide does the job and is greeted with polite applause. From about three people.

Nadal 5-7 3-3 Djokovic *
It's just occurred to me that I was there when Djokovic last lost a tennis match, at the O2 Arena against Federer in November. It was the deep midwinter and everyone was freezing their valuables off, and here we are in spring. Anyway... another Nadal service game, another battle for the local boy, but he comes through strongly from 30-30.

TennisReporters on Twitter: "Looks like if Djokovic wins Madrid & Rome & Nadal fails 2 reach Rome semis, then Djokovic can be #1 & be top Roland Garros seed. Wow."

* Nadal 5-7 2-3 Djokovic
Djokovic makes a solid start to the game but two errors bring Nadal back to 30-30. The world number one buries his head in his hands after missing a backhand and uncle Toni looks worried in the stands. Djokovic holds.

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From Chris, Manchester, via text: "What about Federer's hotdog winner also vs. Djokovic in the 2009 US Open?"

Nadal 5-7 2-2 Djokovic *
Djokovic belts an unstoppable return winner for 15-15 and then wins a gripping 35-shot rally as Nadal's backhand is the first to falter. Nadal responds with an ace for 30-30 and NoDjo goes long with a forehand, but the world number one is then caught fractionally out of position and it's deuce. Fearsome forehands from Djoko have Nadal scurrying without success and it's break point... Djokovic chases down a Nadal drive volley and everyone - or at least I - expect him to make the backhand pass, but Rafa is there for the volley. He has to hit a forehand smack on the line on the next point just to get it past Djokovic and a big serve gives him the game. Gruelling stuff, just to hold serve.

stolidimran on Twitter: "Djokovic is on top of his game, it would take a REAL effort from nadal to beat this man today. #bbctennis"

* Nadal 5-7 1-2 Djokovic
Djokovic rattles through a quick service game and he remains the one dictating things for the most part. Famous last words.

Nadal 5-7 1-1 Djokovic *
The biggest change in the dynamic at the top of the game is the fact that Djokovic seems to have overcome the inferiority complex that everyone else, understandably, seems to have with Nadal. The Serbian is quickly at 15-40 and two break points... and he takes the second with a backhand up the line. Not so much cheering for that one. And I do remember that semi-final - over four hours for three sets of tennis and match points all over the place. Much as I'd love a repeat tonight, there will be meal-time issues. I'm just warning you.

theTJPark on Twitter: "Remember the incredible semi-final between Nadal & Djokovic in 2009 also in Madrid? The qualities are strikingly similar today. #bbctennis"

* Nadal 5-7 1-0 Djokovic
I need a new graphic. Nadal just hit a hotdog-lob-winner that was one of the best shots I've ever seen. I'd go as far as to say that text commentary doesn't do it justice. I know! It gives the Majorcan three break points... and he snaffles the first to a cacophony of noise and fist pumping. Good stuff. Can anyone think of a better shot than that?

Nadal 5-7 Djokovic *
A dead net cord draws a groan from the stands as Nadal tries in vain to pick it up, but it's 0-30 and Djokovic is on his toes for the next return, finding the baseline with a forehand. Three set points... and Djokovic takes charge, moves in and clips the net again with a backhand. It drops over the net, out of reach of Nadal once more. The crowd whistles, presumably at the fickle nature of fate. A great set from both men but Djokovic definitely edged it.

* Nadal 5-6 Djokovic
Djokovic recovers from the previous game quickly enough to hold to love, very impressive.

Nadal 5-5 Djokovic *
Apologies, Djokovic was serving for the set, not the match. But you knew that. Nadal is looking good at 30-15 but it's his turn to get edgy as he puts a regulation forehand into the tramlines for 30-30. Djokovic plays a magnificent point, three backhands creating the opening before he fires one cross-court to earn set point.... Nadal saves it with a winning serve down the 'T', a very useful habit he's acquired over the last year or so. Djokovic is not done in this game though and attacks a second serve to earn a second set point... but drags a dodgy forehand wide after a lengthy baseline exchange. Nadal is soon under pressure again on the backhand side and finds the net, handing Djoko a third set point... but a backhand goes wide as he gets his footwork wrong. Nadal holds after a 13-minute game and we're all square.

dalewetter on Twitter: "Incredible standard in this Rafa Djokovic match. I've run out of superlatives for Nadal - how has he got back into this set? #bbctennis"

* Nadal 4-5 Djokovic
Boom! Big serve, ace, and Djokovic is 30-0 up and cruising as he powers into the net on the next point, only for Nadal to crack a backhand past him to a huge roar from the crowd. Djokovic then nets a forehand, the volume rises and the pressure grows - 30-30. NoDjo works the opening well but puts a very makeable backhand into the tramlines and that has to be the result of nerves. Break point for Nadal.... it's a big serve that Nadal fails to return but the umpire overrules and says it's long. A big call but Djokovic seems to accept it. Huge, huge forehands follow from Nadal and when he fires the inevitable winner into the corner, the roar from the spectators is almost matched by that from Rafa.

Nadal 3-5 Djokovic *
Big forehands and heavy serving do the job for Nadal and a love game gives him some momentum going into the next game as Djokovic prepares to serve for the set. A rearrangement of the Nadal shorts, 27 ball bounces from Djokovic.... we're ready.

sufiyapatel on Twitter: "Are there no Djokovic fans on #bbctennis or are you only showing comments by Nadal fans?! Nole to win- he's been playing great tennis!"

* Nadal 2-5 Djokovic
Djokovic plays a succession of mesmerising backhands to win the first point and I find myself thinking I'm watching a video game, so cleanly are both men hitting the ball. It's the Nadal forehand v the Djokovic backhand at the moment, and its the Serbian who continues to have the edge. It's a comfortable hold and Nadal cannot find a way through consistently. And I mean a recent video game, not the epic Match Point on the ZX Spectrum. Every shot a lob.

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From Hannah, Birmingham, via text: "Really really want Nadal to win, but i think Djokovic's winning streak will continue today. Djokovic in 3, unfortunately."

A celeb has been spotted
* Nadal 1-4 Djokovic
Nadal gives it some fist pump as he powers to 0-40 and three break points of his own... and Djokovic double faults on the second. Is that the end of a Djokovic adrenaline burst or has he already done enough in this set? Don't ask me. Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas are among the spectators, supporting Nadal I think. If he loses it will definitely be the umpire's fault. Or Barcelona's.

Nadal 0-4 Djokovic *
The pace and accuracy of Djokovic's groundstrokes is making him unplayable right now, even for Nadal. A trademark backhand down the line brings up 0-40 and three break points.... the Madrid crowd, sounding collectively edgier now, lets out a relieved cheer when their man saves the first but Nadal then crunches a succession of huge backhands and Nadal eventually crumbles. Incredible start from Djokovic.

TennisCricktGrl on Twitter: "Rafa to win! very much looking forward to the end of djokos winning streak and rafa putting him back in his place! #bbctennis"

Georgina_Hughes on Twitter: "Not the start I'd have hoped for but I have complete faith!!"

* Nadal 0-3 Djokovic
"Juego, Djokovic." A love hold in no time at all and anyone predicting a Nadal win might have to think again here (shifts uncomfortably in seat).

Nadal 0-2 Djokovic *
Djokovic has a half-chance at 15-30 but goes long with a backhand after being forced by the Nadal topspin. No matter, on the next point he slides into a backhand and smacks a cross-court winner past Nadal. Break point.... and Djokovic attacks the return before grabbing the break with a forehand that has Nadal scrambling unsuccessfully. And this is Djoko feeling under the weather.

StevieMoffat on Twitter: "The end of Djokovics streak here. Nobody can match Nadal on clay #bbctennis"

* Nadal 0-1 Djokovic
The Madrid crowd immediately have their tails up as their man begins pounding away on the forehand, and Djokovic nets and goes wide in the first two points. A fizzing forehand winner up the line makes it 15-40 and two break points.... Djokovic saves the first with a brilliant forehand and Nadal then goes long, rather surprisingly. The Spaniard then sees a gap up the line but misses by some distance and NoDjo comes through with another thumping forehand. Feels like a big hold already.
* denotes NEXT to serve

1743: Worrying news from Sky's Mark Petchey, who has spoken to Djokovic and says the Serb is slightly concerned about his physical condition. Not ideal if you're about to face Nadal.

1740: So who do we think is going to win? Let me know your thoughts with a text on 81111, if you're in the UK, or by the international craze all the kids are talking about - tweetbook. Or whatever it's called, use #bbctennis or ping me directly @piesnewbery. Keep it clean though.

Brad Gilbert on Twitter: "Don't think we'll see a repeat of the epic 4hr match a couple yrs back. I'm going Rafa to be the streak buster in two tight sets."

Novak Djokovic
1733: Djokovic - "It's great for the crowd, it's great for the tournament and for us. Every time we play each other it's a big challenge and we really look forward to it."

Rafael Nadal
1733: Nadal - "I think the match will be very difficult. When a player isn't losing it's because every day he is doing the right things. Hopefully on Sunday he doesn't always do the right things and I can play at my best level."

1730: There is more than one heavyweight sporting clash going on today and Madrid is about to host the most eagerly anticipated tennis match since the Australian Open final in January. Rafael Nadal has won 37 matches in a row on clay, Novak Djokovic has won 33 matches in a row on everything; Nadal is unbeaten on the red dirt since the 2009 French Open, Djokovic has made the third-best start ever to an ATP season (31 wins, no defeats); Nadal has won 16 of their 25 matches and all nine on clay, Djokovic has won both their matches this year - and both were Masters 1000 finals. What's the expression I've been hearing all day? Something's got to give.

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