It is only the first tennis tournament this season and we have already got ourselves a blockbuster finale set for Saturday evening as the top seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic will go up against the second seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal, in the final of ATP Qatar in Doha.
The world no. 1 has definitely gotten to a brilliant start this year, having won all the matches in the tournament in straight sets. He reached the final two by defeating the third seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-6(3).
On the other hand, Nadal faced less than some difficulties in the tournament, having struggled in a couple of matches. His first round match was against his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, who he defeated in three sets, after losing the first one. He faced a similar problem once again in the quarterfinal, this time against the young Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, whom he overcame with 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 score.
Comparing the previous season of these two players, it is Djokovic who comes out on the top. He won 11 titles, including three Grand Slams and six ATP Masters tournament. On the other hand, 2015 was less than eventful one for the world no. 5, having won just three tournaments in the 500 and 250 series levels combined.
Coincidentally, this is also Nadal’s first final on the hard surface since 2014 ATP Qatar, where he won the title. However, this time around, he will have to work a lot harder to repeat the same feat again.
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal head to head:
This is set to be the 47th encounter between the duo, and the head to head record is currently tied at 23-23. They met each other four times last season, and the Serbian emerged victorious in all of them in. Two of these matches were on hard surface where Novak won in straight sets, with the most recent one being the ATP World Tour Finals.
The Spaniard is capable of defeating his opponent here, but he needs to find his rhythm once again. Given the excellent form of Djokovic here, this will be a tough one for Nadal. With Australian Open just around the corner, this is definitely a good opportunity for him to gather the much needed momentum.