Djokovic thrilled to overcome tough Nadal test


Novak Djokovic was delighted to book his place in the BNP Paribas Open with a straight-sets win over long-time adversary Rafael Nadal.

The Serb took the 48th meeting between the pair 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to secure his sixth final at the ATP 1000 finals event - Djokovic looking to win his fifth title and third in a row.

He needed to dig deep in a tight opening set as Nadal raised his game to match the world number one, Djokovic coming from a break down to take the opener in a tie-break before a crucial break in the second set up his win.

"I work hard to be able to come up with the best game when it's the most needed," said Djokovic. "Obviously the first set was decided in one or two points; the second set was very close. Midway through the second I broke his serve, and last three games I played very well.

"So I'm just glad to overcome this challenge that is one of the greatest in sport, as it always is playing against Rafa. I'm taking the positives out of the performance and hoping that I can finish off this tournament with another great performance."

Milos Raonic is next up for Djokovic after he beat David Goffin in the second semi, the Canadian battling through in three sets against the Belgian.

Djokovic added: "Milos is probably playing the best tennis that he has ever played. 

"His serve was phenomenal before the start of this season, but this season it seems like he has improved even more, especially the second serve. He's going for it more. He's not giving you the same look.

"Even though he hasn't played too many Masters finals, he's still very strong mentally. 

"He's very calm on the court. He's very composed. He's showing virtues that are characteristic for some more experienced and older players. That's one of the impressive things about him."