Nikolay Davydenko beat Rafael Nadal in a Master 1000 final for the second time in two years Sunday, claiming his fourth title since July with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 success in Shanghai Sunday.
The loss, while not what he had hoped, was far from discouraging for world number two Nadal, playing only his second event since taking a month off to heal an abdominal muscle problem. He lost to Davydenko for the title at Miami, 2008.
“I did well and played a good match. I don’t like to lose but I had my chances,” said the Spaniard, who has few complaints about his performance despite the outcome.
“This was the first time since my injuries that I was competing 100 per cent against a top player.
“My attitude and my physical condition were fine, it has been a very good season for me. I’m still working to better my game.” Davydenko added Nadal to a Shanghai victim’s list which included second seed Novak Djokovic in a three hour semifinal the day before.
Davydenko went up an early break in the first set but lost it before the opener went into a tiebreaker and ended after 75 minutes with a backhand winner.
“I thought I was losing my chances, when he broke me back,” said Davydenko. “I was just trying to hold him off, wondering how long I could stay in the match.” But the Russian moved ahead 4-2 in the second set to consolidate the win.
“It’s been a miracle,” said Davydenko. “I’ve beaten Nadal in two Masters finals, maybe that shows something. I’ve won 18 titles in my career and I find that amazing.” The Russian, chasing one of three spots in next month’s ATP season wrap-up event in London, won his fourth title of the season, all coming since July.
Davydenko leaves Asia for the Kremlin Cup next week with two trophies after winning Kuala Lumpur in September.
The win denied Nadal his first success since Rome in late April and kept the world number two on five titles in 2009.