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The year Novak Djokovic dominated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with a 10-1 combined record

Novak Djokovic with Rafael Nadal at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships (L) and Roger Federer at the 2011 US Open (R) Novak Djokovic celebrates after downing Rafael Nadal at the 2011 Madrid Open
Novak Djokovic with Rafael Nadal at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships (L) and Roger Federer at the 2011 US Open (R) Novak Djokovic celebrates after downing Rafael Nadal at the 2011 Madrid Open
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Ewan West

Novak Djokovic's 2011 season is widely considered to be one of the greatest individual years in the history of tennis. The Serb compiled a 70-6 (92.1%) win-loss record, won 10 titles (including three Majors and five Masters 1000 tournaments), and became World No. 1 for the first time.

Djokovic broke the duopoly of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who had won 21 of the previous 23 Grand Slam events played between them. Djokovic finished the year with an incredible 10-1 combined record against the legendary duo.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in 2011

Prior to the 2011 campaign, Nadal held a commanding 16-7 head-to-head advantage over Djokovic and had won seven of their previous 10 encounters.

Federer, meanwhile, possessed a 13-6 record against Djokovic and had won six of his last eight meetings with the Serb.

Australian Open semifinal: Djokovic d. Federer 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-4

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Djokovic and Federer faced off for the first time in 2011 in the last four of the Australian Open, where the Swiss was the defending champion. No. 3 seed Djokovic earned three mini breaks to take the opening set on a tiebreak after neither player dropped their serve.

Second seed Federer fought his way to a 5-2 lead in the second set, before the Serb crucially reeled off five consecutive games to secure a two-sets-to-love lead. The pair then exchanged breaks in the third set, before Djokovic delivered the killer blow by breaking the Swiss for a 5-4 lead and serving out the match.

It was Djokovic's third win over Federer in a Major, and he defeated Andy Murray in the final to claim his second Australian Open title.

Dubai final: Djokovic d. Federer 6-3, 6-3

The pair clashed again a month later in the final of the Dubai Championships - an ATP 500 tournament. Second-seeded Djokovic broke twice en route to securing the first set in convincing fashion.

Federer, the top seed, broke for 2-0 in the second set but was pegged back as Djokovic leveled at 3-3. The Serb broke again for a 5-3 advantage and took the set and the match as well as his third straight Dubai crown.

Indian Wells semifinals: Djokovic d. Federer 6-3, 3-6, 6-2

Like in Melbourne, Federer and Djokovic were seeded second and third respectively at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where they met in the semifinals.

The Serb, then 24, broke Federer twice on his way to winning the opening set. Federer broke Djokovic for the first time in the third game of the second set, before breaking again to level the contest.

After both players exchanged breaks early in the decider, Djokovic broke his 30-year-old rival twice more before his victory. The win saw Djokovic overtake Federer to claim the World No. 2 ranking.

Indian Wells final: Djokovic d. Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

In 2011, Nadal and Djokovic met for the first time in the Indian Wells championship match. After both players broke each other's serves in the opening set, Nadal broke again to lead 4-3 and eventually took the set.

Djokovic hit back to level the match by winning the second set after earning a crucial break to go ahead 5-3. The Serb then stormed to a 4-0 lead en route to claiming the final set to seal victory and win his second Indian Wells crown.

Miami final: Djokovic d. Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)

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The two rivals faced off again in the final of the Miami Open Masters 1000 event. No. 1 seed Nadal surged to a 5-1 first set lead before holding off a Djokovic fightback to see out the set.

Djokovic carried his momentum into the second set and earned a 3-0 advantage before leveling the match. The contest was decided by a third set tiebreak after neither player faced a break point in a high-quality deciding set.

The Spaniard, pivotally, double faulted to fall 3-2 behind, and Djokovic came through the pulsating three-hours-21-minute battle. This was the first time the Serb completed the 'Sunshine Double' (winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back).

Madrid final: Djokovic d. Nadal 7-5, 6-4

Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open - Day Nine
Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open - Day Nine

Following Miami, Djokovic triumphed at the Belgrade Open, before withdrawing from the Monte Carlo Masters, which Nadal won. The duo's third 2011 meeting came in another Masters 1000 final in Madrid, where Nadal was the defending champion.

Nadal had won all nine of his prior clay court encounters against Djokovic. He had a 37-match winning streak on clay, going back to the 2009 French Open.

Second seed Djokovic stormed his way to a 4-0 lead and eventually sealed the set on Nadal's serve after the Spaniard clawed back both service breaks.

The pair traded early breaks in the second set. Finally, Djokovic struck on his second match point with the Spaniard serving at 4-5 to conquer his great adversary on clay. It was Djokovic's first Madrid Open crown and sixth title of the year.

Rome final: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-4, 6-4

A week later at the Italian Open in Rome, the pair locked horns for the fourth time that season. Djokovic broke Nadal to claim the opening set, following service breaks in the previous two games.

The Serb then sealed victory by breaking Nadal at the same scoreline in the second set -- 5-4 -- when the two-time defending champion served to stay in the match.

Djokovic's second Rome triumph extended his staggering winning streak to 39 matches, and improved his 2011 record to 37-0.

French Open semifinals: Federer d. Djokovic 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5)

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Djokovic and Federer met for the fourth time in 2011 in the last four of the French Open, where they were seeded second and third. The Swiss took the opening set on a tiebreak after saving two set points.

Federer's ascent continued as he bulit a 4-1 second set advantage, before closing it out to take a 2-0 lead in sets. Djokovic responded by raising his level and taking the third set after an early break.

The Serb then failed to serve out the fourth set at 5-4, before Federer won another tight tiebreak to edge a pulsating affair. This was Djokovic's first loss in 2011 and meant his remarkable winning streak ended at 43 matches.

Wimbledon final: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3

The Championships - Wimbledon 2011: Day Thirteen Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic after their 2011 US Open final
The Championships - Wimbledon 2011: Day Thirteen Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic after their 2011 US Open final

After Nadal defeated Federer in the Roland Garros final, he faced Djokovic in the championship match at Wimbledon. The Serb's win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinal ensured that Djokovic would displace Nadal as the World No. 1 for the first time in his career.

In the first set of the final, Djokovic converted the only break point -- a set point on Nadal's serve at 5-4. The Serb then produced a brilliant passage of play to take the second set for the loss of a single game.

Defending champion Nadal struck back by winning the third set by the same scoreline to prolong the contest. In the fourth set, Djokovic earned the crucial break to lead 5-3, before serving out to win his maiden Wimbledon crown.

US Open semifinals: Djokovic d. Federer 6-7(9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

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Djokovic followed his Wimbledon triumph by winning the Canada Masters and finishing as a runner-up at the Cincinnati Masters. At the US Open, the newly minted World No. 1 clashed with Federer in the semifinals for the third time at a Major in 2011.

No. 3 seed Federer converted his fifth set point to win an entralling opening set in a tiebreaker after neither player faced a break point. There were three breaks in the second set, with the Swiss earning the crucial one to go up 4-3 en route to taking a 2-0 lead in sets.

Djokovic reacted by breaking Federer's first service game of the third set, before closing it out to reduce the deficit. The Serb then broke twice as he tore through the fourth set to force a decider.

The top seed famously survived two match points with Federer serving at 5-3, 40-15 in the fifth set, and won four games in a row to complete an amazing comeback.

US Open final: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1

2011 US Open - Day 15
2011 US Open - Day 15

Djokovic met defending champion and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal in the final in New York in what was the pair's sixth match in 2011. After falling 2-0 behind, Djokovic won six consecutive games to take the opening set.

Following four breaks of serve, Djokovic crucially broke Nadal for 5-4 before serving out for a commanding two-set advantage. The Serb was then up a break three times in an epic third set and served for the match at 6-5. But Nadal showed tremendous fight to force a tiebreak and extend the grueling encounter.

Djokovic managed to storm through the fourth set to see off Nadal. In the closing stages of the match, the Spaniard had begun to look physically spent. Djokovic claimed his first US Open title and third Grand Slam of 2011. The triumph saw Djokovic conclude a stunning year of dominance against his two greatest rivals.


Also Check Out: Updated Tennis Schedule 2022


Edited by Sarbajaya Bhattacharya
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