Did everyone get the memo? Nikolay Davydenko is The Man on the ATP tour.
He beat Roger Federer for the second time in a row, trouncing the Swiss 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of Doha’s Qatar Open on Friday.
The fleet-footed Kolya is building off the success he enjoyed at the end of 2009, when he beat Rafael Nadal in the final of the Shanghai Masters in October and took out Soderling, Nadal, Federer and del Potro on his way to winning the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
“Coming here as No 7 and winning the tournament, I surprised myself,” Davydenko said after hoisting the trophy in London.
I think the surprise is starting to wear off.
From all accounts, Davydenko dominated Federer in their latest encounter, jumping out to an early double break, out-serving Roger and playing his brand of crisp, smart tennis that tennis fans may finally be starting to appreciate. (Come on Prince, give Kolya a sponsorship, already!)
Davydenko swears it wasn’t all that easy:
“It was a tough match. A lot of balls everywhere. He tried to create pressure but I came up with winners when I wanted to,” Davydenko told reporters after the match. “I ran a lot and that made me tired, especially in the second set. But I fought for every point. That’s why I won. . .I don’t know for how much longer I can hold this level of tennis.”
How about through the Australian Open, Kolya?
Federer, for his part, was far from his best, making errors and flubbing first serves. He seemed to be bothered by an arm injury, which he told reporters is no big deal:
“I felt my arm from the cold but it is not an excuse. He served well, many 200s out there. He made it difficult as the match went on.”
(Quotes via Times of India)
Hmmm. Good thing it won’t get cold Down Under! But as a Fed Fan, I do hope Roger stays the hell out of Kooyong and gets well for the Australian Open. His warm up hasn’t been spectacular, but a loss to Soderling in an exo and Davydenko in a 250 level event shouldn’t dent his iron clad confidence. After all, he still has double digit advantages over them in their head-to-heads.
Kolya’s opponent in the final will be the resurgent Rafael Nadal, who has plowed through his side of the draw this week. Today he slammed World No. 29 Viktor Troicki, 6-1, 6-3. Here’s an amazing stat for Nadal watchers – at just 23-years-old, this will be Rafa’s 48th tour-level final.
And it should be a good one! Rafa and Kolya are tied 4-4 in their head-to-head, with the Russian winning the last two encounters. Who do you think will come out on top?