Novak Djokovic reached the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final for the second time on Saturday as he battled windy conditions and an in-form Tomas Berdych to prevail 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Djokovic broke serve 4 times and saved 8 of 10 break points he faced to claim victory in 2 hours and 42 minutes.
Novak had a 4-2 lead in the opening set, but Berdych managed to break him twice for 6-4.
The 24-year-old Belgrade native recovered quickly and took over the control of the match. He broke the Czech in the second game, consolidated the break and took the set 6-3.
Nole kept the momentum going into the deciding third set. He raced to a 4-0 lead with a double break, and comfortably served out the match 6-2 for passage to the final.
“Under the circumstances, I didn’t know if I could reach the final this week,” Djokovic said. “I’ll always give my best, and I’m always believing I can win every match I play.”
“That’s probably one of the most difficult conditions that I played in, in my career, really,” said Djokovic. “It was not just the strength of the wind that was blowing, it was the changing of the direction. You couldn’t really predict where the ball was going to come from. Conditions were really tough, the wind was blowing very hard, changing direction all the time,”(…) “(We were) making double faults. I think it helped me more because he tosses the ball quite high on his serve.” (…) “But in the end I managed to hold my nerves and play well in the third.”
Berdych felt he was impeded from playing his best tennis:
“Sometimes you can play when it’s windy. But actually this kind of wind was kind of like there was circles around,” he said. “You never know from where it’s going to come. For my game, it was just, you know, a bit of a killer because I like to play aggressive.”
In the final, Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal (seven-time defending champion). Novak has won their past seven meetings, all in finals, most recently triumphing at the Australian Open in January.
Novak said about his final match with Nadal:
“It will be the most difficult match for me in this tournament,”. “He’s the player to beat here. He’s the player to beat on clay courts. He’s the best ever in the history of the sport on this surface. It’s the ultimate challenge. I need to play well. I need to play well from the first to the last point. I cannot have ups and downs. I cannot afford that against Rafa. I’m aware of that. But why not believe that I can win?”