|Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning a point against Rafael Nadal during their Madrid Open final tennis match, May 8, 2011. Novak Djokovic dethroned clay king Rafa Nadal on the Spaniard's home soil and maintained his perfect season when he beat the world number one 7-5 6-4 to win the Madrid Masters title on Sunday. (REUTERS/Juan Medina)
Maybe only rain, sleet or snow can stop Novak Djokovic from winning at this point.
Rafael Nadal and his favored clay certainly couldn't.
Djokovic overpowered the world No. 1 in the final of the $4.202 million Madrid Masters on Sunday, running his 2011 winning streak to 32 matches.
It's the longest streak to start an ATP season since John McEnroe went 42-0 in 1984, and the Serb kept it intact with a 7-5, 6-4 decision on the red clay at the Magic Box.
Djokovic's streak now includes six titles. He followed up his Australian Open crown with tournament wins at Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Belgrade. Djokovic beat Nadal in the final at Indian Wells and Miami, but Sunday's victory was slightly more improbable given Nadal's dominance on clay.
Nadal held a 213-16 clay record before this tournament, and had won titles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona earlier this year. Additionally, the Spaniard carried a 37-match winning streak on clay into Sunday's final, and had never lost to Djokovic in nine matches on the surface.
But Djokovic, the world No. 2, seemed to serve as the immovable object Sunday.
He raced out to a 4-0 lead, and though Nadal battled back, Djokovic pulled out the crucial first set. After building a 4-3 lead in the second set, Djokovic had a chance to break before Nadal held.
But Djokovic won his next service game, then took a 40-0 advantage to gain three match point chances. Nadal fought one off before Djokovic ended the match, which lasted just under two hours and 18 minutes.
Djokovic grabbed the victory with a strong return game. He won nearly half of the points on return and converted 5-of-12 break chances, and improved his lifetime record against Nadal to 10-16.
Djokovic captured his 24th career title and earned $874,000 for the win. Nadal, who was playing for his third Madrid title, fell to 45-16 in ATP finals.