Spanish world No. 1 Rafael Nadal reaches for a forehand during an exhibition match Wednesday night in Santiago against second-ranked Novak Djokovic. Recently retired Nicolas Massu, who won men's singles and doubles gold for Chile at the 2004 Olympics, was honored for his playing career by the crowd at Movistar Arena and played an exhibition prior to the main event against Argentina's David Nalbandian, who also called it quits earlier this year. EFE
Santiago, Nov 21 (EFE).- Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the world's top two players, put on a masterful exhibition in the Chilean capital, on a night when 2004 Olympic men's singles and doubles gold medalist Nicolas Massu was honored for his playing career.
The Serbian came out on top 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 Wednesday evening but the result was secondary for the more than 10,000 people gathered at Santiago's Movistar Arena, who enjoyed the highest level of tennis in a match that only seemed like an exhibition when the players wowed the crowd with some "showtime" shots in the second set.
In the first set, both players won their respective service games and the match came down to a tiebreaker, which Djokovic won handily.
The players also were neck-and-neck in the second set until the ninth game, when the Serbian used some outstanding returns to break the Spanish world No. 1's serve and then wrapped up the match one game later.
Prior to the main attraction, the 34-year-old Massu, a former world No. 9 who came out of nowhere to win singles and doubles gold for Chile at the Athens Olympics, ended his career as a player on a high note with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Argentina's David Nalbandian, who also retired earlier this year.
Many of Massu's friends in the tennis world were on hand, as well as media celebrities and even President Sebastian Piñera, who left the arena at the end of the first set of the Nadal-Djokovic match.
Massu received a prolonged standing ovation from the Chilean crowd in recognition of his 17-year career. He had previously been honored for his effort, sacrifice and success as a player by being named captain of Chile's Davis Cup team.