Novak Djokovic crushes Rafa Nadal to start new year with title
Novak Djokovic moved ahead for the first time in his long-running rivalry with Rafael Nadal when the world number one thrashed the Spaniard to win the Qatar Open in Doha on Saturday.
Serbian Djokovic, appearing in his 16th consecutive final, won 6-1 6-2 in little more than an hour and now has 24 career wins over Nadal, compared to 23 for the former world number one.
Djokovic dominated the 2015 season, winning three of the year's four grand slams, and looks in the groove in the build-up to this month's Australian Open.
Nadal has now lost nine of his last 10 matches against Djokovic in what is the most prolific rivalry in men's tennis in the professional era.
Saturday's one-sided affair saw Djokovic claim a 60th career ATP title, one of only 10 players to achieve such a feat.
The 28-year-old suffered one of his few blips last year in Doha when he was surprisingly beaten by Ivo Karlovic, failing to reach a tournament final for the only time in 2015.
But he made up for that with an immaculate week alongside the Arabian Gulf.
Novak Djokovic (L) of Serbia holds the trophy as he stands next to second place Rafael Nadal of Spain after winning his Qatar Open men's single tennis final match in Doha, Qatar, January 9, 2016.Reuters
Nadal was powerless to stop Djokovic as he watched 16 winners fly past him in the opening set.
World number five Nadal, competing in his 99th final, fared little better thereafter and has now lost 11 consecutive sets against Djokovic since the 2014 French Open final.
"I played pretty much perfect tennis today. From the very beginning I managed to get every shot the way I wanted," said Djokovic.
"The way I played today gives me great satisfaction."
Djokovic will aim to retain the Australian Open crown in Melbourne where he has won half of his 10 major titles.