Commentary

A look back at Novak Djokovic's streak

Updated: June 3, 2011, 5:34 PM ET
By Ravi Ubha | ESPN.com

PARIS -- When Novak Djokovic lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals on Friday, it ended his run of 43 consecutive victories. Maybe those four days off hurt the Serb, but Federer hasn't played many better matches on dirt.

We look back at Nole's undefeated spell, which was great while it lasted.

Best tournament: Australian Open

Riding the wave of success in international competitions -- the Davis Cup and Hopman Cup -- Djokovic cruised in Melbourne to finally win Slam No. 2. The three-year gap was much longer than expected.

Djokovic destroyed the field, losing only one set, not to Andy Murray or Federer but to Ivan Dodig in the second round.

In the semifinals, Djokovic downed Federer in three sets in an encounter that wasn't as close as the set scores (7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4) indicated.

There won't be a three-year wait for the next major.

Best win, Part I: Djokovic vs. Murray, Australian Open

Peaking when it counts is something that Federer and Rafael Nadal have mastered throughout the years. They have a combined 25 Grand Slam titles as evidence.

Djokovic produced a dominant performance against Murray in the Australian Open final, in which the Scot admittedly wasn't as sharp.

Once Djokovic broke Murray to claim the opening set, helped in part by prevailing in a punishing, 39-shot rally, he was in full flow. Djokovic won 72 percent of points behind his first serve, broke Murray seven times and manufactured 18 break chances. Murray's inviting second serve was punished.

"Novak played unbelievably well," Murray said.

Best win, Part II: Djokovic vs. Nadal, Madrid Masters

Several could argue that a Nadal who was returning from an injury layoff was a tad susceptible in Indian Wells and Miami. Regardless of whether that's right, Djokovic overcame his Spanish buddy in a final for the first time in Indian Wells and backed it up in Miami, rallying from a set down on both occasions.

It was a huge psychological boost.

Djokovic gained further confidence by defeating Nadal for the first time in 10 attempts on clay in the final of the Madrid Masters. And in straight sets. The faster conditions surely favored Djokovic, but that advantage was tempered by facing Rafa on his home turf.

The blow that it was to a "sad" and ailing Nadal, he almost didn't recover for his Rome opener. Nadal didn't recover in the Rome final, as a fatigued Djokovic toppled him again.

Closest call: Djokovic vs. Murray, Rome Masters

Djokovic trailed baseline-bashing Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci by a set and break in the semifinals in Madrid, which was dangerous. He recovered.

But he was in even more trouble against Murray, two points from defeat, in their three-hour classic in the Eternal City.

Murray will be lamenting the double fault he struck at 5-4, 30-15 in the third set, the point that allowed Djokovic to stay in it. From then on, you knew he'd progress, even if his left leg seemed to bother him and fatigue -- from the match itself and previous four months -- set in.

By the numbers: Djokovic conceded a mere 10 sets during the streak to Nadal (two), Federer, Murray, Dodig, Bellucci, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez and Juan Martin del Potro.

He went 13-0 facing top-10 opposition, and 24 times he won a set by a 6-0 or 6-1 margin.

John McEnroe's 42-match run to begin a season in 1984 still heads the leaderboard.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.