Andy Murray today outshone King Canute, the Dane who believed he could send back the advancing waves. In the final of the Rakuten Japan Open, the Scot turned the tide of five successive defeats to Rafael Nadal in a stunning 3-6 6-2 6-0 triumph.
As Djokovic has discovered in recent months, winning can become a habit. And, whilst the Serb's incredible season has been built around Masters and slam victories, winning is no less positive a force when applied to ATP 250 and 500 events.
With the Scot's win in Thailand last week, Murray has now recorded 12 straight victories and brought his career title haul to 20. But it was a victory that looked long distant when the first set fell to Nadal in routine fashion after an early break and some shaky serving.
However, at the end-of-set changeover, Murray adjusted his ankle strapping, altered his mindset and somehow wheeled out his unstoppable twin – the one who never misses, never gets tired and never says never.
Hitting deep and hard, he dominated Nadal from the baseline, varying pace and width, stretching him first left, then right, then deep, then brutally short. It was a metronomic masterclass from the Scot, who, on this form, would surely have applied his Canute act to Nadal in the three slam semis he lost to the Spaniard this year. Read more (245 words)
Murray finally broke through in the fourth game of the set. Although the world number two, who hasn't won a hard-court title since this final last year, countered with three break points in the following game, the Scot's android twin summoned up three aces and broke again to steal the set and square the match.
The third set was a shocker for the Spaniard, who seemed resigned to Murray being the better player on the day. Where Nadal's fight usually comes with an almost religious fervour, today he offered up only a karmic acceptance of his fate, as the Scot's mesmeric groundshots strafed the white lines.
The bagel was most welcome for the Scot, due on court for the doubles final with brother Jamie, which he also wrapped up, 6-1 6-4.
"I played some great tennis, especially in the third set," said Murray afterwards. "There were a lot of close games towards the end of the first set and beginning of the second and I managed to get the momentum and didn't give him many chances after that.
"For sure, in the third set, it was some of the best tennis I've played against him. I was very consistent, didn't make too many mistakes and kept a cool head in the important moments."
The victory puts Murray within snatching distance of Roger Federer's third spot in the ATP rankings and will be a massive confidence booster after a poor run of form against the top three.