Novak Djokovic has for the first time moved ahead in his long-running rivalry with Rafael Nadal, after thrashing the Spaniard to win the Qatar Open in Doha.
The Serb, appearing in his 16th consecutive final, won 6-1 6-2 on Saturday in little more than an hour and now has 24 career victories over Nadal, compared to 23 for the former world No.1.
World No.1 Djokovic dominated 2015, winning three of the year’s four grand slams, and already looks in the groove in the build-up to this month’s Australian Open.
He and Nadal boast the most prolific rivalry, in terms of meetings, in the professional era of men’s tennis but the latest only emphasised how dominant Djokovic has become.
The Serb has now won nine of his last 10 clashes with Nadal.
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.
Nadal was powerless to stop Djokovic as he watched 16 winners fly past him in the opening set.
World No.5 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.
9 April 2019
Novak Djokovic is sitting comfortably atop the ATP rankings - but is he at risk of losing ... More
18 April 2019
Back on his favourite surface, Rafael Nadal showed no lingering effects of a recent injury... More
29 April 2016
Victory was never out of the question when Bernard Tomic faced 17-time Grand Slam champion... More