Djokovic sets sights on number one ranking
Their Miami final may have been a 25th career meeting but I can't avoid the feeling that the Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic rivalry is only just beginning.
Having faced each other in the first two Masters 1000 finals of the year, these are clearly the best two players in the world right now - their Miami final was quite stunning - and the more I watch Novak Djokovic, the more I think he can become number one.
What an astonishing final it was, over three hours and 21 minutes, and Djokovic's comeback victory, to record a 24th successive win this season and a fourth title, was clinched with a fizzing forehand winner.
To beat the world number one twice in successive tournaments, from a set down on both occasions, is a phenomenal achievement.
Djokovic's powers of recovery have been a key factor in his recent dominance
How many other people could recover from losing five games in a row to the world number one in a best-of-three set match?
When Nadal led 5-1 in the first set, few inside the packed Miami stadium court imagined they would still be watching play almost three hours later.
Even though he was outplayed in the first set, Djokovic demonstrated his desire at the sit-down. He yelled his annoyance so loudly, the poor ball boy holding his umbrella jumped with surprise.
The match slowly turned as the quality of the play rose and the intensity grew. At times, Nadal didn't look himself and he was bent double from the pain of battle twice in the deciding tie-break.
But Djokovic deserves every little piece of praise that will come his way.
Just when you thought his searing sequence was about to end (he came here exhausted after a flying trip to Colombia, sponsor commitments and charity events including a football match and organising a dinner) he finds new energy, new shotmaking.
One sign of his domination this year is the number of 6-0 sets he has won; just the one in the whole 2010 - in Dubai against Ljubicic - while in 2011 he's won five in two tournaments.
Going into the final, Djokovic had won all 40 of his service games, saving 13 break points. He led the tournament stats for return games won (53%), break points converted (65%) and points won returning first serve (47%).
When you see those sort of numbers, you know you're in for a tough time however well you've been serving. Remember, Nadal achieved 95% of first serves in the first set against Roger Federer in the semis.
His retrieving, particularly into the forehand corner, is staggering. We've known that for ages, but did you see the one he dug out in the opening game of the third set? Nadal slammed one of his cross-court backhands at 200 miles an hour which it landed right in the corner, but somehow Djokovic controlled the defence and won the point.
I like his use of the drop shot and lob combination - at the moment, there is nobody better at this one-two sucker punch.
Take the sixth game of the second set. After his drop shot, his backhand lob was superb, down the line to prevent Nadal back-pedalling for a regular overhead - he couldn't get there anyway.
And Novak even had time to scratch his nose in between the two points. If you have it on tape, watch it back!
At the end of 2010, a year of three major titles for Nadal, all the talk was about whether Roger Federer was about to strike back in the new season.
But it's Novak Djokovic who has fended off Federer, for now, and looks in the mood to nudge out Nadal. He's still some way off but, the way he's playing, the number one ranking should be firmly in his sights.