Djokovic crushes Nadal to start year with title

DOHA: 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.

The Serb, appearing in his 16th consecutive final, won 6-1 6-2 in little more than an hour and now has 24 career victories over Nadal, compared to 23 for the former world number one.

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.