So the big match yesterday was between Djokovic and Thiem which Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4. It was a pretty dramatic and entertaining match but the quality was not that high. Djokovic served 9 double faults while Thiem only won 1/15 breaks points.
The winner to unforced error ratio from both players was poor as well as you can see. It looked like Djokovic might well drop serve when serving for the match at 5-4 but, as usual, he won the big points.
But you figured even if he dropped serve there he would still get the job done in straight sets. Djokovic was clearly far from his best with all the double faults and poor winner to unforced error ratio which makes this another special victory.
You all know I’ve been hyping up Thiem for some time now and it is great to see him starting to fulfil his potential. He is great to watch. But if Djokovic can beat him while playing so far below his best level he clearly still has a long way to go before catching up.
That is if he ever will. Djokovic has taken tennis to another level which has never been seen before. He wins in straight sets over everyone playing well below his best and when he actually plays his best tennis he utterly destroys his opponent regardless of who it is.
Djokovic will now play against Berdych for the 25th time and he leads the head-to-head 22-2. That match is today and the other quarterfinal played today is Simon vs Goffin.
In the bottom half, it will be Raonic vs Kyrgios tomorrow and Nishikori vs Monfils. Monfils defeated Dimitrov who defeated Murray. It’s not been a good start for Fatherray, but I’m never sad seeing him depart a draw.
The bottom half is actually pretty interesting now. Kyrgios can upset Raonic but he would have to be at his best. As for Monfils he can do the same to Nishikori if he is at his best.
Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it. Miami is underway and as you probably know by now that Federer withdrew before his first match against Del Potro citing a stomach bug. It’s a shame because tennis needs Federer and I was looking forward to having him back.
At least, it was not his knee again and now he will be back in Monte Carlo where he would have come back to begin with. Tennis also needs Del Potro but he lost to lucky loser Zeballos who took Federer’s spot.
Del Potro can still barely hit a double-handed backhand and it looks doubtful whether he will ever be able to recapture former glory. He is slicing most of his backhands now and that’s just not gonna cut it.
As for Zeballos, he has made the best of his luck and made the fourth round today by defeating Verdasco 7-6 in the third which is nice to see.
It’s not really surprising that the players are struggling in Miami given the heat and humidity but I find it interesting that Dzumhur refused to throw in the towel while the so-called ‘Spartan Warrior’ gave up.
So all credit to Dzumhur for his attitude. He now plays Kukushkin against whom Bellucci withdrew against as well. I don’t know what the temperature has been but from what I’ve seen the players are sweating bullets so I guess the withdrawals are not all that surprising.
Wawrinka did not withdraw but he lost to Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-3. That leaves only Murray in the bottom half out of the top five and the dependable Djoker in the top half. Murray has a good record in Miami and also trains there I think so it’s no wonder.
Someone who could trouble him in the bottom half though is Raonic or even Kyrgios if he goes on a hot run. In the top half, Djokovic has been moving along without being troubled as usual. He now plays Thiem which is a match I am looking forward to.
They have met once before in Shanghai in 2014 just before Djokovic was about to hit his peak and Djokovic won that encounter 6-3, 6-4. Thiem was not at his current level back then either and he still made it a competitive match.
Djokovic and Thiem lead the ATP in match wins and, of course, Thiem won his first ATP 500 title in Acapulco recently. The slow Miami courts also suit his game. I am hoping Thiem plays his best tennis and that we see a good match.
With three of the top five seeds gone we can use some good matches. Djokovic vs Thiem can certainly provide that if Thiem plays his best tennis. It will be interesting to see if Djokovic raises his game as well.
Thiem is another youngster who may become a threat to him in the future and he may feel like raising his game to send Thiem a message. He’s been playing well within himself so far as expected but Thiem is a potential danger so we may see another Djokovic on Tuesday.
I can’t say that I’m awfully surprised Djokovic raised his level for the final to embarrass Raonic 6-2, 6-0. I thought he might do that which is why I asked on Twitter before the match whether Djokovic would raise his game.
He did it in the Doha final after what were a few performances which were below his best, the same way he was below his best in Indian Wells before the final. Djokovic plays his best tennis when it is most appropriate to do so.
It was appropriate for him to do so in the final against a player who has received a lot of hype recently. Some people actually thought Raonic had a legit shot to win so it was important for Djokovic to destroy these people’s hopes utterly.
This is something which I personally enjoy very much about Djokovic. It is like he gives the haters hope by saving his best tennis and then he devastates them with a masterful performance. This is how you dominate and become the greatest.
Djokovic’s level is beyond belief. For the ones who still don’t believe that he is playing the highest level of tennis ever seen, that message is becoming clearer every day. And the sooner they accept it the better for them.
I guess the haters got their hopes up after Djokovic pulled out of Dubai and lost sets against Kukushkin and Frantangelo. Maybe next time they will know better. Djokovic is here to stay and he only has one thing on his mind.
His level is also higher than in 2015, which is astonishing in itself. The fact that he beat Tsonga and Nadal in straight sets without playing his best tennis is another astonishing fact. Not to mention that he almost double bageled one of the biggest servers in tennis.
Djokovic’s returning was just scary. He made handling the massive serve of Raonic look like child’s play and broke him almost at will. Raonic took an MTO at the beginning of the second set again but probably to come to terms with the shock of Djokovic abusing his serve like it was a joke.
I feel privileged just to witness this level of tennis. Djokovic did it in the Doha final, he did it in Melbourne against Federer, and he did it again against Raonic. He is creating a gap between him and the rest of the field which pretty much allows him to win whatever he wants.
With this title Djokovic now holds the record for most Indian Wells titles at 5, surpassing Federer’s 4. He also ties Nadal for most Masters titles at 27 and it is just a question of time before he holds that record by himself.
Another crazy stat is that he opened an 8000+ point lead in the rankings over second-ranked Murray, something that has never been done before. Just utter dominance.
I have to say I feel sorry for the hardcore Fedfanatics who still can’t accept Djokovic as Federer’s successor. We are witnessing the best thing that has ever happened in tennis and they are missing it due to their stubborn bias.
Oh well. Their loss.
The Miami draw was just made and the potential quarterfinal matchups are as follows:
Djokovic v Berdych
Federer v Ferrer
Nadal v Wawrinka
Nishikori v Murray
Federer is back of course and I am not sure it was wise for him to come back in Miami. At first, he was going to come back during the clay court season which I thought made sense but now he is travelling to another continent for one event on hardcourt which doesn’t favor his knee and where he hasn’t been very successful historically.
A fourth Indian Wells/Miami double incoming?
And aside from those issues, he could very well play Del Potro in his first match if Del Potro defeats Pella. And we all know how dangerous Del Potro can be, even if he only came back recently.
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad Federer is back and I hope he makes semis but that will be a tall order given the surface, the fact that he won’t be match fit, and his draw.
Nadal has a tough draw with Raonic in his fourth round and Wawrinka in the quarters. Murray, on the other hand, has a pretty decent draw and I can see him making semis at least.
I am hoping for a Djokovic vs Federer semi in the top half and a Nadal/Wawrinka vs Bautista Agut/Tsonga semi in the bottom half.