Like I said in my last post, with every match that Djokovic wins now he is making history. By beating Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) today he became the first man in the open era to win 30 consecutive matches at slam level surpassing Laver’s record from 1969-70.
These are truly historic times in tennis! Djokovic is in uncharted territory but it doesn’t seem to be affecting him much. He is just moving along comfortably in another slam draw without dropping much in terms of sets along the way.
He doesn’t seem to be moving out of third gear in these early matches either. Against Mannarino, he was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set and dropped serve. It’s like he gets bored in these matches and sets a little challenge for himself to stay mentally sharp.
And it seems he always comes out on top in a tiebreak. Mannarino pushed Djokovic hard in the tiebreak but with Mannarino serving at 5-6 Djokovic made another unreal return to seal the deal.
Winning is such a habit with Djokovic that players are really struggling to win sets off him nevermind matches. That said, I was disappointed with Mannarino’s attitude who said this before the match when asked before the match whether he could beat Djokovic:
A pretty pathetic defeatist attitude if you ask me, but not unexpected given that he is French. You never say never before you step on the tennis court. I don’t care who you are playing against.
Now let us look at an incident in the first set at 3-3 and 30-0 with Djokovic serving to illustrate why. Mannarino hits an astonishing ‘lob wedge’ drop shot winner which leaves Djokovic with no chance.
It is an incredibly difficult shot to pull off which requires immense talent and timing. You can easily look like a complete fool if you try it. I have not even seen Federer attempt that shot.
It appears to leave Djokovic embarrassed because he smiles and then serves a double fault to level the score at 30-30. This is where Mannarino needs to take advantage but he then misses a routine groundstroke into the net.
This is where self-belief comes in and why a male French player has not won a grand slam title since Yannick Noah in 1983 despite the French consistently having as many players in the top 100 as any other country.
A champion doesn’t say such things as “There is no chance” or “There is no solution” no matter how true it is. If Mannarino believed a little more in himself he could have taken advantage of that situation at 3-3 and won the first set.
Or he could have won the tie-break in the third set. He still wouldn’t have won the match but winning a set against Djokovic is something quite special these days which would have boosted Mannarino’s confidence.
- Federer Ends Willis’ Run
Today it was raining most of the day again like it was yesterday which shows you how much it helps to have a closeable roof. Unlike at the French Open, there were two entertaining matches to watch on the center court.
The tournament is running behind schedule now but it seems from tomorrow onward the weather will improve. The second men’s match on center court today was Federer vs world #772 Marcus Willis who was on a dream run.
I was surprised by how overweight Willis was when I saw him. He doesn’t look like a tennis player at all. And apparently, he lost 5 stone(32kg) recently. I think I must have heard wrong because he is currently weighing 90kg which is already very heavy for a tennis player.
I don’t know how you move on a tennis court if you weigh 122kg but maybe that explains why his ranking is #772. Imagine what he can achieve if he loses 10-15kg more. He still looks very overweight and his movement is poor.
As the match progressed he became more competitive but I can’t say that I am crazy about his game. Just poor movement and he is always slicing when on the run. He has a pretty good serve and volleys but not much of a baseliner that is for sure.
If he wants to take his game to the next level he needs to lose more weight and become more mobile. But a dream run for him anyway and a nice story. After making $292 on tour so far this year he will receive £50 000 for his trouble at Wimbledon.
As for Federer, he did well not to get broken again on a couple occasions especially in the third set where Willis was gaining momentum and the crowd was strongly supporting him. Federer next plays the winner of Evans and Dolgopolov who he should beat easily.
I think Federer will make semis easily with his cakewalk draw. It is the ideal draw for him with his lack of matches recently but unless something crazy happens it will be another brutal loss for him to Djokovic in the semis.
There is still a long way to go though and maybe there is someone in Federer’s quarter who can actually make things difficult for him. The same can be said for Djokovic who could face Raonic in the quarters.
- Bottom Half
In the bottom half, some matches were finished yesterday, others were finished today, and yet others still have to be finished. Tomorrow is already day 4 of the Championships and there are still six first round matches that are not finished.
Among the ones that did finish Kyrgios defeated Stepanek in four sets and plays Brown next which should be interesting. Stan won too after needing four sets to defeat rising American hope Fritz.
He plays Del Potro next who defeated Robert in straight sets. Another interesting second round matchup. Then Tomic prevailed in five sets over Verdasco and he is someone who can potentially do damage but he is unpredictable.
Zverev won his first round in straight sets as well and is on course to meet Berdych in the third round. Finally, Thiem had an impressive 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 win over Mayer who he lost to in Halle.
He now plays Vesely who is a tricky left-hander but Thiem can easily make the fourth round and maybe go even further. Thiem is a dangerous dark horse who can do serious damage if he continues with his current form.