Djokovic’s Most Clutch Match Wins Over the Years | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic’s Most Clutch Match Wins Over the Years

Since people are still ascribing Djokovic’s US Open victory to Federer’s ‘poor play’ and not to Djokovic’s gigantic mental strength I thought I’d make a list so that people can appreciate a bit better how good the guy actually is in the mental department. The list won’t be in any particular order. I’ll just make a list of matches where I thought he was very good mentally and then I’ll add a poll at the end so you can decide what his most clutch performance was.

  • US Open 2015 Final: Djokovic def Federer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

So let me set the record straight once and for all about this match. There is a reason I made a follow-up post to this match called ‘Djokovic’s Remarkable 2015 US Open Final Victory‘, and that reason had nothing to do with blind worship and everything to do with deserving. It was a monumental and defining victory for Djokovic. There is no doubt in my mind about it. He had so much more to battle than a rampant Federer.

But let me just debunk this nonsense that Federer played poorly. You only play as well as your opponent allows you to play. It’s not a random coincidence when you destroy everyone in straight sets and then lose to someone. You would have thought Fedfans would realize that after it happened twice over the course of a couple of months. First at Wimbledon and then in New York. On both occasions, Federer was absolutely in the zone before playing Djokovic.

And yet on neither occasion he could force a deciding set against Djokovic. It is not because Federer played badly on both occasions all of a sudden when he faced Djokovic. It is because Djokovic is that good. But to people who are truly biased repeating something a million times or writing it in bold script won’t make the least difference. Their minds are already made up and they will never see the light.

But to the more rational among us let me reiterate. Djokovic not only played against a rampant Federer who was playing some of the best tennis of his career from the Wimbledon semi-finals onward but against a rabid pro-Federer crowd, a poor finals history in New York(1-4), and the controversial SABR tactic from Federer. I couldn’t care less how he got the victory. Any victory in that situation is simply the stuff of legend.

He battled immense odds and was victorious. Federer, on the other hand, did just the opposite. With the ideal opportunity to bag that elusive #18, he could not take advantage of his trump card the SABR, a clearly very nervous Djokovic, 19 break points, and the most rabid crowd he will ever have on his side. If that isn’t flat out choking, I don’t know what is. It is also the reason his main rival owns him and why he can never be the undisputed GOAT.

Djokovic, on the other hand, can become the undisputed GOAT exactly because he wins matches like these.

  • US Open 2010 Semi-Final: Djokovic def Federer 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5

This was another extremely clutch win in a big match for Djokovic and another one of those career-defining matches for Djokovic. This was even before Djokovic 2.0 and probably one of the results that propelled him into another version of himself. His serve was still a bit of a liability back then after Todd Martin had messed with it, but it was good enough to get the win. Djokovic saved two match points at 4-5 and 15-40 in the fifth set on his serve with amazing offensive tennis.

On both points, he was playing full-blown offensive tennis which ended in winners. That took some serious balls. Then in the next game Federer choked again as he dropped serve and Djokovic served out the match at 6-5. Same as the 2015 final, Federer could not take advantage of his opportunities. He had Djokovic on the verge but failed to bring the hammer down and Djokovic capitalized.

  • US Open 2011 Semi-Final: Djokovic def Federer 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

Incredibly, in the following year Djokovic and Federer met each other at the same stage of the US Open and it was almost a carbon copy of what happened the year before. Again Djokovic saved two match points to win the match but this time he was down 15-40 and 3-5 in the fifth set on Federer’s serve, not his own serve. This Djokovic was more confident than the one from the previous year after already picking up two slam titles in 2011.

On the first match point, he slapped a forehand return winner off a first serve from Federer. A kind of all or nothing shot since the match was pretty much over. He was so confident at that point too that it was not all that surprising he pulled it off. He also had the presence of mind to milk the crowd for it. Federer is so used to crowds worshiping him that he probably didn’t enjoy it much when the crowd went wild.

Federer had another match point, though. And again he choked. Djokovic basically just had to make the return and Federer came up with the unforced error. He also served a double fault on break point. What a collapse. Federer’s mental fragility had been exposed once more, Djokovic said thank you, and broke to 15 at 5-5 and served out the match. It was another very clutch performance from Djokovic although some have called it luck.

But if it takes one ‘lucky’ shot for Federer to collapse from 5-3 and 40-15 in the deciding set than it doesn’t say much about Federer, does it? I think it was just sheer confidence and a nothing-to-lose attitude which defeated Federer that day. You could also tell in the post-match interview just how crushed Federer was by this loss judging from his bitter comments. It was another huge win for Djokovic that lead to his first US Open title.

  • Wimbledon 2014 Final: Djokovic def Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4

Well, these two sure had some epic matches and this one was no exception. After losing the first set, Djokovic had stormed back in the match to win the next two sets and went up 5-2 in the fourth set. It seemed like the match was over, but Federer fought back bravely for once to force a deciding set. Djokovic was in danger of losing a golden opportunity to win his second Wimbledon title and his fourth consecutive slam final.

But in the fifth set he showed immense mental strength and calm to once again silence the pro-Federer crowd. He broke Federer at 5-4 in the fifth set for a very crucial Wimbledon title after losing in yet another slam final to Nadal at the French Open. Things had reached the point of desperation for Djokovic in slam finals and this was another defining win for him which resulted in a run of four slam titles out of six slams.

  • Australian Open 2012 Final: Djokovic def Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5

This was of course the longest slam final in history at 5 h 53 min in which Djokovic was a break down in the deciding set before coming back to win his third Australian Open title and third consecutive slam final against Nadal. It was a true epic where both men’s physical and mental reserves would be tested to the absolute limit. Nadal is in my opinion mentally the strongest player in history and physically he is right up there too.

He was in desperate trouble in the fourth set not unlike he was in the third set against Federer in the 2009 final but found a way to win it and then even broke Djokovic to go up 4-2 in the fifth set. It was at this point that Nadal made the biggest choke of his career which showed that even the most clutch player in history is not immune to someone getting inside their head. That is what six consecutive final losses to a player will do to you.

So although Nadal choked big time Djokovic had still caused that choke by beating Nadal in six consecutive big finals. And of course, he still had to show great physical and mental resilience to get the job done. Nadal never goes away and he never gives up. He is just unbelievably hard to put away when he is playing well. This was a third consecutive slam title for Djokovic as well and he only barely missed out on the Djokovic slam when he lost to Nadal in the 2012 French Open final under controversial circumstances.

  • Australian Open 2013 Rd 4: Djokovic def Wawrinka 6-1, 5-7, 4-6, 7-6, 12-10

In another absolute epic which lasted more than five hours Djokovic and Wawrinka matched each other stroke for stroke deep into the fifth set until Djokovic finally won one of the best match points of all time to win this classic. These two have produced some classic five-setters over the years including the 2013 US Open semi-final and the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinal, but this one takes the cake.

It was obviously a very important match for Djokovic to win or he would have gone 2013 without a slam title. He showed great physical and mental resilience again to withstand a brutal barrage of groundstrokes from the Stanimal and come out on top. That final point where he was stretched to the limits and then hitting the angled backhand crosscourt pass summed it up nicely.

  • In Closing

I think I’ll leave it there. Honorable mentions include the 2012 Australian Open semi against Murray, the 2012 US Open semi against Stan, and the 2015 French Open semi against Murray. Let me know if you can think of any others. I’m sure there are quite a few I’ve missed as I didn’t look at much before 2011 and outside of the big four rivalries. Below you can see the recent fifth-set records of all time greats where you have Nadal and Djokovic very high up.

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Not so much Federer. Djokovic is clearly one of the best in the mental department in history and although he has also suffered some devasting losses in his career where he choked badly, most notably in the 2013 French Open semi-final against Nadal, he always came back stronger from those losses.I never imagined he would attain his current level of dominance again after all those slam losses from 2012-14.

He came back stronger from adversity and is primed to make a serious assault on Federer’s GOAT claim in the next few years.

What was Djokovic’s most clutch match win?

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The is in your court.

Djokovic Sets New Masters Titles Record with 6th Miami Title | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Sets New Masters Titles Record with 6th Miami Title

Another day, another title for the Djoker. It seemingly never ends. Eventually, it will end but probably not before Djokovic has broken every record in tennis.

The latest record that crumbled under his onslaught was the Masters Series title record of 27 previously held by himself and Nadal. Miami was his 28th Masters title and that is a big one folks.

These Masters titles are hard to come by and Djokovic is winning them like they are nothing. He didn’t drop a set throughout the event and made it look easy in the final against Nishikori defeating him 6-3, 6-3.

To demonstrate how difficult it is to win a Masters, the generation of Nishikori, Raonic, and Dimitrov has not won a single Masters title between them. With this title, Djokovic also equalled Agassi’s record 6 Miami titles and became the all-time prize money leader with $98,199,548.

Wow! Soon he will become the first tennis player to win $100 000 000! As I suspected might be the case Djokovic raised his level again for the final. That has been his pattern of late. He had a slow start however because Nishikori broke serve in the opening game.

Nishikori looked ready for the upset and was hitting freely out there, but soon Djokovic started strangling him from the baseline with impeccable depth and consistency. He broke back straight away and broke serve again at 3-2 with a backhand pass up the line.

It was business as usual for the world #1. That said, he followed the break up with a poor service game as it was Nishikori who go the break back straight away this time with an inside-out backhand return winner that painted the line.

4-3. At this point, Djokovic was just steadily tightening the noose around Nishikori’s neck. It is quite a special sight to watch the Djokovic machine go to work and outplay his opponent with sheer quality.

He broke Nishikori again in the next game and this time, he would make no mistake as he served out the first set at 6-3. At the beginning of the second set, it was more of the same as Djokovic broke serve in opportunist fashion.

With the early break in the second set, you figured it was pretty much over. Djokovic was not going to be denied from that position and he got the second break at 5-3 for good measure.

  • Final Thoughts

One keeps repeating the same things about Djokovic and how amazing it is what he is doing but it is justified. It is not out of some misguided fanaticism. I say it as a former player who understands and loves the sport.

It is simply very special and entertaining what he is doing. I know there are plenty of tennis ‘fans’ who can’t appreciate it but as far as I’m concerned they were never tennis fans to begin with. They are the types that worshipped Federer and Nadal out of misguided fanaticism.

That is not what it means to be a tennis fan. That is something else called celebrity worship. Now, I realise that there is a place for liking specific players and personalities. I like specific players and personalities myself.

But if you get so stuck on a certain player or personality that you can’t appreciate other players and personalities then you are not in the realm of tennis fandom anymore. I myself was a huge Federer fan but I’m an even bigger Djokovic fan.

That is because I can appreciate different game styles, personalities, and what he brings to the court. He brings something very different to the court than Federer which is why many Fedfans can’t embrace him as Federer’s successor.

I see that as their problem, not Djokovic’s. Djokovic is better than Federer in many ways. Not just in terms of tennis but in terms of his personality as well. For one thing, he takes losses much better and he seems a lot more authentic to me.

He comes from a tough background and doesn’t have that kind of spoiled/entitlement problem Federer has. He appreciates everything and takes nothing for granted. His on-court personality seems more natural to me as well.

He is not trying to live up to the status quo or the standard set by Federer or Nadal. He is forging his own legacy in the sport and setting a new standard. He is also a perfectionist and not afraid to show emotion and frustration.

This flies in the faces of the Fedal fans who have a set way in their minds of how the world #1 should act, failing to realise that it would just make Djokovic a predictable and boring copy of what has gone before.

Or maybe boredom is exciting for these people. Who knows. All I can say is that I find Djokovic’s approach very exciting and entertaining. He is a real person with a real(and funny) personality. He is not a boring and predictable PR bot of the establishment.

The same can be said about his tennis. He is not spectacular in the sense that Federer or Nadal is. His genius is more subtle and requires a little sophistication as a tennis fan to appreciate. I am astounded by some of the comments I read on Twitter and tennis forums.

People are talking about how boring he is and that he is killing tennis. I just shake my head and realise how little these people understand about tennis. Djokovic is spectacular in a very different and fresh way from Fedal.

Do people always want to watch the same kind of tennis and personalities? Isn’t that boring as hell? I have come to the point where I think tennis would be better off without the hardcore Federer and Nadal fans.

They are not real tennis fans and I have to ask myself why they are still hanging around if tennis is so miserable and boring with Djokovic’s dominance. Surely they have better things to do? Or maybe they are hanging around in the hope that Djokovic would not surpass their heroes?

I wouldn’t hold out too much hope of that happening if I were them. I think it’s likely that Djokovic will surpass both Nadal and Federer. The big test will be the French Open this year. If Djokovic wins that there will be no stopping him.

But either way, he will still dominate for a long time so why would they make themselves miserable? They are probably still waiting around for that one last slam which will put their player out of reach of Djokovic.

Well, I wish them all the best, but again I don’t think that is very likely to happen. Djokovic is an extremely determined individual who wants to become the greatest of all time.

  • Final Final Thoughts

Well before Indian Wells began I think there were quite a few people who doubted whether Djokovic would do the Indian Wells/Miami double again but he did it for an incredible fourth time and is still miles ahead of the rest of the field.

And his biggest rivals seem like less of a threat than ever. Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Wawrinka are all struggling. They all have a lot of work to do during the clay court season if they want to have a shot at stopping Djokovic from winning the French Open.

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Monte Carlo begins in a week and I am already excited for the clay court season. Djokovic has indicated that he will play Madrid this year which I am happy to hear and he will get enough rest in between everything.

It is a bit surreal how he keeps winning everything in sight and the longer he keeps doing it the more exciting and entertaining it is so I hope it just keeps happening. It’s been another entertaining North-American stretch and I hope the real tennis fans enjoyed it as much as I have!

  • Highlights

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Djokovic Routines Nadal 6-3, 6-4 on Very Slow Indoor Court | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Routines Nadal 6-3, 6-4 on Very Slow Indoor Court

NOW I’m satisfied. Roger did his part but I wasn’t gonna rest until Nadal gets denied yet another Masters Cup title. It is clear that Nadal is a terrible indoor player for someone who people claim are in the GOAT debate. How can you be in the GOAT debate if you haven’t even won one Masters Cup? On Roger’s worst surface he has made 5 slam finals and won 1 slam. Behind Nadal he was by far the second best clay courter of his generation. Nadal made a mere two Masters Cup finals and got soundly beaten in both. He definitely isn’t the second best indoor player of his generation. Not even close. How can this guy possibly be in the GOAT debate with Federer? Not to mention Federer has won the same event a record 6 times. Nadal fans have this idea that the same can be said for Roger because he doesn’t have Olympic gold in singles.

Personally I never rated the Olympic gold as an important achievement in tennis, but even if it was then lets look at who has won it and who has won the Masters Cup. The Olympic singles gold was won by Massu and Rosset. If you look at past Masters Cup champions it has almost always been all time greats. The worst players to have won it has probably been Corretja, Nalbandian, and Davydenko. These were great players in their own right. Certainly much more accomplished than Massu and Rosset. Also the Olympics come around only every 4 years. I just don’t rate it and to me it doesn’t matter in the least that Roger didn’t win it. Same for Davis Cup. Those are more like nice extras to have but in the bigger picture they are irrelevant. Anyway enough of the whole GOAT debate thing. I’m sure Nadal will catch up with Roger’s slam count, but there is clearly still a hole in his resume if he can’t win at least one Masters Cup.

As far as the #1 ranking goes Nadal secured it when he beat Wawrinka in his second group match and gets his third year end #1. Pretty good effort but it’s ironic that right at the moment he took the #1 ranking from Djokovic, he not only defeated him easily in Beijing but he dominated the tour since then like a true #1 should. He won Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, and London and is now on a 22-match winning streak. That’s damn impressive. Nadal on the other hand hasn’t added a title post US Open. Since the US Open he has been routined twice by Djokovic, once by Del Potro, and once by Ferrer even. Even though he is #1 he certainly isn’t having the results of a #1, and he only just secured the year end #1. With all the points he has to defend post Australian Open next year you’d expect Djokovic to pass him again somewhere in the clay season.

As far as the final goes my stream was shaky again but Djokovic got the early break, took a 3-0 lead, and then almost broke again. Nadal did his usual thing where he comes back from the brink as he held serve and then broke Djokovic to square things up again.It’s around this time that my stream broke up but when I looked again I was pleased to see that Djokovic broke again and took the 1st set 6-3. Afterwards I saw the point with which Djokovic broke a second time and what a point it was. The beauty of it was that Djokovic made an unbelievable defensive lob, the kind Nadal usually makes. It’s just gorgeous when Nadal is given his own medicine so that he knows what it feels like when someone pushes the best you throw at them back relentlessly. Nadal must have thought he had the point won with the volley, but the ball came back over his head and he ended up losing the point.

That is the kind of play he uses against other players like Roger to destroy them mentally. So it’s satisfying to see it being done to him. In the 2nd set Djokovic continued his dominance. Despite even indoor courts having been slowed down to the point that you can’t call what they played in the final indoor tennis, Nadal was still dominated by the more aggressive player. The brand of tennis he plays indoors is laughable. Go watch the 1996 Masters Cup final between Sampras and Becker and you will see what indoor tennis is, or maybe I will post it below. Nadal doesn’t deserve to win the Masters Cup the way he plays. It’s just too much pushing, defending, and moonballing. He has no plan B either. If moonballing to the opponent’s backhand doesn’t work he runs out of ideas. Djokovic’s backhand is one of the best ever which immediately makes things hard for Nadal.

Of course Djokovic also has one of the best returns of serve which means Nadal can’t take as much advantage of the fact that he has the left-handed serve. Just like Nadal is the anti-Federer Djokovic is the anti-Nadal. It’s a shame he lost that French Open semi because he was in control and it probably cost him the US Open too. But at least he has now routined Nadal in their last two matches which I think is very important for the rivalry. Nadal was threatening to start dominating the rivalry again and the indoor season couldn’t have come at a better time. Now the Australian Open becomes very interesting indeed. Nadal seems to have figured out how to beat Djokovic on outdoor hard courts but of course the Australian Open is Djokovic’s best slam. Nadal already came very close to beating Djokovic there in 2012.

And after beating Djokovic at the French and US Open he is definitely in with a shot of beating Djokovic in Melbourne. That we don’t want. That would put Nadal equal with Sampras on 14 slams and another hard court slam in the bag. So I think what transpired in the Djokodal rivalry since the US Open has been kinda crucial. Nadal got the important wins in the rivalry this year but Djokovic has utterly dominated the indoor season and got that two convincing wins over Nadal. If it wasn’t for that I would have made Nadal the favorite to win in Melbourne, but now things are more like 50/50 again. I’m not sure Nadal will win the Australian Open next year. He will also slump again at some point if the past is anything to go by, while Roger will rise. This looks like it has already started happening in the indoor season.

I think Roger will continue to rise in 2014 while Nadal may continue to fall, since his form in the indoor season was already less impressive than in the rest of 2013. The Australian Open does suit Nadal’s game pretty well though, while it doesn’t suit Roger’s game so well these days. So maybe Nadal can still start the year off well in Australia, but I can definitely see him slump again at some point. Maybe another injury and break from the game after a tough loss. As for Roger I’m not gonna put any pressure on him to do really well in Melbourne. Last year it was his best slam but this time he won’t have a top 4 ranking and he is not in that kind of form anymore. Not yet anyway. You never know, but I’m not gonna set my expectations high. If he can make quarters I’d be satisfied. That would be a good result. Anything more would be a bonus.

I’m just being realistic. The courts are damn slow there these days and just doesn’t give Roger much assistance. One thing I would like to see is that he works his ass off in the off season as far as fitness goes. He is not playing any exhos this time(thank God) and in Australia fitness is huge. It’s hot and the slow courts make for grueling base line rallies. I don’t want to see him come through a tough 5-setter again and have nothing left for his next match. I really think fitness is gonna be key if he is going to continue playing at a high level and maybe win another slam. That is something he can control and which is especially important now that he is older. I’m not talking about working hard. I’m talking about working unbelievably hard. More than anything his fitness will determine how the rest of his career goes.

Well I think that’s about enough for now. I was satisfied when Roger made the semis, but now that Nadal has lost as well I am happy. It may sound cruel but consider how all the courts have been slowed down these days, even indoors. Personally I can’t stand the conspiracy theorists, but things have gone so far that even I have started to believe that something weird is going on. It’s like they honestly want Nadal to win everything and become the next GOAT. I guess they feel like that would cause the most interest in tennis and make them the most money. So they adjust all the courts and conditions in a way that suits him. First he gets a cakewalk draw in London and they have made the courts in London even slower and higher bouncing. It just happens so many times that you feel it can’t be just a coincidence anymore.

And of course all of this make it that much harder for Roger. It seems unfair to such a great servant of the game that they are making conditions in a way that is suiting him less and less when he already has age counting against him. There is no doubt that if they sped things up again it would add several years to Roger’s career at the top of the game. But the way it is going they will probably play the Masters Cup on indoor clay next year. Just to make sure Nadal gets his title and can be declared GOAT. At least there is Djokovic who can still act as the protector of Roger’s legacy as he builds his own legacy. Roger’s attitude towards Nadal and Djokovic has always struck me as strange. I think he should reverse that and be friends with Djokovic for protecting his legacy and disrespect Nadal to kick his ass in the future.

Why does he respect Nadal so much? Didn’t Nadal take a bathroom break when he was about to serve for the match in Indian Wells? Isn’t Nadal the one who uses gamesmanship all the time while Djokovic is just being his cocky self? Yes Djokovic can be very annoying but at least he is just being himself. He is not false like Nadal who acts humble but in the mean time every word and action betrays that act. As if the ATP hasn’t conformed to his every need he had the nerve to say that it’s unfair that the Masters Cup is played on hard court. We have heard several similar statements from the so-called humble Spaniard over the years. It is just baffling how self-centered and full of himself this guy is. And if there is one thing I can’t stand in this world it is being false. I despise nothing more. These attitudes of Roger towards Nadal and Djokovic is something I will never understand.

Highlights:

The point that destroyed Nadal: 

Real indoor tennis(don’t miss match point):

Djokovic Routines Federer to Chalk Up Arguably the Greatest Tennis Season Ever | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Routines Federer to Chalk Up Arguably the Greatest Tennis Season Ever

Congrats to Djokovic on an unbelievable tennis season; maybe the best in history. Djokovic had already surpassed Federer’s points total of 2006, had by far most wins over to ten opponents in a season, won two more Masters than Federer in 2006, etc.

But he still needed to win today to make it official. Otherwise, there would have never been a consensus among tennis fans. This was Federer defending his 2006 season. He had one last shot to spoil Djokovic’s season, but he failed.

After the US Open, this could be another big moment in the GOAT debate. Djokovic is now very much on track to chasing Federer down. He is passing every test. He is surpassing Federer in every step along the way.

Vote to see what I referred to in my previous post

The 6-3, 6-4 beatdown today was another big moment. And let’s not act like it was a surprise. Anyone who took the round robin loss to Federer seriously and honestly believed that Federer was the favorite needs to wake the f*ck up.

As I speculated, that loss turned out to work in Djokovic’s favor. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he lost on purpose, but I just don’t think he was very inspired. It was a kind of turning point for him that put him on notice that he needs to be aggressive on these indoor courts.

Today he put on another absolute masterclass. I can’t praise this player enough. It is simply astonishing and extremely inspiring what he is doing. It is a shame that there are so many people still hung up on Federer and Nadal even that they can’t appreciate the absolute mastery they are privileged to witness on a tennis court.

One for the history books

And it is not just his tennis itself. It is the incredible confidence and mental fortitude this guy displays on a tennis court. The higher the stakes the better he gets. The air was thick with tension once again in this match.

My heartbeat goes up just watching them warm up. Imagine what they must feel like. And yet the more stressful the situation gets the more inspired Djokovic becomes. The composure and self-control he displays is something to behold.

As I speculated before the match, every part of his game was just on another level since that round robin meeting. He was hitting the ball hard and deep, giving Federer way fewer opportunities to take control of the points.

  • The Match

Federer entered the court first again as the lower ranked player and right away he was on Djokovic’s chair again. Big mistake. You don’t do that to a player who keeps spanking your ass in slam finals. You take the humble pie and sit where you are supposed to sit.

But hey, it’s Federer. I guess he just can’t help himself. Then in the opening game he goes a break point down but Djokovic fails to convert. Djokovic then faces a break point on his own serve and saves it.

Judging from the opening two games I thought this was going to be a very close match. But then almost like clockwork Djokovic breaks in the next game which sets the tone for another win over Federer in a big final.

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Think Becker was happy with his birthday present?

Djokovic was obviously nervous at the start. You could tell by the fact that he was not yet unleashing the backhand down the line. But he soon opened his shoulders with a backhand down the line winner toward the end of the first set.

Ominous signs. At 5-3 he broke Federer for the second time to win the first set. Very ominous signs.

The second set was a closer affair where Federer did well to avoid getting broken and the crowd doing everything in their power to aid him. At 4-3 Djokovic started to look really threatening as he went up 40-0 on Federer’s serve.

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How champions finish

Federer then played some very good tennis to save his serve and level at 4-4 as the crowd erupted. They believed it was a turning point in the match. Even the commentator suggested it. They were excited.

But in no time Djokovic silenced them with a love hold of his own to take a 5-4 lead. The break was starting to look inevitable and Federer finally double-faulted at 30-40 in the next game as Djokovic forced him into submission.

Federer challenged the call in desperation, but the writing was on the wall. The ball was well long and Djokovic didn’t even celebrate much.

  • Final Thoughts

This was another telling victory against Federer which squares the head-to-head again at 22-22. It also puts the head-to-head for 2015 at 5-3 in Djokovic’s favor having won the important matches at Indian Wells, Rome, Wimbledon, the US Open, and World Tour Finals again.

But this particular loss had to really hurt for Federer. He was clearly very enthusiastic after his routine round robin win over Djokovic. This was the one big event where he still fancied his chances against Djokovic after all the slam final losses.

It was indoors and best of three which made him feel like the match was still on his racquet and that he wouldn’t get tired. At least that was the false impression he was under after an uninspiring performance from Djokovic in the round robin match.

But in a devastating display today Djokovic turned the tables on him and repaid the favor by crushing him in straight sets when it really mattered. The effect that must have on Federer’s morale can’t be very positive.

I mean Djokovic made it look easy. He now owns Federer. I’m not sure Federer will ever beat him again. He may develop a mental block like he did against Nadal.

Vote again!

Federer has to play his absolute best tennis just to make the match competitive. If he got broken at 3-4 and 0-40 in the second set it would have been another thrashing like the semis.

Djokovic is now not only the anti-Nadal but the anti-Fedal. He now has these two all-time greats thoroughly under control. They won’t get in his way in the next few years to rack up slams.

There is conceivably no one that will get in his way in the next few years to rack up slams. This was just a massive year for him in the GOAT debate because his dominance is absolute with no one on the horizon to seriously threaten his reign.

With the position he is currently in, seven slams don’t sound like much. He should be able to get it in the next three years. But the main one at this point is still the French Open. All efforts will now go toward finally putting that one to bed next year.

Winning the French would be another big turning point for him. It is a bit of a burden at this point and once he wins it he will be unleashed some more.

With his fifth World Tour Finals title today, Djokovic also set a record for most consecutive World Tour Finals titles at four.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Djokovic Retires from Rigged Wimbledon | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Retires from Rigged Wimbledon

So Djokovic had to retire in his match against Berdych after trailing 7-6(2), 2-0 due to his old arm injury after having to play two days in a row when Wimbledon could have let him play on Center Court on Monday.

First of all, I have lost interest in this tournament after the biased behavior of the organizers. This will be my final blog post about the 2017 Rigged Championships unless Federer loses which is highly unlikely. It is more likely that he will win Wimbledon without dropping a set.

I don’t feel like a tournament which favors certain players over others with their scheduling deserves another post from me unless it is to celebrate their failure to get what they want. They already failed to get one of their favorites past the quarterfinals when Murray lost to Querrey which was great but if Federer wins the tournament they would still have gotten their way.

Federer winning a record 8th Wimbledon title is what they want to see and now they have helped to eliminate his nemesis through ridiculous scheduling. Djokovic was in pain from the start and hardly moved out of second gear. When he lost the first set it was obvious he wasn’t going to complete the match.

It was the old arm injury that never properly healed after he completed the personal slam. Djokovic is just as responsible for his retirement as Wimbledon but it doesn’t excuse Wimbledon’s pathetic behavior in any way. It was obvious to anyone who knows something about tennis that he never properly recovered from the historical 2015-16 run.

He was burned out and never gave his body the rest that it was constantly calling for. If Djokovic had taken the entire last year off and used a protective ranking he would be in a better position than he is now. In the last year, he achieved very little on the court and only made his arm worse.

I already realized Djokovic was doomed at the beginning of the clay court season. In hindsight, Djokovic should have shut it down post US Open last year. But he also kept making mistakes like playing Acapulco instead of sticking to his original schedule. At the beginning of the clay court season, I was already very concerned because I knew he was taking more risks by playing.

I knew at any time during the clay court or grass court seasons the injury can come back. So I was never very optimistic about him playing the clay or grass court seasons but you are going to try to hope for the best after he decided to keep going. And sure enough, the arm came back to haunt him at the worst possible time.

Just as it looked like he was finding form again and before he would face Federer in the Wimbledon semis. But he probably wouldn’t have beaten Federer if he was 100% healthy anyway. So unknowingly Wimbledon may have done him a favor with the schedule. He wouldn’t have wanted to give Federer the satisfaction of beating him if he wasn’t at his best.

But again, that doesn’t excuse Wimbledon in any way. They made it clear who they want to help win the tournament. It’s like they realized Federer can’t beat Djokovic so they had to give him a little extra help to achieve the most profitable and sensational plot. It is actually quite sad that he may win his record 8th Wimbledon title under these conditions.

It reminds me of the changed court speed in Melbourne this year that helped shape the perfect script for Federer to win his 18th slam. This kind of bias from the capitalist model is just one of a million reasons that a GOAT can’t be determined. Djokovic is seen as the outsider so he doesn’t get the kind of assistance Federer gets.

I don’t care about slam titles for determining the GOAT anymore. Not as much as most people anyway. Deciding on GOAT is now an entirely personal thing for me. When people call Federer the GOAT that is just part of the mainstream sensationalism that makes ignorant tennis fans feel like they are supporting the best and that therefore their lives are somehow more meaningful.

Our whole society is based on a lie. And that lie is that some of us are superior to others. The same rigged system that exists in sport exist in politics and it is slowly but surely destroying us. It is this whole idea of superiority due to race, religion, country, gender, sexual orientation or whatever the case may be. The capitalist system is a rigged system based on inequality. And in the meantime, we are destroying the very planet we live on.

I don’t want this to be a political discussion but tennis is a part of this whole system. It’s not a fair system based on equality.

 

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

Djokovic Raises Level in Indian Wells Final for Record 5th Title | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Raises Level in Indian Wells Final for Record 5th Title

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.

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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.

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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.

  • Miami Draw

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.

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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.

Looking forward to another exciting tourney!

  • Highlights

🎾

Djokovic: “No. 1 is not my priority anymore. I’m no longer thinking about the number of titles.” | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic: “No. 1 is not my priority anymore. I’m no longer thinking about the number of titles.”

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Some interesting revelations from Djokovic today at his press conference in Belgrade where he is training after deciding not to go to Beijing. It is obvious that all the talk of records has taken an emotional toll on him and that he is not enjoying the sport as he used to.

Enjoyment is, after all, the most important thing so it is good to see he has his priorities straight. Djokovic doubled his slam titles from 6 to 12 in a question of two years so it is hardly surprising that there was so much talk of records.

It’s been probably the most dominant run in tennis history and he is obviously feeling the pressure. There has been a lot of talk about a decline of late which shows you how high he set the bar because he is still the holder of 9 out of the 14 biggest titles in tennis, including two grand slams and the World Tour Finals.

Since when is that decline? It is mostly the hopes of people who want to see him decline. Maybe Djokovic is just giving those people some false hope by acting like he is not as motivated as he was before?

I don’t think so. I genuinely believe that he is feeling pressure and that he wants to get back to enjoying tennis again. It is totally the right attitude to have. Breaking records and trying to fulfill expectations should definitely not come before having fun.

That is indeed a recipe for burnout and failure. So, in the end, I don’t see anything too surprising here and I think Djokovic is absolutely doing the right and smart thing. If you enjoy what you are doing the rest will come by itself.

It is all about priorities and Djokovic is spot on in my opinion. He has already reached huge goals like winning the French Open, completing the personal slam, and getting into the GOAT debate. It only makes sense that he should have less pressure now, not more.

Thoughts?

 

How do you feel about these new revelations?

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Djokovic Makes 10th Consecutive US Open Semi-Final | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Makes 10th Consecutive US Open Semi-Final

Djokovic made his 10th consecutive semi-final at the US Open last night when there was yet another retirement when Tsonga pulled out with a knee problem after trailing Djokovic 3-6, 2-6.

Terrific consistency from Djokovic who is now second on the list for most consecutive US Open semi-finals made behind Connors(12) and second on the list for total slam semi-finals(tied with Connors at 31).

His strike rate for winning titles after making semis have not been that great, however(2/9), and he has lost in four finals. So I hope he can improve on that this year. This was the third opponent of Djokovic who has either withdrawn or retired which of course has the whole tennis world talking.

The critics are acting like it’s some kind of conspiracy and they are right; it is. The universe is conspiring for Djokovic. By now he has built up such an invincible aura that you may as well say he is conspiring on his own behalf.

Obviously, if you win as much as Djokovic it is going to start having an effect on the subconscious of other players. It seems highly unlikely that three consecutive opponents have coincidentally gotten injured before or when playing Djokovic.

Djokovic is a force of nature with an aura that instills immense fear in his opponents, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. But most people don’t have the knowledge to understand these things. They display their ignorance by calling it pure luck.

Either way, they did play two sets so we can now draw some more conclusions about Djokovic’s form. And this time, I stayed up for the match so it’s easier for me to draw accurate conclusions.

The first set was not so great because both players served several double faults and Djokovic made some unforced errors off the ground. He got the break early on but then got broken back, only to break again in the eighth game and then he consolidated to win the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic found his rhythm on the serve and off the ground and broke twice to breeze through the second set. I thought he looked very good. It was great to see Djokovic back to his best after his recent problems.

As a fan, it was a refreshing and comforting feeling to see Djokovic play like that. I missed that unbelievable movement and solidity off the ground. But I thought the break was needed too. I don’t see any problem of Djokovic being undercooked for the final either.

With the wrist problems he had and all the tennis he played in the last year and a half, this is something very helpful, not the opposite. The whole draw has conspired in Djokovic’s favor because Djokovic’s main threat Murray now has a tough road ahead while Djokovic himself plays Monfils in the semis instead of Nadal or Raonic.

Not that Djokovic was in danger of losing to either of those but they are better than Monfils who has never been to a slam final. Murray, on the other hand, has to go through Nishikori, Del Potro/Stan, and likely Djokovic to win the title.

  • Murray Delivers Masterclass Against Dimitrov

Murray played Dimitrov in the fourth round and delivered a much-improved performance from the Lorenzi match as he destroyed Dimitrov 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Not that I ever rated Dimitrov but I did watch and Murray did play very well.

But like I said, he now has a very tricky road ahead. Everything has conspired in Djokovic’s favor and Murray is now swimming against the tide. All credit to him if he pulls off another slam title but it will take some doing.

He plays Nishikori in the first men’s match today and although I don’t expect him to have much difficulty in winning I am just looking forward to seeing what kind of resistance Nishikori can put up.

The problem for Nishikori is his serve which Murray can take apart so he needs to first of all serve at a high first serve percentage. Nishikori was quite good in his straight-set defeat of Karlovic and maybe he can make the match competitive.

It also depends on Murray’s form of course. If he plays like he did against Dimitrov Nishikori has very little chance but it will be tough for Murray to repeat that. Either way, Murray put all doubts about him to rest after the Lorenzi match and proved again that he is the real deal with Lendl in his corner.

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He is certainly playing well enough to win the title but like I said he has a very tough draw now especially if he faces Del Potro in the semis. I don’t think Stan is a much a threat so I hope Del Potro wins the second men’s quarterfinal today.

As much as I like Stan, I want it more for Del Potro anyway because of all his bad fortune with injuries. And I want to see a rematch of that Olympics final where Del Potro had a brutal semi-final the day before with Nadal.

Del Potro is such a monster that he can actually beat Murray. We all know what Stan can do when he is in Stanimal mode but he is too inconsistent and the faster Decoturf surface of the US Open is not as favorable to his game.

For Del Potro, it suits his game to a tee and although it is unfortunate that Thiem had to withdraw due to injury against him at 3-6, 2-3 down I think Del Potro was on his way to giving Thiem quite a spanking.

He has looked unbelievably dangerous so far and is truly capable of defeating anyone.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

I haven’t said anything about the Monfils vs Pouille match which was a disappointing 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win for Monfils. Not disappointing because Monfils won but because Pouille was flat after three consecutive five-setters.

He tried but the mojo was gone. Credit to Monfils anyway who has had a good run of late. I think Pouille will be much better than Monfils and can potentially win slams but he had nothing left after defeating Nadal in that epic.

That match proved enough for me. Pouille is the real deal from what I can tell and I like him and his game. I’m excited about him as a player. Contrary to other French players he has a champions mentality and he has all the shots too.

So like I said, Murray and Nishikori is first up today while Del Potro and Stan will play the last match again which means I will probably have to miss it again. They schedule the men last because if the women played last too many people would leave for the last match.

I find this unfortunate but it is what it is. What are you gonna do?

Who will win Murray vs Nishikori?

Who will win Del Potro vs Wawrinka?

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Djokovic def Federer 7-6(6), 7-5 In Masters Cup Final, But… | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic def Federer 7-6(6), 7-5 In Masters Cup Final, But…

Hey, guys. I’m sorry Roger couldn’t get it done today, but don’t despair. It has been a fairytale year and although the ending wasn’t peRFect, it was very positive. I was at work today while the match was being played, but Jonathan kept me updated once more and I lived through some of the emotions of it. At first this loss stung, but it wasn’t long before I got perspective over it and felt better. As a Fedfan, I have high expectations and hoped Roger could end the year in the PeRFect fashion. That is the problem with expectations. If they don’t materialize disappointment sets in. I guess I never learn.

But like I said the disappointment was short lived. The biggest reason I felt better was the way in which Roger lost. This is the key. It was an extremely positive loss because the match was on his racquet. He broke Djokovic to love in his opening service game and consolidated for a 3-0 lead. Amazing. Yet he could not hold onto the break as Djokovic broke back at 3-1. At 4-4 Djokovic then took the initiative as he broke Roger. Djokovic was going to serve for the first set. He could not consolidate however as Roger break him after a lengthy baseline rally. The first set then came down to a tie-break where Djokovic got the first mini-break to take a 2-0 lead.

Roger broke right back though with a GOAT backhand down the line winner. It was one of those shots where time stood still for a second and you got lost in the pure beauty of it. Moving ahead now to 5-6 in the breaker and Roger serving to stay in it. Djokovic has Roger stretched to his limits at the net after a passing shot, but Roger comes up with a genius drop volley which Djokovic runs down. Roger then makes the pass. 6-6. Unfortunately, Roger then sprays a backhand wide which gives Djokovic set point, and Djokovic then wins the first set with an inside-out forehand winner. One feels it was a shame that he lost the set after being up 3-0, but the match wasn’t over.

Roger just needed to win the second set and things would be back on level terms. He goes on to break Djokovic in the opening game of the second set after Djokovic steers a backhand down the line wide. Roger then consolidates and once again he has the advantage in the set. He holds serve until 5-4 where he would serve for the set. He looks confident too, having hit a scary drop shot in the previous game. He takes a 30-0 lead in the game and even produces 2 sets points. Yet he fails to convert and Djokovic breaks back. With that he loses the momentum and Djokovic breaks again at 6-5 to win the match.

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So what does all of this mean? Nothing much. Just that Roger lacked the confidence to win the important points. I said yesterday that he needs to win the important points. He failed to do that and that is why he lost. Simple as that. It is not because he wasn’t good enough or anything like that. He was after all in winning positions in both sets. The match was definitely on his racquet, but he let it slip. Again I attribute this to a lack of confidence. Why? Because he has struggled with confidence since the US Open. He clawed his way back in the indoor season but stumbled over the final hurdle.

It was asking too much to come off a loss in the Basel final to beat Murray and Djokovic consecutively. So all in all I am delighted with how things worked out. Sure I would have loved it if he won today, but he showed me he is right up there with Djokovic. There really is nothing between them. And what more can you ask from someone who is 31 years old now? In fact, it’s not even necessary to mention the age thing anymore. Roger is a timeless player. It’s a mistake to measure him by years lived because he is the exception to every rule. Like I said, he is right up there with the best player in the world.

If Roger had more time to regain his confidence after the US Open there is no doubt in my mind he would have won this match. Simply because the match was on his racquet. So there is nothing whatsoever wrong with his tennis. It is right there. That is why I say this was a very positive loss. He is right back at that level that saw him win Wimbledon, regain the #1 ranking, and win 5 other titles. So I really can’t ask for more. I was a bit worried about his form after the US Open and the fact that he lost the #1 ranking, but I now feel very optimistic about his 2013 season. I was worried that he was starting to lose that Roger 3.0 status, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Roger will of course not play the exho in Abu Dhabi over the New Year, and there are rumors that he won’t return to Doha either. I think that would be a wise decision. After his showing this week, he doesn’t need any tour matches before Melbourne. He needs a rest first of all and then some time on the practice court. That would be the peRFect preparation for the first slam of the year. The early rounds will be enough to get him match fit again. That is the upside of what he achieved this week. His confidence is high enough now that he doesn’t need to play a warm up event to Melbourne. He can just show up there and start as one of the heavy favorites for the title.

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Let me just say something about his win against Murray which I left out in my last post as well. That was the crucial win really. He couldn’t afford a third straight loss to Murray after the Olympics and Shanghai. The head-to-head would have slipped to 7-10 and instead it is now 8-9. Roger ends the year with a 3-2 winning record over Murray then and a 2-3 losing record against Djokovic. It is clear after today that Djokovic was the best player of 2012, that Roger was the second best, and that Murray was the third best. But these three are now very close together at the top. Nadal has a lot of work to do if he ever wants to get in contact with them again.

So 2013 will be fought out between these three players. Then it will also be interesting to see what Nadal and Del Potro does. There are five very good players who promise to make 2013 another epic year in tennis. How fast do things change? Just a few days ago it looked like Fedal was over and done with and that 2013 will belong to Djokovic and Murray. Yet with his last minute heroics Roger 3.0 played himself right back into the fray and will be one hell of a force to be reckoned with once again in 2013. There is just no stopping this GOAT and neither is there stopping me as a blogger. Here we come 2013!

Djokovic Cruises Into Monte Carlo Semis, Nadal Battles Past Ferrer | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Cruises Into Monte Carlo Semis, Nadal Battles Past Ferrer

Today’s tennis began with Raonic withdrawing in his match against Berdych after trailing 2-5 in the opening set. Next up was Roger’s conquerer Monfils against Dimitrov. It was yet another poor showing from Dimitrov after getting through the early rounds, getting schooled 6-1, 6-3 by the Frenchman. Monfils is clearly playing well but losing 1 and 3? Pathetic really.

  • Djokovic vs Cilic

Following that disappointing match was the top seed and world number one Djokovic against US Open champion Cilic. The Djoker was looking as sharp and fresh as ever as he served another bagel in the opening set. This looks more like the 2011 version of Djokovic who you may remember served bakery products left and right in a devastating opening run to the season where he went on a 41-match winning streak. In the second set Cilic put up a bit more resistance as Djokovic wrapped it up 6-3.

Lol @ Troll Tennis

It was another impressive display from the world number one who still looks unstoppable. Bageling Cilic would also be the kind of message he wanted to send Nadal before a possible semi-final encounter.

  • Nadal vs Ferrer

This replay of last year’s quarter final was always going to be the match of the day. In the first set it looked like the Nadal of old who had Ferrer on a string as he won it 6-4. In the second set he raced to a 4-1 lead with two breaks and it looked like it would be another short match. Fortunately for the spectators no one fights harder than Ferrer. He clawed his way back to 4-5 and with Nadal serving for the match he broke serve again. He then broke Nadal for a third time in the set as he turned the second set around 7-5.

Yep

There is simply no surrender in Ferrer’s vocabulary and for that you have to respect the guy. I get mad at him when he doesn’t have the weapons to defeat Nadal but that is just silly because he gives everything and you can’t expect more than that. Nadal has more powerful ground strokes and the ability to make difficult shots at important junctures, which is what sets him apart from Ferrer. The third set was anything but a schooling because Ferrer kept fighting hard, but Nadal took it 6-2.

  • The Djokodal semi-final

I don’t care about the bottom half. I don’t care about either player and I don’t care who wins. As far as I’m concerned the real final is being played tomorrow between the Djoker and Nadal. The head-to-head is currently 23-19 in Nadal’s favor but Djokovic is on another dominating run in the rivalry as he won 4 of the last 5 five meetings(and 12 of the last 19). So hopefully he can just continue the domination and prevent Nadal from winning a ninth Monte Carlo Masters. Already 19 of his record 27 Masters titles are on clay and that has to stop.

Not to mention that there should be at least one grass Masters to replace a clay Masters. Anyway it should be another interesting encounter. Djokovic must stop Nadal or he almost instantly becomes the favorite to win the French Open again. In fact he probably is already after the Ferrer win. He looked ominous and only Ferrer’s stern refusal to surrender prevented a straight set drubbing. Nadal may still be slightly vulnerable though and if that is the case Djokovic must take full advantage.

Should be a cracker!

The fact that Nadal did not put Ferrer away after being two breaks up in the second set may suggest vulnerability, but like I said Ferrer also deserves a lot of credit for the way he refused to surrender. Djokovic is of course an altogether different animal though. Defeating Nadal on clay is nothing new to him and he is showing no signs of fatigue whatsoever. He possesses the weapons, defense, and mental fortitude that Ferrer does not have. But the main thing is that he does not fear Nadal at all.

When he steps on the court with the Spaniard he backs his own chances. His backhand is so damn solid that Nadal cannot exploit it with his vicious forehand cyclones of death. He also has the serve and forehand to keep Nadal on the back foot on his own serve. And not to be forgotten is his exceptional returns of serve which can put Nadal on the defensive on Nadal’s serve. Djokovic possesses all the tools necessary to disarm and destroy the monster. He is the anti-Nadal like Nadal is the anti-Federer.

Ajde!

 

Highlights:

The  is in your court