Djokovic Wins Title in Eastbourne + Wimbledon Draw

As we enter the second half of the season Djokovic just won his second title of the year. The last title he won was at the beginning of the first half of the season. After that, the struggled continued. Will things turn out differently this time around?

It has been just about exactly one year since Djokovic’s slump started. That is quite a long time for a player of his quality. So it wouldn’t surprise me if this time around he is back for real. That said, it is just an ATP 250 event and he failed after his runs in Doha and Rome.

I don’t want to get carried away and as a fan, I am just taking it once match at a time. The title is Eastbourne is already quite special for Djokovic because it is only his 4th grass court title. Today he beat Monfils 6-3, 6-4 in a very decent performance.

I couldn’t watch but it certainly seems to be his best match of the week. Playing Eastbourne turned out to be a good decision because it has given him the ideal preparation for Wimbledon. If you want to read more about the final you can check out my Facebook page by clicking in the right sidebar.

  • Highlights

  • Wimbledon Draw

Speaking of Wimbledon, the draw was made yesterday and it looks like a well-balanced draw. Djokovic has Del Potro in the third round again which seems strange and he also has Lopez in the fourth round. He could also play Thiem again in the quarterfinals but Thiem is not that great on grass so he could well play Gasquet or maybe even Berdych.

Then Djokovic and Federer are in the same half which makes for an interesting potential semi-final in the bottom half but like I said with Djokovic I am not looking past the first round while with Federer I am already assuming he will be in the semis.

Federer still has to be the favorite at this point but his road to the semis is not exactly a cakewalk either with the likes of Dimitrov and Raonic/A. Zverev in his quarter.

In the top half, Murray has Wawrinka in his quarter which is a tough one and he also has the likes of Fognini, Kyrgios, and Pouille as potential opponents. Not easy at all for someone with a very mediocre record at number one.

As for Nadal, he also has a tricky draw with Istomin/Young in round two, Kachanov in round three, Muller/Karlovic in round four, and Cilic in the quarters. So really none of the big four has it easy and there is a lot of tennis to be played before the semis.

I’d be surprised if they all four make it through to the semis but that sure would be interesting!

Who will win Wimbledon?

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Djokovic Sets the Record Straight Against Murray in Doha Final

If the Doha final was a taste of what’s to come in the 2017 tennis season then it is going to be one hell of a year. Djokovic got his revenge over Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in maybe their best match yet.

Djokovic appeared nervous at the beginning which was understandable after what happened in London but he soon found his rhythm from the ground and he went through a stretch where he won 16 consecutive points on serve which put pressure on Murray’s serve.

The pressure eventually got to Murray as Djokovic broke in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Djokovic continued to exert pressure on Murray in the second set with that incredible baseline consistency and broke serve again at 3-3 after a Murray double fault.

At 5-4 he was serving for the match which looked like it would be a masterclass win but Murray saved three match points in the game and broke back. I didn’t feel like Djokovic choked but he wasn’t quite convincing in putting Murray away either.

I’d rather give Murray the credit for how well he played in that game as he took break point with a tremendous inside out forehand winner. The momentum was now with him as he held serve and broke Djokovic again to win the second set.

Going into the third set, the commentator said that Djokovic could tire after the match with Verdasco but I wasn’t quite buying it. Becker also tweeted that the momentum was now with Murray and I wasn’t quite buying that either.

How many times have we seen Djokovic smash a racquet after losing a set and coming back to win the next set? Many times and that is exactly what he did after losing the second set. Djokovic was playing like his old self even though Murray found a way back and I was confident that he would bounce back.

  • Djokovic Goes In for the Kill

Serving at 2-3 in the third set it looked like Djokovic was doing the rope-a-dope again but it is always tough to tell with him. He may well have been feeling tired after the match with Verdasco.

Either way, despite visibly looking in trouble physically he found a way back in that game after being break point down to level at 3-3. The seventh game had a feel about it that Djokovic might break and that is exactly what he did.

He made the decision to take the initiative and be aggressive which paid off handsomely as he broke serve to love. At that point, he looked across the net at Murray and gave an intense stare.

He knew that was a big moment that even stubborn Murray was very unlikely to come back from. The quality of the tennis was just unreal and Murray was really stretching Djokovic to his very limits.

But as usual in their rivalry Djokovic just found something extra and I think it is safe to say now that he is back, although it will probably only be official if he wins the Australian Open.

That said, Djokovic still went 0-30 down on his serve when serving for the match for the second time and I thought here we go again. Fortunately, he spared me the anguish of losing serve again as he won the next four points and fittingly ended the match with a forehand winner.

It was pretty much the perfect ending to a perfect match. It lasted just short of three hours and as far as best of three set matches goes it is going to be very had to top this year.

  • How Significant Was This Result?

I think there was a fair amount of significance to the match as well with the upcoming Australian Open and after what happened in London last year. Murray went into the match as the favorite according to the bookies with odds of 10/7.

The bookies reflect most people’s expectations but as you well know if you read my blog regularly I said after the World Tour Finals that Djokovic was on his way back and that I can see that trend continuing this year.

I certainly was not ready to write him off like so many and today he proved a lot of people wrong again. The key to the match for me was always going to be who was going to be the most aggressive.

Djokovic was not quite decisive enough when he served for the match but he certainly was decisive at 3-3 in the third set. He started out slightly tentatively because of nerves and then towards the end of the second set he was not aggressive enough either.

But overall he played a brilliant match with a good balance between defense and offense. To me, the old Djokovic was already back in London bar the final against Murray where he didn’t show up.

Beating Murray today was the next logical step if he continued that trend and winning the Australian Open would be the next. To me, he is the favorite for the title now. This was the perfect preparation.

A brutal match against his biggest rival with him coming out on top. As a fan, I am delighted to see Djokovic playing this well again and to see my faith in him paying off. I missed that incredible level of tennis and intensity from my favorite player.

  • Highlights

Djokovic Will Have His Chance for Revenge Against Murray in Doha Final

So we got the final I’m sure most people have been hoping for after Djokovic saved five match points in his 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-3 win over Verdasco and Murray defeated Berdych 6-3, 6-4.

I couldn’t watch the Djokovic match due to my poor Internet quality but on the highlights, I saw Djokovic was 2-6 and 6-7 down in the tiebreak. He was also up 4-2 in the first set after which he slumped badly to lose the first set and go down 0-2 in the second set.

It’s not every day that you see Djokovic get broken three consecutive times. It must have been a bad day at the office but what matters is that he won with the help of his characteristic mental strength.

Losing to Verdasco would have been a pretty big setback at this point and I am still not sure how first of all he got into that situation and second of all found a way out. But it is not the first time we see Djokovic save match points.

His mental strength is up there with the best of all time. The match with Verdasco may boost his confidence as well before playing Murray, knowing how close he was to exiting the tournament.

Who knows what to expect from the second final between these two in as many events. I am just glad it is the best final possible. Djokovic would obviously love to turn the tables after what happened in London last year.

If he can win that would give him a nice boost before the Australian Open and he will probably be the favorite to win his seventh title. If Murray wins that would be two consecutive final wins over Djokovic and it could give him a mental edge if they meet in the Melbourne final again.

  • Things Heat Up in Brisbane

In Brisbane today there were some interesting results as Raonic defeated Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and continues to look like a serious threat to the likes of Djokovic and Murray.

Wawrinka also came from a set down to defeat Edmund 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4 and Dimitrov continued his good form from last year with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Thiem. Finally, Nishikori easily defeated Thompson 6-1, 6-1.

So we have Raonic vs Dimitrov and Wawrinka vs Nishikori in Brisbane which is a strong semis lineup for an ATP 250. Raonic is the defending champ after defeating Federer last year and he is probably the favorite to go all the way.

  • Highlights