Djokovic Wins 30th Masters Title in Toronto

Congrats to Djokovic on winning a record 30th Masters title in Toronto today after defeating Nishikori 6-3, 7-5 in the final. He now leads Nadal by two titles who is in second place for all-time Masters titles.

I didn’t blog this week because I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about Toronto with the absence of three of the big four. But as usual, I followed the tennis and watched all Djokovic’s matches as well as some others.

Djokovic didn’t drop a set throughout the week so you have to say another amazing week for him. The closest he came to dropping a set was against Berdych in the quarterfinals when he trailed 3-6 in the first set tiebreak.

Berdych served a double-fault on the first point and on the second Djokovic made one of those amazing returns which forced the error from Berdych. Djokovic won five points in a row to win the tiebreak 8-6.

Berdych had already served a double fault at the start of the tiebreak and it’s very difficult to win a tiebreak against Djokovic serving two double faults. That has to go down as another choke from Berdych but Djokovic was lethal on the second set point.

Before the semi-finals, Djokovic was in his usual survival mode where he was not at his best but did enough to win in straight sets. Then in the semi-finals against Monfils, he was serving poorly to go down a break at 1-2 in the first set but quickly recovered to win the first set 6-3 and then the second set 6-2.

As usual, he changed gears for the semis and today he changed gears again for the final in a much improved serving performance. He served at 76% first serves as opposed to 65% against Monfils and 4 aces to 0 double faults as opposed to 1 ace and 5 double faults against Monfils.

So the serve was the main difference but, of course, Nishikori is better than Monfils hence the closer scoreline. Djokovic was 6-3 and a break up in the second at 2-1 at which point I was starting to lose interest in the match.

But fortunately, Nishikori raised his level and broke back soon to level at 3-3. That at least made things a bit more interesting but I still thought Djokovic would win in straight sets, which he did.

So Djokovic is right back to domination after his loss at Wimbledon and he goes to the Rio Olympics as the favorite. At the moment I’m just a bit bored with it all like Fedfans have probably been for months if not years.

CougWNDW8AQqjQ4

Federer’s withdrawal from the season is a shame because his rivalry with Djokovic was the best one in tennis. At least Murray will be back at the Olympics but his rivalry with Djokovic isn’t nearly as interesting as the Federer and Djokovic one.

To get back to today’s match, it should now be clear that Djokovic was not himself in Rome this year when he defeated Nishikori 7-6 in the third but it was nonetheless another good week for Nishikori.

Yesterday he defeated Stan 7-6(6), 6-1 after Stan checked out after losing the first set. That is a bad attitude from Stan and why he is not a big four member. He doesn’t have the fighting qualities of the big four.

With this title Djokovic stretches his lead in the race to 1815 points over Murray again but apparently it is even more than that due to Davis Cup. Either way, Djokovic is right back to a dominating lead in the rankings after Murray closed in on him at Wimbledon.

With this title, Djokovic also won his 50th hard court title surpassing Connors who had 49 hard court titles and is now second behind Federer who has 60 hard court titles. It looks like Djokovic will eventually win more hard court titles and hard court slams than Federer to become the all-time greatest on hard court.

He needs at least one more slam on hard court and 10 more overall so there is still some distance to go, though. The Olympics will be the next hard court event and it is a pretty big one which Federer could never win.

So winning that will not hurt Djokovic’s GOATness on hardcourt and neither will another World Tour Finals title to tie Federer at 6. It would be fitting if Djokovic ends up being the hard court GOAT, Federer the grass court GOAT, and Nadal the clay court GOAT.

This coming Thursday, the Olympics begin and I see Cincinnati starts right after that which will make it challenging for Djokovic to finally complete the career Masters. I don’t know when he will play his first match in Rio but at least he gets a few days off now.

He had plenty of rest recently and can probably win Rio and Cincy after winning Toronto. But yeah it will take some doing. Some good tennis ahead now!

  • Highlights

Toronto Masters Draw Analysis

Cn_-ZBNWgAApN-C

Greetings. I made a post recently but didn’t post it(yet). You probably know by now that Murray, Federer, and Nadal all withdrew from Toronto. Nadal said his wrist is not recovered yet while Murray and Federer withdrew because of the Olympics I think.

Murray and Federer both had deep runs in Wimbledon and probably felt with the Olympics in Rio that they had to skip Toronto. That is not so good for Murray who closed within 1090 points of Djokovic in the race.

Djokovic now has a chance to pick up a pretty easy 1000 points in Toronto and get back to winning ways after the early exit at Wimbledon. I’m surprised Murray is that close to Djokovic in the race given that Djokovic won the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, made the finals of Rome, and won the French Open.

But of course losing in the third round of Wimbledon while Murray won the title wouldn’t have helped. The upside of that is that Djokovic got some more much-needed rest and is more ready for the four big events which lie ahead than the rest of the big four.

Rio is out of the way but at least there will be a week between Toronto and Rio and a week between Cincinnati and the US Open as usual. It’s a tough schedule and it will take some doing for Djokovic to win all four events but if anyone can it is him.

CnOkleXWEAE6iH6

You would think he has a great shot at winning Toronto and he desperately wants to win all the other three events for different reasons. Rio because he is patriotic and hasn’t won the gold medal yet, Cincinnati to complete the career Masters, and the US Open to complete another three-slam year.

The US Open is probably the most important of the three but anyone of them would be a big deal.

As for the draw in Toronto, Djokovic still has a tough one with Wimbledon semi-finalist Berdych in his quarter and finalist Raonic in his half. The top seeds in the bottom half are Cilic(who parted ways with coach Ivanisevic after that enormous choke at Wimbledon), Nishikori, Thiem, and Stan.

I’m looking forward to some tennis again and there is now quite an exciting time ahead with the Olympics being part of the calendar this year. Should be an interesting time for tennis heads!

Who will win Toronto?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

🇨🇦

Murray Finally Defeats Djokovic to Win Montreal Title

Well, it’s been a long time coming. But fortunately for Djokovic it didn’t happen at a slam. Murray already came close at the French Open and if he kept up that kind of form it was almost inevitable that he would eventually get a victory over his big rival. Murray is too good to lose nine consecutive times to Djokovic, but that didn’t mean in any way that Djokovic would just roll over for him to get that elusive win.

  • Opening Set

It was clear from the start what Murray’s strategy was, which was to be as aggressive as possible. It has worked in the fourth and fifth sets at the French Open, but he didn’t have enough self-belief to follow through yet. This time Murray won the first set which made all the difference. He got the early break and raced to a 4-1 lead. He then had Djokovic at 15-40 in the following game as well, but Djokovic fought back in his usual way and leveled at 4-4.

CMkCKypUcAEhC8b

Murray held serve for 5-4 and broke Djokovic to win the opening set after Djokovic mishit that ever reliable backhand into the net.

  • Second Set

As expected Djokovic mounted a comeback and he wasted no time in doing so as he broke Murray to love in his opening service game with a lethal backhand return winner that clipped the line by the smallest of margins. At 2-3 Murray returned the favor as he broke back with a lethal backhand return winner of his own. 3-3. Clearly Murray was not showing any signs of backing off. He was still stepping into the court and ripping groundstrokes.

CMn9Hy6UsAABvNX

But Djokovic was doing some ripping groundstrokes of his own and broke serve again after making one of those great defensive returns which forced Murray into error. 4-3. This time Djokovic would not lose his advantage again as he served out the set to 15 at 5-4.

  • The Decider

So it came down to one set for who would win another big title which by the way neither Federer nor Nadal has been able to do this year. Wow! I think there may have been a break point for Djokovic in the opening game, but crucially Murray held serve. He didn’t want there to be a big momentum swing. To the contrary, he was the one who seized the momentum in the next game by breaking the Djokovic serve after more offensive tennis.

This Murray meant business and soon he was in a very handy position at 3-0 in the deciding set. The Djokosmash was also on full display again in this match. Djokovic made some pathetic net plays the way he did against Gulbis and hit some more pathetic smashes. This actually makes me think he was not at his best because this was the old Djokovic net game which had improved so much of late. Anyway, the smash Djokovic missed at 0-3 and 0-0 was a piss poor.

Importantly though he did somehow manage to hold on to his serve and stay in the match. It did strike me that he was looking tired though which is not surprising given that match with Gulbis and the fact that he played doubles this week and made semi-finals. I think the tiredness combined with the fact that he seemed to be struggling with an elbow injury we can safely say that was the wrong decision. But is always easy to say these things in hindsight.

CMoC2VuUYAAf9Ad

Djokovic may have felt some fatigue at this point in the match, but he was far from throwing in the towel. One of the features of this match was the length of some of the games they played and the length of the match overall which was exactly three hours. The game at 3-1 took a staggering 15 minutes and involved 10 deuces and 6 break points. That was a massive game which decided the outcome of the match as far as I’m concerned.

It was an absolutely titanic struggle and Murray showed immense perseverance and tenacity to hold for 4-1. As far as I was concerned Murray was going to win after he won that game, which of course he did. But by no means did Djokovic just hand it to him. He still showed extraordinary fight. In fact, he came back from at least one match point down at 2-5 to make Murray serve it out at 5-3. And in that game he still made life hell for Murray.

He got Murray to 15-40 on his serve after a dramatic point he stole from Murray at 15-30. Now he only had to win one of the next two points and my mind would change as to who was the favorite to win the match. But to Murray’s massive credit he held on with some immense serving and finally got that elusive win over Djokovic. What started out as a boring match caught fire about half way through the second set and turned out to be a classic with some incredible rallies and drama.

  • Concluding Thoughts

First of all congrats to Murray for a tremendous match and coming back from eight straight losses to finally defeat Djokovic. It has been a long and inspirational road back to his best. Apparently doctors advised him not to get back surgery back in 2013 because there was no guarantee that it was even going to work and that it could even make things worse for him. So all credit to him for fighting back and winning another big title.

He hasn’t won another slam yet, but he may just do so in New York. But before I get to that I thought this was a great way for Murray to shake off that tough loss at Wimbledon to Federer. I think that was tough because he was actually playing well, but Federer was just playing ridiculously well. That was as good as Federer can play and why I said Djokovic’s level in the final was the highest level I have ever seen. With this victory, Murray also surges ahead of Federer in the rankings.

That is big because he now has a great shot at being the second seed for the US Open. Federer now probably has to win Cincy to overtake Murray before the US Open again, and with a draw of Nadal/Murray/Djokovic that will be very difficult. But it’s not impossible which makes Cincy even more interesting than it already is. Another reason that it is interesting is that Djokovic will be trying to complete the career Masters.

CMkQz0MWgAENRRA

He seems to be struggling with an elbow, but I don’t think it is serious. He has a couple of rest days now where he can get it treated and I think he will be fine for Cincy. But he shouldn’t risk the US Open. If it is really a problem he should just withdraw. I’m glad he is playing anyway and with Fedalray all in one half again he surely has a good shot at the title. He has Stan in his quarter, but I’m not sure Stan is very comfortable on the speedy Cincy courts.

I don’t think the Montreal final loss is that big a deal to Djokovic. Clearly Cincy would be more valuable to him. He is still the favorite for the US Open, but Murray is now a huge threat. I have a feeling this may be Murray’s time again. He has done the hard work and is playing the best tennis of his life because at long last he is being more aggressive. That has always been the key for him, but it took many a tough loss for it to get through his stubborn head.

Djokovic is still probably the favorite over five sets, but I saw a stat today that Murray is now 5-1 against Djokovic in the US Open series. So as far as the US Open goes that makes Murray the favorite. The only match that Djokovic won was last year’s US Open quarterfinal when Murray wasn’t nearly the player he is now. And so what if Djokovic doesn’t win the US Open? He already had a terrific year no matter what happens from here on.

  • Another Big Statement from Djokoray

Although Djokovic has dominated this year Murray has made a big statement of his own now with a second Masters and becoming the new world #2. To state it differently, he made a big statement for the Djokoray era. With Nadal failing to win the French and Federer failing to win Wimby the Fedal era seems well and truly over now. But like I said before, Djokovic alone is probably not enough to hold off Fedal. Murray has to weigh in, which he just did.

That Wimbledon loss to Federer was still a telling blow for Fedal, but then of course Djokovic made relatively short work of Federer in the final. With this title for Murray, he just makes it seem like the Fedal era is fading even faster. He did something which Federer couldn’t do in Indian Wells or Rome. He actually defeated Djokovic in a big tournament which only one other guy has been able to do this year. If Federer wants to stop the rot he now has to do no less than win Cincy.

That is probably the only way he gets the second seed for New York because you’d expect Murray to make semis at least. If he fails to get the second seed for New York it becomes very possible that he has to beat Murray and Djokovic to win the title which is nearly impossible for him at this point. It doesn’t help Fedal’s cause that they have been drawn in the same quarter in Cincy either. Nadal is desperately trying to find some form of his own and may even defeat Federer if they meet.

CMn1ychVAAA3eYu

It looks like Djokoray is set to dominate tennis for the next few years, and if anyone was wondering who would challenge Djokovic then they very quickly found their answer yesterday. Murray is a definite threat to Djokovic when he plays aggressive tennis. Sure Djokovic still leads the head-to-head 19-9, but it is just 3-2 in slams. That is considerably closer than the one-sided 9-2 record of Fedal in slams and I definitely expect Murray to keep troubling Djokovic in slams.

Well, I can probably write ten more pages but I have to cut it short at some point. I thoroughly enjoyed Montreal and we are truly in a golden era. Cincy will be even more interesting and then it’s only a week before the big one in New York. By the way, Thiem already lost to Klizan in Cincy after being up 4-1 in the deciding set, which means he doesn’t gain any points from last year. A bit disappointing but he is still in the top 20.

I’ll be back soon with some news from Cincy. Really looking forward to this one!

 

Edit: Djokovic leads Murray 6-2 in slams not 3-2(that is in slams finals). So actually Djokovic does own Murray. Been arguing too much with Matt of late :))

 

  • Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luSG1z6mWAI

The is in your court.