Djokovic and Nadal to Meet for 47th Time in Doha Final

As expected, Djokovic and Nadal made it to the final of Doha but not without some trouble in the case of Nadal who went to three sets twice.

Djokovic hasn’t been at his best either needing a tiebreak in the second set today against Berdych and being 3-5 down in the second set against Mayer yesterday. As usual, though, Djokovic raised his game when it mattered most.

Djokovic was on the verge of losing his first set since the Paris semis last year when he trailed Mayer by 3-5 in the second set but reeled off four straight games to win 6-3, 7-5. It has to be said he had help from Mayer as well.

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Today against Berdych in the second set tiebreak, however, he just raised his game to win the breaker 7-3 and the match 6-3, 7-6(3). But like I said, Djokovic has not looked like his old self so far in 2016.

As a fan, I’m not worried because as I said before this is the first tournament of the year and an ATP 250 at that. It’s a good event for Djokovic to get back into things after getting away from tennis for the first time in a year.

That said, I think tomorrow against Nadal we can expect to see a sharper and more motivated Djokovic than we have seen so far this week. The rivalry is now tied at 23-23 and Djokovic has the opportunity to take the lead for the first time.

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After all this time, I don’t think that is something he wants to miss out on. Djokovic is 8-1 in their last nine meetings so you don’t expect him to lose. And aside from that he’d want to start the season in the best way possible by winning his first title in Doha.

He has looked better than Nadal this week, but you never know. Djokovic has just looked very much in control of the rivalry and, of course, spanked Nadal 3 and 3 in London.

It will be interesting to see what Nadal does tomorrow to try and change things around. But personally, I don’t see what he can do other than hope Djokovic plays poorly. He doesn’t have enough options to trouble Djokovic.

Not that anyone has these days, but it’s like Djokovic has completely figured Nadal out and the only way Nadal can beat him is if he plays very poorly. We will see. It should be fun.

  • Thiem Upsets Cilic in Brisbane

I was happy to hear that Thiem continued his good start to 2016 by upsetting Cilic 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in Brisbane and making the semis. He will now play Federer who defeated Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 in a low-quality match.

I don’t mean to sound overly critical of Federer but losing a set to Dimitrov is not a promising sign. It’s astonishing how weak Dimitrov is in the mental department. After choking badly when serving for the second set at 5-4, it was only thanks to a very untimely double fault from Federer in the tiebreak that Dimitrov managed to win a set.

I don’t think Federer will be very happy at all that he allowed Dimitrov to win the second set and although it’s still early days, this could well be a sign that Federer’s form is slipping.

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That’s what usually happens when Nadal’s form rises so I won’t be all that surprised if Federer loses to Thiem or in the final. In the other semis, it is Tomic vs Raonic so Federer will face two more tough opponents if he wants to win the event.

Thiem certainly won’t be a pushover. As mentally as erratic as he can be he is still an awful lot better than Dimitrov in that department. I am looking forward to seeing how Thiem fares anyway.

If Federer doesn’t get his act together Thiem has a great shot of causing the big upset. He has nothing to lose so he will just go out there and swing freely and he does have some damaging weapons.

 

Finally, Stan is still on route to a fourth title in Chennai after straight setting Garcia-Lopez. He will play his buddy Paire next while the other semi-final will be between promising youngster Coric and Bedene.

 

Ps. I should also mention that Djokovic has now gone a year without losing before the final of any event, which is a pretty special record in itself. One wonders how long he can keep that up.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in ATP 250, Doha.

15 Comments

  1. To be honest Ru-an I have to say that this post seems a little bit hypocritical. On the one hand Djokovic isn’t looking great, and yet you are making excuses for him because it’s the first tournament of the year. Federer also played a bad match, but yet you say his form is slipping rather than saying it’s the first tournament back. Which one is it Ru-an? Are both Djokovic and Federer expected to play their best in their respective first tournaments? Or can we cut them both some slack because it’s the first tournament back? I’m sorry if that wasn’t your intent but it came across as a bit hypocritical, whether you meant it or not.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m not making excuses for Djokovic Charlie. He is not at his best yet but he hasn’t dropped a set yet, has he? I think that’s pretty good given the competition.

    As for Federer, dropping a set to a mental weakling like Dimitrov by double-faulting in the tiebreak is not something to be proud of in my opinion. But that’s just me. You may have a different opinion.

    I have said for a long time that Federer’s form drops when Nadal’s form rises, so obviously I’m looking for signs of that. I’m sorry if that offended you.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    You also neglected to mention that Federer had been suffering from flu and was only able to practice for around 65 minutes in the run up to the tournament in total, saw a doctor earlier in the week and specifically requested a Thursday start from the tournament organisers to give himself enough chance to recover. All I’m saying is it doesn’t seem to be quite fair to compare on that basis. If Federer loses before the QF at the AO and then doesn’t win either Rotterdam or Dubai then we can talk again. I think it is better to wait until the end of the first tournament until we judge. Nadal could go on a rampage in the final and beat Djokovic (unlikely but possible). Federer could easily recover from this and win the tournament easily now. I’m reserving my judgement at least until the end of this tournament, and probably after several more tournaments as well. You could be right. You could be wrong. All I’m saying is let’s give it some time.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Also I wrote another spoof news article on your previous post which you seem to have missed in case you are interested in reading it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nope, didn’t miss it. I didn’t reply because coming from a Fedfan the part about Djokovic came off as a little bit hypocritical.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Sorry, I guess I owe you an apology as well, it was meant in jest but nevertheless I apologise.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t mind you writing it but don’t ask me to reply if you make Djokovic sound like the arrogant one when that is Federer’s role.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Again I didn’t explain that properly. It was meant to be a compliment on how well Djokovic was playing, not to make him look arrogant. That was never my intention whatsoever. I don’t think I’ll try writing that again, as to what one person seems complimentary can appear critical to another person, particularly over the internet. When I was writing that I was trying to think of a way to parody how well Djokovic has been playing, and that was the first thing that came to mind, probably not the best idea. Sorry.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, same as how I didn’t mean to put Federer down the way you thought I did.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Federer was perfectly healthy against Kamke. I don’t see how his so-called flu had anything to do with his poor play today. But you are right. Let’s wait and see. Tomorrow’s matches will tell us some more.

    And I will make my assessment after every match. I don’t need to wait until after the AO. Again, sorry if that bothers you but this is my blog so I reserve the right to write whatever I want.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Anyway Federer won 6-1 6-4 today, so maybe it was just a single bad match. Not disputing the fact that you can write whatever you want on your own blog. I just thought it was a bit presumptuous to make a conclusion after one match, and I personally prefer to wait until a bit later in the year. But I have no problem with people talking about what might happen, because it makes the discussions more interesting. Let’s face it, these are only ATP 250’s, it’s not like there’s a slam going on, so sometimes we need the predictions and educated guesses just to keep the debate going. I shouldn’t have used the term ‘we’ in that previous post, I should have written it more from my perspective, what I had decided to do. It wasn’t in any way intended to suggest what you should do on your blog, and so I must apologise wholeheartedly for that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No problem. I’m glad you realized that I shouldn’t have to wait until after Dubai to analyze tennis. Federer had a good win today so things are looking better for him. Let’s see what happens in the final. Raonic seems to be playing well again.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Again, just goes to show how phrasing can make such a difference over the internet, where there are no facial expressions or anything. I was unintentionally offended by your original blog post, then I unintentionally offended you twice with my comments. It’s surprisingly easy to get it wrong, so accept another apology from me if you don’t mind :-)

    As for the tennis itself, unfortunately I can’t watch the Doha final on Tennis TV (where I usually watch) here in the UK. You don’t happen to know of any livestreams where I can watch it? I can follow live scores of course but a lot of the websites have been taken down for livestreams.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry only saw this comment now. You can find live streams at http://www.3pmstream.com/tennis-live-streaming-video.html or http://www.fromhot.com/.

    You don’t have to keep apologizing. You did nothing wrong. Just the Internet complicating things.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    By the way congratulations to Novak on absolute ownage in the final against Nadal. Surely Nadal must not have played his best but still 6-1 6-2 is amazing against a top 5 player. Absolutely nothing anyone could have done I imagine (didn’t see stats for the match or watch the match). I’ll probably have a look at some highlights soon because Djokovic must have been awesome. Federer will have to play unbelievably well tomorrow to even approach that level of play. Djokovic now an even bigger favourite for the AO than he already was, perhaps he will even win it without dropping a set. Federer won the AO all in straight sets in 2007, no reason Djokovic can’t make 2016 the year he does it.

    [Reply]

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