Djokovic and Tsonga to Meet in Shanghai Championship Match

Today I was privileged to see two superb matches which saw Djokovic and Tsonga advance to the final where they will battle it out for the Shanghai Masters title. The first semi-final between Tsonga and Nadal turned out to be a terrific battle which Tsonga won 6-4, 0-6, 7-5. The second semi-final was a one-sided masterclass from the world number one as he embarrassed Murray 6-1, 6-3. And both matches were equally good to watch.

Tsonga was electric in the first set against Nadal and clearly feels very comfortable on the Decoturf. It compliments his offensive game nicely. In the second set, Tsonga slumped to 0-6 but in the third set he was right back to his devastating offensive best. He finally broke Nadal at 5-5 and in the final game made a fantastic dive volley which helped him to hold serve and win the exciting encounter. When Tsonga plays like this he is a joy to watch.

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He is flamboyant and entertaining. As for Nadal, it was still a very positive week for him where he kept improving after Beijing. He may not be back to his very best yet, but he may have lost to Tsonga in these conditions at his best too. I don’t see this as a setback for Nadal at all. Just more progress. Tsonga is a very powerful player who can beat anyone on a given day, especially on a surface which is a little faster. He hits huge and has a complete game.

As for Djokovic, what more can you say about the guy? You run out of superlatives. When that seems impossible, he gets even better. Today was one of his best matches all year I think. What was particularly impressive was his net game. He was playing like a legit volleyer out there. It was the most comfortable I have ever seen him look at the net. So it seems he keeps evolving into a more and more offensive player which is good for his longevity.

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Murray had no answer. It was a one-man show. Murray did well just to hold onto his last service game which helped to add some respectability to the scoreline, but not much. This was proper revenge for the Montreal final, served cold the way only Djokovic can. He now leads the head-to-head with one of his main rivals 20-9. Seriously, who can stop this guy from dominating in the years to come? He is just on another level than anyone else.

  • Final Preview

As for the final, Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Tsonga 13-6, but most of Tsonga’s wins came before Djokovic hit his prime. Since 2011 Djokovic has won 11/12 matches, with the only loss coming last year in Canada with a surprising scoreline of 6-2, 6-2. Not sure what happened there. Maybe Djokovic was injured. The point is I don’t think there are many people who think Tsonga has a chance. Djokovic looks supremely dominant.

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He is playing maybe the most dominant tennis season in the history of tennis although of course Federer’s 2006 season is at this point still more dominant. He also loves playing in Asia where he is the king. If he wins tomorrow he will win a record third Shanghai title after winning a sixth title in Beijing last week. Since getting over the all-important US Open hurdle he has been released and a clean sweep of the fall season is not out of the question.

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But he still has to beat Tsonga who is a worthy opponent in these conditions. The last time they played in Shanghai Djokovic won 6-2, 7-5. Tsonga would do very well to get seven games again, but it also depends on Djokovic’s form. Usually, he rises to the occasion in finals in which case Tsonga will struggle to win games. But it’s hard to believe Djokovic will play as well as he did against Murray so maybe we will at least see a little more competitive match.

  • Highlights

The Youtube highlights for Shanghai has been poor. The tournament sounds full of shit on Twitter and probably took most of the highlights down. Point of the year between Djokovic and Murray?

  • Match Stats

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The is in your court.

Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan, I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for some time now, before and after the massive change in format and just want to say how much you have changed my view of tennis to appreciate the talent of the current players and of course players that came before. Before your sudden change in your blog I too was an avid Federer Fan who would always thought he was the pinnacle of tennis and as a result tried to base my game around him.

    However, 2015 has been a massive change in my view of tennis, mainly thanks to Djokovic, who has made me a massive fan of his this year, but also because of your blog. You opened my eyes to the wide variety of talented players that should also be appreciated, not just Federer and as a result, become a better tennis player and coach as well.

    I also wanted to say more on how incredible Djokovic was today. I mean ridiculous good!! His net play under Boris has got better and better and the fact that he’s finishing points off much quicker increases the wide arsenal of his all round game and becomes more unpredictable as a results.

    Murray from the start was nervous as he knew of both the form that djokovic was in and how much he would challenge his second serve. I do believe Djokovic will remain undefeated for the rest of 2015 unless nadal or federer has something to say about it. Whether Djokovic can have just as a successful year will have to wait and see! :-)

    Talking of Nadal, his form of late is improving to the point where his confidence is coming back. Roland Garros next year will be the slam that’ll determine if Nadal is done or not.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Alex!! If only all my readers had the ability to grow and evolve like you and Djokovic. Some of my readers got a bit hung up on Federer and became bitter about the new direction of my blog instead of joining in our fun! Haha. Their loss. Really glad you follow my blog and that you appreciate Djokovic after being a Fedfan. To me, that’s the healthy way of being a tennis fan. Not this getting hung up on a specific player or personality. That’s not what being a tennis fan is about :-)

    [Reply]

  2. Another superb display by Djokovic should position him as the hot favourite in the ATP tour final next month. At the moment, his game is head and shoulder above the rest of the field. His only true challenge is Federer,but only at the best of 3 sets tournaments esp on hard courts and indoors. The threat on winning his first FO still remain as Nadal is working his way back to form.

    However, elsewhere Nadal is still far from his best form and he is likely not getting back to his top form apart from clay where he still can dominate. Murray, in my opinion, doesn’t have the weapon to hurt him. He is not even the same class as Federer, which he has been beaten fairly easily in the last few matches. Murray will never be the world no 1 as long Djoker, Nadal or Federer is still playing. His chance of winning another slam is almost deminishing; when he won USO and wimbeldone the Following year, he didn’t have to face Federer or Nadal.

    However, the question for Djoker is next year has has a lot of points to defend as he has been winning a lot. After the spectacular dominance in 2011, he struggled the following year winning only 1 slam. Can he repeat the same dominance in 2016? I think it will eventually get to him so winning another 7 slams to be equally or better than Federer as he steps into his late 20s/almost 30 seems unlikely. If he were to do it,he needs to win at least 3 slams the next 2 years leaving his last few years on tour winning another 2.

    Of course, anything is possible from here as long his motivation remains high, injury free; as he does have a very good support team and extraordinary mental strength. We need another new generation of players coming up to challenge the so-called big 4 but it has been a disappointing year for the younger players, with none of them making a GS final.

    [Reply]

  3. I can’t praise Djokovic enough for his game at the moment. Taking into consideration the level of opposition he faces, this is the best display of a player I have ever seen and I have seen it all from Borg-Nastase final W1976.

    [Reply]

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