Djokovic Defeats Goffin In Extraordinary Miami Semi-Final

Wow. I still can’t quite believe what I saw today. Djokovic looked more out of sorts than I’ve seen of him in a long time.

I don’t know if his back was still bothering him after he got a spasm in his last match or whether it was just the oppressive heat but he looked surprisingly low on confidence. It was probably just the heat because he looked heavy-legged out there.

He hasn’t looked particularly impressive throughout the Miami event and although he is very fit he never looks very comfortable playing in oppressive heat. He even went a break down in the opening set after failing to convert on break points at 3-2.

Djokovic broke back though to tie things up at 4-4. They headed into the tiebreak where Djokovic got the early break as they changed sides at 4-2. At 4-3, Goffin got the mini break back and at 4-4, he missed a huge chance.

He was in complete control of the point which would have caused a huge momentum shift if he won it but after a weak lob from Djokovic and an open court waiting Goffin went straight back to Djokovic who had all but given up the point.

Djokovic was all too happy to be given a second bite at the cherry and sent a perfectly weighted lob over Goffin’s head and ended up winning the point after hitting a winning drop volley at the net. Extraordinary scenes.

I mean there is simply no way Goffin should have lost that point and he would have had two serves to come at 5-4. Then at 5-6 in the breaker, Goffin also missed a backhand volley which looked like it was going out if he left it.

Goffin just doesn’t have the champions mentality. I was quite impressed by his game but mentally he cracked when opportunity beckoned. Djokovic, on the other hand, has tremendous killer instinct.

He senses when the opponent shows weakness and moves in for the kill right away. There is no hesitation. Djokovic is also very good with pacing himself. He has a very good sense of who he is facing and what he needs to do to get the job done.

He adapts to every opponent and doesn’t exert himself more than he needs to. This is one of the things I find most impressive about him and why he is able to keep winning. No player can play their best tennis at all times.

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If you want to keep winning you have to be able to win when you are not at your best and save your best form for when it is needed most. Djokovic is a master at this. He drops and raises his level as required and just keeps winning.

This is one of the most impressive things I have ever witnessed in tennis. I have never seen someone who is this adaptable and whose level of tennis can vary so greatly and yet keep winning.

In the second set, Djokovic was in trouble again serving at 1-2 but held on and eventually broke Goffin at 4-3. In the end, Djokovic won 7-6(5), 6-4 to make his 7th final in Miami and on Sunday he will try to equal Agassi’s record of 6 Miami titles.

In the end, it was an entertaining match with many attractive baseline rallies despite the fact that Djokovic was not at his best.

  • Nishikori Too Good for Kyrgios in Second Semi-Final

In the second semi-final today Nishikori defeated Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 to make only his second Masters final. The head-to-head is 6-2 in the Djoker’s favor with Nishikori having won the Basel semi-final in 2011 and the US Open semi-final in 2014.

I still don’t know what Djokovic did in that US Open semi-final but he is now on a different level and you would think he will get the job done again. If he plays like he did today Nishikori will have a real shot but Nishikori is not mentally the strongest guy either and you would expect Djokovic to raise his level for the final as usual.

Lately, his pattern has been to play his best tennis in finals if you go by Doha and Indian Wells. But we will see. I won’t be surprised if he plays his best tennis again but who knows with the heat.

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Djokovic has kind of been battling all week so it can easily happen that he plays his best tennis again in the final. This is now also Djokovic’s 11th consecutive Masters Final having won 8 of the previous 10 finals he played in.

The dominance is just ridiculous and I’m savoring every moment of it. We may never see it again in our lifetime. I actually thought he may well lose today but he just keeps finding a way. He almost looks more vulnerable than ever but looks can be very deceiving with Djokovic as we know.

He is still winning in straight sets so you can hardly say he is in trouble. You figure at some point he simply has to lose a match but then he just finds a way again. And knowing Djokovic he will find a way again in the final on Sunday.

  • Highlights

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Posted in Masters 1000, Miami.

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