Djokovic made his 10th consecutive semi-final at the US Open last night when there was yet another retirement when Tsonga pulled out with a knee problem after trailing Djokovic 3-6, 2-6.
Terrific consistency from Djokovic who is now second on the list for most consecutive US Open semi-finals made behind Connors(12) and second on the list for total slam semi-finals(tied with Connors at 31).
His strike rate for winning titles after making semis have not been that great, however(2/9), and he has lost in four finals. So I hope he can improve on that this year. This was the third opponent of Djokovic who has either withdrawn or retired which of course has the whole tennis world talking.
The critics are acting like it’s some kind of conspiracy and they are right; it is. The universe is conspiring for Djokovic. By now he has built up such an invincible aura that you may as well say he is conspiring on his own behalf.
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) September 7, 2016
Obviously, if you win as much as Djokovic it is going to start having an effect on the subconscious of other players. It seems highly unlikely that three consecutive opponents have coincidentally gotten injured before or when playing Djokovic.
Djokovic is a force of nature with an aura that instills immense fear in his opponents, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. But most people don’t have the knowledge to understand these things. They display their ignorance by calling it pure luck.
Either way, they did play two sets so we can now draw some more conclusions about Djokovic’s form. And this time, I stayed up for the match so it’s easier for me to draw accurate conclusions.
The first set was not so great because both players served several double faults and Djokovic made some unforced errors off the ground. He got the break early on but then got broken back, only to break again in the eighth game and then he consolidated to win the first set.
— Dika (@Dika_EJ) September 7, 2016
In the second set, Djokovic found his rhythm on the serve and off the ground and broke twice to breeze through the second set. I thought he looked very good. It was great to see Djokovic back to his best after his recent problems.
As a fan, it was a refreshing and comforting feeling to see Djokovic play like that. I missed that unbelievable movement and solidity off the ground. But I thought the break was needed too. I don’t see any problem of Djokovic being undercooked for the final either.
With the wrist problems he had and all the tennis he played in the last year and a half, this is something very helpful, not the opposite. The whole draw has conspired in Djokovic’s favor because Djokovic’s main threat Murray now has a tough road ahead while Djokovic himself plays Monfils in the semis instead of Nadal or Raonic.
Not that Djokovic was in danger of losing to either of those but they are better than Monfils who has never been to a slam final. Murray, on the other hand, has to go through Nishikori, Del Potro/Stan, and likely Djokovic to win the title.
- Murray Delivers Masterclass Against Dimitrov
Murray played Dimitrov in the fourth round and delivered a much-improved performance from the Lorenzi match as he destroyed Dimitrov 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Not that I ever rated Dimitrov but I did watch and Murray did play very well.
But like I said, he now has a very tricky road ahead. Everything has conspired in Djokovic’s favor and Murray is now swimming against the tide. All credit to him if he pulls off another slam title but it will take some doing.
He plays Nishikori in the first men’s match today and although I don’t expect him to have much difficulty in winning I am just looking forward to seeing what kind of resistance Nishikori can put up.
The problem for Nishikori is his serve which Murray can take apart so he needs to first of all serve at a high first serve percentage. Nishikori was quite good in his straight-set defeat of Karlovic and maybe he can make the match competitive.
It also depends on Murray’s form of course. If he plays like he did against Dimitrov Nishikori has very little chance but it will be tough for Murray to repeat that. Either way, Murray put all doubts about him to rest after the Lorenzi match and proved again that he is the real deal with Lendl in his corner.
He is certainly playing well enough to win the title but like I said he has a very tough draw now especially if he faces Del Potro in the semis. I don’t think Stan is a much a threat so I hope Del Potro wins the second men’s quarterfinal today.
As much as I like Stan, I want it more for Del Potro anyway because of all his bad fortune with injuries. And I want to see a rematch of that Olympics final where Del Potro had a brutal semi-final the day before with Nadal.
Del Potro is such a monster that he can actually beat Murray. We all know what Stan can do when he is in Stanimal mode but he is too inconsistent and the faster Decoturf surface of the US Open is not as favorable to his game.
For Del Potro, it suits his game to a tee and although it is unfortunate that Thiem had to withdraw due to injury against him at 3-6, 2-3 down I think Del Potro was on his way to giving Thiem quite a spanking.
He has looked unbelievably dangerous so far and is truly capable of defeating anyone.
- Elsewhere in the Draw
I haven’t said anything about the Monfils vs Pouille match which was a disappointing 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win for Monfils. Not disappointing because Monfils won but because Pouille was flat after three consecutive five-setters.
He tried but the mojo was gone. Credit to Monfils anyway who has had a good run of late. I think Pouille will be much better than Monfils and can potentially win slams but he had nothing left after defeating Nadal in that epic.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2016
That match proved enough for me. Pouille is the real deal from what I can tell and I like him and his game. I’m excited about him as a player. Contrary to other French players he has a champions mentality and he has all the shots too.
So like I said, Murray and Nishikori is first up today while Del Potro and Stan will play the last match again which means I will probably have to miss it again. They schedule the men last because if the women played last too many people would leave for the last match.
I find this unfortunate but it is what it is. What are you gonna do?