I got the schedule wrong in my last post thanks to the ATP website which meant that Djokovic and Thiem opened proceedings today and not Wawrinka and Nishikori. When I noticed the mistake I was glad to see that Djokovic was playing first.
I enjoy the matchup between him and Thiem and it turned out to be an entertaining 6-7(10), 6-0, 6-2 victory for Djokovic. In the first set, Djokovic was once again looking far from his best.
Thiem even had two serves coming at 6-3 in the tiebreak and served two double faults. And yet Djokovic could not take advantage and win the first set. But Thiem should get some credit for how well he played too.
His serve and backhand were particularly impressive. I was even more impressed with the way Djokovic came back in the second and third sets, however. He broke Thiem in the opening game of the second set and then delivered the bagel.
— TennisTV (@TennisTV) November 13, 2016
Djokovic was dominant in the third set too but, more importantly, we saw some real emotion and urgency from him. That animal factor was back. A beautiful sight! Is it because Becker and Vajda were back?
I think it is a combination of things. Let’s face it; this tournament is a big deal for Djokovic. It may determine whether he keeps dominating tennis and breaks Federer’s slam record or not.
If he loses the year-end number one ranking to Murray it could take a long time to get it back or maybe even never if he continues to slump next year. On the other hand, if he wins a record 6th World Tour Finals and ends the year as number one it puts him back in the dominant position and gives him a massive boost before the start of 2017.
And let’s be honest, it will just be fitting after he won more majors and masters than Murray this year. Murray hasn’t even beaten a top five player since defeating Wawrinka at the French Open.
— Novak German Fan (@NovakSupport) November 13, 2016
As a fan, I am desperately hoping Djokovic can end this year on a high and I am encouraged by what I saw today, but I am also cautious not to get overly optimistic. I am going to take it one match at a time.
I am just happy to see Djokovic play, that Becker is back, and that Djokovic showed some good animalism today. The old Djokovic may just be back, in which case Murray’s stay at the top of the rankings will have been a very brief one indeed.
But one match at a time…