Djokovic Sends Early Message to Australian Open Field With Straight-Set Win Over Verdasco

As you can see Djokovic was as nervous about this match as I was as a fan. Verdasco is not the name you want to see next to your name in the first round of the Australian Open. When his game is on he is top five material.

But he is mentally extremely fragile which is why he never consistently performed. That said, Djokovic did extremely well to defeat him 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2. The first set was very good from Djokovic while Verdasco appeared nervous as he kept shanking forehands.

In the second set, Verdasco seemed to settle down a bit as he went a break up twice but couldn’t consolidate on either occasion. This was a dangerous time for Djokovic because had Verdasco held onto a break and won the second set there was no telling what could happen.

The draw seems rigged that he got Verdasco in the first round but he was on a mission and after Verdasco went up a mini-break to lead 4-3 in the tiebreak Djokovic won the next four points to effectively shut Verdasco out.

The second set was always going to be a key set and it was a rollercoaster ride with both Djokovic and Verdasco playing some brilliant and average tennis. But in the end, Djokovic won it by being mentally the stronger player.

As I expected Djokovic is looking in fine form after winning Doha and by shutting Verdasco out as easily as he did he sent a strong message to the rest of the field that he is in Melbourne to win a 7th Australian Open title.

He is going to be awfully hard to stop that’s for sure. This is exactly the position he wanted to be in after what happened in the second half of 2016. The slump was understandable but he needs to prove a point now at his favorite slam.

His draw looks pretty good until the final but there is still a lot of tennis to be played.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

Nadal was also in action today against Florian Mayer who he defeated 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 which is a good start for him. The bad news for him is that Zverev won too after needing five sets to defeat Haase.

A third round encounter between Nadal and Zverev would be a delicious scenario. Then Raonic and Dimitrov both had straight-set wins as well. Only one seeded player lost which was Lopez who lost to Fognini.

I won’t be making a post every day but I will be making posts to my Facebook page like I did for the first day’s action when Murray, Wawrinka, and Federer were in action.

Tomorrow is the turn of the top half again where Murray will play against Rublev, Wawrinka against Johnson, and Federer against another qualifier Rubin.

Berdych will also play Harrison and if both him and Federer win there will be another very interesting third round match!

  • Highlights

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.

5 Comments

  1. I love his reaction at the end, which shows how much he still wants it! I was very nervous too, and thrilled to see him win. Now hoping so much he can keep up the intensity and go on to win, but as you say, a whole hell of a lot of tennis to play along the way. When you see Fed playing qualifiers in the first two rounds, and Andy (today) playing a guy who looked about 15 and like a rabbit in the headlights – so much a foregone conclusion it wasn’t even worth watching – it makes you wonder. But nothing we can do, so IDEMO NOLE!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I just watched the Federer vs Rubin highlights and the guy had zero firepower. Despite that, he was still 5-2 and two set points up in the 3rd set. We know that Berdych has plenty of firepower so it will be interesting to see how Federer deals with that. Anyone can beat two qualifiers. I think if he loses to Berdych he is going to feel like he failed.

    [Reply]

    Lynsey Adams Reply:

    Hope Berdych doesn’t fold up. He always seems like the ‘nearly’ man, like he ought to win more than he does with that much firepower.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    He is mentally very fragile. Doesn’t have the killer instinct.

    [Reply]

    Lynsey Adams Reply:

    I think you’re right. I’m expecting him to roll over and wait to have his tummy tickled when he plays Fed. Have you any idea what the HTH is?

    [Reply]

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