- Djokovic vs Nadal
So as expected Djokovic raised his level for the knockout stage of the World Tour Finals and crushed Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in a masterclass. This was now the business end of the event and no more Mr. Nice Guy.
His intentions were clear from the start: no more passive pushing like against Federer. He ripped right through the best defense in tennis early on with several winners to break Nadal and take the initiative.
It was clear that the real Djokovic showed up today. He plays his best tennis when he needs to. Simple as that. This was Djokovic at his best and no one has ever played tennis at a higher level. Simply unplayable.
Nadal looks like a complete amateur out there who is just along for the ride. He had a terrific tournament, but Djokovic put him down like a wounded animal. He even got the second break at 5-3 in the second set for good measure.
The efficiency and utter self-confidence from Djokovic is the most impressive thing that has ever been seen on a tennis court. He simply goes out there and takes control of the match with quality that can’t be matched.
This match meant that Djokovic has won 9 out of the last 10 matches with Nadal which is becoming some serious ownage. And Nadal doesn’t even seem to be close to having a solution.
I think this is also the first time the rivalry has been tied(23-23).
- Federer vs Wawrinka
After the routine beatdown of the first semi-final, I expected a much more competitive second semi-final but it disappointed. Federer won 7-5, 6-3 in a pretty low-quality match. Stan got the first break but quickly imploded like a good boy to drop the first set.
He turns into a complete mental midget when he plays Federer. Not that Federer didn’t do his part to win. We know by now he is a quality indoor player. But after Stan got the early break you would think he will get confidence from it.
The opposite is truer. It seems like he feels guilty for breaking his buddy’s serve and then hands it right back. Then even hands him the second break, the set, and the match for good measure.
I’m not complaining. I was hoping for a Djokerer final.
- Final Preview
Even though I think the round robin loss to Federer didn’t mean much, Djokovic still has to win the final to make it meaningless. Djokovic does not feel like losing two consecutive matches to Federer at this point.
Of that, you can be certain. And I actually think having lost the first encounter works in his favor. As we have seen at Wimby and the US Open, the hype around Federer has already started again.
I just saw a poll on twitter which had two-thirds of people voting Federer as the winner. All it took to forget everything that happened at SW19 and New York and to reignite their enthusiasm was an almost entirely irrelevant round robin match.
I hope these people are just voting for who they want to win and don’t actually believe that Federer will win because this time they are gonna be seriously crushed if Federer loses. At some point, you have to learn and say ok maybe there is a pattern here.
This is starting to look an awful lot like New York. Djokovic was not impressing early on and Fedfans were getting their hopes up. Then Djokovic crushes Cilic and all of a sudden they are not so sure anymore.
Next Federer crushes Stan in the semis and all of a sudden the hype train is in full flow again, only to ride over the cliff in the final and go crashing down way below with all the Fedfans up in smoke.
Does Federer have a chance? Of course, he does! Otherwise, they wouldn’t be playing the match. The point is that we have seen this scenario play out so many times that only a fool would actually believe Federer is the favorite.
Yes, I think Djokovic is going to win. He is the most dominant athlete in world sports today and at the peak of his powers, playing the best tennis that has ever been played. The level he displayed against Nadal was unreal while Federer just gratefully accepted the gift from his friend Stan.
When Djokovic sees Federer across the net he goes into another zone. Even more so than against Nadal, because at least Nadal didn’t treat him with utter disdain in the past. I see Federer sat on Djokovic’s chair again in their round robin match.
These things don’t go unnoticed by Djokovic. He doesn’t show it, but he makes a mental note of it. Then uses it to psyche himself up the next time he plays Federer.
In my opinion, it is not an intelligent move by Federer given all the brutal beatdowns he suffered at the hands of Djokovic recently but I guess he has to try something. He tried the SABR and that didn’t work.
Now he’s got the beard going. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be another ‘trump card’ but like I said he may as well try something different. He loses all the important matches anyway. Now he has one more shot to win a relatively big match and at least salvage some pride after another year of losing big matches to Djokovic.
There is nothing he can do now to get the Wimbledon and US Open titles but losing yet another big final to Djokovic will make the ownage complete. The round robin victory would all of a sudden seem utterly meaningless and Djokovic’s domination of the tennis world will be absolute.
Expect Djokovic to come out in rampant form and crush everything in sight. Like he did against Nadal he will make his intentions clear. Again, I think the fact that he lost the round robin match works in his favor.
He likes the Federer hype because he enjoys silencing the fanatics and being the underdog. Less pressure. Expect an entirely different Djokovic from the first encounter. A different player altogether. He absolutely relishes these matches. It’s what he lives and breathes for.
Not for some insignificant round robin match. As for Federer, he will try to do what he does best which is to serve well and play attacking tennis. He will try to replicate what he did in the round robin match but if he expects the same result he is in for a surprise.
I expect Djokovic to do everything better and be way more offensive. He will return better and have Federer on the back foot way more often. It will be a lot harder for Federer to serve bot and dominate proceedings.
And all it will take for Federer to be back on his heels is for Djokovic to play a blistering couple of opening games that makes his intentions clear, the way he did at the US Open. So I think once again the opening couple of games will set the tone for the match.
I am prepared for either result anyway. If Djokovic wins I will get a massive kick out of it as usual but if he loses I will be happy for Federer that he finally salvaged something from another year of losing the most important matches to Djokovic.
Whatever happens this has been another unbelievable year for Djokovic and he got into double digits in slam titles which is the main thing. The rest is just gravy.
Also, this will be Federer’s best shot to beat Djokovic in a big final. It is indoors and best of three which helps him out physically. It’s not a slam but at this point he has to settle for second best.
These two have of course met in the World Tour Finals final before in 2012 when Djokovic won in straight sets.
I am looking forward to a good match and relishing the occasion.
The is in your court.