French Open Day 13: Wawrinka Wins and Djokoray Locked in Brutal Battle

  • Murray Refuses to Surrender

:-O  What a comeback from Murray! Very impressive indeed. With the score at 6-3, 6-3, and 5-4 in the favor of the Djoker it looked like this could be a quick straight-set victory for the Djoker. But Murray held serve and played a tremendous game at 5-5 to break the Djoker and then held serve to win the third set against all odds. He then even went a break up in the fourth set. The audacity! The Djoker did get the break back after some impressive defensive play and Murray making another mess of an overhead.

But Murray was taking control of the long baseline rallies by refusing to make an unforced error and displaying tremendous fitness. The rallies were becoming absolutely brutal. This is what clay-court tennis is all about and I feel sorry for the one-dimensional fans who can’t appreciate it. After the Djoker dominated proceedings for the better part of the first three sets, Murray dug extremely deep and found a way back into the match. You have no choice but to respect that.

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‘What do I have to do to put this guy away???’

I’ve never been much of a Murray fan and clearly I want the Djoker to win, but it doesn’t mean I can’t respect and admire Murray’s brave refusal to go down. It was all the Djoker from the beginning. He was looking extremely impressive and untouchable, but Murray found a way. Now they are locked up at 3-3 in the fourth set after play got suspended due to bad light and a storm that was predicted. I’m not complaining. Now I have something to watch tomorrow and I think this break is to the Djoker’s advantage.

The momentum had swung in Murray’s favor after the third set. Yes, the Djoker recovered the one break but he was still struggling mightily to hold serve in the second last game. Murray kept winning the extended baseline rallies, and I think this break will allow the Djoker to have a chat with his coaches to try and figure out what he must do to counter Murray’s relentless baseline consistency. I was amazed at his physical stamina and error-free baseline game. He really is a physical freak like Kyrgios said.

  • Break In Play Could Help Djokovic to Reset

The Djoker has immense physical and mental strength himself, but I think even he was starting to feel the strain out there, and that the break was a welcome relief for him. Murray was beginning to win the physical battle, and now the Djoker can come back refreshed tomorrow. This, of course, does not mean in any way that he is going to win. I just think the break in play favors him more than Murray. He was probably a bit shell-shocked by Murray’s unbelievable comeback too.

The break just allows him to kind of reset and come back physically fresh. Murray may have outlasted him physically if it went to five sets by the way he appeared. Maybe after a night’s rest the Djoker will deal better with those extended baseline rallies, but he has to think of a solution either way just in case. I thought he should have played more drop shots toward the end where it appeared to me like he was too content with getting into those long baseline exchanges with Murray.

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No retreat. No surrender. #300

In the last game that he held serve he played a very good serving game, but even then there were several deuces. His improved serve really saved him from getting broken again there. But it’s not enough. He must look at other ways to shorten the points and break Murray’s rhythm. Whatever the case may be it promises to be an interesting conclusion to the match tomorrow. So far, my predictions are still on course to be correct and I’m sure the Djoker is going to do whatever it takes to finish the match in four sets.

He’d want to get the break right away when play resumes and end it before it goes to five sets and tires him out more before a potential final with Stan. But yeah, he had a very difficult draw from the start and if he finally wins the title this year it is going to be an immense effort. He doesn’t want to go to five sets if he is going to play Stan that’s for sure. Not only for physical rest but also for mental confidence. It’s possible he’d have to play a five-set marathon in the final and he’ll need every ounce of strength and confidence he can get.

  • Wawrinka Makes Second Slam Final

Congrats to Stan! What a player. Today he defeated Tsonga 6-3, 6-7(1), 7-6(3), 6-4 to make his second slam final. Dedicated to the people who said he was finished after winning a slam! Yes, he has struggled a lot with consistency since winning the Australian Open last year but he is too talented and powerful to write off. His game just has to ignite for two weeks and he can smash his way through the draw with brute force. Today he was once again too strong for a very competent opponent.

I don’t think Tsonga is in the league of Murray or anything, but this was still another very good win for Stan. Like I thought he exposed Tsonga’s weaker backhand wing. He was a break up in the second set too, but Tsonga broke back and squared things up at a set all. In the all-important third set, he was clutch in the tiebreak and in the fourth set he got another break to close the deal. It’s great to see him in another slam final, but personally I’d still prefer the Djoker gets it done.

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Back with a vengeance

I just think he deserves it after all the bad luck he’s had at the French and now finally beating the clay GOAT after suffering all those brutal losses. But it seems the odds are still stacked against him with the most difficult draw of everyone this year. To beat Nadal, Murray, and Stan in succession to win the tournament is near impossible. If anyone can do it it’s him, but he has a lot of work left. As for Stan, he’d be hoping it goes to five sets tomorrow to give him an added edge.

Playing the first semi is already a little edge and now the second semi has been delayed until tomorrow too. For this reason, it is even more important that the Djoker gets it done in four tomorrow. Before today, the Djoker was the favorite on paper against Murray but actually the more you lose to a player the more likely it becomes that you will finally get that elusive win. So yes Murray can certainly still win it, but I’d like to believe the Djoker can get it done in four and we can have an epic Djoka final.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

How does the Djokoray semi conclude?

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  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

38 Comments

  1. I think that Djokovic will prevail but only just. I actually think that Murray is near to his best and I think that he’ll be a huge threat at Wimbledon. If he ends on the side of the draw of Roger, than it will be definitely a Djokovic – Murray Wimbledon Final. If, luckily, the draw puts Djokovic and Murray on the same side I am pretty sure that they will both make the SF. Roger is the BIG QUESTION mark. He is not consistent in SLAMS anymore (a despicable thought – but true) and he may make it to the FINAL or lose in the 4th round or QF or who knows with him nowadays.

    Now, if Murray somehow wins – that would also prove how pathetic Roger is – because then the draw would have been absolutely perfect for him – with both Nadal and Djokovic out – but we know now with Roger that no matter what gifts he gets, he doesn’t utilize them at all.

    If Murray wins, (I seriously doubt it), that will dent Novak’s confidence IMMENSELY and that might open the door for Roger too. But I doubt it.

    Stan is too inconsistent to cause ant threat. Djokovic and Murray are BEASTS from the baseline and on CLAY you need to be ultra consistent. That’s why I think that Djokovic and or Murray should have little problem with Stan. But stranger things have happened so who knows at this point.

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  2. TAKE A BOW ANDY AND NOVAK. Some long rallies, but very great points. Is this the same Murray who was a no-show on clay?? Andy “marriage works” Murray :))

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    exactly Katyani! makes you wonder why he wasn’t a factor on clay all these years. Is he the new clay GOAT X_X :-j

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    Ben chia Reply:

    Hi katayani, There is only one clay GOAT. But He just got beat. Perhaps next year, he gets married and joins fed, Nole and Andy in getting revitalized and becomes hard court GOAT too? :-) Nah… Jokes aside, Andy showing great fight from 3rd set onwards. Impressive stuff. Too bad they stopped the match. Momentum swings could have made it much more interesting. Still, Nole to win it in 4.

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    Vily Reply:

    I actually appreciate how Andy and Novak are battling it out there. It’s a beast vs. beast. I do expect Andy to go away but if he pushes it to a 5th set – WOW. This is just the purist in me. I know that that might derail Djokovic in the final but right now I am just enjoying this. The only way to beat Djokovic nowadays is to hang with him. I truly hope that Roger can do so – at least at Wimbledon but that may be a pipe dream as well. We’ll see. Right now it’s beast vs. beast and who knows who’ll choke first?!

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    veronica Reply:

    Same here, Vily. I am truly appreciating this and enjoying it too!! It takes so much hard work and mental strength to compete like them. You hit the nail on the head about staying with Djoker if you wanna beat him. It started with Djoker being able to stay with Nadal to beat him. And boy! did he stay with Nadal in 2011 when he beat him on clay! I remember I was just waiting for Djoker to crack, to give up, but he stayed and stayed and it finally paid off! The Nadal grip started to loosen from that point on; eventhough in 2013 he came back strong. Now Murray has to be able to stay with Djoker. Gosh, these guys are raising a whole new SCARY level of baseline/defensive tennis!

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  3. I say Stan the Man has a chance,,,,a big chance to have 2 slams….. We’ll talk later, G

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    veronica Reply:

    I hope so too, G! Just a small observation. In Tsonga match, Stan looked a bit fried. Thankfully he has a day’s rest and hopefully the two beasts slug it out in 5!

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  4. Phenomenal performance from Murray.. Woww.. Just loved it.. It was bad lsuspendy suspended match.. I feel Murray will not be playing like he played yesterday.. Fearless..
    Murray is always a player who performs pretty well when in pressure

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  5. I am a fan of Murray after roger.. So i was so excited to see him perform well in 3rd set.. Had he played that aggressive game in set 1 and 2 i am sure he would have won the match.. Murray always starting to beat djoker when he plays aggressive like he did in Wimbledon final.. He has a great h2h record against Roger too so he can cope well with these guys but the key is player fearless and he will win.. Now after the delay all the momentum Murray gained and the crowd support will come to end.. Now we have to see how Murray plays today if he played the way he was playing in the end of 3rd set he will take away the match otherwise its all about djoker..

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  6. Brutal. Beastly. The birth of the Scottish beast?! If Murray rips that forehand and stays aggressive, he can win this. But can he stop the Serbian Houdini, the master escapist?!! Can’t wait to find out! If anything, the rain stops actually adds to the intrigue. If Murray loses it, then the rain surely broke his momentum. If he can win this, all hail King Murray!! And it would officially usher in the Djokeray era! I will be draping my English flag (don’t have a Scottish one. Never mind, Andy, you are English when you win! :-) ) and willing him on!! But bad news though for Roger at Wimby. Only a Roger 4.0 can stop this Murray.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Master escapist did it again Ronnie. I think he owns Murray now. 19-8 and 6-2 in slams. It’s almost getting to Fedal levels. Not sure Murray is the favorite if they meet at Wimby or USO.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Yeah, he escapes again. Damn, Murray needs to get it in his head that he has to hang with Djoker till the very end. Hang. Just like how Djoker hanged with Nadal. It’s now or never for Murray. If he doesn’t win one against Djoker by end of this year, he would be at Fedal level. He is in a good place. Finally back to full recovery after his ops. He has to continue exorcising the demons. Djoker has shown him how it was done with Nadal. Hang. Murray didn’t/couldn’t hang in the 5th. Just get the hang going first, Murray! Victory will come later.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t know how the Djoker does it myself. Like I said I thought he would lose after the 4th set, but then somehow he just raises the bar and it’s all over for Murray. He did it against Fed at Wimby last year and IW this year too. He just has that something extra. Almost like he plays within himself in case there is a deciding set, and then he plays as well as he is capable of! Never seen that. Extraordinary.

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  7. Btw, Ru-an, Ben, Susan, I watched that funny laughing video and I’m feeling left out! :-?? It’s all in Spanish and a crazy guy just laughing his guts out. Am I missing something here, guys?!! I watched like halfway waiting for something to happen (besides all that laughing) and then I caught it! I couldn’t stop laughing from then on, hysterically, like how he was!! So, did I get it right or am I still missing something?!! :-)

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  8. Ok ok ok ok I got it guys! The first time Ru-an posted it, somehow there was NO english translation. The second one had English and gosh omg omg omg Ru-an, Ben, you are geniuses. I’m hysterical. But seriously, even in the first version I watched where it was all Spanish, I was already laughing just hearing and watching that hysterical guy. But now, my stomach hurts, guys, stop it!! You are all blame if I die laughing =)) =))

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    Ben chia Reply:

    Hi. Veronica, the Video was found by Ru-an. First time i saw it, I laughed like a madman. Seriously, its a thing of beauty! I can’t save you bec I almost died laughing too. Side track, doko and Murray dead locked in the 4th!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    All ovah. Djo breadsticked Murray in the 5th set. Looked like a good practice session for Djo.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Btw, the English translation is not what the spaniard is actually saying, is it, Ben?!! Call me naive but I’m not sure! Whoever found this clip and did the script is a genius! I find the whole uncle Toni part absolutely brilliant. His creaky laugh which came after he said Djoker won in straights just floored me. Who is this guy? If he has a movie, I’m watching it!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No, it’s not what he is actually saying, Veronica. I’ve heard they used it for the boxing too. But yeah it was the perfect way to cap off the Nadal loss.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ;))

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    Veronica Reply:

    Call me naive again Ru-an, but what does your emoticon mean?! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I was giggling at you for missing the punchline the first time!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Oh I see! So it’s a giggle! No worries, Ru-an! I was having such a good laugh too at my own naive comment! Hahaha! Classic Ronster! :))

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  9. Truth is Murray played some amazing tennis much better than Djokovic. Djokovic’s level didn’t really drop but Murray took it to the level I was hoping from him from the beginning. I think he is back to late 2012-early 2013 levels and this guy is a treat to watch. Still think Djokovic will pull it off but Murray really does deserve to take it at least to a 5th set.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good call Ajay. Djo responded by raising his own level in the decider. Extraordinary how he can do that. Thought he was gonna lose after dropping the 4th set.

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  10. At least Murray forced a 5th set; not easy when momentum was lost and against the greatest beast in the world today! Things are looking good for the Scottish. Djoker ALWAYS finds another gear and ALWAYS runs away with it in final sets; handing out bagels/breadsticks along the way! You are as good as dead if you have the audacity to push Djoker to final sets. How does the guy do it?! Where do the mental and physical strength come from?! He can look like he is tired or makes a string of ufe or under pressure, then, in the blink of an eye, he cleans up his act and runs away with the match! Was Roger as dominant and have similar scores like Djoker in his prime?! I mean like running away with it? It’s like he has limitless resources where he can draw from anytime, anywhere, against anyone! Stan’s got his work cut out for him. Djoker has to dip and Stan play out of his mind to deny the Serb.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No Roger didn’t have similar scores Ronster. Usually when it went to a fifth set he collapsed mentally. Or if he won it wasn’t a bakery product. He often lost the fifth set 6-2 against the likes of Murray, Nadal, and Del Potro.

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  11. I’m seriously beginning to think that Murray will never win another important match against Djoko. Frankly a miracle that Murray managed to drag it into a 5-setter, thought for sure Novak was gonna take it in straight sets. Credits to Murray for fighting back though, I’ve gained more respect for him in the last few years. He looks close to his 2012-13 level. Not sure how he’s gonna beat Djokovic in the future. Maybe play a little more aggressive, I don’t know. There’s probably a good chance they’ll meet at Wimbledon too, and that could be a pivotal match in the Djokoray rivalry. If Novak beats Andy at Wimbledon as well, I think this rivalry will turn into a complete domination, like the Fedal matchup.

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    Vily Reply:

    Murray may have lost today but he’ll be a force to be reckoned with at Wimbledon. Roger’s chances there just took a turn for the worst. That is, if he even makes the Semis. Wouldn’t put my money on it. I’ll believe it when I see it. No matter the draw.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, BE Murray is too much of a pusher. That is why I don’t like him and why I’m glad he lost. He has always been defensive when it matters. Even Murray 2.0 which won two majors are too defensive. I hate pushers and that is why I hate Murray and Nadal out of the big 4 while I like Djokerer. When it came to the 5th set Djoker unleashed hell and pounded Murray off the court. It was delicious to see.

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  12. Ru-an, with your profusion of excellent posts, it’s impossible for us in the peanut gallery to keep up with our comments!

    Like Katyani, I don’t particularly see much to cheer about in Djokovic winning the Career Slam–it would simply be further confirmation that in the era of slowed, homogeneous surfaces, it’s far easier for a player with a consistent, mechanical baseline game to win all four majors playing in the same way.

    Nadal’s completion of the Career Slam was already farcical enough (remember the “grip change” that supposedly suddenly upped his service speed by 5-10 mph? And the ridiculously easy draw culminating in a lackluster final against an exhausted Djokovic, with only one set dropped along the way), I don’t really relish another such victory.

    Federer’s Career Slam was grueling. Even after Nadal was eliminated from the draw he had to battle like hell to win it. It remains one of the grittiest of his successful Grand Slam campaigns, where he displayed incredible mental toughness and determination to get by an inspired Haas and the heavy-hitting Del Potro.

    OTOH, Djokovic’s progress has largely had the feeling of a victory procession rolling along towards a foregone conclusion, having easily overcome a Nadal in very average form and not dropping a set on his way to the semis (Murray finally managed to take a couple sets off Djokovic, further indication that Nadal wasn’t playing at the level he was in previous years). Even the semi was anticlimactic–Murray tried attacking for two sets, only to quickly run out of gas in the fifth.

    People equate beating Nadal with winning RG because he’s come to embody the tournament, but let’s remember that the only other man to defeat Nadal at this tournament ended up losing in the final, and indeed never won despite making the final again. (Although he’s making a comeback after four years off due to mono, so maybe he’ll get there. Who knows?)

    Wawrinka’s my man for this one. I’d like him to come through and put an end to the claims that he got lucky in Melbourne last year. He’s put out the home favorite with some more explosive ball-striking. If he can raise his level one more notch for the final, he could potentially win. But I expect Djokovic’s defense to be as impenetrable as ever, despite having to play three days in a row. (Remember his 2011 USO triumph, after making that ridiculous comeback against Federer from two sets and match point down, only to pulverize Nadal in the final in four sets). “Gluten-free” Djokovic (or has he dropped the pretense that a gluten-free diet is responsible for his transforming into a superman? Can’t remember) doesn’t get tired, and Stan the Man will have his hands full trying to find openings to hit winners.

    Hopp Suisse!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers, Steve.

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  13. Well done to the Djoker! Supreme 5th set from him, Andy had no answer. Very happy with the way that Andy fought hard to win 2 sets, somI’m feeling positive about his Wimbledon chances

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  14. Does anyone but me think Stan can win? When he is on, he is a monster. Well, I guess we shall see, and if I’m wrong, so be it. G

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