The record 19-match winning streak had to end eventually. It’s just a shame it didn’t happen against someone likable. Like Del Potro. Then again, beating Del Potro in consecutive events was important for Djokovic.
A lot is being made of Djokovic losing in consecutive events to Kyrgios but no one seemed to notice that Del Potro, another great player, lost even earlier than Djokovic in consecutive events, against Djokovic.
It’s all about what you focus on. The media will focus on the losses to Kyrgios but Djokovic will focus on defeating Del Potro consecutively and doing so more convincingly the second time around.
He can go to Miami with plenty of confidence where he holds the record with Agassi of 6 titles. And surely this time he will get a better draw. Or else we will know for sure they rig the draws. With a good result in Miami, he can go into the clay court season on a high and start dominating again on a slow surface.
As for the match against Kyrgios, I needed some time to digest it. Djokovic dropped serve in the opening game and hit a couple of reverse backhands in the next game which I have never seen from him.
The whole first set he appeared disinterested and when he lost it 6-4 he smashed his racquet. That seemed to release some tension and he started playing better but it took his best clutch tennis just to force a tiebreak which he lost 7-3.
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) March 16, 2017
At first, I couldn’t figure out what happened but I never bought the explanation that he just didn’t care. Djokovic is too driven and intelligent for that. I think he was trying to get into Kyrgios’ head but Kyrgios was unplayable again.
His serving was off the charts again serving 14 aces and second serve aces or unreturnable second serves. Djokovic didn’t see a single break point and even from the baseline, Kyrgios was winning the longer exchanges.
It reminded me of Sampras who often served second serve aces when in trouble. But Kyrgios was never even in trouble on his serve. And that against the best returner of serve in history. Kyrgios is tall at 1.93 m which gives him an advantage on the serve but he is not so tall that it hampers his movement.
His movement and defense were very good. I don’t know how you beat that unless you have a similar serve which of course Federer has so the matchup suits him better. You can’t return what you can’t reach. Whether you are the greatest returner in history makes no difference.
Kyrgios is clearly not a good matchup for Djokovic in a sport of matchups. This is why they slowed down the courts after the ‘boring nineties’ or else the returner has zero chance. They sped up the courts in Melbourne a lot this year and I hope that doesn’t become a trend.
If you have guys pounding down ace after ace it gives them not only an unfair advantage, but it is also awfully boring for the spectators. Believe me, I know. I watched tennis in the nineties. That is why I switched from being a Sampras fan to being an Agassi fan.
- Federer Three-Peats Against Nadal
Finally, there seems to be life in this rivalry again. That hasn’t been the case since 2009 probably. Federer defeated Nadal with ease 6-2, 6-3 for s third straight time. He finally seems to have found the solution.
One would have thought that the slower Indian Wells courts would favor Nadal but, of course, Federer has defeated Nadal at Indian Wells before. On that occasion, the score was 6-3, 6-4. The key this time again was Federer’s backhand which he is hitting earlier and cleaner.
The rivalry is still heavily in Nadal’s favor and it seems that Nadal has declined before Federer even though there is a five-year difference in age but at least there is life in the rivalry again which is good for tennis.
Against Nadal, Federer played as well as ever and as I have said a million times before he has declined very little if at all. The competition has caught up so he is not as dominant as he once was but he is playing as well as ever. If not better than ever.
Fedfans deny this because they don’t like the idea that Federer at his best could lose so much to Djokovic but the fact is Djokovic’s level in 2015-2016 was the highest level of tennis ever played which is why it was the most dominant run in history in which he won the personal slam.
— Chiamarsi Fogna (@ChiamarsiFogna) March 16, 2017
But I’m sure now that Federer has won another slam and defeated his nemesis three consecutive times for the first time Fedfans won’t have any problem to admit that he is still playing at an incredibly high level.
Federer plays Kyrgios in a couple of hours and I expect him to win that and the tournament now. His serve will help him not to get broken the way Djokovic did and the same goes for when they enter the tiebreak.
The one time they met which was on clay in Madrid they went to three tiebreaks which is not surprising. It is just a serving contest which is kinda boring but at least the tiebreaks are interesting.
I guess the match can go either way but my gut feeling says Federer wins. Kyrgios lost to Querrey after he beat Djokovic in Acapulco. I don’t think he has ever beaten two top quality players in succession.
It is possible that he won’t be interested at all and just tanks like he so often does.