Masters Cup RR: Tipsarevic Upsets Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, Berdych Sends Him Packing

Again I didn’t see either of the matches today, but I can’t say that the Djokovic loss to Tipsarevic was all that surprising to me. Djokovic have been a shadow of himself of late, and losing 6-3, 6-1 to Ferrer was a demoralizing defeat. It was the same as the humiliation Roger inflicted on Nadal. Both Djokovic’s and Nadal’s confidence were damaged badly by their second round robin matches, and they just could not get it back up again for their final matches. The fact that Djokovic lost to Tipsarevic meant that if Ferrer beat Berdych, then Djokovic would still qualify for the semis. I was in fact hoping that would be the case so that we would have at least two of the top four in the semis, but it didn’t work out that way. Berdych beat Ferrer 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 after Ferrer was serving at 4-3 and 40-15 in the second set.

This meant Djokovic’s amazing season was over, which in turn meant that the debate between Roger’s 2006 and Djokovic 2011 seasons were officially over too. Djokovic ends the season with a 70-6 W/L record while Roger was 92-5 in 2006. Lets not forget that Djokovic withdrew in Paris too, which should really make his W/L record 70-7. He also ends with 10 titles compared to Roger’s 12. Then Roger also made one more slam final then Djokovic. The things that were on Djokovic’s side was his winning streak at the start of the year as well as his record 5 Masters Series titles. Those are things Roger could not achieve. But the fact that Djokovic failed to win the Masters Cup effectively ended the debate. Roger not only had two more titles than Djokovic now, but also a very important one in the Masters Cup.

Djokovic’s game style also clearly cost him. He played 21 matches less than Roger, the equivalent of about 4 tournaments. That is a lot of tennis. Roger was still fresh in the second part of the year, winning 6 titles post Wimbledon, while Djokovic could only manage 2. Djokovic had an incredible start to the year, but faded badly towards the end. Being breadsticked by Ferrer indoors must have been the low point of his year. I have said Djokovic should have skipped Paris, but in hindsight he should have skipped Basel too. If he did that he could have still been in the debate, and he would not have suffered some humiliating losses. But of course the money in Paris was just too hard for him to resist. He paid the price. These last three tournaments really took some of the shine off of what was an incredible year for him.

But in the end a player should be rewarded for having a more forgiving game style, and that was the case for Roger in 2006. It is also the case for him now, as he is the only top four player left standing after the Masters Cup round robin. Djokovic is utterly spent, Nadal just isn’t a very good indoor player and got abused by the GOAT, and Murray had yet another questionable injury. So it is not just about these players being spent at the end of a long season. Roger had his little role in two of these cases. Nadal took a long break and would have been fresh after his comeback, but the beating he took at the hands of Goderer had to really crush his confidence. He just couldn’t quite get it back together in time against Tsonga. Then I have also said that the ‘war of words’ between Roger and Murray was probably the cause of his ‘injury’.

So to blame the lack of success by the top four in London just on a long season is not quite fair. In Djokovic’s case the length of his season did play a role, but like I said it’s his own fault for not taking off more time before London. If he did what Nadal did he would have had a good chance at the Masters Cup. The last man standing is now the GOAT, who as usual has done and excellent job of managing his schedule and playing in an economical manner. When Roger decided not to go to the east, who would have thought at that time that it would turn out to be such a good decision? If he did go to Shanghai it is very doubtful that he would have been able to have this amazing streak he is now on. He would have gotten tired at some point. Now he is the favorite to win in London and make it three straight titles.

It is as if he can see into the future with his decisions. He certainly seems to be the GOAT in scheduling as well. But if you think about it, it is only justice that Roger is now doing so well while the grinders that is Murray, Nadal, and Djokovic are struggling. The courts have been slowed down so much these days that there are very few fast courts left. These grinders have been given an unfair advantage because of it, but they have also fallen into a trap. They have not learned to play more attacking tennis because of it and therefor it is taking it’s toll on their bodies. It is not only disadvantageous in the short run, but also in the long run. At age 30, Roger is looking just as likely to pick up a slam next year as any of his young rivals. His younger rivals are all 5-6 years younger then him, yet he is fresher than all of them at the end of the season.

Well the semi final line up has been decided, and Roger will play his turkey Ferrer who he has an 11-0 record against. I really am a bit disappointed that Djokovic did not end up being Roger’s semi-final opponent. But he will punish Ferrer for losing to Berdych anyway. I don’t see how Roger can lose this. If JesusFed shows up, which I expect, then we could be off the court in under an hour. One does not want to be over confident, but I can see only one result here. In the other semis it’s Tsonga vs Berdych.That should be a much closer contest. I don’t really care who wins. I guess Berdych in the final won’t be bad so that Roger can get another convincing win over him while indoors. We have also seen quite a bit of Roger vs Tsonga of late. This is now clearly Roger’s title to lose(or to win). But first things first. He has to beat Ferrer to have a shot at the title.

Roger Federer

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  1. The two tall guys can slog it out and we should have an atractive match between Roger and Ferrer.
    In my opinion this Master is more difficult to win than a GS.You have the top players, there are no easy draws as Nadal usually has.
    Hoping for another final, we are getting used to these Sundays ,so “never two without three”


  2. I feel sorry for Ferrer. In any other tournament, u defeat No.3 and No.1, in back to back matches, u r probably liftin the title. Not quite the case here. Having said that i still want Federer to win in London!!


    booya719 Reply:

    Good analysis. I really hope Federer can pull this title out for his ranking going into next year. If he wins this thing, he’s got a realistic shot at regaining the number 1 ranking next year.
    Nadal and Djokovic made the finals of just about every tournament so it’ll be hard for those guys to defend all their points next year. It’s definitely possible for Roger to squeak into the top ranking at some point next year if he can win either Rotterdam or Dubai, plus win either Indian Wells or Miami. He’d have to improve on his clay results where he lost early in Monte Carlo and Rome. SF results there and plus a SF in each grand slam, then in Toronto and Cincy if he wins either one of those that’s when he could regain the number 1 ranking.

    He’s gonna have to win: Rotterdam, Miami, Cincinnati, plus a SF in each slam as a well as QF or better results at all other tournaments. If Roger does this next year he can be world number 1 heading into the US Open.

    Roger would not necessarily have to win a slam next year in order to regain the ranking if he can win enough smaller tournaments due to the points being spread among Nadal and Djokovic. There is not a huge gap to overcome and those guys can take a big hit with even 1 early loss at a tournament next year.

    However, Roger has not won a spring hard court tournament since Miami of 2006 so it might be a tall order for Roger to get a Masters 1000 early next year…but he’s bound to win again there sooner or later if he keeps trying. I hope he can get the number 1 ranking even for 2 weeks at some point next year, just for the sake of the record which he is only 1 week shy of Sampras.


  3. To my mind, there should never have been a debate of Djokovic 2011 vs Roger 2006. But then, not everyone can appreciate beautiful tennis and the accomplishment of Roger like we do here. Back in 2006 (until 2007, I think), master tournaments were best of 5 sets, not 3, and correct me if am wrong, no first-round bye. Back then, the tour was much more demanding. Judging from the way Djokovic limps off the season, I don’t think he could last 3/4 of the season back then. If Novak can’t defend what he’s done this year in 2012, he can’t even be considered a great. There’s a Djokovic every generation, but there’s only one Federer in history and many generations to come.


    Kyle Johansen Reply:

    Very well put. I completely forgot that the Masters tournies were best of 5 in the finals, and in 2006 Roger played best of 5 sets in IW vs Blake, Miami vs Ljubicic, Rome vs Nadal, and then the Masters Cup final vs Blake. The tour most certainly was more demanding back then.


  4. Personally doubt anyone can beat Roger’s 2006-07 season. Perhaps not in next 5-8 years with currently grinding style of play. Roger is blessed with great team behind him who helped him manage his schedule and pro-long his career in tennis.


  5. HEY RU-an.I am back.just been reading all your previous blogs and just got the time to comment on this one.Excellent as always.and Good news is Federer is into his 100th tour level final and waiting for either tsonga or berdych in the finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.Federer beat Ferrer 7-5,6-3


  6. It’s Fed vs. Tsonga in the final. As V. Adhithya just stated, it’s Roger’s 100th final. And if he wins tomorrow, he’ll have won 70 of those finals, for a nice, exact 70% winning percentage—that’s such a clean number. Surely a victory is preordained; God likes precision when it comes to math.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Of course :-)


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