I’m currently preparing for exams but I’m trying to keep up with posting. Today was an interesting day in Monte Carlo with Murray and Wawrinka both losing while Nadal and Djokovic continued to progress.
Murray lost 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to Ramos-Vinolas and not only lost from a set up but from 4-0 in the third set as well. Clearly, all Murray’s effort went into reaching the number one ranking at the end of last year and he now has nothing left.
There is no way he should be losing from 4-0 up in the third against Ramos and this is now his third early exit in a big tournament since the beginning of the year. He still has a sizeable lead in the rankings thanks to Djokovic’s slump but it’s been a very disappointing run for him as the world number one.
- Djokovic Toughs Out Another Important Win
Djokovic, on the other hand, is not going to go down that easily. He toughed out another 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Carreno-Busta despite struggling again with his form. His lack of finishing power at the net, and in particular his overhead, is giving him nightmares but he is still finding a way around it.
He started very well as he went a set and a break up at 2-o in the second set but then slumped to 2-3. In the next game, he had two break back points at 40-15 on Busta’s serve but failed to put away an overhead and as a result failed to break back.
He also managed to dropped serve again to go down 2-5. He got one break back but at least but the damage was done. In the third set, the madness continued as Djokovic raised his game to break and take a 4-2 lead, only to lose the break right away with more disastrous finishing at the net.
At deuce, he missed an absolute sitter backhand volley wide and on break point, he hit another shocking overhead into the net. Then he came awfully close to getting broken himself while serving at 4-4 and 15-40.
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) April 20, 2017
Now he was flirting with disaster but came up with two clutch points to save himself and held serve. In the final game, he came back from 0-30 down to reel off four straight points for the victory. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective.
It was similar to Djokovic’s first round match. He is obviously still lacking confidence but these are the kinds of wins that will bring his confidence back. He now plays Goffin who defeated 6th seed Thiem 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. The head-to-head is 5-0 in Djokovic’s favor but who knows what will happen with Djokovic in his current form.
Goffin is a very competent opponent but maybe Djokovic can raise his level from his first two matches. I hope he does because I’d love to see a Djokodal semi-final.
- Nadal Raises His Game Against Zverev
Nadal easily defeated Zverev 6-1, 6-1 which was disappointing from Zverev but it seems Nadal means business. He wasn’t looking very convincing in his first match against Edmund but maybe he has now found his confidence on clay.
He next plays Schwartzman who is only 1.7 m tall but who has a very nice baseline game. Nadal shouldn’t have much trouble but we will see. Schwartzman is a tenacious player who moves very well and can come up with some surprisingly good groundstrokes.
Then Wawrinka lost 6-4, 6-4 to Cuevas whose game I’m a fan of. He has an especially nice-looking one-handed backhand. He totally outplayed Stan and will now play Pouille so he has a decent shot at making semis. Maybe he can even make the final because if he wins he will play the winner of Ramos and Cilic, who defeated Berdych in straight sets after his ex-coach Ivanisevic is now coaching Berdych!
So the top half is pretty open with the exit of Murray and Stan while the winner will probably come from the bottom half. Talk soon!