Djokovic Breaks New Ground in Tennis with 6th Masters Title in a Season | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Breaks New Ground in Tennis with 6th Masters Title in a Season

Before I continue, go to this link to understand why Djokovic is the most dominant athlete in sports today and don’t believe that it is because of a ‘weak era’. Djokovic going out all alone on the practice court 5 minutes after having beaten Simon to practice serves tells you everything you need to know about why he hardly ever loses a match.

In 2006, it was Federer’s talent. In 2015, it is Djokovic’s sheer dedication and drive. He is an utter perfectionist and his own biggest critic. If there is the smallest thing that can be improved he works on it relentlessly.

“I try to take nothing for granted,” Djokovic said. “I try to work on my game all the time, because I know that the only way I can stay successful is to continue progressing. I’m not trying to keep the status quo, because for me, that’s a regression.

“I just try to improve all the time, work on certain things in my life and my game, and hopefully get better in the process.”

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I’m just loving the status quo quote. Fuck the status quo! If you want to remain weak and mediocre your entire life then the status quo is a fantastic option.

Djokovic leaves no stone unturned and nothing to chance. It’s no wonder then that he crushed the second best player in the world 6-2, 6-4 again today to win a record 6th Masters title in a season. Don’t believe the weak era talk because the people who make these claims are ignorant and weak and have to tear down all extraordinary achievement.

They are pessimistic and can’t perceive greatness. These people will never achieve greatness themselves because they won’t allow it in others. There is no magic in their lives because they don’t believe in magic. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.

Djokovic wants to be the GOAT and he won’t rest until he achieves that dream. Today he made another big step in that direction by achieving something no one in history has ever achieved. So a huge congrats to him.

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It’s been a privilege as a fan to follow his season and, of course, there is still the big one left in London where Djokovic will be aiming to chalk up the best tennis season ever. It would be better than Federer’s 2006 season since Djokovic has now won two Masters more than Federer did in 2006.

Djokovic is on a 22-match winning streak and it will be interesting to see whether he can end unbeaten in London and try to make a run at his own personal best winning streak of 41 matches.

With this title, Djokovic is also one behind Nadal’s record of 27 Masters titles and it is just a question of time before he shatters that record which is heavily dependent on clay anyway.

  • The Match

Well, what is there to say really? Djokovic now owns Murray 21-9 and 6-2 in slams. He is just a much better player. He has also won 10 out of the last 11 matches with Murray. Just complete ownage. This is because Murray doesn’t have the drive and positive attitude of Djokovic.

You almost feel sorry for Murray. He looks a bit like a lost child out there against Djokovic. It’s funny how in my last post I mentioned that if Djokovic was a set and a break up he wouldn’t want the same thing to happen that happened against Stan.

It almost did because he was a break up at 2-1 in the second set and then dropped serve and went down 0-30 on his serve at 2-3. And this time it was not the Djokosmash but a poor judgement that started it when he didn’t hit a ball that dropped in.

But as I hoped for this time he didn’t allow the same thing to happen as against Stan and got his act together. So in the end another week which was pretty much flawless from Djokovic and very satisfying as a fan.

He is now also the first man to win four Paris Masters titles surpassing his coach Becker. That after he just won the most titles in Shanghai. What a ridiculous year this has turned out to be. And again, for me the US Open final was a huge moment.

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He has only lost one set since then and might well not be beaten again this year. Obviously if he lost that match he would have no chance of chalking up the best season ever and he’d have no shot at becoming the GOAT either.

That was a watershed moment not only in terms of this season but also in terms of his career. There was much talk about Djokovic having a better season than he did in 2011, but for me the US Open was always going to be the moment of truth.

He has proven to me that he is now truly in his peak at 28 years of age and that he will make a huge onslaught on Federer’s slam record in the next few years.

“I think there are few reasons why I have managed to reach my peak at this stage of my career this year,” Djokovic said. “I think in terms of physical and mental ability, I have reached my peak experience‑wise. Of course, I did go through certain periods of doubts and when I wasn’t as successful. It all served as a great lesson, as a way to improve and to get better. So this season, everything came together.

Nobody can be perfect, but if you are going for perfection, you might reach excellence. That’s the kind of mindset I have.”

  • The World Tour Finals

So we are down to the culmination of the tennis season in London where the eight best players in the world will be battling it out for one of the biggest prizes in tennis. Nishikori got injured yet again in Paris so he is in doubt. If he withdraws Gasquet will replace him.

I don’t remember when the groups are drawn, but that’s going to be interesting to see if the big three all end up in the same group. That is what I am hoping for anyway.

That would really be the dream draw but either way you are going to have at least two of them in the same group. Fedal can’t avoid each other AND Djokovic. That is what I like about this format. There is no avoiding if you are in the same group with someone.

So either way we are going to see exciting matchups. We may even see the big three meeting each other more than once. I’m sure Federer is looking to make amends after another early exit in Paris while Nadal will want to keep improving.

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And don’t forget Stan and Murray who is both playing well and, of course, Stan had a very good tournament in London last year. The semi-finalists will probably come out of those five players and it will also be interesting to see what the other three can achieve.

This is probably the most excited I’ve been about the World Tour Finals. There are just so many interesting possible scenarios.

I’d like to see Djokovic improve his head-to-heads with Fedal some more and win a fifth World Tour Finals to cap off the greatest tennis season in history. Seeing records broken is always exciting.

Ps. I was amazed to see how upset Djokovic got at himself today in the second set at small things. The guy is just obsessed and will stop at nothing to become the GOAT. Truly inspirational stuff!

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Djokovic Bagels Wawrinka to Make Record 14th Consecutive Final of the Season | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Bagels Wawrinka to Make Record 14th Consecutive Final of the Season

Are you kidding me? Djokovic dropped a set! A couple more records tumbled in the last two days under the onslaught of the world number one as he got the most wins over top ten opponents in a season yesterday and extended that record to 26 today with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 win over Stan.

Then he also made a record 14th consecutive final in a calendar year today breaking the previous record of 13 set by Vilas in 1977. As for overall consecutive finals, Lendl is still in the lead at 18 with Federer in second place at 17. It will be interesting to see how close Djokovic can come to those records if not surpass them.

The record for most wins over top 10 opponents is very impressive because if he wins tomorrow and a few more matches in London he will surpass the previous record of 24(held by himself and Nadal) top ten wins by a large number.

But what could be even more impressive is if he wins a record sixth Masters titles in a season tomorrow. I thought Stan had a chance of taking him out today, but now it’s hard to see him being stopped.

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Sure Murray has looked good and defeated Ferrer handily 6-4, 6-3 today. But Stan is probably the most dangerous opponent for Djokovic and the fact that he bageled Stan in the third set today is an ominous sign for Murray.

That said, I certainly think there is room for improvement for Djokovic and I hope to see that improvement tomorrow. Today he was up 6-3 and 2-0 after breaking in the opening game of the second set and holding serve.

But then he fucked up badly with another Djokosmash which effectively handed the momentum right back to Stan and it triggered and epic collapse that lasted five games. He got broken again in the sixth game after some more poor net play.

This is where it became apparent that Djokovic’s finishing power still needs work. Not only at the net but also from the baseline. It always occurs to me when he plays Stan because Stan can really crush the ball for winners while Djokovic doesn’t have that power.

It’s tough to call it a flaw because like I said before you sacrifice speed for strength. If Djokovic has more power he would be like Stan and won’t be able to move as well as he does.

But there is no doubt he probably has the worst overhead of any number one ever. And he doesn’t always put away volleys that can be put away. But he also has one of the best coaches for that in Becker.

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Only at 2-5 was Djokovic able to stop the rot but by then the damage was done. Stan leveled the score, but Djokovic immediately held serve to love in the third set and broke serve right away too. He was just perfect in the third set and after I was quite annoyed at his poor net play in the second set it was quickly forgotten after the bagel.

You can say Djokovic has some flaws in his game because he doesn’t have the volleys of Federer or the power of Stan but those are hardly flaws and he is so good in other areas that it only helps players to win sets, not matches.

Sometimes it costs him like it did against Stan in the French Open final but it is a very rare occurrence. By dropping a set to Stan today, it was the first time since the US Open final that Djokovic lost a set after winning 29 consecutive sets.

So congrats to Stan for that achievement. I guess the Swiss boys are still the Djoker’s biggest threats!

  • Final Preview

I didn’t watch much of the Murray vs Ferrer match. I just saw that Murray got the early break and that Ferrer broke back. But in the end another very good win for Murray who increases his lead over Federer in the rankings again.

At this point, it does look like Murray will be the second seed in Australia. Murray is still showing very good consistency like he has throughout this season and deserves that number two ranking.

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Tomorrow he will try to defeat Djokovic again like he did in the Montreal final, but I think this time Djokovic is in less of a mood to lose. He leads the head-to-head with Murray 20-9 now after crushing him 6-1, 6-3 in Shanghai.

So after doubting Djokovic yesterday he is again my favorite to win the title tomorrow. I don’t think he will be happy with what happened in the second set against Stan today, but he will also take a lot of confidence from the bagel.

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I think he wants to put in a cleaner performance tomorrow and try to win in straight sets. That goes without saying, but I just think if he goes a set and a break up again that he won’t collapse again.

We know Murray is a quality opponent though so the final should be well worth watching. And that is not even mentioning the history that is on the line.

Should be fun!

What happens tomorrow?

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Djokovic Bagels Wawrinka to Equal Federer and Edberg for Most Australian Open Finals | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Bagels Wawrinka to Equal Federer and Edberg for Most Australian Open Finals

Well, it went to five sets as I thought it would but in the end it didn’t meet the expectations. I couldn’t watch the match because the Internet in Thailand was too poor, but looking at the match stats the quality was not what was expected. For both players, the unforced errors by far exceeded the winners. And, of course, Stan faded away in the final set as he got bageled 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 by Djokovic. In a way, I am glad this happened because I would have been even more frustrated with the internet here if it turned out to be another classic. This means the Australian Open, which is my favorite slam these days, turned out to be a bit of a disappointment this year. I’m trying to stay positive, but first Roger lost in the third round, Nadal’s form was poor(not necessarily a bad thing but it kills some of the suspense), neither of the semi-finals was particularly interesting, and now we have a poor match up in the final.

I am trying to believe that the final can be a good match, but since Djokovic and Murray play similar games you have an uninteresting match up. Basically, they just rally from the baseline and run every ball down until someone makes an error or hits a winner. The interesting match ups are always the ones where the opponents have very different games styles, like Roger and Djokovic, Sampras and Agassi, or Borg and Mcenroe. I’m not saying it can’t be a watchable match, and I will watch it myself if my connection allows it. Their 2012 Australian Open semi-final was a good match and their 2012 US Open final went to five sets as well. But it’s not a classic match up. On Sunday Djokovic will, of course, try to win a record fifth Australian Open title which I find kind of exciting by itself. I’m sure that is not the case for most Fedfans, but I think it’s always interesting when a player breaks a big record(unless it’s Nadal).

In fact if Djokovic does it he will have done something that Roger have not done himself, which is to win the most titles at any given slam. Roger is tied for the most slams at three different slams, but he doesn’t hold the record by himself at any of those. And he has come awfully close at holding the record himself at all of them. In Australia, he should have won that final against Nadal in 2009. At Wimbledon, he lost two epic five setters against Nadal and Djokovic. And finally at the US Open he should have won that 2009 final against Del Potro after he was a set and a break up. But if you are Roger you are not gonna complain about having the joint record at three out of the four slams. And maybe he can still get that record by himself at Wimbledon or the US Open which would be the ideal final big achievement. But if Djokovic wins on Sunday he will not hold the record in Melbourne anymore.

Personally I am not too bothered about that but yes I wouldn’t mind if Roger gets the record by himself in London or New York. I think Djokovic is the best player on medium to slow hard court anyway. Roger is the best on hard court overall because he has nine slams on the surface as well as six World Tour Finals titles. I don’t think Djokovic will ever surpass those records but who knows. He still has a long way to go. But I think he will get the record in Melbourne whether this year or not. And let’s face it he deserves it after the way he heroically defeated Nadal in the 2012 final, and in doing so he succeeded in slaying the monster where Roger failed in the 2009 final. I think Murray has a shot tomorrow, but Djokovic is the favorite. Murray has already done well to make the final after a tough year for him, but I think Sunday we will see the emergence of the Australian Open king.

 

Highlights:

Djokovic and Tsonga to Meet in Shanghai Championship Match | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic and Tsonga to Meet in Shanghai Championship Match

Today I was privileged to see two superb matches which saw Djokovic and Tsonga advance to the final where they will battle it out for the Shanghai Masters title. The first semi-final between Tsonga and Nadal turned out to be a terrific battle which Tsonga won 6-4, 0-6, 7-5. The second semi-final was a one-sided masterclass from the world number one as he embarrassed Murray 6-1, 6-3. And both matches were equally good to watch.

Tsonga was electric in the first set against Nadal and clearly feels very comfortable on the Decoturf. It compliments his offensive game nicely. In the second set, Tsonga slumped to 0-6 but in the third set he was right back to his devastating offensive best. He finally broke Nadal at 5-5 and in the final game made a fantastic dive volley which helped him to hold serve and win the exciting encounter. When Tsonga plays like this he is a joy to watch.

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He is flamboyant and entertaining. As for Nadal, it was still a very positive week for him where he kept improving after Beijing. He may not be back to his very best yet, but he may have lost to Tsonga in these conditions at his best too. I don’t see this as a setback for Nadal at all. Just more progress. Tsonga is a very powerful player who can beat anyone on a given day, especially on a surface which is a little faster. He hits huge and has a complete game.

As for Djokovic, what more can you say about the guy? You run out of superlatives. When that seems impossible, he gets even better. Today was one of his best matches all year I think. What was particularly impressive was his net game. He was playing like a legit volleyer out there. It was the most comfortable I have ever seen him look at the net. So it seems he keeps evolving into a more and more offensive player which is good for his longevity.

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Murray had no answer. It was a one-man show. Murray did well just to hold onto his last service game which helped to add some respectability to the scoreline, but not much. This was proper revenge for the Montreal final, served cold the way only Djokovic can. He now leads the head-to-head with one of his main rivals 20-9. Seriously, who can stop this guy from dominating in the years to come? He is just on another level than anyone else.

  • Final Preview

As for the final, Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Tsonga 13-6, but most of Tsonga’s wins came before Djokovic hit his prime. Since 2011 Djokovic has won 11/12 matches, with the only loss coming last year in Canada with a surprising scoreline of 6-2, 6-2. Not sure what happened there. Maybe Djokovic was injured. The point is I don’t think there are many people who think Tsonga has a chance. Djokovic looks supremely dominant.

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He is playing maybe the most dominant tennis season in the history of tennis although of course Federer’s 2006 season is at this point still more dominant. He also loves playing in Asia where he is the king. If he wins tomorrow he will win a record third Shanghai title after winning a sixth title in Beijing last week. Since getting over the all-important US Open hurdle he has been released and a clean sweep of the fall season is not out of the question.

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But he still has to beat Tsonga who is a worthy opponent in these conditions. The last time they played in Shanghai Djokovic won 6-2, 7-5. Tsonga would do very well to get seven games again, but it also depends on Djokovic’s form. Usually, he rises to the occasion in finals in which case Tsonga will struggle to win games. But it’s hard to believe Djokovic will play as well as he did against Murray so maybe we will at least see a little more competitive match.

  • Highlights

The Youtube highlights for Shanghai has been poor. The tournament sounds full of shit on Twitter and probably took most of the highlights down. Point of the year between Djokovic and Murray?

  • Match Stats

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The is in your court.

Djokovic and Nadal to Meet for 47th Time in Doha Final | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic and Nadal to Meet for 47th Time in Doha Final

As expected, Djokovic and Nadal made it to the final of Doha but not without some trouble in the case of Nadal who went to three sets twice.

Djokovic hasn’t been at his best either needing a tiebreak in the second set today against Berdych and being 3-5 down in the second set against Mayer yesterday. As usual, though, Djokovic raised his game when it mattered most.

Djokovic was on the verge of losing his first set since the Paris semis last year when he trailed Mayer by 3-5 in the second set but reeled off four straight games to win 6-3, 7-5. It has to be said he had help from Mayer as well.

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Today against Berdych in the second set tiebreak, however, he just raised his game to win the breaker 7-3 and the match 6-3, 7-6(3). But like I said, Djokovic has not looked like his old self so far in 2016.

As a fan, I’m not worried because as I said before this is the first tournament of the year and an ATP 250 at that. It’s a good event for Djokovic to get back into things after getting away from tennis for the first time in a year.

That said, I think tomorrow against Nadal we can expect to see a sharper and more motivated Djokovic than we have seen so far this week. The rivalry is now tied at 23-23 and Djokovic has the opportunity to take the lead for the first time.

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After all this time, I don’t think that is something he wants to miss out on. Djokovic is 8-1 in their last nine meetings so you don’t expect him to lose. And aside from that he’d want to start the season in the best way possible by winning his first title in Doha.

He has looked better than Nadal this week, but you never know. Djokovic has just looked very much in control of the rivalry and, of course, spanked Nadal 3 and 3 in London.

It will be interesting to see what Nadal does tomorrow to try and change things around. But personally, I don’t see what he can do other than hope Djokovic plays poorly. He doesn’t have enough options to trouble Djokovic.

Not that anyone has these days, but it’s like Djokovic has completely figured Nadal out and the only way Nadal can beat him is if he plays very poorly. We will see. It should be fun.

  • Thiem Upsets Cilic in Brisbane

I was happy to hear that Thiem continued his good start to 2016 by upsetting Cilic 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in Brisbane and making the semis. He will now play Federer who defeated Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 in a low-quality match.

I don’t mean to sound overly critical of Federer but losing a set to Dimitrov is not a promising sign. It’s astonishing how weak Dimitrov is in the mental department. After choking badly when serving for the second set at 5-4, it was only thanks to a very untimely double fault from Federer in the tiebreak that Dimitrov managed to win a set.

I don’t think Federer will be very happy at all that he allowed Dimitrov to win the second set and although it’s still early days, this could well be a sign that Federer’s form is slipping.

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That’s what usually happens when Nadal’s form rises so I won’t be all that surprised if Federer loses to Thiem or in the final. In the other semis, it is Tomic vs Raonic so Federer will face two more tough opponents if he wants to win the event.

Thiem certainly won’t be a pushover. As mentally as erratic as he can be he is still an awful lot better than Dimitrov in that department. I am looking forward to seeing how Thiem fares anyway.

If Federer doesn’t get his act together Thiem has a great shot of causing the big upset. He has nothing to lose so he will just go out there and swing freely and he does have some damaging weapons.

 

Finally, Stan is still on route to a fourth title in Chennai after straight setting Garcia-Lopez. He will play his buddy Paire next while the other semi-final will be between promising youngster Coric and Bedene.

 

Ps. I should also mention that Djokovic has now gone a year without losing before the final of any event, which is a pretty special record in itself. One wonders how long he can keep that up.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Djokovic and Nadal On Course for Semi-Final Meeting in Indian Wells | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic and Nadal On Course for Semi-Final Meeting in Indian Wells

Since my last post both Djokovic and Nadal had two more wins each. Djokovic over Kohlschreiber and Lopez and Nadal over Verdasco and Zverev. Djokovic defeated Kohlschreiber 7-5, 7-5 which meant he would face the player who he had to pull out against in Dubai due to an eye infection.

I guess he wanted to make a statement in that match because he schooled Lopez 6-3, 6-3 in a devastating display of baseline mastery. Nadal, on the other hand, defeated Verdasco 6-0, 7-6(9) in a rematch of the Australian Open first round this year.

Nadal did well to win that second set tiebreak against a dangerous Verdasco but against Zverev he got lucky when Zverev choked at 7-6(8), 0-6, 5-3 and 40-30 by missing an easy volley to the open court.

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I was very impressed with Zverev nonetheless. He is only 18 years old and this will be a good learning experience for him. It will hurt a lot because he was on the brink of the biggest win of his career but in the end it will make him stronger.

I liked everything I saw from this kid. He has a big game and was clutch in the first set tiebreak. Yes he choked at the end but that happens. Especially if you are only 18 years old and playing against a 14-time slam champ.

I think he has a very bright future ahead and I like his game too. In the top half quarterfinal matches which will be played tomorrow Djokovic will play Tsonga while Nadal plays Nishikori. Tsonga defeated Thiem 6-3, 6-2 but Thiem still did well by defeating Sock in the previous round.

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You’d expect Djokovic to get by Tsonga who he has beaten 10 times out of their last 11 meetings. As for Nadal against Nishikori that will be interesting because Nadal seems to be getting better but of course Nishikori can beat him.

I hope Nadal wins anyway because I’d like to see a Djokodal semi-final.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

In the bottom half both Murray and Wawrinka is gone after Goffin defeated him. Goffin also won already today againt Cilic so he is the first player in the semis. The quarterfinal that still has to be played is between Monfils and Raonic.

Obviously I favor Raonic there who I also favor to make the final. But who knows. Looking forward to tomorrow’s tennis!

  • Highlights

🎾

Djokovic and Murray Top Their Groups After First Two Rounds in London | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic and Murray Top Their Groups After First Two Rounds in London

Good day. Since my last post, Thiem defeated Monfils 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in the Lendl group while Djokovic kept improving against Raonic as he won 7-6(6), 7-6(5).

I was happy that Thiem got his first World Tour Finals win while I couldn’t feel bad for Monfils since he is just ‘there for Murray’. Why even bother to show up if you are there for another player? The last time I checked tennis was an individual sport.

As for Djokovic, I was very pleased with what I saw. It still wasn’t his best tennis but his mental strength and inner competitor were back. He simply refused to let Raonic get the better of him and made a big clutch play in each tiebreak.

The first one was at 5-5 when he hit a perfectly timed lob on Raonic’s serve and the second one was even more important at 4-5 on his own serve when Raonic hit a very awkward ball to his feet at the net and he made a great two-handed half-volley winner.

That two-hander is such an important and versatile shot for him and it is great to see it back in full flow. This performance affirmed what we already saw in his first match which was that his desire and fire was back.

He was vocal and animated again. Once that part is back the game will follow as well as the confidence. He will now end at the top of his group regardless of what happens against Monfils but with how close things are between him and Murray he’d definitely want to win that match.

That is an extra 200 ranking points if he wins. Ideally, he wants to play a good clean match that gives him maximum confidence before the semis. The match between Raonic and Thiem will then decide who qualifies second in the Lendl group.

  • Murray Escapes Nishikori

Murray and Nishikori started today’s singles and Murray ended up winning 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4. Nishikori started off very well in a closely contested first set but then faded in the end when he started playing too many drop shots and his serve betrayed him again.

It’s a shame because if he maintained his level of the first set it is very likely he would have won. He just made some really poor decisions toward the end there. And he made a shocking volley to get broken for the first time in the third set.

Either way, Murray is now at the top of his group but won’t necessarily end there depending on what happens in the last round. Wawrinka can always catch fire and beat anyone. He is about to play against Cilic so we will see what happens there.

Djokovic and Federer Win First Round Matches at Wimbledon | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic and Federer Win First Round Matches at Wimbledon

Before I continue with my post I just want to correct something from my previous post where I said that if Djokovic wins Wimbledon he will become the first man to win five consecutive slams. That is incorrect.

He will become the first man in the open era to do so if he does it because Don Budge won six consecutive slams in the amateur era from 1937-1938. It’s a minor detail but worth mentioning I thought.

Djokovic is currently on a historic run and every match he wins is more history. Today he defeated local player Ward 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 after leading 6-0, 3-0. It was a blistering start from the two-time defending champion but as soon as Ward got on the board he started playing with much more self-belief.

At 6-0, 3-0 the triple bagel looked possible but Ward won three consecutive games to level at 3-3. He even had a couple of break points at 5-5 on Djokovic’s serve but couldn’t convert. Djokovic all of a sudden looked vulnerable.

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It just goes to show how quickly things can change in tennis. If Ward converts a breakpoint there and wins the second set all of a sudden we have a match. But one of the main reasons Djokovic is as good as he is is his mental fortitude.

He saves the breakpoints and played a safe tiebreak to win it 7-3. In the third set, he got the break in the third game and from there on it was just a question of holding on to serve for the straight-set win.

In the end, even though it turned out to be a much tougher match than was expected halfway through it was a satisfactory performance and good start to his title defense. With Djokovic, the early rounds in slam don’t reveal much anyway.

Djokovic next plays Mannarino who is a talented French player and interestingly they have never played each other before. You would think Mannarino lacks the weapons to hurt Djokovic though.

  • Federer Shakes Off Some More Rust Against Pella

Federer had a tougher time of it against lefty Pella but eventually prevailed 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3. He should have gotten breaks in the first and second sets but the important thing is that he got the job done in the tiebreaks and avoided dropping a set.

Pella was playing quite well and he didn’t want him to get into the match too much. There was still plenty of rust from Federer but the fact that he got the job done in straight sets will boost his confidence.

For him, it is all about getting matches under his belt and getting match sharp again. So in that sense, this was a successful outing for him. He now plays another Brit Marcus Willis who had a fairytale run so far at Wimbledon.

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I read somewhere that the world #775 was not supposed to be in the pre-qualifying draw but someone withdrew and he got in. He then won three pre-qualifying rounds, played a British league match, and then won three qualifying rounds to qualify for the main draw.

Then today he beats Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. Astonishing. And as if that isn’t enough he now plays the 7-time Wimbledon champion, Federer. It’s one of those stories that you feel it was meant to be as if he was destined.

I’m sure playing Federer is like the ultimate for him and he will be just happy to be on the court with the legend. But who knows. Federer still has plenty of rust and I’m sure Willis won’t lack any confidence after winning seven consecutive matches on the grass.

It will be a fun match to watch that’s for sure, just to see if Willis can make it competitive.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

There were three seeds who fell in the first round today namely Kohlschreiber(21), Anderson(20), and Monfils(17). Other than that there isn’t much to report on.

As for tomorrow, the most interesting match will be between Thiem and Mayer. Clearly, for me, the top half is the interesting half where you have Djokovic and Federer. Therefore, my posts will mostly be about the top half until the final.

  • Highlights

🙃

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Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

6 Comments

  1. I watched Djokovic, but not Federer. Ward is a dangerous player with some weapons and big heart. On his day, he can hurt anyone. Djokovic has done well

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    True. Ward has a good game. Tall guy with a big serve and big groundies. He should be doing better than challenger tour. Lacks dedication I think.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi all,

    Posting again here and glad to have Wimbledon to get away from problems in my home country (UK), I’m sure you know what has happened unless you have been living under a rock the past week so I won’t divert the conversation by going into it here. I was disappointed with Federer’s performance against Pella in the first two sets but towards the end of the third he played a lot better. Whilst Marcus Willis has nothing to lose against Federer you would think he would be a little overawed by Centre Court and shouldn’t offer as much resistance as Pella unless something goes really weird. As for Djokovic and Murray neither of their performances were that great either, too much inconsistency which will cost them against better opposition later into the tournament. Hoping to see a major step up in the next two or three rounds from the top 3.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, quite an upset with Brexit wasn’t it? A little taste of what is to come in the US later this year if Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee. Then you are looking at a Trump presidency. People are tired of establishment politics. Anyway, I hope it works out for you and doesn’t affect you in a bad way.

    I didn’t watch tennis today aside from the end of the third set between Kyrgios and Stepanek. I was going to watch Thiem but it rained out. Looking forward to tomorrow where Djokovic will be on center court followed by Federer. I didn’t watch the third set of Federer vs Pella. Sounds like that match did Federer’s confidence a lot of good. I can’t see Willis putting up much resistance. He will be tired by now and the occasion will be too big for him.

    [Reply]

  3. @Charlie: If you are a Federer fan it is normal that you would be anti-immigration/pro-Brexit; curbing immigration was almost exclusive reason why people voted for Brexit. Federer is for those who are fascinated by elite/”elite”, by Rolex and Moet while Djokovic is for those who are for underprivileged masses.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    True, George, but I don’t think Brexit is necessarily a bad thing. From what I hear Britain was the puppet of the US in the EU, their access as it were who they used to keep Europe from reaching its full potential. So in the bigger picture, it may not be such a good thing for the elite.

    [Reply]

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Djokovic Advances as Murray Falls in Indian Wells | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Advances as Murray Falls in Indian Wells

Just a quick update from about what has happened so far in Indian Wells. The world number one Djokovic dropped another set in his first match against Frantangelo who I’ve never seen play before.

He ended up winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 after a slow start against a player who was probably playing the match of his life. It was a bit concerning to see Djokovic losing the opening set after dropping two sets against Kukushkin in Davis Cup as well.

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But he opened the bakery in the second set and in the end I was very impressed with how he came back. I guess it just took a little while for him to adjust because the old Djokovic is back and he will probably win the tournament now.

Then yesterday Murray got upset by Del Bonis who came back from a break down in the third set to defeat Murray 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3). Unlike Djokovic, Murray didn’t have to the quality to come back from a set down and a slow start.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

Nadal advanced to the third round as well after a tough test from Muller to win 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. He now plays Verdasco in a rematch of that Australian Open first round which Verdasco won.

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Stan also won yesterday and is probably the favorite to make the final in the bottom half now although I’m sure Raonic and Berdych will have something to say about that.

Today there will be some good matches with Djokovic in action again against Kohlschreiber, Thiem against Sock in the battle for the big forehands, and Nadal against Verdasco.

Enjoy!

🎾

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Davis Cup Final to be Played on Indoor Clay and Federer to Play in the IPTL | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Davis Cup Final to be Played on Indoor Clay and Federer to Play in the IPTL

Hey folks. I hope all is well. It’s been a bit quiet since the Swiss defeated Italy in the Davis Cup but recent news is that the French decided on indoor clay for the Davic Cup final which takes place on the weekend after the Masters Cup, and we have already been discussing it on my Facebook page. It was always gonna be indoors but it wasn’t known which surface the French would opt for. In the end indoor clay makes the most sense for them for the following reasons:

  1. The Masters Cup is played on indoor hard and of course Roger and Stan will be there while it’s unlikely that a French player will be there. This will give the French players plenty of time to prepare on the clay while Roger and Stan will have less time to prepare on a different surface from which they played on at the Masters Cup.
  2. The fact that Roger and Stan will play the Masters Cup means that they will be more tired than the rested French. They will have a few days to recover after London but they will be off to France to start preparing for the Davis Cup tie and deal with the media. And given that clay is the most physically demanding surface this makes sense for the French too. If Roger and Stan play doubles they will have to play three best of five set matches in three days. Now that is a lot of tennis and could take its toll. In this way the French can force Roger out of the doubles. We know the French have a lot of depth and many good doubles players, while the same can’t be said for the Swiss. If Roger does not play doubles, which is a good possibility, then the French will probably win the doubles. This is still OK if Roger wins both his singles matches. If he sits the doubles out he will be expected to do so, while Stan will probably play doubles and therefor has a bigger chance of being tired and losing a singles match.
  3. Then there is the question of clay being the Swiss number one’s least favorite surface. We all know Roger is a great clay court player but he is just better on hard court. So I think the French figured if they can force Roger out of the doubles then clay is the surface on which they have the best chance to steal a singles win over him. Tsonga did straight set Roger in that French Open semi last year and Roger only just scraped by him in Monte Carlo this year. So he could be a danger to Roger on clay. But then again he could be a danger to him on hard court too. And as far as Stan goes his favorite surface may be clay, so that could backfire for the French.

In the end I don’t think the surface is such a big deal but of course the French had the advantage of choosing the surface and they were gonna try to make the best of it. But we have seen how choosing clay backfired for the Swiss when they chose it at home against the USA in 2012 and they got whitewashed 5-0. So this is mostly speculation and like I said we know Fedrinka are very competent cay court players.

Will we see something like this again come November?

Now onto something different namely the fact that Roger will play in the International Premiere Tennis League on December the 7th and 8th in Delhi, India. This decision comes after the withdrawal of Nadal after his usual injury excuse, even though he has made it clear he will play a full indoor season. I guess he is not even trying to hide anymore. So the first thing that bothered me about this decision from Roger was that he is replacing Nadal. This means Nadal gets needed rest while Roger misses out on needed rest. The Australian Open next year will be very important for both players and now it seems like Nadal is doing the wise thing while Roger is not. I don’t know how long Roger will be in India. Someone on Twitter said two weeks. The matches are only a set long and it is only two matches, but it is the travelling and the dealing with media.

I am not saying it is the wrong decision, but I do have questions about it. Roger is usually very good with scheduling but in the past there has been a few questionable decisions regarding exhos he played. Most notably the one he played at the end of 2007 with Sampras in China and then falling ill with mono. Then there was the South-American tour at the end of 2012 where he developed the back problems afterwards. It just seems to me that after a busy season it is better to take a break than going on tours. He already has the exho with Stan as it is. That said, Roger is not the selfish type and it is also important that he thinks about the sport as a whole and to give back to the sport that gave him a great life. I am not second guessing him. I am just raising a few questions because 2014 has been such a great comeback season and I’d like him to keep the momentum going into 2015.

I am especially looking forward to the Australian Open because Roger may not have reached his best level yet after the long slump of 2013 and all the changes he made since. He may also be able to get the #2 ranking by the end of this season which could help his draw a lot at the Australian Open. So I don’t want to see him jeopardize any chance of winning #18 at a slam where he has been very consistent over the years. But I am in no position to question his decision anyway since he has a very good record with scheduling and I don’t know his thought process. I am just speculating some more for the fun of it and I was wondering what your thoughts are on these issues?

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Posted in Davis Cup, Uncategorized.

16 Comments

  1. Hey Ruan, this is the first time m commenting on the blog though have been following it for 3 years now. I hope you can recognize me as I keep commenting on your fb page. Now back to the development with Roger, the first thing that came to my mind after he opted to play in the league was God this seems like the south American exhos n he again would be fatigued for the new season but as you said he is smart scheduler so let’s hope and trust in him. I am excited he is coming to India :-) hope you doing great there in Thailand.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Rhitik, great to hear from you after all this time and yes of course I recognize you! At least this is not the same distance as S-A and he won’t be there as long. I’m happy for the Indian fans.

    [Reply]

  2. You’re right Ru-an, even I feel Roger will be better off resting in the off-season than playing IPTL. But he’s coming to play in my country so it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to go watch him play. Hope I can make it! :-) He has a huge fan-base in India too, so definitely the fans here will be delighted.
    Regarding the Davis cup, I feel the Swiss will win it. Roger has set his goals clear already so I hope he achieves it!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I think the Swiss will win the DC too but the AO is more important, and therefor I don’t like that he is going to India, especially replacing NAdal to do so. Nadal is setting up for another big run at Roger’s slam count next year and Roger could really use that one extra slam to make it harder for NAdal. I think he could be shooting himself in the foot.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    The fact that he replaced Nadal makes it sound even more bad actually. If he had initially agreed to play then we would have digested this news better. But I think Nadal won’t have easier paths to any grand slams in the future(except FO maybe) since the young guys are stepping up and Djoker will be back stronger next year, especially at AO, since it’s his best slam. I wonder what Murray has left for the future though.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It looks like Murray’s slam winning says are over Nakul but now there is Stan who can be a serious threat even though he is inconsistent, and like you said several young players are coming through. And you are right. If Nadal has not withdrawn or if he didn’t play in the first place it would have been easier to digest Fed’s decision.

    [Reply]

  3. Yeah, stupid decision to play IPTL (sorry to fan in India). I get it doing it for the greater good which I think he has already done enough. DC on clay is going to be brutal so extra rest is needed which I think both exho and IPTL is really a stupid decision. Just don’t get Roge sometimes.

    [Reply]

  4. Ru-an, can’t believe myself how I am so certain what I think Roger should do and what he should not do that in the end I’ve decided to go back to being just a FAN. And whatever tours etc., he decides to play I’ll just hope for a good outcome…..but can’t help thinking why did he have to replace Nadal!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Same here Elizabeth. I don’t like that he replaced Nadal but what can you do? Just gotta accept and hope for the best. But yeah I can’t help but repeat that the replacement of Nadal bothers me.

    [Reply]

  5. Hello all,

    I don’t mean to change the subject, but I have a feeling that Nadal’s career is about to be finished. Does anyone else have a similar feeling?

    I won’t be surprised if he wins another slam or two, and feelings are just feelings – and suspect for that reason – but I’m just saying… it kind of feels like the 11th hour for him.

    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think he is quite finished yet Joe, even though the body is breaking down more and more. He will have at least one more strong run where he wins slams. I still think he will catch Roger and depending on whether Roger wins another slam he could surpass him as well.

    [Reply]

  6. The organizers probably offered him a cool 2 or 3 million (USD) to come over to India. Think about it, he gets a ton of money for not much work, gets to visit India for the first time where he has a lot of fans, would have been hard for him to turn it down. Basically a paid vacation.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Agree. He would be crazy to say no.

    [Reply]

  7. There are a lot of very very rich people in India these days looking to invest in sports other than cricket. Take the IPL, many cricketers make more for a few weeks of cricket than they probably made in their whole life. Tennis is next. It will be interesting to see how the Grand Slam organizers respond. Obviously they are the most prestigous, but there’ll be more and more tennis events in the future (especially in Asia) where the pros can make as much if not more money than the slams.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Sridar. Roger is thinking about the future of tennis. He is selfless like that.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah it has always been this way, even in the 70s, 80s and 90s there was the Grand Slam Cup which paid $2 million to the winner, which is worth more like $5 million now due to inflation, there will always be these sort of competitions that pay obscene amounts of money.

    [Reply]

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