Thiem Loses to Murray, Djokovic Still in the Hunt for Third Indian Wells/Miami Double

So Thiem lost 6-3, 4-6, 1-6 to Murray but like I said I am very excited about this player and he achieved what he wanted to in Miami. He was the better player in the first set but Murray raised his game in the second set and went a break up. Thiem broke back and leveled at 4-4 after trailing 4-1 but then he seemed to run out of gas because Murray won eight of the last nine games. Thiem is not used to winning this many matches and I think he could have easily won this if he was more match fit. But the run in Miami will give him a huge boost for the clay court season and I think he is now back to the form he was in towards the end of last year when he rose to #36 in the rankings. Or close to it anyway.

Yesterday was the turn of the top half and Isner was back to his best after a long dry spell, defeating Nishikori 6-4, 6-3. That is a tremendous win but personally I don’t care much for Isner. His game with his big serve is a total bore to me and so is his personality. I also don’t like the fact that all his best results basically come in his own country. That shows me he isn’t really an international man which you need to be to be a great tennis player. Finally Djokovic had another tough match against Ferrer but he remains unmoved in his quest for a third Indian Wells/Miami double and a fifth Miami title. Ferrer took an early lead of 4-1 but Djokovic refused to let him get away and took the first set 7-5. In the second set Ferrer showed great fight to break back at 4-5 and Djokovic serving for the match.

But again Djokovic was too strong as he wrapped up the next two games to win 7-5, 7-5. He wasn’t at his best but the great player that he is he still found a way to get it done in straight sets against an incredibly tenacious player. Now he probably faces his biggest challenge yet though. Dolgopolov was a massive challenge but Isner has always been an awkward opponent for Djokovic. Even though Djokovic leads the head-to-head 6-2 they have always had tough matches and Isner has beaten Djokovic twice in the US, once in Indian Wells in 2012 and once in Cincy in 2013. So he certainly has the potential to upset Djokovic. On the other hand Djokovic does have great returns so you would think if anyone can neutralize Isner’s huge serve it would be Djokovic.

I personally think Isner’s serve may be the biggest weapon in tennis. Not only is his first serve massive but he gets massive amounts of kick on his second serve which is especially effective in the ad court to the right hander’s backhand. Djokovic has one of the best two-handed backhands of all time but even for him Isner’s serve is awkward to deal with. And he isn’t given much rhythm from the base line. Knowing Djokovic though he will probably find a way and win Miami. I personally think it would be cool if he wins Miami because I like to see players break records. And it would do Djokovic’s confidence good for the clay court season where he needs to finally slay the monster at Roland Garros!

 

Highlights: 

Posted in Masters 1000, Miami.

19 Comments

  1. This Djokovic domination is getting boring. Seems like nobody except Federer even has the balls to challenge him. What are Nishikori, Raonic and Dimitrov doing. All of them were in Djokovic’s half would you believe it and Isner cleaned them !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for letting me know you are a Fedfan. That’s all you did here.

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  2. As for Djokovic himself deserving it, I just literally hate the way tennis is nowadays where a guy like Djokovic can stay in rallies with Inser by just getting the racquet on the ball and letting Isner miss his next shot. I know the scorelines looks flattering to Djokovic but one just has to watch his matches to realize the kind of pain he puts his body through to get it done. I mean he is literally breaking his body to get the balls back. Even more insane defense than Nadal if you ask me. That’s why I definitely feel something needs to be done about the court speeds. Someone like Djokovic might criple himself for life by the way he pushes his body. If the courts were faster like Dubai, then we might actually see what Djokovic is capable of. And actually he is easily the second best fast court player behind only Roger. Not many people realise this but with the racquet technology and the crazily good movement guys like Djokovic are showing the courts should actually keep becoming faster instead of slower. I am seeing some of Djokovic’s shots and he is just keeping his racquet where the ball is going nothing else, no techinque nothing. The point is the racquets are so good its almost impossible to mishit anything. If we can increase the speed then actually we will see what tennis is all about. I am not saying Dubai speed everywhere but people actually need to see what is happening to tennis overall. How do you actually decide who is the best tennis player. That should depend on how a guy can defend, how he can serve, how he can return, how he can be offensive and how he can come to the net. Right now its 80% of the first one and 20% of the rest in almost every single tournie. That’s not only not fair its plain wrong. It gives someone like Djokovic such a huge advantage. Roger during the 2004-2007 period kept varying his game all the time. People who say he is a fast track bully are plain stupid. One just has to watch his matches in Monte Carlo and then in Australia to know that he was baring Nadal easily the best slow court player ( ever ??). Djokovic of today is nowhere near that level.

    Sorry about the rant but I feel much better now :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well you are free to rant and I’m glad you feel better but I don’t agree with everything you said. And you are clearly unable to appreciate the immense skill and athleticism Djokovic possesses. But that seems to be the case with most Fedfans who only think Roger has skill and athleticism. That is one of the reasons I changed my blog. To be honest rants like these now belong on Jonathan’s blog. I’m sure he appreciates them. You make it sound like what Djokovis is doing is easy. It’s not. It’s incredibly difficult and gifted. Both his technique and athleticism is unreal. We had a Fedfan called Candice here commenting recently who can appreciate other players. She was at IW and saw Djokovic play several times and saw how incredibly fast and gifted the guy is. And no he is not killing his body. He is extremely flexible through stretching for hours every day and almost never gets injured. It’s called hard work and dedication. To say he is just keeping his racquet there, no technique nothing else shows more ignorance about how difficult it is what these guy do, and more so in the case of Djokovic. If it was that easy why did all the other guys not beat Isner? Why did Djokovic get it done 7-6, 6-2? It’s because no one else in the world can do what he does. That’s why. You want to see tennis like back in the 90’s when boring serve bots like Isner were dominating the game? It’s a good thing you are not in charge! People want to see long rallies from the base line. Not 3-shot rallies that include a big serve and a volley winner. Compared to that shit today’s game is way more interesting. To say that Djokovic is nowhere near Roger’s level on a slow hard court is wrong too. Djokovic is already a better slow hc player. The numbers don’t lie. So:
    1) This is not the place for Fedfans to whine when Roger is not playing at the moment anymore, especially when what they are saying is wrong.
    2) Tennis is not just about Federer and he is not the only one who can play tennis.
    3) If you still don’t get the message there is always Jonathan’s blog which I am sure welcomes this kind of comment, and I’m sure he can use the traffic :-)

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Hmm. I guess I should leave out me not liking Djokovic’s game part from now on. First no way I am not a

    tennis fan. Do you know how much tennis I watch even when I have got loads of work to do ? Secondly I

    will be frank here I like Djokovic when he is aggressive but wih my mentality I can’t swallow the

    moonballing crap. Thirdly in your haste of calling me a blind Fed fan you did ignore some very valid

    points I made. I am Math and Computer Science guy so I am gonna make logical points from now on so that

    you can clearly agree or disagree.

    1) Racquet technology is improving at a crazy rate. So are people’s ways of protecting their body and

    improving their speed and power. SO right now if we have faster courts, longer rallies are still gonna

    be there compared to the 90’s. Just that it won’t go on and on forever like it is now.

    2) I can send you links of Federer of how he used to play in tournaments like Monte arlo and Rome but I

    am sure you have seen it already. What most people don’t agree or want to accept is this. Federer’s

    forehand has faded a lot along with his movement. In tennis these days you want to have a huge shot

    (Nadal’s forehand, Djokovic’s backhand) and movement. Right now Federer is much worse than he was in

    2005-2007. But his net game has improved tremendously and so as his serve and backhand. But like I said

    these don’t compensate enough. That’s why I stand by what I said. Put 2006 Fed vs 2015 Djokovic in any

    court and 2006 Fed wins more than 50% of the time (around 65% is my guess).

    3) You have no right to call me a guy who whines. I am never the kind of guy who gets upsets with Roger

    when he loses nor the kind who parties till the morning when he wins. I am happy for him when he wins

    and maybe a little sad when he loses and thats it.

    4) Sure right now everything looks rosy for tennis with the big 4 still alive and kicking. But once

    they are gone who is gonna take tennis forward ? This is where I see court speed playing the biggest

    role. Lets say we have a guy who can play defensive in clay, highly offensive in fast courts, a net

    game in grass and a transition game in slow hard courts. Do you think anybody like this is ever gonna

    be there after this era. I doubt it. With the racquet technology, already everybody is comfortable

    standing way back and waiting for the opponent to miss. And this is not gonna keep the viewers hooked.

    Now let me give my view on Djokovic. Here is where it gets interesting. Do you actually know how many

    Djokovic and Nadal matches I have watched for the years. Hundreds. Let me first give you my take on

    Djokovic’s game.

    1) 2007-2008 Djokovic is my personal favorite. He is the young guy who is not afraid of everyone and

    more importantly is super aggresive on court. He is the guy who beat Federer in a third set tiebreak in

    Toronto and in straight sets in Australian Open ending his final streak. This is a guy who weirdly

    smiles even after he loses when he shakes his opponents hands. This is a guy who Federer knows is sure

    shot future world number 1.

    2) 2009-2010 DJokovic is a really weird guy. His serve has gone to crap. He keeps retiring when the

    going gets tough. He hasn’t won a grand slam nor has he done anything else of note except to maintain

    his number 3 ranking.

    3) 2011 Djokovic – This guy probably needs a whole post of his own. But let me keep it short. He was

    plain scary. Federer fans and Nadal fans all dreaded him. But you know what Federer defeated him in the

    French Open semi final and that ended all doubt to me forever about who the greatest is. But still when

    I watched that match I realised how crazily good Djokovic is. And that was when I realised in my mind

    that Djokovic is actually better than Nadal.

    4) 2012-2015 Djokovic – This is probably the Djokovic that I least like. The guy has become ultra

    defensive and plays risky shots only when he is leading. When he is behind he plays the safest shot

    possible. But still mentally he is a beast. I remember seeing the 2013 French Semis vs Nadal and

    thinking my god Djokovic is not human. And Wimbledon Finals last year was one more example where he was

    actually hitting a lot of winners like you are supposed to on a grass court and he totally deserved

    that Slam. Fast forward a bit to Indian Wells finals 2015 he is back to his old ways, keeping one more ball in play and making Federer play an extra ball. Shit, he is at it again.

    Look this is what I am going to say. Djokovic is great. He is a phenom. Agreed. But he does not compare to Federer in my book. Just see my Google+ page to see how many youtube tennis videos I have watched. There is literally no video out there which I haven’t commented in. So even if you disaagree which are most welcome to, I am sure I know what I am talking about. If all of the Big-4 were at their best I would go with Federer > Djokovic > Nadal > Murray. Sure I am a Fed fan but where credit is due I never deny it.

    Let me also quickly answer one or two things you told in your reply. No way Djokovic’s technique can be compared to Federer. You just need to see his matches and you will know the amount of work the racquet does for him. For example just see how much he struggles against slices and even at the net. Once again I am comapring him with Federer not someone else. Compared to everyone sure he is much better. Once again I guess you really don’t like me very much. But I still like your blog and your posts. So if you want me to I won’t post anymore. But please don’t insult me. I think this comment is surely a more rational one. Since you did reply with a lengthy post yourself I hope you don’t mind and I really hope you read all of it. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Since we are still on the subject of Djokovic I should tell you I have watched 5 matches of Miami this year – 3 of Djokovic’s and 2 of Nadal’s. Now why would I bother doing that unless I actually find their matches interesting :/

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    So why complain? It just makes you sound like a boring Fedfan.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Ah the shortest possible reply to the longest most heartfelt comment I have ever written. No worries I can never win over you I guess. No problem :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That was a reply to your short comment since you didn’t notice. I didn’t have time to read your long comment yet…

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Then I humbly wait for your reply :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t have the time to read it all. If you want me to then sum it up in five lines. I don’t get paid for blogging and it takes a lot of time. Never mind reading long comments.

    [Reply]

  3. I would like to add that the courts in Miami are ridiculously slow. Almost nobody can hit a clear winner. Sure Djokovic and Murray are great defenders but these slow courts also support their percentage tennis. I don’t want to see 3-stroke rallies for sure but I also don’t want to see 33 stroke rallies where there is no attacking tennis. To end my comment if all hard courts were as slow as in Miami, Roger would not be playing anymore.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Miami is one of the slowest courts which I don’t personally care for myself. And still I was able to enjoy Miami just fine. Just because Roger was not playing doesn’t mean there wasn’t great tennis being played. Maybe if Fedfans are so bored about the tennis that they have to come whine under an enthusiastic post of mine rather than saying something interesting then they need to expand their horizons somewhat? Roger won’t be around forever. What are they gonna do when he retires? Watch football? If you think Miami is boring then try watching that garbage.

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Ruan, sorry I haven’t posted much in the last couple of weeks – I’ve been away at a conference in Dubai.
    Miami has been very decent actually, I always enjoy watching Djokovic play and was probably as happy as you were when he dispatched Isner last night. I do think he’ll win the tournament as he has won his last 6 matches against Murray.
    As for the slow courts, we do need some slow hard courts around and Miami has historically been reasonably slow.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Krish, nice to hear from you. I’m glad you are enjoying Miami and taking part in the discussion in a constructive way. You are the first. I like Djokovic’s chances too but we can’t forget that Murray has beaten Djokovic in two slam finals. It should be a relatively interesting final anyway. For sure I will watch. And yes we need all kinds of court surfaces. I used to hate Miami but that was when I was a brainwashed Fedfan.

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    Thanks Ruan
    I hope Murray gets back to that level that saw him win Wimbledon in particular, he’s so much more exciting when he’s aggressive (which doesn’t happen very often now). He was in good form against Berdych in the semis and has now leveled their H2H at 6-6.

    Of course Federer is my favourite, but I never understood the hate for Miami. It isn’t my favourite venue, but there have been some nice matches played there – Djokovic vs Nadal (2011) and Murray vs Ferrer (2013) spring to mind. Not to mention Federer coming back from 2 sets down against Nadal lol. Fed’s won it twice, so the real diehards should be content with that IMO.

    [Reply]

  5. Nice to see your blog active even when Roger is not playing, Ru-an. Fedfans can hate Miami how much ever they want. But the fact that Roger won his first title here in 2005 by beating Nadal in the final, after being 4 points away from defeat is often ignored. It also means that Roger is also one of the reasons Nadal hasn’t won the golden masters. It was also his first win over Nadal and to do it that fashion is quite significant. I’m not sure whether the court speeds were same back then as they are now though. Anyway what I’m trying to say is most Fedfans start showing disinterest/hate towards a tournament just because he doesn’t play it all the time or he has not so good record there.
    As far as the finals is concerned it’s the Djokurray match-up again which I feel is the worst rivalry among the big 4. I guess when you have 2 players with almost same playing styles it’s inevitable. Also Djokovic is on a 7-match winning streak against Murray. He had also managed this streak against Nadal before losing to him again. I feel it’s about time Murray ends his losing streak against Djokovic, and given that Miami has been one of his most succesful MS events and also his second-home kinda thing, all signs are pointing towards that. Personally I also want him to win this time.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Nakul that is just a symptom of fanaticism. No worries they will realize there is more to Roger in tennis eventually. Or leave the sport completely.
    For sure Murray can win but I think Djokovic will, simply because the third IW/Miami double would be big and he wants it.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    I made a typo there. Djokovic is on a 6 match winning streak, not 7 against Murray. I guess that means he’ll win this one as you say :-)

    [Reply]

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