There were no upsets on Day 9 of the 2016 Australian Open as Djokovic and Federer both advanced in straight sets and in doing so set up the 45th meeting between the two.
It was the match I was hoping for and the match most tennis fans would have hoped for if they know what a good matchup in tennis is.
These two have played some classic matches throughout the years including that 2014 Wimbledon final which in my opinion was the greatest match of all time and not the overrated 2008 Wimbledon final.
Hopefully, on Day 11 we will see another classic between the two but you can always bet on good tennis between the two and I can’t ask for more than that. If it’s a classic that’s just a bonus.
- Federer Impresses Against Berdych
It’s about time I give Federer his dues, wouldn’t you say? I think he was impressive in his 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Berdych and his level is still where it was last year. He just doesn’t seem to decline much at all with time and that amazes me.
After a mediocre fall season by his standards and with Nadal rising during that time I thought that is the pattern we would see continue in 2016 but Nadal has slumped again while it seems Federer just needed some time to process the tough losses to Djokovic and is now right back to his best again.
So first of all, I just want to say I was wrong there and I think as long as Nadal keeps struggling, which could be indefinitely it is likely that Federer will keep competing for the big titles with Djokovic.
As for the match, Berdych got the break early on to take a 3-2 lead but did not consolidate which was pretty much the key to the match as far as I’m concerned. If he held serve there he would be in a great position to make a match of it but he choked and that was that.
You don’t show weakness to Federer like that and Federer proceeded to take the first set on a tiebreak where he produced some terrific tennis. Not that Berdych played poorly or anything. He played some terrific tennis himself at times.
But he is just not competitive with Federer in the mental department. As soon as Federer won that first set I knew it was over and I stopped watching, coming back at the end of the third set. I knew Berdych would mentally quit after losing the first set.
But he really showed Federer his lack of self-belief when he failed to consolidate at 3-2 and he appeared shaky throughout the first set. The main aspect of his game where I picked that up was his poor first serve percentage.
I think he was 49% first serves for the first set. He just kept missing first serves and that is not gonna get it done against Federer. Federer, on the other hand, had terrific match stats which is a testament to his high level of tennis throughout the match.
So after Goffin rolled over in straight sets Federer proved to me that he is the real deal here and a serious threat for the title.
- Djokovic Struggles Against Nishikori
Djokovic defeated Nishikori 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 but something felt off from the beginning. It was an improvement from the Simon match but that doesn’t say much as far as the tennis aspect goes. I mean tennis wise Djokovic was dismal against Simon.
So at least in that sense Djokovic improved but he was still far from his best. I mean you are not going to complain when Djokovic defeats a player of Nishikori’s caliber by that scoreline but there is something to be said about Nishikori’s caliber as well.
I have never rated him in the context of ‘cutting edge men’s tennis’ which this blog is about. He just seems out of place against the very best. I mean his tennis was horrendous against Djokovic. I know he has that one US Open victory over Djokovic but I missed that and my guess is Djokovic was playing very poorly.
Yesterday he was just missing sitters all over the place and completely unable to take advantage of Djokovic’s lack of form. Even when he got the breaks in the third set he failed to consolidate on both occasions.
His serve has always been a weakness and it was mediocre again yesterday. Don’t get me wrong. Nishikori is a top 10 player which in the big picture is amazing and the fact that Djokovic beat him straights despite not being at his best tells its own story.
But in the context of the moment and the form of the opposition he really failed. I don’t rate him and there is something about his body language that says ‘I don’t belong’. But that’s just me. Others may feel different.
About Djokovic less-than-perfect form, I think it is still carry-over from the Simon match. Simon badly destroyed the Djoker’s confidence and it wasn’t just gonna come back the very next match.
His rhythm seemed to improve as the match progressed though so if I was a Fedfan I wouldn’t hold out too much hope of another performance like this in the semis. Like I said, it’s pretty impressive that Djokovic could lose only nine games against Nishikori without being at his best.
That in itself will fill him with confidence. But I won’t preview Djokerer 45.0 today. I will leave that for tomorrow.
- Day 10 Preview
The bottom half quarterfinal matches are up next which involves Raonic vs Monfils and Murray vs Ferrer. The bottom half has been a bit of a disappointment this year with the early exit of Nadal and now Wawrinka as well.
Not that Raonic’s ascent is such a bad thing. It’s good when new players come through. Personally, I just don’t find his game and personality particularly entertaining although he is, at least, adding new dimensions to his game.
Monfils actually leads the head-to-head with Raonic 2-0 which will help him going into the match but Raonic is the favorite I think. Monfils is extremely talented but mentally poor and I just think that is where Raonic will defeat him.
Then Murray plays Ferrer who he leads 12-6 in the head-to-head, having won their one meeting in Melbourne in four tight sets. Ferrer is always tough to put away but you figure Murray will prevail in the end.
I hope Murray and Raonic win anyway because Raonic’s huge serve and attacking game against Murray’s return and counter-punching game will be quite fascinating and the head-to-head is tied up at 3-3.
Well, that’s it for me for now and I will be back tomorrow with a summary of Day 10 and a preview of the much anticipated Djokerer semi-final.
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The is in your court.