So as expected Djokovic raised his level for the knockout stage of the World Tour Finals and crushed Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in a masterclass. This was now the business end of the event and no more Mr. Nice Guy. His intentions were clear from the start: no more passive pushing like against Federer. He ripped right through the best defense in tennis early on with several winners to break Nadal and take the initiative. It was clear that the real Djokovic showed up today. He plays his best tennis when he needs to. Simple as that. This was Djokovic at his best and no one has ever played tennis at a higher level. Simply unplayable.
- Djokovic vs Nadal
After the routine beatdown of the first semi-final, I expected a much more competitive second semi-final but it disappointed. Federer won 7-5, 6-3 in a pretty low-quality match. Stan got the first break but quickly imploded like a good boy to drop the first set. He turns into a complete mental midget when he plays Federer. Not that Federer didn’t do his part to win. We know by now he is a quality indoor player. But after Stan got the early break you would think he will get confidence from it.
- Federer vs Wawrinka
Even though I think the round robin loss to Federer didn’t mean much, Djokovic still has to win the final to make it meaningless. Djokovic does not feel like losing two consecutive matches to Federer at this point. Of that, you can be certain. And I actually think having lost the first encounter works in his favor. As we have seen at Wimby and the US Open, the hype around Federer has already started again. I just saw a poll on twitter which had two-thirds of people voting Federer as the winner. All it took to forget everything that happened at SW19 and New York and to reignite their enthusiasm was an almost entirely irrelevant round robin match. I hope these people are just voting for who they want to win and don’t actually believe that Federer will win because this time they are gonna be seriously crushed if Federer loses. At some point, you have to learn and say ok maybe there is a pattern here. This is starting to look an awful lot like New York. Djokovic was not impressing early on and Fedfans were getting their hopes up. Then Djokovic crushes Cilic and all of a sudden they are not so sure anymore. Next Federer crushes Stan in the semis and all of a sudden the hype train is in full flow again, only to ride over the cliff in the final and go crashing down way below with all the Fedfans up in smoke. Does Federer have a chance? Of course, he does! Otherwise, they wouldn’t be playing the match. The point is that we have seen this scenario play out so many times that only a fool would actually believe Federer is the favorite. Yes, I think Djokovic is going to win. He is the most dominant athlete in world sports today and at the peak of his powers, playing the best tennis that has ever been played. The level he displayed against Nadal was unreal while Federer just gratefully accepted the gift from his friend Stan. When Djokovic sees Federer across the net he goes into another zone. Even more so than against Nadal, because at least Nadal didn’t treat him with utter disdain in the past. I see Federer sat on Djokovic’s chair again in their round robin match. These things don’t go unnoticed by Djokovic. He doesn’t show it, but he makes a mental note of it. Then uses it to psyche himself up the next time he plays Federer. In my opinion, it is not an intelligent move by Federer given all the brutal beatdowns he suffered at the hands of Djokovic recently but I guess he has to try something. He tried the SABR and that didn’t work.
- Final Preview
The is in your court.
Posted in World Tour Finals.