Djokovic defeats Federer for his 10th major win at US Open - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic defeats Federer for his 10th major win at US Open

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US OPEN – Roger Federer (2) winning his 18th major was not to be at this year’s US Open. Novak Djokovic (1) denied his that privilege of extending his all-time singles major titles when he defeated him 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4 in 3 hours and 20 minutes. It was a thrilling match up as this was the 42nd meeting between the two. With this victory the head to head is tied at 21 wins each. For the Djokovic’s fans, their man played a wonderful match against one of the best the sport has ever produced. On the other hands, Federer’s fans will be ruing this loss for a long time. The Swiss player had so many opportunities to make the match far more compelling and perhaps even eek out the win but in the end Djokovic proved to be far too strong and superior in the big moments.

 

This match slated for a 4:00 pm start time did not begin until around 7:15 pm. This delay may have perhaps put off Federer for it appeared as though he left his service game in the locker room. Federer elected to serve to start the match but it soon became apparent that the stellar serving that was on full display this summer hardcourt season was not on the court on this day. Djokovic had three break points in that initial game alone and Federer just barely held serve winning the final two points of that 16-point game. In the 2nd Federer service game, he went down 0-40 allowing Djokovic to break him and get out to an early lead at 2-1. Federer broke back as Djokovic was left flailing and falling to the court, bruising himself in the process. However, the Serb would not let minor injuries deter him as broke Federer again for 4-3. He maintained this lead to take the set 6-4 in 41 minutes.

In the second set, Federer came out strong. He was the far more aggressive of the two players on court. However, the problem was that his aggression was not getting him ahead in the match. In fact it was putting him in trouble when he kept creating break opportunities for himself only to let them slip away. It was only at the last possible opportunity to break, in the 12th game, up 6-5, having already squandered 3 previous set points, that he finally converted on his 9th break point of the set with a backhand swinging volley that proved unreturnable by Djokovic. Federer won the set 7-5 to level the match at a set apiece.

Roger Federer - US Open 2015 - AP

The crowd was squarely behind Federer but this momentum was not able to lift the erratic Federer to high playing level. He was broken early in the 3rd set but broke back to level it 2-2. Again the break opportunities he earned went unconverted as he could not keep the ball in play. Djokovic on the other hand did not let his limited break opportunities go begging. He broke Federer in the 9th game for 5-4 and served it out for a 2-1 sets lead in the match.

Djokovic just looked the far superior player. Federer was moving well but Djokovic was so much the better athlete on the day. What was even more impressive from the Serb was his mental composure as he withstood the barrage from the clearly partisan crowd. Djokovic broke Federer to start the 4th set denying Federer two game points. Djokovic broke Federer again in the 7th game for a 5-2 and the match looked over at this point. In what would be a common theme of the match, Federer continued to waste break points especially when he clearly had the advantage in the point. Nonetheless, sensing it was either do or die, Federer broke Djokovic as he served for the match in the 8th game. Federer held serve for 4-5 and saw double break points as Djokovic attempted to serve for the match for the 2nd time. Federer simply could not convert his 22nd and 23rd break points. Djokovic muscled the ball over the net and Federer shot went flying. Djokovic collected his 2nd US Open title in 5 years 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4.

Looking at the match statistics, the most glaring figures would be the fact that Federer was only 4/23 on break points and that Djokovic saved 19/23 break points. What was even worst was the fact that 11 of those break points, Federer had a 2nd serve to handle but only converted on one of those opportunities. After failing to convert those 3 break points in the opening game of the match, Djokovic was 6/10 for the rest of the match, 4/5 in the last two sets. Federer was 2/11 for the final two sets. Another real clear difference in the match were the number of errors Federer was making. He has 54 unforced errors for the match and in many cases they were careless strokes. So  many of those shots went wide of the mark for no good reason. Djokovic had 37 unforced errors. Federer’s 2nd serve was a huge liability for him as he was only winning 46% of the points compared to his 63% performance in his semifinal match against Stan Wawrinka.

 

on Day Fourteen of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

on Day Fourteen of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

This major win was the 7th title for Djokovic this year. There is no question that he is by far the number one player in the world with a very impressive season thus far. He has made it to all four major finals in one year for the first time of his career. He won three of those titles, losing the French Open to Wawrinka. He has made it to 6 ATP Master Series 1000 tournaments going 4-2 in the finals  Every single tournament that Djokovic has entered for the year, he has made it to the finals for an overall record of 7-4. His lone losses for the year have only been to players ranked in the top 5, Federer, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. It must be great to be him right now. Nonetheless, it must be said that it was a very impressive Roger Federer on court. He definitely brought excitement to the tournament which saw its biggest story, Serena’s Calendar Grand Slam, go by wayside on Friday. The Swiss promised the New York City crowd that he would be back next year for another US Open title run.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Krajinovic Battle To Seal Last Eight Berth In Rome

Novak Djokovic reached an 85th Masters 1000 Quarter-Final in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic (@ATPTour - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic survived a tough battle in Rome to beat Filip Krajinovic 7-6(7) 6-3 to reach the last eight.

 

Although the World Number one got the victory, it was a tough battle as he fought his compatriot for a place in the Quarter-Finals.

Breaks were shared to start the match as Krajinovic brought his fearless game to the top seed.

Djokovic created a total of ten break points, with only one executed as Krajinovic saved two set points in the tenth game to hold for 5-5.

After two comfortable holds, a tiebreak settled the winner of the first set as Djokovic was having a hard time to contain Krajinovic’s power.

The world number one battled from 3-0 down to edge the tiebreak 9-7 and win the opening set in 88 minutes.

Once Djokovic had survived the Krajinovic stormed, he took control and went into another gear as a break of serve in the third game was all that was needed to seal his place in the quarter-finals.

Winning 47% of his 2nd return points was key as Djokovic reaches his 85th Masters 1000 Quarter-Final of his career.

Next for Djokovic will be either talented teen sensation Lorenzo Musetti or Dominik Koepfer.

In other results today, Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov set a last eight showdown after tight three set wins.

Shapovalov edged out Ugo Humbert 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4 while Dimitrov defeated Jannik Sinner 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a tough match.

There were also third round wins for Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini.

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Rafael Nadal Missing Fan Support Despite Emphatic Win At Italian Open

The 19-time Grand Slam winner reacts to his latest win 200 days after his last.

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Rafael Nadal (image via https://twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

The absence of a crowd at this year’s Italian Masters has been branded as ‘not beautiful’ by Rafael Nadal following his opening match on Wednesday.

 

The world No.2 raced to a 6-1, 6-1, triumph over US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta in what was his first competitive match of any sort since March 1st. Despite his lengthy break from the Tour, Nadal showed little rust as he dropped only eight points behind his serve and broke the world No.18 five times overall. The latest victory is Nadal’s 62nd in Rome and he has only won more matches at four other tournaments.

“Of course I have to improve things. The things that I have to improve, the only way to improve is to keep practising with the right attitude, the right intensity and to spend hours in competition matches,” he said afterwards.
“Today has been a positive start for me,”
Nadal later added.

Choosing to skip the New York bubble due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nadal is still getting used to the concept of playing without the crowds. Something many of his rivals has already had experience of. The Italian Open had originally hoped to allow fans to enter its grounds before the local authorities ruled against it over concerns it could trigger an outbreak of the Coronavirus.

“It’s Not beautiful the feeling of playing without the spectators because the energy of the fans is impossible to describe. But for me, at least, today has been a very positive comeback,” Nadal assessed.

It is a case of wait and see as to how the Spaniard will fare in the coming days given his recent lack of match play compared to his rivals such as Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic. Fortunately for Nadal, he is playing on the clay which is a surface which he has won more ATP titles on than any other player in the Open Era. As for the upcoming French Open, will a lack of play in recent weeks be problematic for him?

“I don’t think so, no. If Roland Garros was this week, maybe yes. Roland Garros is two weeks away.” He concluded.

Nadal will next play either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic who will play their second round match on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem And Thomas Muster: A Comparison

They are the only Austrian Slam champions in men’s tennis, but how do they stack up against each other?

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Dominic Thiem - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

The original version of this article was published on loslalom.it.

 

On October 24, 2011, Dominic Thiem had just turned 18 and was in the very early stages of his professional career, so the organisers of the ATP tournament in Vienna rewarded him with a wild card. On October 24, 2011, Thomas Muster had been 44 for about three weeks and at the sunset of his career, so he was also given the wild card for Vienna tournament. What no one could predict, neither the players nor the tournament organizers, was that the draw would pit them against each other in the first round, for what would be their first encounter, and ultimately the only one – after conceding with a 6-2 6-3 score in an hour and four minutes, Muster retired forever. He was the only Austrian to have won a Grand Slam tournament, in 1995 at Roland Garros, at least until Sunday night, when the then teenager who ended his career equalled him.

In the first decade of his career, Thiem has earned almost twice as much as Munster did in 18 (22 million dollars against 12). Thiem is right-handed, Muster a southpaw. Both sport one-handed backhands. It took 10 years for Muster to win a Major, and by the eleventh he was the world N.1, albeit not for long. He was a bona fide drop-shot chaser. It took nine years as a professional for Thiem to win at Flushing Meadows, but he has not yet risen higher than third in the ATP Ranking. Thiem is two inches taller (6’1’’ versus 5’11’’), he has an edge for the number of aces (5.8 per game on average against 3) and for the effectiveness of his first serve (74.2% vs 69.1%). The two are essentially tied with their second serve (53.2% vs 53.7) and in the break-points-saved department (62.9% vs 63%), but Muster is more dominant in the return games (31.6% break vs 23.5%) and, despite earning a street rep as a marathon runner, his matches were 11 minutes shorter than Thiem’s (an hour and 30 minutes against an hour and 41). His winning points ended on average in 35 seconds, Thiem’s in 37,8 seconds.

In his career Thiem has met stronger opponents, ranked on average at 35 in the world, while Muster’s foes usually hovered around number 52. Despite this, the latter managed to beat opponents better placed than him in the standings in only 9.8% of cases, while Thiem’s ​​percentage is 12.3 %. On the contrary, Thiem was beaten in 21.4% of cases by tennis players ranked worse in the rankings, whereas this happened to Muster in 19% of cases, a percentage that drops to 13% when it comes to clay only. For a couple of weeks at the beginning of 2020, Muster coached Thiem.

The following chart summarises the numbers: 

Gianni Clerici, the Italian Hall-of-Famer journalist and writer, gave Thomas Muster the moniker of “Mr Muscolo” (Mr Muscle). This is the portrait he made of him: “He’s not very nice, seven out of ten people say about Muster. A couple of them find him downright unpleasant. The remaining, meagre ten percent all but worships him. It is probably the attitude that does not appeal. His face appears incredibly rapacious, reminding of a bird of prey, or, if not strictly of an eagle or a hawk, at the very least of a possessed personality, those wide-open eyes animated by a blue and sinister light. But, even more than the face, what repels many people is his technique, his relentlessness devoid of human breathing which is fully on display as he gets back bopping on his side of the court a ripe thirty seconds before the  established one minute and 25, while the unfortunate opponent is still splayed on his chair, trying to recover some breath and peace in the aftermath of the gruelling races that Muster locked him into. If the style is the man, well, the Austrian’s style does not capture the imagination. His serve is average at best, and he cautiously avoids volleying, but he has some great weapons, like that terrible loopy forehand and, in the last couple years, that no less terrible backhand slap. Come to think of it, even Muster’s ancestors, Borg and Vilas, were no less engulfing, less repetitive. But Borg had more athletic talent, his runs were very fluid, his sense of playing so high that he even managed to adapt to the Wimbledon lawns where he won five times and where Muster instead looks like a wretch. Muster has the athletic pedigree of champions but certainly not the charisma”.

Clerici also had the opportunity to write on Thiem for “la Repubblica” (an Italian daily newspaper), stating that “he was born with tennis in his blood, […] he has a refined hand, as can be seen with his drop shots and with his cross-court volleys,” then adding: “I have seen many times the Austrian go all-out on his backhand, as if he were holding an umbrella wide open, while his forehand is more akin to a machete.” Yesterday morning, he added that Thiem reminds him of “the tennis players of my time during the Fifties, when tennis was different from today, perhaps more beautiful to watch, a spectacles that intellectuals like Giorgio Bassani enjoyed, and that could have taken place in the genteel backyards sketched out in his novels.” 

Translation and graphics by Andrea Canella

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