Doubles Duties Provides A Silver Lining For Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Doubles Duties Provides A Silver Lining For Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Serbian at the Californian Masters event on Tuesday.



Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Novak Djokovic didn’t have much time to dwell on his shock exit from the BNP Paribas Open. In fact, he had less than two hours to cool down, recover and return back to the court.

On Tuesday the world No.1 slumped to a shock 6-3, 6-4, loss to world No.39 Philipp Kohlschreiber. The lowest ranked player to have got the better of him since Marco Cecchinato at the 2018 French Open. Whilst it was certainly a bad day at the office for a player who has dominated the men’s tour in recent months, he is also able to see the bigger perspective with the help of his participation in the doubles draw this week.

“I had to get over it in an hour, because I played doubles.” Said Djokovic. “I must admit I was thinking about it (the loss). When I hit a good return, I was wondering why this didn’t happen in singles. But it is, I guess, part of the world that we are, the world of tennis. It’s part of our world, and we just have to bounce back very quickly.”

Djokovic has teamed up with Fabio Fognini this week. He has a very modest record in the doubles in his career with prize money earnings of just under $350,000. A stark contrast to his singles tally of more than $110 million. Djokovic and Fognini have progressed to the semi-finals after defeating two-time grand slam champions Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer on Tuesday evening.

“I love playing doubles. I don’t play often. I play a few times a year. So these are the rare occasions where I could potentially do well.” Said Djokovic.
“It’s obviously very different from singles. Playing doubles, everything happens really quickly. Not easy mentally to kind of refresh your mindset and concentration and get the right intensity on the court so quickly after a disappointing loss in singles.”
“I’m happy that we managed to pull that one through. We beat very experienced doubles.” He added.

For Djokovic specifically, the run with Fognini also serves as a opportunity for him to get redemption in the Californian desert.

“It’s good for me that I’m participating in doubles here, because I get a chance to rectify the wrongs, if you want, but I don’t think it’s going to sit with me too long. I really — I don’t feel how this can, you know, disturb me on the long run. You know, I know what I’m capable of. I know the quality of my tennis.”

Indian Wells is one of the few tournaments on the men’s tour with the star players play in both draws. Besides Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stan Wawrinka, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem have also done the double.

Whilst admitting that it is hard to force the top players on the men’s tour to play in doubles, Djokovic believes the discipline is getting recognised more than in the past. However, there remain big differences. The doubles champion in Indian Wells this year will win $439,350. A $901,510 decrease on what the singles champion will walk away with. Despite the differences in prize money, the ranking points are the same.

“I think doubles, in general in the last six, seven years, have gotten to a higher level of recognition.” The world No.1 stated. “I think in the last 10 years we have seen a great improvement and transformation of the doubles on the tour in a positive way. The tournaments are respecting doubles players more and encouraging top singles players to play doubles more. So that’s good. That’s positive. We need doubles, for sure.“

Should Djokovic triumph with Fognini this week, it would be only his second ATP titles in the doubles and first since 2010 at The Queen’s Club in London. A somewhat reasonable consolation prize for the 31-year-old after his latest loss.


Roger Federer: “I am not too disappointed after my defeat against Dominic Thiem in Indian Wells”



Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was not too disappointed after losing the Indian Wells final against Dominic Thiem last Sunday.

Roger Federer lost the Indian Wells final for the fourth time in his career after finishing runner-up in 2014, 2015 and 2018. Last year he did not convert three championship point against Juan Martin Del Potro.

“I am not too disappointed. I feel like he had to come up with the goods, and it felt like to some extent it was on my raquet. I just came up against somebody who was a bit better when it really mattered. That’s how it goes. Sure, it’s frustrating, disappointing and sad to some extent. I have been in these positions so many times that I get over it very quickly. I feel like I am actually playing good tennis. Like in Australia, I was not too down on myself because I feel like my game is there. My body is there. That keeps me upbeat, and I feel it’s a privilege when I feel this way leaving a tournament. I have been playing every single day for the past three weeks. I can be very happy and proud of that fact. I feel really good”, said Federer after the final against Thiem in Indian Wells.

Federer congratulated with Thiem, who won his maiden Maiden 1000 title in the Californian desert after losing his previous two finals in the series in Madrid on his favourite clay surface.

“I am happy with Dominic, winning his first Masters 1000 title, as well. It’s a massive event to win. I just got my 100th title in Dubai and I had a great week. There is no reason to get down. There is more to look forward to Miami”.

This season Federer has a positive record of 12 wins in his 14 matches and lifted the 100th title of his career beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in Dubai.

Federer is looking forward to the Miami Open where he headlines the bottom half of the draw. Federer, who won three titles in Miami in 2005, 2006 and 2017, will take on either Matthew Eden from Australia or a qualifier in the second round and could renew his battle against his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the third round for the second consecutive tournament after winning their recent all-Swiss clash in Indian Wells in straight sets last week. Federer leads 22-3 in his 25 head-to-head clashes against Wawrinka. Wawrinka beat Federer three times in clay court matches in Monte-Carlo in 2009 and in the 2014 final and Roland Garros in 2015 and is chasing his first win on hard court against his compatriot.

“I think Stan knows that he is very close and it’s just a matter of time until he is going to break through again”,said Federer after their most recent clash at Indian Wells.

Federer could face Danil Medvedev in the Round of 16, Kevin Anderson or Karen Khachanov in the quarter final and a semifinal against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or last year’s Miami finalist Alexander Zverev.



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Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos lift their maiden Masters 1000 title as a title in Indian Wells



Unseeded Nikola Mektic from Croatia and Horacio Zeballos won their first doubles title as a team after beating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 4-6 6-4 10-3.

Kubot and Melo drew the first blood by getting an early break in the first game, but Mektic and Zeballos broke straight back in the second game. Mektic and Zeballos fended off two break points in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kubot and Melo went up a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The Polish and Brazilian team fended off a break point before serving out for the first set in the 10th game.

Mektic and Zeballos were not able to convert any of their two break points in the fourth game of the second set, but they held their service games easily and broke serve in the 10th game on the deciding point forcing the match to the decisive Match tie-break. Mektic and Zeballos cruised through to winning the tie-break 10-3 clinching their maiden doubles title as a team. Zeballos and Mektic won 40 % of their return points.

Earlier this week Mektic and Zeballos saved two match points in a match tie-break against this year’s Australian Open Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut before beating Colombian doubles specialists Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the quarter finals and Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the semifinal.

“It’s unbelievable. Being in the big press conference, it’s great. I have never been in this room. I love it”,said Zeballos in the post match press conference.

“Oh my God, we won Indian Wells. We are a great team. We can beat anyone. Especially on this tournament where the difference is a few balls. A few points will decide who is going to win. Of course you are not expecting to win, but we are going into every match confident that we can win, so we just went step by step and it happened”, said Mektic.

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Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot beat Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini to reach the Indian Wells doubles final



Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Poland’s Lukasz Kubot secured their spot in the final of the doubles tournament of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after beating singles world number 1 player Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 10-6 in the super tie-break.

Melo and Kubot will face Horacio Zeballos and Nikola Mektic, who beat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3). Melo and Kubot have played together since 2017, while Zeballos and Mektic are teaming up for their second time in their careers.

In the first set Kubot and Melo earned an immediate break in the first game in the first game. Djokovic and Fognini broke back in the 10th game at 15 to draw level to 5-5. Kubot and Melo came back from 1-4 down to win the tie-break 7-5. Djokovic and Fognini broke twice in the first and fifth games to clinch the second set 6-2. Kubot and Melo took the 10-6 edge in the super tie-break.

Djokovic and Fognini thrilled the crowd with their spectacular tennis, but doubles specialists won the most crucial points.

“I think the fact we played together for a long time, this makes a difference. We were aggressive in important moments. We do what we have to do and most of the time for us, it pays off. I am very happy with this, so let’s go forward for tomorrow to the finals”, said Melo.

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