Novak Djokovic, the defending champion of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, has been doing it the hard way all week as he again won another tight three set match against the scrappy Marcho Baghdatis 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.
In an almost three hour affair, both men pushed each other with groundstroke rallies highlighted by usual displays of humor from both men. At one point early in the second set, Baghdatis broke his shoe chasing after a Djokovic drop shot and had to rely one of his training team to throw him their own shoes so he could continue. Continue reading
The look on Richard Gasquet’s face in the photo describes how I look this morning right now after watching the almost five hour match last night/day between Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny. Gasquet won the first two sets but someone could not find a way to demolish the “tank” that is “Mischa” and lost 7-6, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7, 4-6.
To get into why and how Gasquet lost is not the point. The tennis itself had flashes of brilliance but was mostly just two boys on a court grinding it out. Plus the fact that it was on Margaret Smith Court, a tiny venue packed with rowdy French and Russian fans that added to the whole carnival atmosphere. When he had to serve amid outbursts for Youzhny, Gasquet would press his fingers to his lips as if to say. “Silence S’il vous plait. I am trying not to lose here.” The match felt like it was being played on Court 16 in Flushing Meadows rather than a Melbourne suburb. And no Hawkeye so the call was just that, the call.
And then the cramping started.
Roger Federer’s literal home court advantage playing in the Davidoff Swiss Indoor finals didn’t help as his opponent Novak Djokovic took home the trophy with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win.
Djokovic only lost two points on serve in the first set which he finally won after enduring a ten deuce game at 5-4 and blowing seven previous set points.
Djokovic appeared to run away with the match when he jumped out to 2-0 lead in the second until Federer hustled at net to win a deuce point to get things to 2-1. In the next game, Federer hit a forehand fade drop shot to break back at 2-2. It was then that Federer found his rhythm and got the crowd going finally allowing him to win the second set 6-4.
But that momentum was short lived as Federer dropped the opening service game in the third set after dumping a backhand into the net. Up 2-0, Djokovic endured a vicious 30 stroke rally that Federer won to get to 40-40. But Federer dropped that game down break point when he hit a backhand long allowing Djokovic to jump out to a 3-0 lead. By then it was too late for a rally and Federer’s 30 unforced errors, mostly from his forehand, allowed Djokovic to serve it out earning him his fourth ATP title this year.
This is a big win for Djokovic after losing to Federer in the U.S. Open where he seemed mostly in awe at times. Djokovic displayed his old “in your face” attitude but just tempered enough so it wasn’t borderline militant. It’s nice to see “Nole’s” fire back after being absent for most of 2009.
In other tourney news, Andy Murray easily defeated Mikhail Youzhny in Valencia 6-3, 6-2. Despite the loss, Youzhny will get back into the top 20 continuing his impressive late season run.
Jo Wilifred-Tsonga picked up his third title of the year after winning the Rakutan Japan Open by defeating Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3.
Tsonga’s first serve percentage of over seventy percent helped him control play in both sets. Youzhny did have a great event taking out both Gilles Simon and Lleyton Hewitt. Hopefully Youzhny will take this good week to get his career in gear after flirting with the top twenty for a while.
Tsonga is again playing well at year’s end in hopes of qualifying for London. And with Roddick losing early in China, Tsonga stands a good chance of passing Roddick in the rankings depending on how things shake out in Shanghai and Paris where Tsonga is defending champion.
But in the race for London, Roddick probably just has a win a match of two to qualify. After him in the race is Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonzalez, Jo Wilifred-Tsonga and Gilles Simon.
And nice touch at the end to have Queen’s “We Are The Champions” playing during the trophy ceremony. Perhaps the ATP should get an “Official” song for trophy event?
It’s getting down to the wire in both Tokyo for the men and in Beijing for the men and women. While the men’s event in Beijing has seen few surprises as top seeds Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic appear headed for another final clash, some upsets in the other tourneys are allowing for some intriguing matchups.
In Beijing, Svetlana Kuznetsova has been flying under the radar and playing well getting herself into the semis with a 6-3, 6-3 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Sveta will now face Nadia Petrova who survived another tough match against Shuai Peng 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.
As much as I would like to see Petrova get through and win the event, I feel like Sveta, who is 4-1 lifetime against her, will find a way to win this.
The other semi has Agnieszka Radwanska against the always feisty Marion Bartoli.
Over in Tokyo, the key match will be the semifinals between Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga. This is a must win match, not only as they would be the favorite in the final against either Lleyton Hewitt and the revived Mikhail Youznhy, but a good showing would help Tsonga on Monfils close in one of the final spots for the ATP Finale in London.
Filed under ATP, Tennis, WTA