I admit, I saw nothing of the match, and I honestly didn’t give it much of a look thinking Novak Djokovic would not lose to a qualifier named Kevin Anderson that he had never seen before today. He wouldn’t lose after tearing up Indian Wells putting himself within striking distance of No. 1 ranking? He wouldn’t lose in the second round of a major tournament in which he is defending a crap-load of points and is defending champion? Would he? Oh yes he would. It’s March Madness after all.
This afternoon Djoko lost to the big-serving South African 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Miami Sony Ericsson Open.
Djokovic was my choice to win not the just the match but win the entire event, and I based that on his performance at the Australian Open and at Indian Wells. Say what you want about his injuries, illnesses and motivation at the lower tier events, the guy really does step it up at the bigger events. That is until now.
Djokovic dropped the first set to the big-serving, 6-foot-7 Anderson. Recovered to win the second and then seemingly gained control of the match going up a break in the third serving at 2-0. But that’s when the Serb hit the skids. After incurring a time warning Novak won the point after but then lost 13 straight points and six of the next eight games.
Said Novak about the time warning, “Well, it’s, you know, I didn’t focus myself in that moment. Obviously, the time violation and a lot of different things affected on my service game loss. But, you know, that’s okay. It’s all part of the game.”
Anderson made some noise last month when he reached the finals in Las Vegas. The former Illinois standout also reportedly won a practice set off of Roger Federer yesterday.
“I really don’t know even what to say right now. I really tried to give myself the best shot walking in today. I kept telling myself I can do this. I’ve just got to believe in myself, play my game,” said Anderson. “But even still, just knowing what he’s done and what a great player he is, and to have actually beaten him, I mean, it’s a tremendous experience for me.”
Novak of course had just won the Indian Wells title on Sunday, but he did have a full three, if not four days of rest before today’s meeting.
Djokovic added, “Well, I tried to recover, but obviously I was a little bit tired from the start. But it was okay, you know. I could play, but the thing is that I didn’t know the way he’s playing. It was our first meeting, and I never saw him playing before. He surprised me with the way he was serving. I wasn’t moving on my returns good enough, and obviously that resulted in easy service games. He was winning too easy in the first set his service games, and I wasn’t aggressive enough. Then when I needed to use my chances in the third set, I made some unforced errors which were really crucial.”
The loss really does damage to Novak’s hopes to get to No. 1 by Wimbledon or even pass Nadal for No. 2. He’ll do it eventually, but the timeline just got extended.
Moving on, I’ll be looking forward to seeing my man Gael Monfils and Federer tomorrow night. Rumor is it will be on FSN, but that’s anyone’s guess the way that network works. Let’s keep the madness going.
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