Djokovic Ends Murray’s Hope At US Open, Nishikori Strong; Federer v Monfils Thursday Night
by Staff | September 4th, 2014, 1:29 am
  • 86 Comments

Kei Nishikori was anything but favored after coming off a long match against Milos Raonic that ended in the early hours of the previous day, but on Wednesday the Japanese No. 1 proved himself a marathon man at the US Open, defeating Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 6-7(5), 6-4 in four hours and 15 minutes.

He became the first Japanese player to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam event in the Open Era.

“I started a little bit tight, but my play was okay,” said the No. 10 seed. “As the match went on, I was feeling more and more confident, especially in the third set. I don’t know how I finished the game, but I’m very happy…Hopefully I can play 100 per cent tennis in the next round.”

Nishikori looked spent in the fifth set, but it was Wawrinka who cracked, double faulting in the sixth game to set up two break points, with Nishikori converting on the second.

“It was a good start,” Wawrinka said. “I was playing well, for sure, but he wasn’t really into the match yet at the beginning. I think what’s happen he start to play better. He start to be more aggressive. He start to try to took out the time I needed to play against him. Yeah, I wasn’t playing my best game, for sure. I had some up and down. I was quite not happy with myself, but I think also because he was playing good.”

After his 2:26am finish Monday, the 24-year-old Nishikori becomes the first player at the US Open to win his next match following a 2am or later finish.

“I slept at 6:00 a.m.,” he said of his Monday late finish. “That was a little bit tough because I never had that experience. But always, you know, good to win after 2:30 a.m. I had a little bit jet lag today.”

In the semifinals he will face Novak Djokovic. The World No. 1 outlasted rival and fellow US Open champion Andy Murray 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 in a match that ended at 1:17am. The 3-hour, 30-minute win sends Djokovic to his eighth US Open semifinal and six sets from a second title.

Djokovic now leads Murray 13-8 in their head-to-head wining five of the last six meetings. Djokovic actually squandered break leads in the first two sets but managed to split two breakers before taking charge in the third.

Djokovic has split two meetings with Nishikori. Both guys will get two days off before their Saturday semi.

In women’s quarterfinal play, world No. 1 Serena Williams and Ekaterina Makarova won on Wednesday to set up an unlikely semifinal.

The No. 17-seeded Makarova defeated No. 16 seed Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-2 in a display of baseline bashing.

“Well, it’s not hit me yet,” Makarova said of her first Slam semifinal. “Today was a great, tough match. We played so many times, she beat me and I beat her, so it was a tough one.”

Azarenka admitted afterward that she ate some bad sushi Monday which gave her food poisoning.

In the evening, Williams lost the first three games against Flavia Pennetta before gathering together her composure, winning six straight games to clinch the first set and eventually running it out 6-3, 6-2.

“I felt she was playing well,” Williams said. “I didn’t feel like I was doing too much wrong. I just tried to do a little better. I really rely on my serve a lot, but if my serve is off, I can rely on my groundstrokes. But I had a lot of fun today, and I really enjoyed it. I’m just so excited. It feels so special to be back in the semifinal in my home court. It’s just a unbelievable moment.”

Williams says she will be wary of her low-seeded opponent in the semis.

“I’ve had a tough year in the majors so you can never underestimate anyone,” she said. “We’re all fighting really hard and we all deserve to be here.”

Thursday in Flushing Meadows will see men’s quarterfinal action (6) Tomas Berdych vs. (14) Marin Cilic, and (2) Roger Federer vs. (20) Gael Monfils.

Berdych has won five of eight against Cilic but the Croat beat Berdych at Wimbledon. Federer leads Monfils 7-2 (4-0 in Slams) and he too beat him opponent this summer at Cincinnati in three sets.


Also Check Out:
Del Potro, Tsonga; Nishikori Defends at ATP Tokyo
Federer, Berdych Breeze Into US Open QFs; Djokovic v Murray Wednesday Night
Nishikori v Roddick Tonight at ATP San Jose
US Open Thursday Picks And Pans: Berdych v Cilic, Federer v Monfils
Murray’s Misery Mounts; Raonic Blasts Blake, Berankis Next at San Jose

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86 Comments for Djokovic Ends Murray’s Hope At US Open, Nishikori Strong; Federer v Monfils Thursday Night

madmax Says:

What a match! What a match! What a match!

Murray is back! The first two sets were thrilling! Those rallies. Oh My God. These players. Where do they get their energy from?

Murray needs to work on his fitness issues a bit more, but I would imagine having played more time on court, and now towards the latter end of the tournament, he is beginning to feel it.

All murray fans should take heart though. Margot, you should be proud!

Murray hit more winners – 47 to 46 – but also more unforced errors 65 to 48

Novak. What can you say? He IS the favourite and he played superbly.


Quetzalcoatl Says:

This defeat will make it much more difficult for Murray to qualify for the World Tour Finals.Especially because Nishikori(who is just a spot below him in the Race to London rankings)reached the SF.Also,the gap between Murray and Berdy(who is one spot higher than Murray in the Race to London rankings)is more than 300 and if Berdy beats Cilic,the gap will widen,making Murray’s qualification bid even more difficult.Also,Murray is only going 2 play in 2 other events(Shanghai and Paris)and he’s never won in Paris before.He should add atleas two more events to his schedule,perhaps the Japan Open 500 tourney(won it in 2011)and the Valencia 500 tourney(won it in 2009).I’m a Federer fan but I want Murray to qualify.He adds so much excitement to a tournament and it will be odd to see a tournament that only includes the best 8 players being played without Murray in it.


jane Says:

just read this stat on twitter:

“For those of who like stats @DjokerNole becomes 7th player in Open era to win 50 matches at Flushing Meadows. He is level with Fed and Lendl”


Colin Says:

Murray hit more winners! Not so long ago that would have been unthinkable. It shows that as he regains his confidence, he is less likely to be passive. Mauresmo may be right, that he’ll be back to his best in the New Year.

Regarding the fitness, he should be careful not to overdo it. Weird though it seems to a lazy guy like me, I think he actually enjoys his fierce regimen, and there have been hints in the past that he overtrained in the off-season.


jane Says:

Just realized that Uniqlo must be pleased about the Nole/Kei semi. :)


Gordon Says:

Jane – I don’t understand how Nole is level with Federer if he just hit 50 match wins.

Including this year Federer is 74-9 over his 14 years at the tournament. He has 5 titles with a chance to win a 6th this weekend.

Djokovic is (as of this evening) 50-8 over his 9 years at the tournament. He has 1 title with a chance to win a second this weekend.


Hippy Chic Says:

Congrats Novak and fans rather what i expected,Andy looks back to been almost at his best so im pleased he pushed Novak,and i think he will probably get him next time or the time after lol,see you in the final Novak as theres no way Nishikori after playing back to back five setters will have enough left in him against a much fresher and fitter Novak,but a great open for him none the less,and a fantastic match against Stan….


Hippy Chic Says:

I think Roger takes Gael to the woodshed,the Cilic/Berdych match will be the more interesting of the two,but i think and hope Berdych takes this one in possibly 4/5 sets?Berdych i think will give Roger more of a fright than Cilic having beaten him in GS a couple of times before….


Hippy Chic Says:

Anyway i will be going away this afternoon,so i will miss the conclusion to the open,so all the best to all you posters,and im sure you will all enjoy whats left of the open,with Andy gone i will pull for Roger or Kie winning it would be great,but TBH i cant see past Novak,but who knows maybe Jamie will be right….


FedExpress Says:

another stat:

nole at US open: won 1 off 5 finals
fed at French open: won 1 off 5 finals

only difference, it is on noles fav surface,whereas by fed it is on his worst surface

nole lost to every1 in the big 4 (apart against himself) at the US open final but won only against.

2007: lost against federer
2010: lost against nadal
2011: won against nadal
2012: lost against murray
2013: lost against nadal


Michael Says:

First things first. I am elated that I called it right once again when I predicted that Novak would win this one in four tight sets and it so happened. It is not that Novak won because I predicted so. It is only that I predicted what Novak finally won and that gives me a sense of satisfaction that I am reading sometimes right. And it was really an exciting match despite the flurry of UEs from Andy’s racquet. Perhaps Andy came in with a game plan to unsettle Novak with his aggresive play and he did succeed in the first two sets where it was apparent that he was the better player except for that first set tie break when Novak ran away with it. But, Andy just could not sustain his play in the third and fourth sets and he was experiencing some kind of discomfort in the court, probably a bit of cramps or a niggle when his excessive exertion on the court hampered his body and he couldn’t move freely and his foot work suffered. No excuses over here as the physically better player convincingly and deservingly won. Andy made far too UEs (more than 60) and just lost where it mattered. He made more winners though than Novak but his conversion of Break points was poor relative to Novak. Nonetheless, it has been after sometime that we have seen Andy come up with a strategy, game plan and executed it not with perfection, but atleast with a sense of pragmatism that it was the only way to beat Novak – “Be aggressive on court” and he really played well matching Novak shot for shot and especially in the first two sets, he was winning most of the long rallies much to the discomfiture of Novak who was just amused by the consistency in shot making by Andy. However, what promised to be a marathon match suddenly ended in a impromptu fashion when Novak ran way with that third set and stayed on court on the fourth for Andy to blink and he did. Probably serving first gave Novak a comparable advantage. All said and done, Novak is reaching his consecutive 8th semi final at the US Open and by virtue of this, he is joining the legion of legends comprised ofcourse by Roger Federer. This is an incredible achievement by any means. And for Andy, on the positive side, he is finding his game back after that surgery and he might reclaim his rightful place amongst the top four very soon.


Michael Says:

Now let me make another prediction and see whether it turns right like it has for me the past two times when I was on dot. It seems to me that Novak will become the Champion this time around at the US Open making a repeat of his 2011 achievement when he won these tournaments back to back. Ofcourse, he still has Nishikori and probably Roger in the final to contend with. But, this victory over Andy would have given him tremendous confidence and I thought he would have been more wary had Wawarinka made the semis than Nishikori. But, still it is just my prediction and things can go wrong. But Novak is in with a fairly great advantage to make this one. For a man who made 8 semi finals, he actually deserves another title at this venue.


Michael Says:

Now coming to the remaining matches, my prediction is that Cilic would win over Berdych probably in five tight sets and Roger would win over Monfils in four sets with two tough ones. For Cilic, this is a crucial match in his career where he needs to pull up his socks to achieve that vital breakthrough which he has been hoping for all through his career. He definitely can pull this one against Berdych considering the way he has been playing of late.


Hippy Chic Says:

Michael id be surprised if Nishikori can get a set of Novak,back to back five setters doesnt bode well,especially if youve already had physical issues,see you in the final Novak,as for Roger as i said above i think he will take Gael to the woodshed,only Berdych i believe can stop Roger getting to the final here,thats assuming he gets past Cilic,as i say i wont see the conclusion,but i hope its a great ending….


Michael Says:

Alison, I do endorse your thoughts. I think Nishikori has already exceeded his most optimistic expectations by reaching his first semi finals and I think he is the first Japanese to have made thus far after 1919. But, I think his exceedingly impressive run would end at the semis against Novak unless ofcourse a miracle takes place, which may well happen as Tennis is a game of uncertainities and we can never call a match unless it is over. But looking at the way Novak is playing right now, there is no way that Nishikori is going to get the best of him in five. He might probably pick a set but will fall short of giving a tough fight which Andy posed to Novak. Well, that is my guess. As regards Roger, ofcourse considering that all goes according to plan,he should be able to beat Novak convincingly. But Monfils is on fire of late, oozing with confidence and you never know. This match might even produce a surprise but it would be in the rarest of rare and Roger should take care of him in three or at most four. Ofcourse, as you rightly say, Berdych could pose big problems for Roger if both reach that stage and we have to wait and see what is in store for the fans. Although the absense of Rafa and Del Potro did take the sheen away from this edition of US Open, yet seeing players like Nishikori, Cilic, Monfils etc. in the quarters do give us positive trends for the future.


Hippy Chic Says:

Michael although the absense of Rafa and Delpotro did take the sheen away from this edition of the US open,well let it be said those were your words and not mine,nor ones coming from Rafa fans,so at least we cant be picked apart for that one?….


Michael Says:

Alison,

I am stating the obvious fact. If the World’s No.2 player and a defending Champion with a sparkling record at the US Open is not playing, then it is ofcourse a big void to fill, however some might try to spin it. So, you need not be mortally afraid when you say that, lest for the fear of offending the sentiments of a few who are anti Rafa.


Hippy Chic Says:

Michael hmm yeah ok then,i would rather not even go though,as it doesnt make a jot of difference anyway….


Hippy Chic Says:

Michael just to say to you and everyone else on the forum,enjoy the rest of the tournament whatever happens,as im going away now till Sunday 14th September,over and out speak to you all soon :))….


Michael Says:

Alison – I wish you the very best on your vacation. Ofcourse you miss the excitement of US Open and its action. But there is always another tournament to follow ……..


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Murray showed a lot this tournament, and I think in everyone’s eyes he is back to belonging among the top 4. He showed he could push around Novak when he went for his shots, but his UEs were terrible, and they were NOT coming on his go-for-it shots.
They showed more variety than they usually do, including the number of flat shots from Murray.
Murray looks huge and muscular, and I wonder if the added weight maybe tired him out. In any case, things look very good for Andy.
As a Fed fan, I would say the man I’m most frightened of is Berdych. I think the way Novak and Fed are playing, with Fed’s BH and net play so much better than in recent years, he can win that match-up. But Berdych seems to get in a groove where Fed is helpless. I am very interested in seeing how that dynamic changes with Fed’s increased net play though.


Margot Says:

@Quetzacoati
Actually I’m not bothered about WTF. Andy’s never done that well there anyway. Doesn’t look as if he is bothered either, as he’s only entered 2 tournaments before then.
@madmax
Cheers. Unfortunately I missed the two first sets when Andy was playing well. Typical!
@Hippy
Have a gr8 hol. I hope the weather is kind.
Andy has said he thought the awful cramp he experienced in the first match, finally caught up with him. True he is not yet match fit, but conditions in New York have been brutal.
As Boris said, “…..far too hot to play tennis!”


Giles Says:

Kei will have 2 days rest before he faces the joker on Saturday. Rule him out at your peril.
C’mon Kei.
And for today, c’mon Gael!


Ben Pronin Says:

Here’s my take on the match:

They were both nervous in the beginning but after Murray broke back in the first set, the quality really amped up and they were competing well from roughly the second half of the first set through the first half of the second set. Then, when Murray broke back in the second time in the second set, he really went off on the forehand. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him hit it so hard so consistently. And he was smacking his backhand hard, too, which I think was overlooked only because of his forehand.

I also think Djokovic played too tentative when he had leaads and when Murray started going nuts on the forehand, Djokovic just couldn’t believe it. But Djokovic really calmed down in the third set and he got an early break. Once he consolidated, though, the writing was on the wall. I think he was also pretty tired in the 4th set. Everyone was wondering why he wasn’t breaking Murray but he just wasn’t bending down to the ball all that much and it accounted for a lot of misses into the net. So both held fairly comfortably until Djokovic closed it out on his first chance.

Overall, fairly enjoyable but definitely some ugly play. The first 3 games were absolutely brutal. I like that Murray started really going for it instead of playing the dumb “let’s push the ball back and forth to each other” all night. I think it was Djokovic’s game plan to be patient but I think he should’ve gone after his shots more, too. But he did pretty well at the net except for a few botched overheads.

I don’t know how Djokovic will play going forward. I hope he improves, he’ll need to against Nishikori and whoever he could face in the finals. I still don’t really trust Nishikori’s fitness but if he’s fine then I wouldn’t look past him at all. I love his game.

As far as Murray goes, man, I don’t know. I feel like you’re either going to see at as the glass half full or half empty. His game was great last night. He was hitting as cleanly as ever from both sides and serving pretty well, too. But his second serve is still absolutely horrible. His touch was off last night, a lot of poor drop shots and lobs. But I wouldn’t worry so much about that. The fitness issue is a big deal. This is something he needs to address asap.


Margot Says:

@Ben
So you don’t think recovering from back surgery could have impacted on his match/fitness prep? Or that playing in two matches on Armstrong in the heat of the day, might have sapped his strength, allowing for the fact of that op.? I have NEVER seen Andy cramp like that. The heat effected many players, some even retiring,not just Andy whose fitness is not quite at its highest.
All the comms said 1) this is the best he’s played since Wimbledon win 2) forehand was better than ever. So sure, amidst the disappointment I’ll take that.
Andy just needs time, which some gloom and doom merchants don’t seem prepared to allow him. If, next year, you can write “The fitness issue is a big deal,” I’ll hold my hands up, surrender and agree you were right.
But I doubt I’ll need to.


mat4 Says:

For me, I am interested in an analysis of Murray’s 61 UE, because I don’t see how Novak is winning those matches.

When you look at the stats, it seems a bit weird. First, although Djokovic is winning more points when returning (41%/39%), Murray needs to serve much less (124/152), so it seems that he is the one putting pressure on Novak’s serve. While the difference in the percentage of points won when returning is not that big, Novak had to serve 28 serves more, a complete set…

But there, we could see the evolution of Novak’s second serve in that match. He started serving at 90 mph, to rise to 105 mph (his fastest second serve was at 108 mph). He protected a bit better his second serve, although Novak, while very aggressive when returning (he made 5 winners vs 4 on the return), doesn’t display Murray’s ferocious aggressiveness.

Novak, then, just couldn’t hit through Andy. He reacted by going for more angles and rushing to the net, with success, but overall, Andy dominated the rallies.

So, what we have here is that Andy served better, returned better, dominated the rallies… but was behind Novak the whole match (the TB in the second set excepted).

There has to be something Novak does well, but what? That’s why I am very interested by an analysis of Murray’s UE (and forced errors, of course).

About stamina: I don’t think that Murray has problems there. He simply is too muscular, too heavy. If you remember him from 2007, he is a lean, tall guy. I believe he should lose some weight, because that’s the difference between him and Novak. Andy has more power (in fact, I believe that he is the strongest player in the top 100), but he tends to tire against Novak regularly now. The only time he was fresher than Novak in the latter stages of a match was in the USO final 2012, because Novak played a match the day before, and we know that the body needs 48 hours to recover.

Anyway, that his stamina is not a sudden problem is confirmed by Djokovic himself, who said that he felt that from a certain point, if he managed to hang in long enough, he could weary Murray down.


jane Says:

thanks gordon: i should note trust “twitter wisdom” :).

nole has reached 50 us open wins, and that is equal to 7 others in the open era who have reached 50 or more.

according to marianne bevis’ summation of the match, where nole is level with fed and lendl is in reaching his 8th semi:

“So Djokovic has reached his eighth consecutive US Open semi-final—and to give some context, that equals Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl. ”

i haven’t checked on this, but her articles are usually accurate. i suppose fed would reach 9 after a win today?


jane Says:

*not trust


mat4 Says:

But anyway… Novak has won his last five matches on hard against Andy. Clearly, the USO 2012 was an exception, when the facts that Novak played a long three setter the day before, and that the wind didn’t allow him to play his usual game for two sets had a crucial, decisive impact on the result.

It seems that he is aware of some weaknesses in Murray’s game that we don’t notice.


pitchaboy Says:

As a physician I can assure you the road back from back surgery is long. I would say Murray has done pretty good so far. He needs to lose some weight to take some strain off the back. If he does not injure himself again, next year should be better. However, it remains to be seen if he can reach the levels he did in the second half of 2012 and early 2013.


pitchaboy Says:

The wind was not the reason Novak lost USO 2012 to Andy. Murray was simply the best player on the planet at that time in tennis. He reached Wimbly final, won Olympic gold and had a great hard court tour of duty.


Okiegal Says:

I thought Andy looked great too……looking like his old self. The biggest problem……stamina. He was sapped way too soon to beat a fit Novak. Having said that, he will get it all back sooner than later. Conditions weren’t great by any means, but the same for all of them. Long matches prior to facing a well rested Novak would not be in your favor for sure. Kei will be in the same predicament, imo. Andy was doing a lot of talking to himself last night…..think that is another issue with him. He gets too bent out of shape when things go awry. Focus Andy, focus. But all in all, I thought his shot making was great for the most part…..and I think things are looking up for him…..finally. I agree, tennis needs a fully recovered Andy and Delpo.

Congrats to Nole fans…..I think the USO 2014 is Novak’s for the taking!!


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

Hope you have a wonderful vacation! Be safe and don’t have too much fun! LOL


jane Says:

have fun camping hippy.


Margot Says:

Maresmo has said she doesn’t think Andy will be fully fit till the new year.
@mat4
Last 5 matches since back surgery is that?


mat4 Says:

@pitchaboy:

In 2012, Novak finished no 1. He was the best player on the planet, and since 2011 he was clearly superior to Andy on hard, losing just one match comprehensively, in Dubai 2011. Meanwhile he won at the AO 2011, Miami 2012, Shanghai 2012, London 2012, Australia 2013, Miami 2014, USO 2014. Without wind.

He lost twice on grass, and won once on clay in the span. So, while we can deduce that Andy is the better player on grass, playing in front of his public, their overall H2H and achievements on clay suggest that Novak is better on that surface too.

Murray was the better player on hard in 2008 and 2009, especially when Novak changed his racquet.


skeezer Says:

@pitchaboy
re; Murray & back.
Didn’t you think Murray’s back look stiff in the 4th set? His core rotation looked stiff to me at times…


skeezer Says:

@pitchaboy
re; Murray & back.
Didn’t you think Murray’s back look stiff in the 4th set? His core rotation looked stiff to me at times…


pitchaboy Says:

1. Murray looked more fatigue than stiff back.
2. Novak won AO 2012 but not much else in slams or Olympics. No disrespect to Novak, but, wind or no wind, he prefers the slow hard courts of Australia, Miami and Shanghai to the fast hard courts of USO, Cincy or Paris. The results of 2012 you have noted mat4 illustrate my point. And that is why, he is not a shoe in for 2014 USO, although he is slightly favored in the absence of NaDAL.


mat4 Says:

@Margot:

They played once since surgery – in Miami. And surgery was one year ago. Let’s not forget that Novak was injured in Cincinnati 2011, too.

Why is it so difficult to admit that Andy was very fortunate in winning his slams? He was 2-4 before the semi of the USO 2012 against Berdych, who usually manages to overpower him. Novak played three sets against Ferrer on Saturday, and it was decisive in the fifth. The wind wasn’t a key factor? Be serious.

Anyway, that doesn’t change the fact that he won that USO.


pitchaboy Says:

The final on Monday will be very interesting. Conditions call for 75 degrees with low relative humidity with a dew point in low sixties and not seventies. That translates on the court to a ball that travels slightly faster through the air, bounces low off the surface. It will favor the backhand slice and will make hitting off the slice difficult due to low bounce.


mat4 Says:

@skeezer:

I even thought that he was injured. He called the trainer. He said after the match that his back is OK, and I hope that it was only mental — it was cold and he was tired.

Anyway, his stamina is not a problem. He simply is too heavy, and it is not his natural weight. In Australia 2013, the result was virtually the same, for the same reasons: after two very demanding sets, Andy simply slowed down.

Andy is 1m90, and judging by his aspect, about 90 kg. It is too much, even for Tsonga who is naturally bulky. We could see that Novak manages to wear down Rafa in Australia for the same reasons — Rafa is heavier.

I believe that Murray could lose about 5 kg, especially after his back operation. I don’t think that he would lose much his punch, especially if he continues to hit his FH flat, the way he did yesterday.


pitchaboy Says:

1. Novak has never won and will likely never win Cincy. Court is a bit too fast for his style of tennis.
2. His injury in Cincy being compared to a back surgery is comparing a niggle in the shoulder to a frozen shoulder. Back surgeries are tricky and the recovery is long as you have to learn to retrain muscle groups to prevent recurrence of the injury. If he does not hurt himself again, I would anticipate Murray to be back to speed in a few months. Remember Fed’s bad back, without surgery, ruined 2013 for him.


pitchaboy Says:

Let us not forget that the wind was not just blowing for Novak. It affects both players and both guys are precision hitters. In general, with wind, the guy playing better on the day wins.


Polo Says:

@mat4: “…that doesn’t change the fact that he (Murray) won that USO.”

Correct!


Polo Says:

I don’t think there is any question that Dojokovic is a better player than Murray. I like Murray better than Djokovic but even I can see that. Murray is still in my Big 4, the least of the four but still better than the rest behind them. After the first three with lion’s shares of slam titles, Murray is still the only one with more than 1 major and although he loses to the first three a lot, he is still the one with the most wins over them taken together.


pitchaboy Says:

When Novak hangs up his boots, he will be one of the all time greats without question. He will likely have 10 to 12 slams or in that vicinity. Murray will not be in his class, however, no denying that he is a terrific player. You could presumably win a slam by fluke (although I cannot figure out how you could), but you cannot fluke a slam twice and on two different surfaces.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t understand how someone can say Djokovic doesn’t like fast surfaces. 8 straight US Open semifinals? 5 finals in 8 years? I mean yeah it’s pretty bad that he only has one title but he lost to other members of the big 4, not random scrubs. And he has 4 Cincy finals. Even if he doesn’t win a title there before he retires, which I’m sure he will, he’s still done well there.

Saying Djokovic isn’t good or doesn’t like fast surfaces is like saying Federer isn’t good or doesn’t like clay. The numbers and results don’t back it up at all.

As for everyone saying Murray is so bulky and needs to lose weight, I don’t know. He looks bulky compared to the ridiculously skinny Djokovic but I’m sure he’s normal in person. I doubt he has that much extra weight. And I don’t think he’s stronger than Tsonga.


jane Says:

it seems weird that nole versus andy was a quarterfinal and not the finals or at least semis. andy can gain some points in the fall (i don’t think he’s defending much? any?) and then get back to the top 8 for the WTFs and higher at the beginning of next year. so far it still “feels like” nole, rafa, fed and andy are the top 4, although wawrinka is up there too. other than the french he went W, SF, QF at the slams.it’ll be interesting to see if stan remains a factor next year too. he certainly has the shots. fitness might become an issue though; will he be 30 next year?


mat4 Says:

@pitachaboy:

The wind doesn’t affect all players the same way. I believe that there is no need to explain this. And the condition of play in semi and the final were on the edge of irregularity.

Anyway, I don’t understand this… denial of reality.

Although Andy is a bad match-up for Novak, and although I, myself, think that his potential is exceptional and unfulfilled, Novak will probably be the one to finish his career among the all time greats. Because Novak won his slams fair and square: he beat Federer at the AO 2008, Federer and Murray at the AO 2011, Nadal at Wimby 2011, Federer and Nadal at the USO 2011, Murray and Nadal at the AO 2012, Murray at the AO 2013 (where Novak indeed had an easy draw, although he played Wawrinka), Federer in Wimby 2014. Since the USO 2010, he lost only to Federer, Nadal and Murray in slams, with the exception of the AO 2014. Anyway, he lost to the winner of the tournament every time, and he won and lost the hard way. He deserves his titles and his rank more than anybody.


Margot Says:

@mat4
As you seem to be putting an * against Andy’s USOpen slam win, I am equally happy to put an * against Nole’s wins since back Andy’s surgery. Seems only fair.
Lol the wind! Was it only blowing on Nole’s side?
For sure any fan can put some kind of * against their favourite’s losses. I don’t agree with doing it tbh, but you started it!


Polo Says:

Novak is already among the all time greats and without any doubt, he wiill rise even higher. How can anybody win 7 majors during the time when two players constantly debated for the GOAT title are still actively playing and arguably still in their prime unless he is just about as good as they are?


mat4 Says:

Sorry, my post came a bit too late, and everything I wrote was discussed in the previous posts.

@Ben:

I indeed think that Andy is stronger than Jo. He starts faster, changes direction better, and he looks very big. Just look at his legs, his shoulders. He certainly works very much on his strength.

@pitchaboy:

I don’t believe that Novak will win 10 slams. He is already 27, and the next generations is finally maturing: Nishikori, Raonic, Dimitrov,Thiem, Zverov, and I believe that Cilic and Del Potro still have a word to say in slams.

Novak will be slower, if he isn’t already (Murray is clearly slower than he was before the operation), and he doesn’t have enough power to finish points fast. I guess that he will have a lot of problems against Nishikori, in the semi. Anyway, winning 8 slams would be great. Anything above that number is a given.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t really care to get into this brouhaha about Murray’s slam wins and whatnot, but I don’t know why people scoff at the wind issue.

Does anyone remember the 09 Indian Wells final? It was insanely windy. Both guys obviously faced the same conditions. But Nadal played safe and smart, lots of slices and high margin shots. Murray, on the other hand, had no idea what to do. It was one of the worst matches I’ve seen, even calling it a match seems like a stretch.

So by 2012 you had a similar situation where one guy simply dealt with the conditions better than the other guy. Remember the first set of the Ferrer-Djokovic semi? Ferrer whooped Djokovic and Djokovic basically pleaded to get the match postponed because he didn’t like playing in the wind. I don’t find it excusable for the number 1 ranked player to be so helpless because of windy cnoditions but that’s what it was. So just because they dealt with the same conditions doesn’t mean it affects them the exact same way.


mat4 Says:

@Margot:

But there was only one win since the operation, before that semi: in Miami, like I wrote. OK for an asterisk for that match.

But I read after every Andy’s win that he’s finally in form, he plays great, in Wimby he was even the favourite before the QF (pundits wrote it), and when he loses — it’s always the bad back.

And I think it’s true: Andy indeed played two great sets, his FH was devastating, he got a racquet on every ball, and while I don’t deny that he seemed injured in the fourth set (hopefully, he wasn’t), there was no sign of bad back in most of the match.

I try to be objective. You are malicious. It is not the same thing. I admit that I think that Andy should be the favourite in his encounters against Novak — but, in 2012, at the USO, before that final, he played clearly better.


mat4 Says:

… Novak played clearly better…


Ben Pronin Says:

Changes directions better running or hitting the ball? I guess it doesn’t matter because he does both better. But I’m not sure how you’re gauging strength. Murray hit a 104mph forehand last night but we’ve seen Del Potro hit a 120mph. I’m not saying Murray isn’t big and well built, he is. But Berdych has monster legs, too. Tsonga has big shoulders, as do Monfils and Nadal. Nadal, for example, looks really big but is quite lean in real life. Federer, on the other hand, looks like a stick but has broad shoulders in real life.

And, again, Djokovic is a freaking stick. Trust me, I’ve touched his back, it was disturbing. So when you place him next to Murray on a TV screen, Murray looks like the Hulk. But I would bet a lot that he’s pretty normal up close. He’s listed as 6’3 185lbs. Djokovic is 6’2 176lbs. Djokovic could easily gain 5 more pounds and be fine. Murray is also quite skinny based on those numebers.


Giles Says:

Rafa is 85 kg.


skeezer Says:

“Trust me, I’ve touched his back, it was disturbing”
lol ben ;)


pitchaboy Says:

Nobody said Novak is not good on fast surfaces; it is not his best hunting ground and his record will indicate that. The problem here with some of you guys is that you are invested a lot in one guy and miss the larger point. To argue that Novak won titles “fair and square” is ludicrous, as if to say, the other guys won it by cheating. It is called a slam for a reason, you win it on merits and fair and square as some of you put it. At the end of the day, slam tennis is an outdoor game. If you want to win it, learn to deal with all types of conditions. If you don’t and you lose, it is your problem; not the problem of the person who dealt with the condition and prevailed. And that win is no less “fairer and squarer” than without the wind. For the simple reason, as I have pointed air temperature and humidity are equally important factors in conditions. A Nadal fan can then argue that cold and dry weather is not fair and square as the ball will not bounce high enough. Grow up!


Humble Rafa Says:

Twinnies are an insult to doubles. No wonder double died while they were on top.


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

I don’t agree. First, Andy played Rafa in IW. Rafa plays far from the lines, with a big net clearance, with a lot of margins anyway. He has a very powerful FH to finish points under any conditions. If anybody can play well in extremely windy conditions, it’s Rafa.

It’s not that Andy doesn’t know how to play in the wind. But in IW, Rafa could slice the balls, because, at the time, Andy didn’t dispose of the powerful FH he has know to punish those kind of shots. On the other side, you can play CC slices on Rafa’s FH, you have to hit flat, hard and deep.

Novak, on the other side, has to construct points, open the court, and play close to the lines to win against both Rafa and Andy. When he can’t play that kind of game, he simply is helpless.

And it’s not that Novak doesn’t know how to play in the wind: he lost the first two sets 7-6 7-5.

In the end, the match played against Ferrer, the day before, cost him the victory. Novak clearly made a mistake by postponing this match, although Ferrer game clearly allows him to play extremely well in the wind.

Anyway: like I wrote, Andy won that USO, and it won’t change. But that the conditions in the semi and the final suited him, is obvious.


Polo Says:

************
Oh, so many things to put asterisks on…!


mat4 Says:

@pitchaboy:

The level of opposition Novak faced in his slam’s wins is unequalised in the Open era of tennis. Yes, it is always hard to win a slam, but sometimes it’s even harder. You can put in the same category Agassi wining the AO against Clement and Djokovic winning the USO 2011, beating Federer and Nadal, players who are among the top three ever, back to back.


mat4 Says:

Anyway, to make things clear:

I argue that the wind gave an advantage to Murray in the USO final. I made my points, and responded to the objections. What are your arguments?


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

The numbers you quote — from the ATP site — are the same since 2007 at least, when Murray looked very lean and wasn’t that big. I think that those numbers are not accurate, especially since players tends to lose weight in the course of the season.

I meant that he changes direction faster when running, of course. I believe that he is the fastest player on the tour after Rafa.


mat4 Says:

And, BTW, Andy recorded the second fastest FH ever, at 124 mph (almost 200 kmh), second only to Blake’s FH at 125 mph.


Polo Says:

Yes, at that USO final, the wind blew only in Djokovic’s part of the court.


mat4 Says:

@Polo:

It is not an argument. Try to make sense.


Humble Rafa Says:

Nishikori, Raonic, Dimitrov,Thiem, Zverov

Next Golden Era.


Polo Says:

Mat4 you are the one who makes no sense. That match has passed a long time ago. When your favorite loses, accept it. When he wins rejoice. Then move on because no amount of rationalization is going to change anything.


alice Says:

with regard to the Murray debate on here: the thing that always gets me is how little is said about the fact that he has home advantage at Wimbledon (and crucially at the Olympics in 2012).
that seems to me the factor that affected Djokovic the most and you have to ask how many more slams Rafa, Nole and Federer might have if they had a home slam. Nole and Rafa especially are ferociously motivated in relation to playing in front of a home crowd. Because I just don’t buy into this talk about Murray being so good on grass – one Wimbledon final and one win aren’t exactly proof of that – but I feel like he gets a big big lift because of the home support .


Humble Rafa Says:

When the next golden era arrives, Humble will be humbly missed.


mat4 Says:

@Polo:

I am not bitter, nor do I care about that match now that Novak has won a few slams more. Although Novak was unlucky in some occasions in slams, he had his fair share of luck so there’s nothing to regret, and I don’t regret lost occasions.

But if you don’t want to discuss tennis history, just don’t. I you tell me that I am wrong, that give some arguments, make your case. Otherwise, stay away from the debate.

Because that’s just it, a debate, a chat.


Wog boy Says:

People also tend to forget that Delpo should be on Murray’s Christmas card list every year for wearing down Federer and Djokovic in SFs of Olympic games and 2013 Wimbledon.

mat4,
Very good observation about 2013 AO and yesterday, that was deja vu, Andy didn’t have operation for 2013 AO final and these two matches are almost identical in result, two TBs in the first two sets and after that Andy was goner. Let us see if Andy can play that new FH match in match out, I doubt it.


the DA Says:

*sigh* not this damn asterisk argument or “chat” again. You start this line of reasoning and you’d be surprised how many asterisks could be arguably attached to some of the others’ slam wins. Let it go.

” feel like he gets a big big lift because of the home support .”

I think Tsonga, Stosur, Gasquet, Mauresmo et al would strongly disagree with you. All of them have expressed in various articles (which exist online if you do a search) that home support has added incredible pressure which they have not been able to use in a positive way.


the DA Says:

“People also tend to forget that Delpo should be on Murray’s Christmas card list every year”

And Soderling & Murray should be on Federer’s Xmas Card list and Tsonga on Novak’s list (twice). Don’t open that can of worms ;P


Wog boy Says:

^^Ok, can is closed and welded..


RZ Says:

I saw some of the Murray-Djokovic match (no Margot – it wasn’t my fault Murray lost. I watched the 2nd set!) and have to say that I have never seen Murray hit such good forehands. Wow. Too bad he couldn’t keep it up. I’m a little concerned about his back going forward, though.

Excited that Nishikori made a semi, and now Cilic knocked out Berdych. Yay!


RZ Says:

@Alice – I disagree because Wimbledon has been much more of a burden for Murray than a home advantage. The amount of pressure that Murray has had to withstand to be successful there is tremendous, and probably more than any other male player of the last 10 years has had to face.


Okiegal Says:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see two new guys in the finals??……..but that ain’t gonna happen, imo…..but a nice thought……ya know, spread the wealth…….


Okiegal Says:

I think the Brits have put a lot of pressure on Andy. My gosh, he was annihilated by the press on numerous occasions…..Good grief, who could play with all that crap on one’s shoulders…….”We haven’t had a British champion since 1926″……I made that year up because I don’t know when it was, just trying to make a point. I felt so sorry for the guy and was so glad he won, so they would finally get off his back! They ran that in the ground like *s placed before grand slam wins and the stupid GOAT issue. Enough is enough on all these silly redundant issues!!


Polo Says:

@mat4: the last time i checked tennis history, Murray beat Djokovic in that USO final. That’s a fact that even your imaginative mind cannot deny. What you are doing is writing your own historical fiction to make Djokovic the hero in that event when he, in fact lost. If you want a debate, stick with the facts and do not invoke scenarios for the sake of favoring the player you like.


mat4 Says:

@Polo:

1. I deny nothing; don’t accuse me of something I didn’t do.

2. I stick with the facts and I don’t invoke scenarios.

I understand that you don’t like the narrative — that the only time Andy beat Novak on hard courts in best of five, the almost irregular playing conditions were most probably favouring him.

I really have no problems to admit that Andy is a better player on grass, that he has a better forehand and a better return, that he is faster, plays better at the net, I have also written that I don’t quite understand how Novak wins his matches against him, and that, when I think about Andy’s potential, I believe that he has more than anybody in the last ten years. The DA even thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. Sequences of yesterday’s match proved me right.

Neither do I think that Novak will win 10 slams, — I am happy that he won 7 — managing to beat Nadal and Federer more than once in the process (something only Del Po has done in slams).

I try to be objective, and although I am not always right, I am always ready to read a refutation.

But you do nothing of the kind, sorry.

Finally, I am very sorry that my English remains dry, that it isn’t good enough to express nuances — humour, kindness, or cynicism, something I really would like to be able to express.


Daniel Says:

Oki,

Wouldn’t it be nice to not see Nadal in a RG final to “share” the wealth with any other player, I mean any one at all. LOL


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