Djokovic Overcomes Slow Start, Raonic Rolls; Murray Opens Play Monday At ATP Finals
by Staff | November 13th, 2016, 11:50 pm
  • 69 Comments

It was a tough day for debutantes Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils on the first Sunday of the ATP Finals in London. First up was the Austrian Thiem and the youngest player in the field got off to a hot start playing 4-time defending champion and tournament favorite Novak Djokovic tough in the first set.

With Djokovic still trying to find his form, the upstart Thiem finally shook off the nerves to convert on his seventh set point of the first. But Djokovic promptly broke at the start of the second and ran away with the match 6-7(10), 6-0, 6-2.

“Even though I lost the first set, I thought I didn’t do too many things wrong. It was just the very high quality of his game that prevailed in the first set,” said Djokovic. “I started swinging more freely in the second set. He started making more errors, which I used. I was on top of his second serves, putting a lot of pressure. I thought I played very well in the second set especially, but the third as well.

“When I had a great comeback saving six, seven set points, then I didn’t manage to win that first set, of course you’re frustrated,” said Djokovic. “On the other hand, I think I managed to compose myself and really gather all my attention and concentration to what was coming up after that.”

Thiem still grabbed a set which in round robin play can prove critical.

“It was a very good and very intense first set,” said Thiem. “It lasted as long as sometimes a two-set match will last. Of course, it was intense.”

“After that, I lost a little bit of energy, which is required against a guy like Novak to play close and good sets,” Thiem added. “I came back, obviously found the energy, but the beginning of the third set he was playing well. I couldn’t quite keep the level up from the first set.”

In the second match, Monfils made his debut against Milos Raonic in a match-up of two players coming off injuries. And it was the Canadian getting the better of the matchup with a routine 6-3, 6-4 victory.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities,” said Raonic who had a quad injury which forced him out of Paris. “I played well. I took care of my serve very efficiently. All those things came together nicely. I competed well, had a good attitude and hit the ball pretty well as well.”

Raonic will next face Djokovic on Tuesday. Monfils will take on Thiem.

“I watched a little bit of his match today,” Raonic said of Djokovic. “He was very commanding towards the end of his match. He really stepped up after a difficult, slow start. It’s going to be a difficult task that I have ahead of me. I feel like I’m doing some things well. I feel like I can do some things better.”

On Monday, Andy Murray returns seeking to keep pace with Djokovic in the No. 1 race as he faces former US Open champion Marin Cilic. Murray leads 11-3 but the Croat won their most recent meeting in the Cincinnati final.

Reigning US Open champion Stan Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori. The Swiss is ahead 4-2 recently beating Nishikori in four sets in the US Open semifinals.


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69 Comments for Djokovic Overcomes Slow Start, Raonic Rolls; Murray Opens Play Monday At ATP Finals

Danica Says:

I thought Milos had a major leg injury, torn muscle. And yet, he flies around the court like a butterfly?


J-Kath Says:

Yes, Danica. Prior the match Milos said he would definitely play one match. The implication was that might be all he was physically fit to play.


skeezer Says:

Giles,
Interesting link. from that link:
..”He was warned for unsportsmanlike behaviour..”
He was probably frustrated and upset he didn’t win the sportsmanship award……again.


Willow Says:

Novak has become quite tetchy lately ….


Danica Says:

Giles,
Your point exactly?


lakie Says:

skeezer at November 14th, 2016 at 10:54 am

Lol!!


Giles Says:

He’s a hooligan in a gentleman’s sport.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Very interesting link Giles. I have been firmly in the ‘nothing major is wrong with Novak’ camp, but this really indicates otherwise. Not just the ball hitting but the snappy answers to the reporter. This is the man who has set the standard for mental strength the last 5 years, and in particular, for emotional equanimity. I’m now ready to believe there is some thing there beyond a few ‘off day’ losses.

Chicken and egg question: is the emotional turbulence behind the losses, or a consequence of them?

It adds credence to my theory that Novak has been abducted by aliens and the man we see on court is actually a clone, probably originating from the Sirius system (see Sean’s gossip thread). It fits! It all fits!


jane Says:

you may be right TV! “alien abduction” seems like a possible next storyline where nole’s concerned. they’ve used almost everything else. ;)

if interested, watch the video; novak is actually laughing and smiling initially during that line of questioning, and other journos laugh at the question too. it was a tabloid journo who was asking, looking for a new angle.


lakie Says:

Well I am not complaining. The robotic Novak demolishing weak opposition with machine like precision was boring in the extreme. Ha ha he is human, he is tetchy and is probably cheating on his wife! Definitely more entertaining!
Hope the battle for #1 goes to the wire with Novak and Andy fighting for the crown in the WTF final. Cannot ask for more!


Danica Says:

He is simply tired of constant bullying by reporters who insist to get answers for normal human nature. Was it ok that the ball was sent to the crowd? No. But give him a break. His pressers are usually about everything other than his tennis. He may be the top guy but he is not the only one with fiery temperament.

TV,
Re: abduction, you may be onto something there. :))


Danica Says:

Giles,
I respectfully disagree.


J-Kath Says:

So Everyone/Anyone: Nishikori-Stan Match?.

I thought Stan would win, but Kei had other ideas. I hope Stan can re-group and go deeper.


Willow Says:

Personally i dont care about players venting their frustrations on court, by smashing raquets and swearing, and i can get on board with players getting irritated at times with some of the questions the press ask, which are sometimes so bloody stupid, what i dont care for is players throwing objects into the stands where the paying public are sat, as somebody could get hurt, and i wouldve said let it go if Novak had apologized, but he didnt seem to care, and was quite nonchalant about doing it, i will duck for cover now ….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Jane, thanks for the context, that REALLY changes the whole story.


chrisford1 Says:

This is typical Brit tabloid yellow journalism. The reporter goading Djokovic is a “go Andy, go Fed!” rooter from the Daily Mirror.
The premise of his line of questioning is beyond stupid. That a tennis ball hit and bouncing 1st on the court poses a danger to the crowd after it bounces high in the air and bounces a second time in the stands, traveling a blistering 15 mph. A soft, fuzzy sphere of squishable mayhem, weighing 2-2 1/16th ounces. Such a threat that DQ is called for.
The sports reporter, NEIL MCLEMAN, is another UK piece of trash that is an ideal fit for the “dumb and obnoxious interrogator role” during or following a sporting event. Does the same thing at other sorts of sporting events whenever he can to gin up the ratings. Probably wishes he was a print copy editor who could amp up the headline.

“HATED SERB TARGETS INNOCENT LONDONERS WITH INJURY! 3 un-named Sources disgusted with Djokovic. In Fear..


skeezer Says:

I watched the video also, and didn’t get the same vibe, that it was jovial. Only the first question asked he answered with a little laugh ( it easily could have been construed as a sarcastic one ) and then it went down hill from there. He is who he is. Maybe he is starting to channel JohnnyMac? Whatever works to win.


chrisford1 Says:

“players throwing objects into the stands where the paying public are sat, as somebody could get hurt and i wouldve said let it go if Novak had apologized, but he didnt seem to care, and was quite nonchalant about doing it, i will duck for cover now ….”

Willow, please try to think.
Its a little soft squishy ball weighing a couple ounces. The physics of what Djokovic’s ball did are no different than a smash bouncing, going off into the stands. Or launching autographed victory balls into the stands.
(It’s not taking a full swing forehand and hitting someone 10 feet away. As one who has been there – that can mean forehead welt/bruise, fat lip, nice gushy nose bled, testicular duress, black eye, scratched cornea, even orbital eye socket bone damage.)
A ball coming down on the second bounce, a high shank popup, hard angled net volley, arced into the crowd as souvenirs??? Safe enough that when it is arcing down, it’s something you tell a little kid “Catch it!” And if they do, it’s the highlight of their day. If they don’t, it’s still a good dad-son or dad-daughter moment. “Next time here, I know if the ball is coming at you, you have a great chance of getting it!”


Willow Says:

Please dont patronize me, as i dont care for it, Willow please think !, Willow dont be down !, throwing a ball as a souvenir is fine, but throwing in temper is totally different, i too have been hit in the face with a tennis ball and it hurts, but that wasnt my point anyway which you missed ….


Margot Says:

Dunno….with president-elect-orange on the scene, alien abduction is looking a very attractive option……
Meanwhile here on planet earth…….C’mon Andy!


Wog Boy Says:

“…is players throwing objects into the stands where the paying public are sat, as somebody could get hurt..”

I didn’t know that this WTF is played with cricket balls, what a careless decision by the organizers?!


Willow Says:

OH Fair enough bloody hell, let the players do whatever the hell they like then !


J-Kath Says:

Margot: Where are you going to be watching. All I can see is the £6.99 option as I don’t have Sky.


Wog Boy Says:

I mean, those line judges and ball kids are facing 200km/hour bombs and they still didn’t make them wearing helmets, but I heard, from the unnamed sources, that they are about to introduce helmets..


Wog Boy Says:

^^^ “ballboys and ballgirs”
yes ballgirls too, I don’t want to be labeled “sexist” for not mentioning them since labeling people (without real arguments) became popular these days, good old communist times, wait a moment, those people who label others never lived in commusit country, but yet…hmmm


Danica Says:

J-Kath,

couldn’t watch the match but was really surprised that Kei won so “easily”. I hope there are posters here who had the chance to see some of the match and will let us know whether Kei was that good or Stan that average.


chrisford1 Says:

Willow, you say dumb or incorrect things – the nature of any internet blog is to correct, or explain why an opinion is not well grounded – and it will persist no matter how much you complain that correcting a point or sentiment is patronizing. Frankly, that reeks of insecurity.
Players are not angels and in heated contests do things that offend some fans that dislike them anyways. Fans who then follow the New Left line of attack that has been around for 50 years and institutionalized in PC, feminism, race card playing. Basically:
1. Demand apologies, firings, and money.
2. Go to maximum shot, outrage, accusations of racism, sexism, evilism, claims the “little children” will have their lives destroyed witnessing a ball bounced into the stands in anger, seeing Nadal’s butt-picking, Andy’s F-bombs, Roger smashing a racket. Become even more belligerent when no apologies come in response to accusations of incorrect thinking , bullying, being racist, sexist
3. Accuse those you are arguing with with being patronizing, being sexist, committing microaggression….

Go find a “safe space”.

At least no one is saying bouncing a ball in the stands and not being disqualified, fined massively – is all about benefiting from white privilege.


Margot Says:

Kath: I’ve cracked and bought a month with tennisTV. At least I am spared Castle and Barker this way.


Margot Says:

Wog Boy
I like “ball kids” could be either boys or girls that way. Before Chrisford1 blows a gasket, can I say there are many words like that that are gender neutral and therefore don’t upset lefties like me.


J-Kath Says:

Taa Margot – will have a look – a month needed?


Margot Says:

Kath: Either £10.99 for a month or £6.99 for a day. No contest really.


Giles Says:

Danica. Kei played the perfect match against Stan. Was very impressed. Stan, I thought, looked a bit listless.


chrisford1 Says:

Novak should save a tape of Kei’s aggressive dissection of Stan and play it in off-season training. Or if he gets Stan in the semis or Finals in London. Nishikori, who plays in the style of Djokovic with a similar talent&skills suite, solved much of what Stan does that vexes Novak in this match.


Margot Says:

CF1: A friend who watched the match said Stan played rubbish, not sure if Nish’s advice would hold up.
Previous H2H was in Stan’s favour.


Willow Says:

Please Willow think is patronizing, please Willow dont be down is patronizing, but i never claimed Andy, Rafa, Roger were saints either, and i never claimed that a kid would lose their lives been hit by a tennis ball, and you have been sexist, and other posters picked up on it too, a guy that thinks its OK for a camera man to point a camera at a womans chest area, but for the record i never accused you of commiting microaggression ….


chrisford1 Says:

Good to know, Margot, I didn’t see the match, just went on word of one writer that Kei took him apart. It’s the media. Who do you believe, reporter A, fan B, broadcaster C?? All with different takes on things.


chrisford1 Says:

PS, Margot – I think Cilic will give Andy a tough match, but if Andy hangs in there and doesn’t go into a funk, he should win.


Wog Boy Says:

Well, if women don’t want their nice chests to be seen, every female chest is nice chest, there is solution, cover it…hijab..


Margot Says:

Chris: Robbie K just said Stan had his knee taped and was complaining of feeling extremely tired.
Agree re Marin, he’s very dangerous. Andy had a terrific standing ovation coming in…..loads of pressure! Eek as I would say!


Willow Says:

Cilics attire looks hideous ….


chrisford1 Says:

See if this gets past moderation….

Breasts.
Men pay attention to them. Broadcast team has a expectation that in lulls in the action they will zoom in on some celebs, hot big busted women, superfans in full cosplay gear, ‘heroes’ in uniform, player’s boxes – to help ratings.
Especially breasts. As the audience can be 70% male.

Women, knowing this, have a very significant percentage of their gender blessed with spectacular breasts dress to get male attention. At sports events in “here they both are, guys!!”, “I wish to be objectified at this event”, attire. Inviting all men to ogle all their beauty and hotness, perhaps millions in the TV audience. As I remember the woman discussed a while back was so scanty and bound up in that a single deep breath would cause a major wardrobe malfunction.

A situation where the TV crew is happy, the mostly male audience is happy, and hottie gal gets to feel like a movie star for a few minutes. When it comes to classic TV entertainment, new and rerun video of “Leave It To Cleavage” is a 60 year old American home viewing tradition.


Khb Says:

Cilic is moving badly. He’s gifted a cakewalk to everyone.
Unless, he performs a miracle, he is out of the group.


Wog Boy Says:

And the prople are saying Nole’s group is easy, rigged…are you serious? Andy has all injured (tired) players that can retire at any given moment.


RZ Says:

@Willow – I saw that “Cilic” was trending on Twitter a few minutes ago, so I went to see what was happening. Everyone on there was commenting on his shorts. I think we now know why Stan lost so meekly to Kei – he should have been wearing those shorts!


J-Kath Says:

I saw the Stan/Kei match-Kei out-played him twice over – I say that with sorrow as I wanted Stan to win.

WogBoy: Come on – get real. I’m guessing you wish to raise dandruff….just to calm us down afterwards. No way is Andy half weaker than Noel’s.


Farah Diba Says:

“DON’T STOP BELIEVIN”!…


Danica Says:

Thanks to all who gave input on the Kei : Stan match.
Seems like Andy is cruising. Would have thought Cilic to put a bit more resistance.


Khb Says:

At least Thiem can win a set. Cilic is SO calm. That’s bizarre.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,
Andy is not half weaker than Nole, he is world #1 for a reason, I am just talking about theit respective oponents. Milos did WO in Paris due to ripped (broken) muscle and now and after one week is running like a rabit, really? Just look against he’ll play match of his life, as they all do against Nole. Thiem played probably his best set so far, highest possible level, and I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Monfiles is going to raise his level against, and also the level of trying to distract his opponent and throw him out of his rhythm, wiping the nose, foing his shoelaces thousand times, waisting the time, clowning “spontaneously” around, talking to the referee and so on.

Now let us see Andy’s oponents, Cilic, well we just saw him, Stan, couldn’t care less, it is not GS and he doesn’t play against Nole, Nishikori, one good match and next one either losing meekly or retiring..


J-Kath Says:

Cilic was a evidently a bit cocky before the match – mostly stating that he was getting a lot of useful tips from from his coach (previously Andy’s coach).

Even though Andy won in two sets the first set was touch and go – and commentators said Andy was nervous and that both of them were playing badly.

Ah well, on we go.


Margot Says:

A scrappy old first set but by the end Andy was purring, Jason and Robbie were purring and so was I!
@Chris
Not half as stressful as I feared! Sofa only needed once.


Margot Says:

Lol Chris, just when I think you’re being sensible and interesting that old inner Neanderthal appears!
Fixated? Just a bit……Or just 15 years old?


Margot Says:

And honestly Wog Boy, you could start a fight with a paper bag.
And on that bombshell, I’ll bit you all goodnight. Sweet dreams and flying machines my lovely Andy fans, first and second class.


Willow Says:

Congrats Andy, that was a tricky opponent, and one i was quite nervous about ….

Margot lol ….


J-Kath Says:

Hello there Wogboy:

My comment was not intended as a comparison between Andy and Nole – as things stand Nole is way ahead of Andy (despite a week of change of ranking). I meant Nole’s half coming into the contest was judged by 99% of posters and article-writers as being decidedly the easier half.

Now we find Milos appears to have totally recovered from his injury; that Gael – who knows? Can he improve spectacularly? Doubt it. And the wee Austrian was never expected to beat anyone in his quarter (which he may prove to be wrong – but doubt he has the stamina). And, more crucially, Nole is back to being Nole playing an A- game which will likely be A+ game shortly.

Andy’s half: While Stan did not play well today he is still capable of playing lights out. Yes, Cilic turned out to be less a threat than first believed but also capable of “lights out”. Kei remains a potent threat.


J-Kath Says:

Sleep well, Margot.


Wog Boy Says:

Margot,

I don’t see any fight, just my opinion, am I entitled on one, or that’s just the leftists way to accuse somebody like labeling people who disagree with you, or whose view you don’t like, since only one view is correct…good old communist times, been there done that, you haven’t.
Yes, have a good night.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

I am talking about what we, all of us have seen last two days, and we’ve seen all eight players and Milos miraculous recovery after serious injury (one has to wonder how serious really was).
That’s just my opinion, but I’ll leave it there since I don’t want to disturb good sleep to the people that don’t allow others to have different opinion without labeling them any name thay can think of or falsely accusing them that they are trying to pick up the fight, when they don’t have any other arguments or they themselves are trying to pick up a fight.


J-Kath Says:

Wogboy

If I understand correctly, it’s what the “halves” look like now?

Yes, there is an improvement. Mostly to do with Andy’s win over Cilic which was never a given and especially as Cilic was expressing pleasure that he was able to obtain “inside” info. re. Andy, from Jonas. That gave me a shiver.

One could also say Stan – but we know Stan can be brilliant when he’s up for it. Is he up for it…..etc. etc.

In the other half, Nole has improved.

Think we’re close to 50-50% now. Yes Milos – naughty boy – even indicated he was capable of one match!!

Sleep well.


J-Kath Says:

re. Milos “one match only!!!”


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

You understood it correctly, I was talking exactly about that, “what the halves look like now”, wasn’t trying to pick up a fight, it was just an opinion.

I can’t sleep now, I have some work to do, it is only 10:30am here, but some peple can.


Daniel Says:

Stan was off, not getting in position for some shots. Key was playing inside the court,very precise and attacking second serves. Didn’t face a single BP (with Kei weak serve), which shows immensely how bad Wawa’s was, with the exception of a DTL FH winner he made after a bomb from Kei in a long rally.

Murray x Kei should be close this time.


Willow Says:

Chris Ford 1 YUCKTY YUCK, you need to go to the newsagents and pick up the latest copy of Playboy, or one of those other mens magazines, or visit one of the adult sites, this is a site made for people who wish to talk tennis ….


chrisford1 Says:

Margot – The curse of Cilic, like Stan Wawrinka, is they are good enough to beat anyone but are bewilderingly inconsistent. Andy got the mediocre Cilic yesterday, so good on that! I know some mention of injury is there, but along with consistency, one thing that sets the Big 4 apart is ability to grind out wins while injured or hurt.

I am part Neanderthal, so are you. Two recent discoveries I thought were cool as can be were that (1) Each of us has an external germ cloud that is as unique as fingerprints in what strains of germs exist, in what levels and ratios. That it may be used in biometrics and medical diagnosis soon as sensors and computing power cut results time to 15-30 minutes. (2) All whites and most Asians have Neanderthal genes that comprise 0.5% -5% of their DNA.
Of course, that has nothing to do with male breast allure hardwiring, but you are a smart lady and know that. (I am more a “leg man” actually..) But I was pointing out that sports production crews train and train and even block in “face time” objectives in production outlines before starting the sports event even starts. The dilemma of how many sports have dead times and the need to keep the audience watching and not switching channels and forgetting to come back is partially alleviated by ID-ing celebs, hot women by name and seat location and either quickly hauling up bios or witty but PC things the Talking Heads can say, or working on what the organizers have set up. Of course, they work on certain “don’t show” rules. No lingering crotch shots. Heads up to the Royals box the camera will be panning them in the next break in the action, so none of them is caught nose-picking. Celeb and famous figure “brief bios” are to avoid politics and crazy daughters and infidelities, etc.
Of course, being bright, you know this is all a fact of life. You simply wish it was otherwise. The good news is if they speed up the game, no more “lets”, etc. – less boobage, less droning on by John McEnroe about his favorite 1980s matches, less Kardashians which is like the 1st thing…, less B list celebs get showcased, less shots of bored people in some player’s boxes.


Margot Says:

Chris: Have you read John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing?” He dissects the “male gaze” with reference to art, and photography as well, I think. Written yoinks ago but relevant to now and very illuminating.
Yes, I do have a very high IQ…well spotted..;)
Re Cilic, don’t you think his forehand is weird, very awkward and ungainly. Of course it can fire bombs but so often breaks down. He needs MMT to tell him what to do! Yes, consistency is the clue to success and success breeds success. But he did win his first Masters 1000 this year and is a few years younger than top 2, so has some time.
As for Stan, seems to turn up for slams where he does extremely well. Perhaps that’s a wise move as you get older and like Serena in fact.
As for Monfils he served 3 double faults, yes 3 double faults in the last game against Thiem. Feel sorry for his fans. Incidentally Thiem went right off, second set against Nole and did exactly the same against Monfils.


J-Kath Says:

Funnily enuf I was looking at ages earlier:
Cilic is 2.6 years younger, than Nole and Andy.
Kei will be 27 end of Dec. – Goodness is he Sagittarius?


Margot Says:

Kath, I just checked and according to Wikii he was 28 in September. Blimey, I thought he was only about 24! Better get his skates on. I’m now wondering if that can be right, I thought he was younger than Kei.


Margot Says:

Yep. Right. OMG. Tempus fugit.

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