While Andy Murray made history becoming the first Brit to win Dubai, his colleagues all fell by the wayside in rather befuddling fashion.
First is what Roger Federer. The Swiss was playing his first event since winning the Australian Open and Dubai is of course his second home and a title he’s won SEVEN times! And against a qualifier from Russia in Evgeny Donskoy, the match was really an afterthought.
Federer looked well on the road to a straight set victory up 5-2 in the second set breaker. But that and three match points weren’t enough. Donskoy clawed back to take the set.
Federer, though, shrugged it out, got his groove back and in the third Federer regained the momentum jumping out to 5-2 ahead. Back to form, right? Nope. Yet again Federer couldn’t keep the lead.
Then Federer did it again. Blowing another massive lead dropping the last six point of the match from 5-1 up in the third set breaker.
What a choke!
Donskoy did well, but from where he was up that’s a match Roger has to win.
Novak Djokovic took a surprise wildcard in Acapuclo, and in the end he probably wished he didn’t. The Serb dismissed Juan Martin del Potro – he had to overcome a break down in the third to do it – to set up a tantalizing test with Nick Kyrgios. And it played out as we thought: A serving battle. That is until the end of the second when Djokovic completely fell apart when serving to stay in the match.
Kyrgios is an excellent player when he wants to be, and he has a knack for rising up to the top players, but the way Djokovic just unraveled in that last game was stunning.
And clearly after his loss to Denis Istomin at the Australian and this mental collapse, all is still not right in the Djokovic world. And that’s not good when you consider he has Indian Wells and Miami title points to defend this month.
Rafael Nadal was also in Acapulco and heading into Saturday the Spaniard played like the 2-time champion that he is. After a strong win over Marin Cilic, Nadal rolled into the final against Sam Querrey. Foregone conclusion, right? Wrong!
Despite Nadal having never lost in Acapulco (14-0), nor lost a set (28-0), nor lost to Querrey (4-0), it was the American stealing the title with an eye-popping straight set win.
Credit to Sam, he took it Rafa who wasn’t playing badly. Sam, like a Kyrgios, is the kind of player who when he gets hot can be awfully tough to beat, especially on a quick court.
So back to the original question, which shocker was the most shocking (I could also include Wawrinka loss!)? Rafa at least played well and was simply overpowered by a hot player in Querrey. You can see that happening from time to time.
Djokovic was in a similar battle against an in-form Kyrgios who was serving bombs (25 aces), but Novak played that horrible, horrible game to give the Australian the match.
And then there’s Federer. Federer is 35 and he’s prone to having “senior moments”, we know. This was one of them. But with three big leads and three match points, being 35 is no excuse. Especially against a QUALIFIER!
So my vote for worst loss of the week goes to…FEDERER!
The Indian Wells men’s draw comes out later today. Let’s see if any of those losses last week were something or just a lot of nothing.
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