No one divides opinion in tennis like Novak but no doubting the man’s ability. Finals appearances in each of the last four tournaments he entered, including against Tsitsipas in Israel, shows he is ending the season well above expectations. Tsitsipas’s third rank isn’t by any means a fluke. He has had strong showings in the minor tournaments although the only blemish is his performance in the majors with only a semi in Melbourne to show for it. No one gets defensive tennis than Novak.
Watch 1-0 first set Djokovic 15-0. To get down so low and get the angle on the forehand volley has to take some doing, first to open the racquet face adequately, two to get there in the first place(he is 35 mind you). The break in the first game of the set did Stefanos in , Novak wasn’t in the mood to give anyone breaks. Stefanos has a strong forehand although his backhand let’s him down more often than not. 3-2(30-15).Now, getting to the grit end of the set, no one flinched on serve. Djokovic has never been the type of player to get a million aces in a match but boy he hits the right areas at the right time. Check out 5-4(40-15). Tsitsipas desperately challenges to no avail, Novak went down the line no doubt scouting Stefanos chink in the amour.
Second set was even closer, no breaks of serve but the must watch points kept rolling in. 2-2(30-15). Stefanos had to be patient here. Nole is the type of player that would rather wait for you to commit a mistake then pounces. So staying in the point long gives you better chances of winning, Tsitsipas choosing the right time to attack the net. Back to the Tsitsipas backhand again. Although he struggles to get winners from it, in the few occasions he gets it right it is a spectacle. Check out 5-4(0-40). Not to be a buzz kill, Tsitsipas gets the footwork all wrong on this one but Nole hitting a curiously short forehand did him a world of favor. To everyone the backhand looks good doesn’t it. Backhands again, this time in the tie breaker, 2-1 Nole. A near perfect one this time from Stefanos(you know it has to be more than perfect to get a point off Djokovic), then the follow up backhand not so great. Tsitsipas can have no complaints as Nole punishes him with a cross court backhand of his own. That swung the breaker in the direction of the Serb from whence he never looked back. Tsitsipas’s challenges had a air of desperation about them, but hey there is never a right or correct time to challenge hey. Nole leads GROUP RED of the season closer which includes from Russia with love, Rublev and Medvedev.