Tsonga v Djokovic
How much will Tsonga’s comeback from 2 sets down against Federer take out of him both physically and mentally? His reaction after the match showed just how much that win meant to him. With a day between matches he has had time to recover physically but he needs to keep his mind on this match and not on the one that has passed.
Djokovic was impressive in the opening set against Tomic but then his serve deserted him in the second set and early part of the third. Maybe his mind started to wander to the semi finals when he was able to totally dominate that first set. He got himself back on track and I don’t think there is any danger of him underestimating his opponent today.
Tsonga leads the head to heads 5-2. They haven’t played since the Oz Open last year though and we have all seen the improvement in Djokovic this year.
Both men are serving very well ( when focussed ) so the difference will be in the rallies. I feel that on current form Djokovic is more able to deal with Tsonga’s serve than the Frenchman is to deal with his. Djokovic has the added incentive that a win in the final could lift him to the number 1 spot in the rankings. The head to heads should ensure that the Serb keeps his intensity from start to finish and I feel that this will be his edge. Tsonga may feel the need to entertain a little too much and will give away a few too many cheap points by going for the big winners. Against Fed they were hitting the lines but Djokovic’s defensive capabilities will force him to go for the extremities of the court a little too often.
Djokovic to win in 4 sets.
Update: Djokovic had 1 bad service game in the first set which was the first game of the match. Tsonga broke and held on until he was serving for the set. Djokovic broke him and the set ended in a tie break which Djokovic won. He took the second set easily and won an early break in the third set. He served for the match and had 2 match points but Tsonga broke back and again we had a tie break. This time it was Tsonga who won it (11-9). Djokovic took the 4th set to win 7-6, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.
That win takes him to number 1 in the world rankings. Well deserved!
Nadal v Murray
Nadal leads the head to heads 11-4 and has won their last 3 matches.
Coming into this tournament people were saying that this was Murray’s best chance so far of winning a Major. His form during the run up to this fortnight has been higher than before. His serve has been a lot more reliable and this has meant more easy points on serve rather than having to battle to hold his own service games. His mental state seems to be a lot more controlled but an old habit that he can’t get rid of is to look as if he is in total agony at the slightest physical pain. Most of the other top players will do everything they can to hide from their opponent the fact that they are suffering. Murray almost seems to want sympathy whether its from the crowd, his mum or anyone who gives a toss. Knowing your opponent is suffering gives you an added boost. Lopez wasn’t able to take advantage of that in the quarter finals but you can bet that Nadal would. I think there are still a few apron strings attached to the Scot.
Nadal has his problems with the foot injury although he and uncle Tony insist it isn’t serious. Tony said that if Rafa wasn’t 100% then he would say that he was 100%. It didn’t seem to affect him too much against Fish in the quarter final. Coming into these championships I gave him a the least chance of the top 4 players but he has found some form. I still don’ t think he is at his best but you know he will never stop fighting.
I really feel that Murray has a great chance today. The danger is that the pressure will be too much for him and he falls back into bad habits but his style of play and tactics have been pretty much spot on so far. He will work Nadal harder than Fish did and that foot injury could raise its head again.
It will be a massive achievement for Murray to reach Sunday’s final but a lay on Nadal seems like a good place to start. Lets hope the old Murray doesn’t show up. I would hold off entering the market until we see that everything looks good from Murray. He seems to have accepted that being aggressive is the best game plan for him and that will bring him a win today if he can stick with it.
Update: Murray started the match well and was playing aggressively and was perhaps the better player. He called the trainer early in the set and Nadal’s price dropped to around 1.40 . However he seemed ok and broke Nadal’s serve at the end of the set to go 1-0 up. In the early points of the second he seemed to be continuing in the same way but at 30-15 against serve he missed an easy smash which would have given him 2 break points. Nadal came back to hold serve. From that point on Murray wasn’t the same player. He was broken in the next game and broken again as Nadal took the set. He was broken in the first game of the third set and Nadal hung on to take the set with another break along the way.
The 4th set was closer but Nadal took it to book a place in the final. Nadal won 6-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
I layed Nadal at 1.45 and held on until the end of the set to get out at 2.18 . I lost a little when Murray was broken in the second but backing Nadal after the break got some back. I stayed out after the second set.