Match report

Novak Djokovic ©
BNP Paribas Masters
2nd round
11/9/11 1 2 Tot
rs  Novak Djokovic 6 6 2
hr  Ivan Dodig 4 3 0
Ivan Dodig ©
  • Djokovic looks good in Paris, beats Dodig

    11/9/11 4:14 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Novak Djokovic is alive and well in Paris after defeating Ivan Dodig on Wednesday. Djokovic advances to another meeting with fellow Serb Viktor Troicki.

    So much for taking the money and run.

    Novak Djokovic played and played well on Wednesday afternoon at the BNP Paribas Masters, just four days after an injury-plagued loss to Kei Nishikori in Basel. Djokovic rolled over Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-3 and--importantly--needed just one hour and 31 minutes.

    Dodig was relatively competitive the entire way and he had to save only one break point to stay on serve en route to 4-4 in the first set. When Djokovic put himself one game from pocketing the opening frame of play, however, he raised his level. The world No. 1 seized the first break of the day in emphatic fashion, winning all four points in the 10th game of the match.

    Set two saw Dodig survive two deuce games on the way to a 2-2 deadlock. At 2-3, though, the underdog Croat lost the plot as his opponent broke for a second time. Djokovic delivered a huge cross-court backhand for 4-2 and was off to the races. The Serb dropped only one point in his last two service games and clinched victory on his second match point with an ace.

    Dodig recorded six aces but double-faulted four times and served at a mere 49 percent. Djokovic struck 26 winners and 22 errors to set up a third-round clash against countryman Viktor Troicki.

    Djokovic, who would have lost a $1.6 million bonus had he not played in Paris, is 9-1 lifetime against Troicki, who ousted Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday.

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Ricky Dimon LOL
You are a cheaky devil.....

Sienna , 11/9/11 4:24 PM

So the bagel from Nishikori was legit?

bleck , 11/9/11 4:41 PM

Nole's injuries are just a complete puzzle to me. I think he just didn't want to meet Roger in a final before Paris. Sure hope that's how this tournament ends up.

Maya , 11/9/11 8:43 PM

Well done Nole.... let's do this nice and easy... you will need your game in finale... against Andy :))

zare , 11/10/11 2:15 AM

Well with 4-1 against Federer this year and also given that he's beaten Fed in Basel before, I think he'd be very foolish to not want to meet Federer. I'd think of it as another opportunity to improve his H2H.

Important thing is, he was playing really well yesterday, especially towards the end. Hitting through the ball and finding his spots. Reminded me of the 4th set in the USO semifinal when he was taking cuts and finding open spaces at will. This form needs to continue.

While I'd like Murray to beat Federer in their potential semi, one part of me wants Fed in the final.

samprallica , 11/10/11 5:41 AM

I prefer a Nole/Murray final if both play well enough to get there. Nothing to do with the H2H, but more to gauge Murray's level now against Nole. If Murray can beat top form Fed and Nole (I presume that if Nole can reach the final, he should be in top form, as he most probably has to get past Tsonga or Ferrer or both in order to reach the final) and wins this Paris Masters, then the WTF will be interesting, as I think the top four guys all have special reasons for winning the WTF.

luckystar , 11/10/11 7:53 AM

lucky, although Nole played well, it's clear his still serve isn't right, so I'm not convinced he'll get to the final.
Of the 3, Fed's looking by far the sharpest.

deuce , 11/10/11 9:27 AM

^^ I actually think the serve was clicking towards the end of the match. Seem to be hitting the corners adjacent to the tee well, with some good pace. Perhaps still not where he would want it to be, but good enough to get to the final maybe. Truth be told, I haven't really seen Nole serve during any part of the year as well as he did in the Australian Open/start of the season earlier this year. The serve there was killer, since then it has been effective at best, peaking and falling at various times.

samprallica , 11/10/11 9:41 AM

samp r u watching Nole v Victor? Victor has broken serve TWICE and, for probably the first time EVER, takes the first set!
And congrats to Big Bird who gets to the O2.

deuce , 11/10/11 12:55 PM

Does anyone else get the impression Djokovic might be letting this match go?

ed251137 , 11/10/11 12:56 PM

Yes, ed and commentator is saying as much.

deuce , 11/10/11 1:09 PM

Nole very inconsistent at the mo. One gr8 shot followed by dump in net or over lines. Is Victor going to beat him at last?

deuce , 11/10/11 1:13 PM

deuce, I don't think so. Troicki doesn't seem to have the stamina to stay with Nole. Despite how 'poorly' Nole plays, Troicki seems unable to gain the upper hand in the second set. This has turned into a grind fest and I think in the end, Nole will grind out a win by simply outlasting Troicki.

luckystar , 11/10/11 1:40 PM

Evidently I was barking up the wrong tree. But commentator has just voiced what I was thinking. Now Djokovic has the upper hand he has stopped pulling his 'pain' faces and constantly flexing his shoulder, rubbing his neck etc.

ed251137 , 11/10/11 2:01 PM

See deuce, I know Troicki will fade away. These days, not many players can stay with Nole, in terms of stamina (and game). Not even dear Rafa; IMO, only Murray and Fed have the stamina and the game to stay with Nole.

luckystar , 11/10/11 2:11 PM

ed, "Now Djokovic has the upper hand he has stopped pulling his 'pain' faces and constantly flexing his shoulder, rubbing his neck etc.".
This why some people say he's a faker. And he'll never be liked like federer because no matter what he wins he isn't a good role model.

bleck , 11/10/11 2:17 PM

Novak is so much more than Federer on many levels.

danica , 11/10/11 2:20 PM

Yes, lucky u were right, I don't like to criticise players too much, but Troicki was pathetic :(

deuce , 11/10/11 2:21 PM

danica, you got that right.

bleck , 11/10/11 2:26 PM

Yes, the bleck inevitably brought a comparison with Federer into this.

But I agree with what ed says to an extent. He seems quick to look for the excuse sometimes. I don't think the pain isn't there, its just that he gives into it as an excuse instead of playing through it sometimes. All players play with some sort of pain at some point but each one reacts differently.

@bleck, I'd argue that Federer isn't exactly a great role model either. Most parents do not want to see kids cry after losing, or mouth off an umpire in filth.

samprallica , 11/10/11 4:49 PM

samprallica, Nobody's perfect. And I never said Roger was because nobody is.

bleck , 11/10/11 5:07 PM

"And he'll never be liked like federer because no matter what he wins he isn't a good role model." Weren't you implying that Federer was a good role model and Nole wasn't?

Nole has positives to his behaviour too, which some of you conveniently ignore when you start you "he isn't a good role model" diatribe:

1. The most gracious when losing of the top 4.

2. Never insults or extends an argument with an umpire unnecessarily. Recall that Bernades made a ridiculous call in the FO 2010 that cost Nole his match against Melzer. Still didn't insult or be aggressive to the umpire, eventually accepted and walked away. Recall what Federer did (after being in the wrong, mind you) in Madrid this year.

3.Always complimentary to the opponent in press conferences, doesn't do backhanded compliments and all that.

4. Applauds players when they hit great shots. The others do this, but no one as much as Nole.

5. Quick to correct line calls that were wrong in his favour when he can, e.g. on clay.

There are a lot more, and Danica hinted at this earlier. So please before you start on this "Nole is not a good role model" nonsense as opposed to someone else, you might want to check the other side of things and recall that your someone else has done some things that don't really befit a role model.

samprallica , 11/10/11 5:41 PM

very well said sampra, i agree to all 5 points...and to the last sentence.

phoenix , 11/10/11 6:06 PM

Watched the highlights of the AO semi between Nole and Federer a while ago, and then highlights of Nole in the Wimbledon semi/final and USO semi/final. The serving in the AO is much much better than in the latter tournaments. Zip, placement, everything. Considering that Nole's serve isn't as good now as it was back in the USO, I think he's going to have to work hard before 2012.

Its also amazing that in spite of the year he's had, and we've seen win him virtually everywhere, the Australian Open remains the place where he played his best tennis this year (in my opinion). That tournament has almost been forgotten in the context of more recent achievements.

samprallica , 11/10/11 6:43 PM

Well, as a Murray fan Samps,
I can tell you THAT one is most definitely buried in the depths.....FOREVER.

Sosueme , 11/10/11 6:47 PM

^^ Haha. It still is the tournament in which Djokovic was playing the purest tennis of his career. Just seemed to be in full flow, and hasn't quite been up there (albeit quite close) in any other tournament for the year.

And the reason Nole isn't serving well is quite apparent. His action was more compact and abbreviated and the elbow was higher in the trophy position during the AO. Since then it's gotten lower, he isn't reaching up as much on contact with the ball, and upward arc he creates is more sideways. Incidentally, trying to serve hard with a lower elbow at trophy position can cause shoulder problems, since you need that much more effort to pull upwards towards contact.

samprallica , 11/10/11 6:58 PM

^^ This is for the first serve. The second serve is helped with a lower elbow at times since it enables you to get more kick. But since his second serve is crap as well nowadays, he's desperately short of rhythm somewhere. Seems like his right elbow isn't as loose as a Federer's, hence all the problems when it is lowered.

samprallica , 11/10/11 7:04 PM

I doubt he'll get past Tsonga in this nick Samps.
Not in front of the French, he's clearly not at 100%.
As for the other tournaments, he has sometimes surprised me by not being particularly indestructible looking, but sometimes just managing to get through (somehow) to the final.
Having had Rafa's number so totally this season has been extraordinarily beneficial.
As the second best player invariably made his way to the finals also.
Had it been Federer or even Andy it may not have panned out the same way on as many occasions.

Sosueme , 11/10/11 7:07 PM

^^ Yes, Federer and Murray have games that do not match up as well as Rafa's, he's clearly not as comfortable against them. But he's still beaten them more than lost to them this year, so I would've placed my odds on him winning more often than not.

As for Tsonga, well - the Tsonga game has troubled him in the past when he wasn't particularly great on the defense but I think he's found a way past those problems now. The crowd might get to him, but I don't think its a given that a crowd can affect Nole adversely all the time. Twice this year against Federer (he still won one), but I remember the Paris finals against Monfils two years ago when he really had everyone against him.

Tsonga and Nole's serve should be the biggest factors today. I think Nole can shrug off the crowd when he's not looking for excuses.

samprallica , 11/11/11 5:54 AM

Tsonga is not as mentally strong as Nole has been this year. That is the biggest change I have seen in Nole. If he gets down in a match he doesn't panic or get discouraged. We haven't seen the histrionics of the past. He stays in the match and can fight to come back. This has impressed me so much.

Tsonga has to have that serve working very well. That will be a key for him. I haven't seen enough of Nole to examine his serving motion and any problems he may be having, so I must rely on the comments from those who have watched him here.

I still remember what Ricky said when we were discussing this matchup - Nole saves his best for the latter stages of tournaments. That has been true this year. However, he hasn't seemed to be at his best since he returned in Basel. We will have to see if he can come out and play great tennis against Tsonga. Of course, Tsonga will have the energy of the crowd to life him in the match.

I am really looking forward to this one.

Nativenewyorker , 11/11/11 7:27 AM

Sorry, I meant to say that Tsonga will have the energy of the crowd to lift him!

Nativenewyorker , 11/11/11 7:31 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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