• Djokovic battles Lopez for Belgrade title

    4/30/11 8:49 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Djokovic battles Lopez for Belgrade title  Novak Djokovic needs just his third victory of the week in order to capture his fifth title in 2011. Standing in his way on Sunday in Belgrade is Feliciano Lopez.

    Novak Djokovic and Feliciano Lopez will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers when they meet in the Serbia Open final on Sunday. Djokovic has won all three of their previous encounters, although this is the first time they will face each other on clay.

    While Lopez is a huge underdog, he is playing surprisingly impressive tennis on the slow stuff right now. The 37th-ranked Spaniard advanced to the Barcelona quarterfinals last week and he has not dropped a single set in Belgrade. Lopez booked his spot in the title match thanks to victories over Juan Monaco, Fernando Gonzalez, Albert Montanes, and Filippo Volandri.

    In fact, Lopez is only one of five men who have taken a set off Djokovic this season. They went head-to-head in the Dubai second round two months ago and Djokovic won 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

    Djokovic went on to lift the winner's trophy in Dubai, just as he has done at every tournament in which he has participated this year. The second-ranked Serb boasts a perfect 26-0 record in 2011 and he also emerged triumphant at the Australian Open and at both U.S. Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami. Djokovic made quick work of Adrian Ungur and Blaz Kavcic before getting a walkover past countryman Janko Tipsarevic on Saturday.

    "I think it's a great match for me to play," Lopez said of playing the No. 1 seed. "I've already won four matches this week. My confidence is really high at the moment and I feel great to play against Novak. I know it's going to be tough; he's been the best player this year. It will be a great experience."

    Speaking of experience, Lopez has won two career titles (most recently last year in Johannesburg) in six final appearances. Only one of his previous finals has come on clay (2006 in Gstaad, lost to Richard Gasquet). Djokovic is bidding for his 23rd career title in his 36th final.

    If Lopez serves well, he can at least make this competitive. Still, Djokovic has just about every advantage including surface, current form, final experience, head-to-head history, and home court in Serbia. Count on the favorite prevailing in straight sets.

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Lopez is playing well! This may be harder than I thought :/

mriiidula , 5/1/11 5:09 PM

I know mriiidula ... wasn't expecting a tie-break. Although right now Nole is up 4-1.

smr , 5/1/11 5:37 PM

Although he's made some unbelievable shots, Nole's had to dig deep so far. He wont get past the best of the rest in Madrid if he plays like this IMO. Hope the next set is a lot smoother.

mriiidula , 5/1/11 5:43 PM

Is Nole ill, why is he wearing 2 shirts, one long sleeved?

nadline , 5/1/11 5:44 PM

I know lovely Lopez is flying at the mo., but Nole 's looking a bit "flat" to me. Still takes tie break and FL missed SO many chances first set.

deuce , 5/1/11 5:45 PM

that was a nasty fall.

mriiidula , 5/1/11 6:11 PM

phew. ugly game from Nole? watched only the last few games.

definitely a good decision to skip MC and hone his clay skills here.

stu , 5/1/11 6:33 PM

Clay is definitely the worst surface in tennis. They played in mud today after heavy rains. The result : 115 unforced errors to 32 winners. Dreadful ; nothing against either player, clay tennis just stinks. Ok I would have rather watched Rafa/Ferrer than that.

numero , 5/1/11 6:42 PM

doesnt look like Djokovic will last till the finals in Madrid to meet Nadal.
he was way off colour and a slightly better player would have won this match against him.

atul1985 , 5/1/11 6:42 PM

Was it heavy rain? If it is they have to cover the courts during the rain! Clay court tennis really is very challenging, subjected to the weather conditions in addition to the differences present from court to court.

Nole not playing well today and Lopez let so many chances slip away. I think Nole is sick, that may explain why he plays poorly by his standard. Still he's able to edge out a win, congrats to Nole!

luckystar , 5/1/11 6:48 PM

Looked highly dangerous to me and Nole took a very heavy fall :(

deuce , 5/1/11 6:55 PM

Nole is not sick, at least there was noting said about it by the Serbian commentators...Nole just wasn't playing his best today but at the end he didn't have to...he knows how to beat Feli even when he is not playing his best tennis...Congrats to Nole on the trophy win in his was funny when Nole said Feli is the best looking tennis player on tour...well, I do think Feli is cute, but there is another famous Spaniard out there who is sure better looking than Feli...:)

natashao , 5/1/11 7:18 PM

good stuff nole, 27:0, just keep it perfect.

rfzr , 5/1/11 7:22 PM

natashao, I know who you're referring to but beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. For me Rafa is beautiful in a boyish way; Safin is handsome in a macho way; and Feli is called the beautiful one with his sculptured look. I prefer Rafa's and Marat's looks over all the others. I also like Marin Cilic's sweet boyish look. And certainly no one can have a sweeter smile than Rafa's!

luckystar , 5/1/11 7:28 PM

I stopped watching because Feli just wasn't taking his chances, he seemed incapable of winning more than 2 points in a row.........sooooooo many missed chances. The match itself was low quality by both players.

Congrats to Nole.

nadline , 5/1/11 7:39 PM

yeah, I agree lucky, Safin is the handsome one...for me Gulbis is cute also...but Rafa has something none of them have..he is just adorable...well, beauty off court and the beast on court..that is what he is...

But this is Nole's place for celebration and we should not talk about Rafa...:) once again I congratulate Nole and all his fans..

natashao , 5/1/11 8:10 PM

congratulation nole for his 5th title of the year !!! and he was wearing 2 shorts cuz it was so cold , the weather condition it was be on terrible , ruining that wht mak the match without quality tennis , i hop madrid 's weather is better then serbia 's NOLELOVE :D

yoya1108 , 5/1/11 8:57 PM

looking forward to madrid! hope its better than 2009 ;)

mriiidula , 5/2/11 1:02 AM

if you ask me, I think Djoko is an absolute cheater. His history tell you that he's a regular quitter and the fact that intentionally quit MC and Barce as he fears to meet up with Rafa and gets smashed on clay and lost his consecutive wining record, now that he enters Serb Open and beat a bunch of rubbish players and preserve his longest running record ever seen in tennis from begining of season. He will easily make the Quarters of Madrid and his ass kicked but by then he already has beaten Lendl's record, what an absolute cheater and loser, just like how the Bace cheaters went down crying againsr Madrid, makes the whole wordl sick.

SCHIAVONE , 5/2/11 4:39 AM

Some poor sports here, let's wait and see the outcome of Madrid tournament.

pro59 , 5/2/11 6:32 AM

One winning streak will surely come to end. Hope its a Rafa/Nole final

atul1985 , 5/2/11 7:36 AM

, 5/2/11 4:39 AM

1. It's not cheating to withdraw from a tournament due to injury.

2. He wasn't scheduled to play in Barcelona.

3. He won't break the record for most wins to start a season even if he wins Madrid. I think JohnMac won 39 in a row.

numero , 5/2/11 2:08 PM

SCHIAVONE, Novak had the shortest recovery time between seasons, he played continuously the most in the first part of the season and he was both tired and lightly injured. He was known and criticized for playing too many tournaments. Now that he made a progress of making his schedule a bit lighter, it's not good enough for those who are obviously JEALOUS. He had all the right reasons and excuses to rest his body and, btw, who the hell are you to object to that?!?! I don't care to check but I don't think he ever played Barcelona in recent years, and MC is a tournament that Federer also likes to skip if it doesn't fit his feelings. You are surely one great fan of tennis when you call players rubbish. Let's see what you achieved in your miserable life. I thought so. NOTHING.

danica , 5/2/11 6:39 PM

danica, don't let yourself get upset, best to ignore rubbish. Two grand slams = "loser" I don't think so.

deuce , 5/2/11 6:52 PM

SCHIAVONE, it is tournaments like the AUS OPEN, indian wells and miami that got him on a streak in the first place. The Serbia open added only THREE matches to a total of 27 (the Tipsa walkover didn't count towards the streak). It would be SILLY of Novak to give up a tournament worth 1000 points if he wasn't injured, just to improve his winning streak by 3 matches, which he would have won in MC anyway. And Barca? seriously? Who plays Barca apart from Rafa and a few lower-ranked players?

stu , 5/2/11 8:29 PM

SCHIAVONE,i don't think that a pro tennis player are " rubbish" ok !! so some respect to this noble sport , 2)"that he enters Serb Open and beat a bunch of rubbish players and preserve his longest running record ever seen in tennis from begining of season"ohh rly and wht u called barcalone tournement with a few lower- ranked players ?? andwe all know that the only purpose that nadal play barca is to collect 500 points just to mak it up for his losing againts djoko and fair of losing the no1 ranking , also don't talk lik silly boy about nole 's runnig record , cuz he deserve this honor and the only thing that mak him to do wht he did not " cheating " but the " hard work "and even nadal he admit that nole is the best player for now !! so deal with it !

yoya1108 , 5/2/11 8:56 PM

Gosh yoya, what would you do if Nole won 3 GS in a row? You'd probably be doing cartwheels on the highway.

Calm down!

nadline , 5/2/11 10:19 PM

hhhhhhh looll c ' mon nole <3 , and i lov tennis i want a respect for this sport and his player all of them especially nole :D

yoya1108 , 5/2/11 11:03 PM

I apologize to all for my outburst but what really triggered me was that word "rubbish" for people who spent majority of their lives sweating and hurting to become great sportsman. Most of them never will but their fight, will, discipline and of course skill, surely don't deserve to be called "rubbish". I am really disappointed that a sport/tennis fan thinks that way.

As for Novak, he could have asked Janko to just get out on court, play a couple of games and then retire so that he could get an extra win that would count towards that "record". He said that he is not chasing any records, that his main goal is to remain healthy and play good. Records (maybe) and results will come as a consequence. I don't think he is afraid to face anyone on court. Having said that, I don't think he'll be able to beat Rafa. So SCHIAVONE, rest easy, the winning streak will come soon enough :(.

danica , 5/2/11 11:49 PM

Corazo posted on
Djokovic already passed Lendl's ex-record. Lendl had 25 straight wins in 1986 season; not 29 as you assert in your article. For your info the wins are:
- Philadelphia (27/01/1986)
1) Lendl - Seguso 6:2 6:2
2) Lendl - Holmes 6:2 6:2
3) Lendl - Annancone 6:4 6:4
4) Lendl - Gilbert 7:5 4:6 6:2
Lendl- Mayotte W/O - do not count
- Boca West (10/02/1986)
5) Lendl - Sadri 6:2 3:6 7:6
6) Lendl ? Van Rensburg 6:4 6:1
7) Lendl ? Holmes 6:4 7:6
8) Lendl ? Arias 6:1 7:5
9) Lendl ? Nystrom 6:1 6:1 6:4
10) Lendl ? Connors 1:6 6:1 6:2 2:6 5:2 (DEF)
11) Lendl ? Wilander 3:6 6:1 7:6 6:4
- Milan Italy (10/03/1986)
12) Lendl ? Aguilera 6:3 6:1
13) Lendl ? Ostoja 6:1 7:5
14) Lendl ? Hlasek 6:3 6:4
15) Lendl ? Mecir 7:5 6:4
16) Lendl ? Nystrom 6:2 6:2 6:4
- Fort Myers (17/03/86)
17) Lendl ? Sadri 6:4 7:5
18) Lendl ? Teltscher 7:6 6:1
19) Lendl ? Pate 6:4 6:2
20) Lendl ? Gomez 6:3 6:3
21) Lendl ? Connors 6:2 6:0
- Chicago (24/03/1986)
22) Lendl ? Wilkison 6:4 6:3
23) Lendl ? Giammalva 6:4 6:3
24) Lendl ? Kriek 6:4 6:3
25) Lendl ? Davis 6:1 7:6
The last match that Lendl win (25th for the 1886 season) was against Davis. Next match he lost against Boris Becker in two sets (6:7 3:6).
So, Djokovic already passed Lendl record by 27 winning in 2011 season. It is two (2) more than Lendl, at this point of time.

pro59 , 5/3/11 12:42 AM

I think the WTF for the previous ('85.) year was played in 1986. where Lendl had four wins and thus, they are counted towards the total number of wins. 25 you mentioned + those 4.

danica , 5/3/11 1:48 AM

You are correct Danica, Thank you!

pro59 , 5/3/11 2:52 AM

Attention all :

As I have stated above John McEnroe has the record for most wins to start a season at 39 in 1984. He did not lose until the final in Paris to Lendl and even there he blew a 2-0 set lead. So Nole has a ways to go to get there.

It's here in this article : ic.clijsters/index.html

Here is a quote from the article :

"Only John McEnroe (39) in 1984 and Ivan Lendl (25) in 1986 have longer unbeaten starts to the season."

numero , 5/3/11 3:22 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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