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Djokovic drew blood immediately, winning the coin toss and three games giving Rafa just one point. Rafa the remodeled serve was crushed, his formidable return bagged one point. To be sure, Rafa the wounded animal has a lot of reserve to fight back, he also might feel how Federer felt the last few years challenging the Djokovic.


The remodeled serve under attack again, but survives to open up his account. Rafa's return makes no impression, Djokovic goes up 4-1.


Rafa the remodeled serve was broken just once, but it's the return that's disappointing, winning a total of two points. If this continues, Rafa would have to wish a tiebreak miracle to win a set, or Djokovic will drop his level to let the contest drag on a little bit and give Rafa chances.

Gary Moser

Put another $10 on Rafa when it briefly got to +400...


The Rafa remodeled serve is broken again to fall 2-3 in the second, if he doesn't show a miracle return game, he'll soon go down 2-0.


Interesting should win you 40 midway in the 2nd when Rafa got to 2 deuces on the return, but Djokovic held firm to lead 4-2.


The remodeled serve was broken the 2nd time in the 2nd set, and Rafa trails 2-5. The 2nd set is in bimbo land for Rafa, he has to break back now. Or else, he'll be down 2-0, could there be a courtesy set in the 3rd set?


2-0 Rafa goes, one last chance to win a set to prolong the suffering of Djokovic, or he has to wish to see Djokovic on red clay in Europe?


Forget about the remodeled serve. The Rafa return that broke a big Tsitsi at will cannot scratch the surface with the Djokovic serve.


Well Djokovic breaks early in the 3rd set, the beast never came with Rafa tonight?


No he wasn't broken?


He was.


This will be a huge blow to Rafa's GOAT attempt, but it will be Djokovic only 5 way from 20, and on course for 4 straight slams a second time. As I was typing, Rafa earned his first BP, but Djokovic held on to 4-2.


The remodeled serve is broken a 5th and last time as Rafa loses the championship to savage Djokovic. All Rafa got was one BP? and a couple of deuces? We final witness some AO beat down FO style.

Gary Moser

20 / 17 / 15: Bye, Pete!


Still hopeful Federer will challenge for IW MIA and W, can never lose hope. Soon to be 20-18-15 with Rafa's FO coming?


TP has this BS theory about greatness that comes from fighting back form adversity. How about Djokovic? What a match.


I saw about 2 minutes from a tennis podcaster who was going on about Nadal's statistical edge going into this match forgetting one thing----his draw was easier than Djoker's so even though Nadal can't control who he plays during this tournament, you really DO have to take that into account and I just don't think enough is made about that. When Serena lost to Pliskova, Evert et. al were more than happy to go on about what a hard draw she had but not much about how Halep seems to draw the short straw over and over.


Both are vastly improved, and the match is very short? very very short? Rafa's grunting too much? nearly unbearable? 20-17-15? Rafa is catching up with Federer by adding three FOs, Djokovic is the bigger threat and could overtake Rafa. He now holds three, his perfect tennis body is back? Both of them are reaching 20 too?

Rafa could've dominated but for Djokovic? The domination is going strong, and age is still irrelevant?


Disclosures: 1) these comments are based on a 17-minute-highlight-reel. 2) I like Novak, 3) dislike Nadal. But... uh... wasn't that total demolition? I didn't take notes... but my memory (and highlights that don't show lots of points) says Nadal didn't get to deuce on Novak's serve until the middle of the second set, and didn't get a break point until the third. I don't know tennis or especially Nadal's game well enough to say what happened, but it looked to me like Novak just bloody didn't let Rafa play good tennis. And, yeah, the hype was getting sickening. The fact that Rafa blew through a draw (top player he faced was #14) … we Novak fans can say "100% irrelevant. Those other guys ain't an in-form Novak." "Rafa's got a new serve." Yawn. The stat I heard (I think) Novak won over 80% of his first and second serves. I guess you don't need a new serve when you can do that. FURTHERMORE... if Rafa was really in "beast mode," playing close to his best non-clay tennis... well... he can forget beating Novak ever again (at least off clay, and barring a strange off-day or injury). IMHO, the odds of Novak getting to 17 this year have gone from "a prayer" to "wouldn't shock me."

Gary Moser

I watched the whole match.

Was hoping Novak would win [ and bet on Nadal accordingly ].

So, suffice to say, happy with the outcome.


COULD NOT BELIEVE the way Nadal was spraying the ball with his forehand --- like Federer at his worst.

Novak's Winner-to-UE stats were 34-9; Rafa's were 21-28.

Sure, I think Novak would've beaten him anyway.




Disclosures: 1) these comments are based on watching the whole match 2) I like Novak, 3) dislike Nadal.

First of all, Rafa played terrible. Maybe it was actually Novak not allowing him to play well, or the mental block, or injury we don't know about. Just, it didn't feel and look like even an average Rafa Nadal.

Novak played at unreal level. He will never look as pretty are Roger and for that reason will never be adored by general public (well, there are other reasons too that I'm not going to go into now). But if you play tennis actively and competitively, even at a club level, you understand how hard it is to play aggressive and offensive but at the high margin of error at the same time. That's the real art and science of Novak Djokovic. At it comes down to movement. His winners didn't look like a low percentage, all or nothing shots. They looked like well placed, well executed but routine shots. Routine. Not risky. Against Nadal! Unreal.

Djokovic made only 15 unforced errors in semis and the finals combined! ... while losing a handful of games in those two matches.

And a funny moment at the presser: https://twitter.com/ATP_Tour/status/1089511083109425152


If Rafa missed shots against Federer at AO17, he'd miss a lot of shots against Djokovic at AO19, despite his improvements. His demolition comes to no surprise as I thought it would have happened in the hands of Tsitsi. Remember nobody can possibly beat him at FO if he is reasonably healthy, he limited Federer Djokovic Stan to one FO each while all those three teamed up together to limit him to one AO thus far. The show continues the same way it played out before, except Rafa and Djokovic are moving the needles toward Federer's 20. I don't what Federer is going to do, but for sure Feder and Rafa are not finished. Djokovic is the most talented tennis player? arguably?

Gary Moser

"If Rafa missed shots against Federer at AO17"
Here's the thing: he DIDN'T.

He had 35 Winners against 26 unforced errors. To put it another way, he had 34.6% more Winners than UEs.

[ Roger, not unexpectedly, had way more of both: 72 Winners against 57 UEs --- but notice the former exceeds the latter by only 26.3% ]


I think your data is always correct, he didn't statistically. i consider the Fedal W07 W08 and AO09 played on Rafa's terms and Rafa made the important shots in those matches and won. At Fedal AO17, which I thought played on Fed's terms, Rafa missed a few forehands, noticeably in the 5th set. He was pressured into missing them. Here in this match, I think Djokovic19 is much tougher Fed17, and it makes sense to me when you mentioned earlier that Rafa sprayed his forehands. Fed17 edged Rafa, Djokovic19 demolished him. What is Rafa's chances? He may win another AO, possibly it has to come from a lesser opponent? not some sort of Djokovic on a rampage?


Correction he didn't win W07 of course.

Gary Moser

"At Fedal AO17, which I thought played on Fed's terms, Rafa missed a few forehands, noticeably in the 5th set."
In winning set #2 by a score of 6-3, Rafa had 7 Winners and 6 Unforced Errors.

In losing set #5 by a score of 6-3, Rafa had 12 Winners and 8 Unforced Errors.

The REAL difference is that, in set #2 Roger had 8 versus 18...whereas in set #5 he had 23 versus 9.

My conclusion: you are absolutely right that it WAS "played on Fed's terms" --- but that WASN'T causing Rafa to misfire noticeably.

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