Friday, January 25, 2008

Play cards: Joker beats the King

Somehow we all knew this was coming up, didn't we?
The King of tennis Roger Federer was beaten by the (D)Joker Novak Djokovic.
What many would recall as a shock, in fact isn't one, if you take a close look on what happend during this week and a half in Melbourne.

Federer came into the Aussie Open not as well prepared as he would have liked to. He had to pull out of the prestigeus exhibition Kooyong tournamet because of heavy stomach ailing. This marked the first time that the No.1 player in the world didn't play in any warm-up tournament before the year's first Grand Slam event. No one was sure about the form, that the Swiss was in.
The Fed-Express started this year's campaigne in some style as he only lost a total of six games in the first two rounds played. That's why no one expected Federer to have any problems in his third round rubber against the up and coming Serb Janko Tipsarevic. How wrong we all have been...
The 23-year old from Belgrad made a heck of a reputation for himself as he only narrowly lost to Federer 8/10 in the fitht set being only 3 points away from winning it on several occasions.

King Roger managed to win this one, but afterwards he never looked the same.
In the 4th round the Czech Tomas Berdych had several setpoints against the number one player in the world and in the quarters it was James Blake, who was able to break Federer's serve in each single set. Fed came through these ones, but dark clouds were abounding before the semi fianl against world No.3 Novak Djokovic...

And rightly so...

Federer looked to be in all sorts of trouble against the Serb, who was playing in his fourth consecutive Grand Slam semi final (the youngest player to achieve this feat in the Open Era). Djokovic came all guns blaisng, but it was the expirienced world No.1, who got the first break. At 5/4 Federer had the chance to serve the first set out, but as he didn't manage to do this, his game totally fell apart. The alarm bells were ringing and Roger got woken up. Unfortunatelly for him it was a little bit too late, cause the defending champion was already losing 1/5 in the second set. He got one of the breaks back, but at the second time of asking Djokovic didn't faulter securing it 6/3.
Fed got his chance at the beginning of the third set when he had three consecutive break points on Novaks serve, but Nola showed a fantastic display of form - gunning three aces and playing pacey forehands. At 6/5 Roger had two set points but Djokovic once again showed some terrific tennis and squeezed out the tiebreak and a few minutes later - the win.

"I was able to deal with the pressure in the best possible way and if you do that against the best player in the world, you know, you should get the positive outcome, which resulted of course with the win tonight." said Djokovic.

"I'm very happy that in crucial moments my serve was serving me, and it was probably my best element in the game tonight in the important moments. So it is a positive thing for the future."

For Federer this is the end of a 10 consecutive GS finals in a row streak. This is also his first non-Nadal loss in a Grand Slam since the Australian Open 2005, when he lost an epic semifinal to Marat Safin.

"There's no doubt I've played better in my life," Federer said afterwards. "I've not been really serving like the way I wanted to, maybe the last few matches. Look, it happens. But he covered the court well. He didn't give me much."

"So that obviously played a role in the way I played tonight. But … I wasn't completely satisfied. He's come through the draw convincingly. He's been playing very solid. He had a tough draw, you know, if I compare it to maybe Rafa's (Rafael Nadal's). So he absolutely deserves to be in the final."

Djokovic will now meet the surprise of the Australian Open 2008 in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. This combination means that after the end of the tournament we will have a first time Grand Slam champion. The question remains - will it be the Tsonga Tsunami or the Joker Djokovic...


No comments: