Djokovic 6-4 6-3 Isner – A masterclass in returning serve

It was always going to be the most complete performance of the week to date, you just had that feeling!

Novak Djokovic put on a masterclass of a performance and the big standout for me was how he served and importantly how he returned serve.

1st serve points won – 26/30 87%
2nd serve points won – 11/13 85%
1st serve return points won – 15/45 33%
2nd serve return points won – 12/20 60%

The stats are super impressive, but to get the interest and to be effective on Isner’s serve as he did was quite special, so lets have a look;

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.39.28

There were so many to choose form before this moment and in the first set the first break of serve was a service return winner but this is the one to focus on.

The second serve goes out at 127mph and the only reason John is off to the net here is because he knows it is coming back. The way Novak moves his body to connect to this ball with interest is superb, it really is! Novak got quite an awkward shot on it meaning John had to slow down and ended up playing a poor drop shot which Novak got to and won.

The next;

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.40.37

This is the one.

Match point. 140mph serve and he orchestrates his body to return this with a question attached. The short return nine times out of ten on the tour gets taken care of by the server but when Novak returns the ball short it is an invitation you don’t really want to accept but you have to.

What does he do? Backhand passing winner cross court to seal the match.

Returning serve is a big skill especially against such a great server, it’s all about learning, awareness and planning ahead. Where do you want the ball to go next?

 

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Wimbledon Semi-Final Showdown 🎾 – Novak v Rafa 🍿 & Kevin v John 💪🏻

Quarter finals day brought tears, shocks, upsets, hugs and a jump into the crowd via Rafael Nadal.

Now we are at the final four but who will progress to Sunday’s big final?

John Isner v Kevin Anderson

Before this week in 41 attempts John Isner had never been in a Grand Slam semi-final, Now that has happened!

Kevin made the US Open final last year but now in a Wimbledon semi-final is a credit to how he has improved and adapted his game to become a challenger, this is no fluke he has worked hard for this.

Both have similar strengths but I do feel like Kevin has the egde. Having the day off would be a massive bonus following his big win so I am intrigued to see who takes initiative first but I do hope for a Kevin Anderson win.

Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal

These two are no strangers to Grand Slam semi-finals or each other. This is the 52nd meeting between the two which is quite incredible.

The head to head currently stands at 26 to Novak and 25 to Rafa, it could not be closer! They last played each other at Wimbledon in 2011. Since the 2014 French Open final all matches (9) have been won in straight sets with Rafa winning their last two meetings but Djokovic from losing the Roland Garros final defeated Rafa 7 times on the bounce.

Rafa has looked so good on grass. The best he has looked for a long while, I really didn’t expect this and after the big test against Del Potro this is now a bigger test.

Novak has been so good to watch. I am so happy to see him playing well following that noise that followed his exit from Roland Garros, did people actually believe that he would not contend here? Please.

Winner…? Head says Novak, heart says Rafa…!

Wimbledon Day 9 – Federer stunned 😲 Rafa reigns 💪🏻👑Isner’s first 🥇 Novak favourite? 🏆

Wow.

What a day that was! So, where else to begin…

Federer stunned by Anderson!

Roger Federer does not lose many matches from two sets to love up but Kevin Anderson from South Africa put on a performance of a lifetime as he took out the man who has won it eight times winning 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11 against one of the best the sport has ever seen.

The talk will be on Roger being out but lets not forget the fearless performance Kevin put on. I said in my preview he needed to stick close early on and he didn’t but didn’t get himself down he just fought hard and the way he went toe to toe in rallies with deep returns was excellent!

Novak now favourite?

Novak Djokovic got his match done against Kei Nishikori without any major hiccup baring a set to the former US Open finalist. With Roger now out and Del Potro showing that you can push Nadal we know that Novak is a tough animal on the grass court as he is on any court on his day and over five sets for me he is favourite right now.

Rafa reigns!

A Wimbledon semi-final for Rafa. Rafa has played five semi-finals at SW19 in the past but has never lost one and it did look like being a tricky path as Del Potro took a two set to one lead before the Spaniard took a very close fourth set 6-4 followed by an even closer set 6-4 to claim the win. Commiserations for Del Potro but you feel he is at such a good level right now he can contend in Flushing Meadows in a couple of months time.

Isner creates history!

Wimbledon 2018 is John Isner’s 41st Grand Slam singles appearance. John made his first at the 2007 US Open at the age of 22 coming through college tennis now at 33 years old he has made his first semi-final appearance in a four match win against Milos Raonic who can take plenty of positives from the tournament but a match that came too soon for him.

Friday’s semi-finals will see Nadal take on Djokovic and Anderson take on Isner. Who will be in Sunday’s final? One thing we can guarantee a new finalist will be there!

Tomorrow is ladies semi-finals day as Serena Williams takes on Julia Georges and Jelena Ostapenko takes on Angelique Kerber for a place in Saturday afternoon’s final.

Wimbledon 🎾 Men’s Quarter Finals Preview 🏆

128 down to 8 and by Wednesday night the draw will half again but who will make the semi-finals?

Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori

Who is this a bigger match for? We’re still waiting for Kei to go big at a major since US Open 2014 and bizarrely people still doubt Novak.

For me this is a no brainier! Novak is the favourite for me especially over a best of 5 scenario and he’s played a great tournament so far!

Kei can challenge but I just doubt a sustained one over 5 sets

Milos Raonic v John Isner

Competition time,

Who will hit more aces?

This will be decided on who takes risks and with these two big serves taking risks is something I don’t think we will see too much of as they can get picked off. Despite having to pull out of Queens in the buildup Raonic has looked sharp and likewise has Isner who has nullified his opponents weapons this week.

Tough one to call, is Raonic at a level to contend yet?

Roger Federer v Kevin Anderson

Roger hasn’t really been tested yet. Kevin will want to do this and the surface will help his serve and he has to look to mix it up and stay strong on serve. I like Kevin’s game, he has moved away from that big guy, big serve image and has improved his baseline and net game.

He will have to play with conviction. He can at times go into the net without conviction and be picked off so hanging in and getting to tiebreak will be key!

Juan Martin Del Potro v Rafael Nadal

Fireworks time 👌🏻

Not too sure what the expect from this one! Rafa is in his first QF at Wimbledon since 2011 and Del Potro is in great form on a whole this season!

Del Po has looked solid but hasn’t blown anyone away yet and I’m a big fan of his but if he is to beat Nadal the level does need to be better.

Nadal is playing well but I feel like everyone is waiting for him to slip up as it is grass. This is the first big test so the pressure is on for both!

Murray wins in Paris ahead of final showdown!

He is the gift that keeps on giving. Andy Murray topped off another incredibly week in his career by becoming world number one for the very first time and a few days later followed it up with his 43rd career title at the Paris Masters event prior to the World Tour Finals.

I feel like at times I’m on repeat which isn’t a bad thing but he is playing at such an incredibly high level at the moment and it is so good to see at the very top of the men’s game.

I honestly thought during the opening match against Fernando Verdasco it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he lost that match. It was a very tricky match for Andy and I thought at times he looked tired then in the next round he steam-rolled past Pouille and things had settled before you know it he defeat Berdych and Isner on route to picking up the title.

Murray now heads back to London where he will be looking to get to the final of the tour finals and keeping hold of that world number one ranking will be high on priority to finish the season as the top ranked player in the world.

He is on a 21 match win streak, how long can it last?

Kyle Edmund upsets home favourite John Isner!

Kyle Edmunds exceptional run at the US Open continues. The 22 year old saw off the 13th seed Richard Gasquet in round one and followed that up with a win against Ernesto Escobedo in the second round and yesterday dumped out John Inser in four sets to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the very first time!

Kyle managed to get going quite quickly in the first set and got the first break of serve breaking the big serving American to love in what was a very poor service game from the 20th seed and it set the tone for the rest of the set with Kyle in control and despite a bit of trouble serving for the first set he managed to see it through.

The second set quickly went the way of Isner who broke immediately to get an advantage and the set followed that pattern as Isner quickly leveled up one set each.

Edmund didn’t let that bother him as he quickly regrouped to take the third set 6-2 against the American before closing out a massive win in the fourth set tie-breaker taking the match6-4 3-6 6-2 7-6 and now will face Novak Djokovic in round four and you wouldn’t write off Edmund just yet!

Andy Murray defeats John Isner from a set down in Shanghai!

Andy Murray is through to his 6th Masters quarter final of the year in Shanghai after a three sets win over the American John Isner extended his head to head to 5-0 against John.

There was literally nothing to separate the two players in the opening set and as expected in a match involving Isner the first set went to a tie-break. There was only one mini-break of serve in the tie-break which went to Isner and Murray just couldn’t find a cheap point on the American’s serve as he went on to win the first set 7-6 (7-4).

In the second we saw a much better Andy Murray who went for a few more shots and there just seemed to be an air of inevitability that the Brit would break the serve of Isner with Murray seeing plenty of break point opportunities but Isner got himself out of trouble with some good serving. Murray did get the break in the set with a backhand winner down the line on the fourth ball of the rally and after breaking he didn’t looked back as he sealed the set 6-4.

The third set almost followed the script of the second. Isner was struggling to hold onto his serve with more and more break points in Murray’s favour however the Brit broke at the best time possible as Isner was serving for 5-4 but it was Murray who went up 5-4 and quickly served out the match and head into his 5th quarter final in Shanghai!