Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Djokovic in straight but not easy

Novak Djokovic had not played unseeded Gilles Muller from Luxembourg prior to tonight's fourth round match, and so took awhile to come to terms with his wicked sliced serve.

In fact he never really was able to fully click into his top level return game due to the confusion created by Muller, the same problems which saw the dismissal of highly rated players Roberto Bautista Agut and John Isner in rounds before.

Novak did serve particularly well himself though, holding with relative ease, and that enabled him to study the Muller game in his spare time.

Muller with serve and forehand working nicely was serving at 3-3 when Djokovic took the first chance offered.  A couple of forehand winners helped him to 3 break points and the second delivered him the break to lead 4-3.

More winners and a love game to take the set, and Djokovic was on his way.

Much the same in set two - the top seed untouchable on serve, and chances against Muller extremely limited.  A break point in the seventh game and then 0-30 in the ninth were as close as Djokovic was until at 5-5 he found himself in possession of another break point.  He didn't like that one nor the next but he thought the third one was perfect and used it to put 6-5 on the board.

The set was off to Serbia to join the first and probably the third the way the match was travelling.

The best tennis of the match came in the third as Muller played at his highest standard for the night and Djokovic just kept being Djokovic.  There were actually break point chances for Muller - all four in the sixth game, where serving at 2-3 Novak had to dig himself out of a few holes before levelling at 3-3 with a forehand winner.

Pretty much plain sailing from there and the single break in the eleventh game, completed with a combination of forehand and backhand winners from the number one.

The match and quarter final spot went to Djokovic 6-4 7-5 7-5, but a scoreline understating the competitiveness of the contest.

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