Sunday, 20 March 2016

Novak and Milos set up Indian Wells finale

Men's semis at Indian Wells began with big serving Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic against giant killer 15th seed Belgian David Goffin.  Raonic served well in the first set with 70% first serves and winning all but three points when they landed.  Goffin did manfully to handle the bombs that were thrown at him, and despite not creating a break point on Raonic's serve, only gave up one of his own.  Sadly Milos grabbed it and effectively that was Set One over.  6-3.

So often through the tournament Goffin fought back and the second set belonged to him, breaking Raonic twice.  The Canadian only won a single point of eleven tries with his second serve and the Belgian cashed in. 6-3 the other way.

Set three was almost identical to the first with the Raonic serve impeccable, and Goffin needing just one failure for the 12th seed to once again pounce for the break, the set and the match 6-3 3-6 6-3. 
He now would await the winner of the second semi - Nadal v Djokovic.

Djokovic and Nadal opened with a 24 stroke exhilarating rally which the top seed finished with a slashing winner.  If this was a precursor to the quality of the rest of the match then this would be a classic.
Nadal held serve and the remaining points were less than thrilling, although Rafa seemed ready for this clash.

Novak played an awful service game, including two successive double faults and Rafa was up a break.  Despite an immediate break back, it was Nadal making most of the play through the first set, with Djokovic strangely willing to play within himself and safe rather than attack with the flair that has taken him so far ahead of the rest.
Nadal even had a set point which was saved by a desperate Djokovic who happily reached a tie break.
This was where the number one showed his best and soon was leading 5-2.  Nadal lifted and it was back to 5-5 before Novak cleaned up the last couple of points and claimed the set 7-6.
The set could easily have gone the other way but now Djokovic had some freedom to let his racquet swing a little easier.

It took a few games but Djokovic eventually displayed precisely why he is supreme with some textbook backhands, lobs and drop shots and other shots which textbooks have yet to describe.
Nadal, without dropping away to much in actual match play, could not compete on the scoreboard and the set was over quicker than deserved.
Djokovic won 7-6 6-2 and now had the Canadian mountain to overcome in order to defend his title.

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