Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Djokovic all class

The second Tuesday of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells served up an embarrassment of riches, especially the men's third round matches.
Although Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer were on display, it wasn't the Australian Open finalists who provided the greatest tennis delights.

Rafa certainly continued his fine vein of form with a straight sets victory over fellow Spanish mate Fernando Verdasco, while Federer found things much tougher, unable to break the Steve Johnson serve, and relying on his excellent tie break record to win, also in two sets.
It will be another Nadal Federer clash, this time much earlier in the round of sixteen.

Taylor Fritz joined Johnson as another American to bow out, a three set loser to Tunisian Malek Jaziri.
Better news for locals came from the racquets of Donald Young and Jack Sock. Young followed up his win over Sam Querrey by eliminating 14th seed Lucas Pouille, while Sock came back from a break down in the third set to end the hopes of Grigor Dimitrov (12).
Fourth seed Kei Nishikori sliced his way through another opponent, only prepared to donate four games to Gilles Muller, and will play Young in the fourth round.

The two matches which stood way above the rest were old hands Djokovic v del Potro and young guns Kyrgios v Zverev.
Zverev did some good things, mostly in the second set, but the way Kyrgios was serving, not many players could have touched the Australian.  He never faced a break point, but dominated the German who was heavily reliant on his second serve.

The warning to others on the tour was that other parts of the Kyrgios game, especially his volleying, were as sharp as they have been for some time.
The second set was a much closer contest, and the break only came in the final game of the match.

Djokovic and del Potro are proven performers at the highest level, and they did nothing to diminish their reputations in another match full of class and breathtaking shots.  
Djokovic opened proceedings by dropping his serve, but from that point the first set was his.  Ahead 7-5, the Serb momentum was halted by an Argentine comeback and the second set was vintage tennis from the pair.  del Potro grabbed two breaks of serve from the few chances available and levelled the match.
Three sets was appropriate.

Djokovic stepped it up in the decider and attacked relentlessly,  pulling off some of the finest shots of the tournament.  He broke twice more and faced no break points himself, to win his way into the fourth round 7-5 4-6 6-1.
A second clash with Nick Kyrgios within a fortnight awaits.

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