Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic and Kiki Bertens Win Western & Southern Open Titles

Novak Djokovic did what no player has ever done before, winning his first title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati to complete the ‘Career Golden Masters,’ by winning all nine ATP Masters 1000 events.

Djokovic took down Roger Federer, 6-4, 6-4, on Sunday, to improve to 24-22 in their storied rivalry and deny Federer his 99th career title and eighth in Cincinnati. The two hadn’t played since the 2016 Australian Open, and Djokovic’s latest triumph gives him 31 career ATP Masters 1000 titles, two shy of all-time leader Rafael Nadal’s 33.

In the women’s championship, Kiki Bertens took down No. 1 Simona Halep, 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2, to win the biggest of her six career WTA titles and her first at a hard-court event. Bertens saved a match point in the second-set tiebreak to notch her 10th win over a Top 10-ranked opponent this year and improve her record in North America to 15-3 this year. Twenty-year-old Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka also had an impressive week, upending three seeded players to reach the semifinals.

The US Open Series concludes this week with the women’s Connecticut Open in New Haven and the men’s Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina. The Connecticut Open field features five Top-10 players, as well as Americans CoCo Vandeweghe and Danielle Collins. Americans in Winston-Salem include Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson, Taylor Fritz, Ryan Harrison and Tennys Sandgren.

ESPN’s family of networks will carry weeklong coverage from both tournaments. Early-round matches from New Haven and Winston-Salem will be delivered live on ESPN3 and stream live on the ESPN app. ESPN2 will pick up its coverage with Friday’s semifinals and will air Saturday’s finals, at 3 p.m. (New Haven) and 5 p.m. (Winston-Salem). See the full summer TV schedule here.

Novak Djokovic Return To Top Can Revitalise Men’s Tennis

Nobody would have begrudged seeing Roger Federer lift his eighth Wimbledon title last year, nor would anyone have felt the Swiss master didn’t deserve to hit Slam number 20 in Australia in January. In a similar fashion, we sat back and marvelled at Rafael Nadal taking his 11th title on the clay of Roland Garros in May.

However, while we are lucky to live in an era of greats in the men’s game, there was something processionary about the Grand Slams in recent times, as if we were simply waiting to crown Federer or Nadal, even before the tournament started.

Last month at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic served us a timely reminder that he too should be mentioned among the all-time greats. His 13th Slam was wrapped up with the minimum of fuss against Kevin Anderson, but it was the semi-final, a five-set epic against Nadal, that really showed us how much we missed the unflappable Serb.

Bookmakers were quick to act on Djokovic seemingly putting those injury woes behind him and making his way back to the top, with 888sport putting him as favourite in the 2018 outright US Open odds. The Serb comes in at 11/4 at the moment, with Nadal and Federer both at 7/2. That’s pretty tight, suggesting the odds-setters feel anyone of the three could win. Indeed, any suspicion of a niggle or slight injury, and those odds could change.
Odds show competitiveness is back

However, seeing three players right at the top of the betting markets is good news for the men’s game. We must remember that that in the last two Slams, Nadal was odds-on for the French Open and Federer was a very short price (around 13/8) to win Wimbledon. Having Djokovic back adds another dimension to the elite level of the game.
Of course, nobody is ruling out a push from players outside this celebrated trio: Alexander Zverev, a player who keeps promising to fully bloom, is priced at 9/1, Del Potro is available at 10/1. Andy Murray, whose injury problems are hopefully behind him, is also available at 10/1, but match sharpness may elude the former world number one.

Put simply, the upcoming US Open (27th August – 9th September) feels like the first Grand Slam in a while where we do not have an overwhelming favourite from the outset. Having Djokovic, Federer and Nadal all fit will also open up some subplots: Can Federer extend his record of Slams to 21? Can Nadal rein Federer in by winning his 18th? Can Djokovic equal Pete Sampras’ tally of 14 titles and regain his place at the top of the game.

‘Big 4’ could return to dominance
For all the talk of dominance of individuals over the past 15 years, it is also the rivalry within the ‘Big 4’ that has made men’s tennis, at times, unmissable. You’ll have to go back to 2012 to see the last time when the ‘Big 4’ each won a Grand Slam in the same season, but it was also an era when it was also incredibly difficult to predict who would come out on top, Nadal at Roland Garros excepted.

With Djokovic seemingly back to full fitness and, hopefully, Murray also getting healthy, we could be in for a treat over the next couple of years. Wimbledon sewed the seeds of some great rivalries to be re-established, let’s hope we, as fans, reap the benefit, starting in New York in a few weeks.

Novak Djokovic Makes Triumphant Return To Relevance With Surprise Wimbledon Title

by Randy Walker
@TennisPublisher

Novak Djokovic quieted critics and made a triumph return to the elite of professional tennis by winning his fourth Wimbledon title Sunday with a slightly dramatic 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3) win over the mostly listless and exhausted Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Djokovic’s 13th major title comes two years after his last major title – his historic win at the 2016 French Open which culminated him becoming only the third man in the history of tennis to hold all four majors simultaneously, joining Grand Slam winners Rod Laver and Don Budge.

However, since his triumph in Paris, Djokovic experienced a dramatic fall from the top, perhaps an expected human experience of needing of an exhale after years of pressure and drive to succeed and realize his goal of winning the French Open and win all four major titles.

“Then life came at him,” said Tom Rinaldi of ESPN of Djokovic’s fall from his pinnacle following the 2016 French Open.

“There were admitted challenges in his family life,” said Rinaldi of Djokovic. Also affecting him were injuries, a loss of motivation, a mix-up in his coaching team, separating himself with his coaches Boris Becker and Marian Vajda, an experiment with Andre Agassi as his coach and motivator.

“There were moment where I was doubtful of my return,” said Djokovic to ESPN.

His fall from the top reminded some observers of Mats Wilander of Sweden, who suddenly dropped off the top of the men’s game after he finally won the U.S. Open in 1988 to achieve the world No. 1 ranking and conclude his year by winning three of the four major singles titles.

While Djokovic was always seen as the player who would never give up and grind out amazing victories, like being match point down twice to Roger Federer at the U.S. Open, or in five hours, 53 minutes in the 2012 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal, he then seemingly gave up competing in some matches, like against Dominic Theim in the quarterfinals of the 2017 French Open as the defending champion falling meekly 7-6, 6-3, 6-0, while also losing matches that he, as an all-time great, should not lose, such as to wild card Denis Istomin in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open and, most recently to Marco Cecchinato in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros last month. It was after that loss to Cecchinato that Djokovic even questioned if he had the will to even play at Wimbledon.

“I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass,” he said to reporters after the loss. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just came from the court. Sorry, guys, I can’t give you that answer. I cannot give you any answer.”

Djokovic found form in reaching the final of the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event at Queens, losing to Marin Cilic after having a match point. He quietly and deliberately reached the semifinals at the All England Club where he performed a master-class return to form in his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 10-8. win over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, played under the Wimbledon roof – and lights – due to the length of the titanic 26-24 fifth-set marathon between Anderson and John Isner in the first semifinal.

His win over Anderson was not in doubt until the latter stages of the third set. After winning the first two sets handily – Anderson having his serve broken in the opening game on a double-fault on break point – Djokovic had to endure five set points from Anderson before prevailing by closing out the third-set in a tiebreaker.

Djokovic, ranked No. 21, becomes the lowest ranked men’s champion at Wimbledon behind Goran Ivanisevic, who won the 2001 title with a ranking of No. 125. He also breaks the stranglehold that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had on Grand Slam tennis, becoming the first player other than the Swiss and the Spaniard to win a men’s major since Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 US Open.

“Man, I went through some difficult moments,” Djokovic said to Rinaldi following the final of his long road back. “We all have ups and downs…Let life arrange things around you….This is a great confirmation that I am on the good road.”

The Top Five Men’s Players At 2018 Wimbledon

With the most enthralling sporting event of the year already underway in the United Kingdom, tennis fans from all over the world are tuned in to watch the greatest players of our time fight it out at the biggest stage in the world – Wimbledon.

Tennis continues to attract spectators from all corners of the world, who are drawn to the game due to its fast pace, as well as the wide range of betting opportunities it offers. Betting on Wimbledon has become more accessible in recent years through the creation of simplified manuals, such as the Wimbledon betting guide 2018, which breaks down the essentials of betting on the coveted event. To know how to place your bets efficiently, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 men tennis players with the highest chances of taking the trophy home this year.

Roger Federer
The most decorated player active in the game, Roger Federer is currently ranked No. 2 in the world and has won 8 Wimbledon titles till now. Federer is defending the title this year and if he wins the tournament, he would go on to create a new world record of most number of Wimbledon titles by a player.

Though his loss in the final match of Halle could be concern for some people, truth remains that he has managed to surprise everyone on the grass court. UNIQLO’S New Global Brand Ambassador, Federer supposed to play against players like Lajovic, Anderson and Cilic in the initial rounds and can easily reach the finals to claim the title.

Rafael Nadal
Best known for his performance on clay court in French Opens, Nadal is ranked world No.1. With 17 grand slam titles, he is among the top contenders for the trophy this year. He has previously won the Wimbledon trophy in the year 2008 and 2010. Though his line-up of matches is not easy, considering the tenacious person he is, reaching the finals would not be surprising on the Spaniard’s part.

Novak Djokovic
The Serbian player is currently ranked No.17 in the world. He has about 12 grand slam titles to his name out of which 3 are Wimbledon trophies for the years 2011, 2014, and 2015. Known for covering the entire length and breadth of the court well, it’s been some time that Djokovic has lifted the trophy.

His recent performances have been up to the mark as we saw him in the finals of the Queen’s Club Championship. His matches have been lined up against Brit Edmand, Thiem and Alex Zverev. No doubt he has a tough competition to face, his skills like accurate groundstrokes present him as a promising player.

Marin Cilic
One of the more experienced players, Cilic is a strong contender for the 2018 Wimbledon. After winning the Queen’s Club Championship last month, the player is in his best form for the tournament and is confident than ever. His serving skills have helped him whenever he has found himself in a tough spot. Moreover, with opponents like Dimitrov in the initial rounds, he would have to face Federer which would be a much anticipated match.

Alexander Zverev

At only 21 years of age, Alexander is one of the youngest player in this Wimbledon season. Despite the German has not experienced many grand slams, this season’s trophy could very well be is first grand slam title. He has a strong double handed backhand which would come to his aid.

Alexander, to the surprise of everyone, has previously defeated mighty giants like Djokovic and Roger Federer, which all the more increase his chances of clinching the trophy.

Will It Be The Same Old Story In Wimbledon Men’s Singles In 2018?

Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal have won the last six major championships. Both are the overwhelming Wimbledon betting favorites for the men’s singles title – and who can argue?

No one.

Federer has won eight times at the All England Club and has played in a total of 11 singles finals. Nadal has won Wimbledon twice – most notably his 2008 final 10 years ago against Federer – and has played in five finals. However, he has not advanced past the fourth round at the event since 2011. With razor-thin margins separating the two players, could this lack of reserve confidence be the different between a point or two if these two were to meet in a climatic final and 10-year-anniversary reprise of their epic 2008 Wimbledon final classic? Federer appears to be as fine-tuned as he has ever been on the comfort of the Wimbledon grass. The only difference between this year and others is his new Uniqlo tennis attire.

While Federer and Nadal are the strong favorites to win the title, Brad Gilbert of ESPN said he believes that there are five real contenders. Outside of the maestros from Switzerland and Spain, others are Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Novak Djokovic.

Del Potro is the surprise pick to win the tournament from ESPN commentator and former U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. The Argentine is a former semifinalist at this event in 2013 where he lost a tight five-setter to Djokovic. He also captured Olympic bronze at the All England Club at the 2012 Olympics, extending Federer to a 19-17 third set in a four-hour-26-minute epic semifinal before beating Djokovic for bronze. Perhaps most importantly, del Potro is not intimidated against Nadal or Federer.

Perhaps the only other real contender for the title is hard-serving John Isner. The former Univerity of Georgia standout is into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in his career and other than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, is perhaps the most famous Wimbledon player by virtue of his incredulous 11-hour, 70-68 win over Nico Mahut in the 2010 first round.

Isner is playing the best tennis of his career this year having won the biggest tournament of his career at the Miami Open in April. Like del Potro, Isner is not intimidated by playing the top players. Many – except Isner and his inner circle – may have forgotten that he nearly beat Federer on the Centre Court grass at the 2012 Olympics before falling 6-4, 7-6(5) in an incredibly close contest that is was much closer than the score indicated, with a missed sitter forehand and a let cord basically being the difference between the two players.’s

Djokovic is the unknown entity of men’s tennis. While he is regarded as one of the all-time greats with 12 major titles – including all four majors including Wimbledon in 2011, 2014 and 2015 – he has not won a major title since the French Open in 2016 and has struggled physically with injuries and mentally with concentration, off-court distractions and motivation. You can’t count him out of the conversation, but one could argue that of all the other contenders for the title, Djokovic may have the least amount of deep hunger for the title. There are glimpses of his past form and fire but it is not consistently there and among punters, will not receive a lot of attention in Wimbledon betting

Surprises, Comebacks Highlight Start of Australian Open

The first Grand Slam is already underway in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. Since the 10th of January with the start of qualifying, we have seen great action and endurance from some of the emerging talents in the world of tennis as they battle Down Under.

This is not just a great time for the players themselves but for fantasy players as well as they try to win big in the first Grand Slam of the year and lay down the marker for future success. If you want to become a tennis fantasy player, you need to keep in mind that it’s less than football fantasy betting and more of the lottery. At the start of the year, you need to bank on chance that your fantasy players will play to their potential rather than base your choices on player’s current form. Even if it’s more of a game of chance, you still possess the ability to win just like when you play the Powerball lottery online.

Below is a recap of some the early highlights so so far at the Australian Open.

Three of the four women’s semifinalists from the previous Grand Slam, the US Open, lost in the first round! Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open, was defeated in the opening round to China’s Zhang Shuai 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2. She is now 0-8 in matches since her US Open triumph last September. Coco Vandeweghe, an Australian and U.S. Open semifinalist last year, couldn’t fight through her flu and lost in the first round to Timea Babos 7-6, 6-2. Venus Williams, last year’s finalist at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and a semifinalist at the U.S. Open lost 6-3, 7-5 to Belinda Bencic, who is still on an inspiring high after pairing with Roger Federer to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland.

Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic played his first tournament match since Wimbledon, with a new service motion, a sleeve on his right arm to protect his injured elbow, and new coach Radek Stepanek in the coaching box alongside Andre Agassi. He had little trouble in the first round with American Donald Young, who played helped Djokovic into the second round with poor play in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 decision.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion, also played his first tournament match since Wimbledon and sported a nasty looking scar on his right knee from his summer surgery. The Swiss man only dropped a set in his first round win over Ricardas Berankis. Wawrinka’s fellow Swiss Roger Federer, the defending champion and No. 2 seed, had little trouble with Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene winning in three sets.

 

 

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Makes For Great Holiday Gift

Having trouble thinking of the proper holiday gift for the tennis player in your life? Consider the book “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” by 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steve Flink

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all-time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others.

The book is published by New Chapter Press, the premier global publisher of tennis books.

The hard-cover book, that makes for a centerpiece of a coffee table or at your local tennis club, retails for $28.95, and can be purchased here on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257936/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_Qj-rybVBRK7ZW or at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.

Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week.

The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles in her career, who wrote the foreword to the book.

Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”

Said former U.S. Davis Cup captain and player Patrick McEnroe, “As a writer and a fan, Steve Flink’s knowledge of tennis history and his love of the sport are second to none, which is why you should read his book.”

Said ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale, “To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject. In this absorbing book, I can relive matches that I have called on television.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Sport of a Lifetime” by Judy Aydelott, “Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins (a new third edition published in late 2016), “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook for Beating Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Guide Cancun” by Eric Rabinowitz, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.

Who Has Most Motivation To Win Wimbledon Among The Big Four?

Most observers will conclude that, in all likelihood, the men’s singles champion at Wimbledon in 2017 will come from “The Big Four” – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

There isn’t much that separates these four titans of tennis, but the slimiest of margins separates victory from defeat. It could be a moment of hesitation, a slight lack of confidence in executing a shot in a crucial stage. Extra desire, belief, confidence and having that extra step could decide the championship.

Let’s look at each of “The Big Four” and discuss their motivations and intangibles that could help them and hurt them as they approach the final weekend. If you are looking for Wimbledon betting tips, these insights will prove helpful.

Roger Federer – The Swiss maestro may be believing that this could be his last shot to win what would be a record eighth men’s singles title at the All England Club. Striving for that record is a major goal of Federer’s that would further his legacy in the sport, if that is even possible for a player who has won a record 18 major singles titles. He has taken the entire clay-court season off – ceding that ground to Nadal – but this has kept Federer fresh and hungry which can serve him well in the later rounds.

Rafael Nadal – The Spaniards is a competitor full stop all the time and one of the most physically fit players in the history of tennis. Could a slight bit of energy drain from the long-drawn out clay-court season be the difference between winning and losing for the Spaniard. For the last three years, Nadal has been primarily focused on winning his unprecedented 10th French Open men’s singles titles. Having achieved that goal last month, is a title on the Wimbledon grass too much too soon for the Nadal to refocus on entirely in every corner of his mind? The grass courts at Wimbledon are playing slower than usual, which helps him, and, like any other Spaniard, he relishes in “suffering” on a tennis court.

Novak Djokovic – The Serbian has been out-of-sorts in the last 12 months since he entered Wimbledon last year having won the previous four major championships. He seems the most vulnerable of “The Big Four” but the “X” factor with Djokovic is his new relationship with new coach Andre Agassi. The new voice from the Hall of Famer, who also turned around a much more steep career nose-dive in his career, could resurrect Djokovic. Playing for Agassi and wanting the validate the relationship and “please” the all-time great could provide extra motivation and intangibles that could help Djokovic return to the Grand Slam winner’s circle.

Andy Murray – Wimbledon is just the place for Murray to recalibrate after his sensational 2016 season where he won his second title at Wimbledon and the Olympics. His year was capped with an exhaustive effort to win the year-end ATP World Tour Championships in London to finish as the year-end No. 1. The end-of-the-year push hurt Murray at the start of the 2017 season and he started to find his top form again at the French Open, where he was a tie-breaker away from reaching the singles final. Now on the comfortable environs on the hometown courts at Wimbledon, with his adoring fans supporting him full-tilt, the top-seed will be tough to beat.  However, Murray hasn’t won a tournament since the year-end event in London last year and he has suffered many early-round upset losses this year, which could hurt his inner confidence in the big points with the title on the line.

Will Novak Djokovic Get Back To His Best Or Will His Decline Continue?

Things have not been going well for Novak Djokovic and even changing coach to legendary tennis player Andre Agassi performances have declined. One of the lowest points of his career in recent year was the humiliating defeat against Dominic Thiem who he has won 12 matches against to one in previous meetings. Before the tournament started he was in most experts tennis predictions and tips to make the final. No one expected such a decline in his performance and it has led to many questions being asked about the player’s desire for competing.

The French Open is a competition that Djokovic normally dominates which made the loss to Thiem even more shocking. He started the match well but quickly declined and seems to give up which is not the player that once was. What got him to the top was his determination and ability when things got tough to raise his game. This seems to be missing from his game and unless he can find that fire it will quickly fall down the ATP tennis rankings.

One of the main problems with Djokovic is he is making too many unforced errors. This must be due to the mental side of the game and he needs to regain his focus if he wants to regain the throne of being the number one men’s tennis player.

Andy Murray rise to the top is down to his pure determination, he wants it more than Djokovic. The best players in the world find a way to get through matches when they are not playing at their best and Djokovic is struggling to do this.

Djokovic can still turn things around but if he is going to he will need to do it fast. The other players have stopped fearing the once unbeatable star and if his performance level does not improve he may as well call an end to his lustrous career. It will be better than putting in the type of humiliating performances that he did at the French Open and will protect his legacy in the sport.

When asked about his performances of late Djokovic sounds like a player that is ready to retire. Any player at the top of the game when they consider this should retire. It is impossible to be world number one with this type of mindset. Many pundits are making tennis predictions 2017 that this will be the last year that we see Djokovic play so let’s hope that he can put on a show for the fans and enjoy his last playing days.

It is amazing just how fast the decline of Djokovic has happened. It is going to be a tough task for to player to get back to his best but even slightly below his top-level, he is still with a chance of winning another Grand Slam. For the latest betting tips for tennis and news make sure you subscribe and leave a comment below on your thoughts on Novak Djokovic.

 

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Denis Istomin Shocks Australian Open With Novak Djokovic Upset Win

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Denis Istomin pulled off what will most likely be the biggest upset of 2017 as he dispatched the six-time champion Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Australian Open 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

“It’s unreal. It was impossible to think that I can hold it five sets with Novak, physically and mentally. So I did well today,” Istomin said.

Istomin is currently ranked No. 117 in the world after reaching a career high ranking of No. 33 back in 2012. He only managed to get into the main draw at the Australian Open because he won a wild card playoff for players from Asia in December.

In the semifinal of that wild card playoff, Istomin actually faced multiple set points. But now, here he is in the third round of the Australian Open with an upset of Djokovic in his pocket.

In the first game, Djokovic had to play a 24-point game, fighting off six break points along the way. There was an exchange of breaks midway through the set, but the two eventually settled for a tiebreak. It was Djokovic who raced out to a 4-1 lead, but Istomin proved he was up for the fight, as he battled back to win it 10-8 and take the first set.

In set two, Istomin had to fight off one break point in his 2-2 service game, but nothing too exciting happened until the last three games of the set. With Djokovic serving at 4-5, Istomin got out to a 15-40 lead, meaning he had two set points. The No. 2 player in the world showed why he had 12 major titles under his belt, though, as he rattled off four points in a row to hold before breaking Istomin in the next game, eventually taking the second set 7-5.

The third got off to a hectic start, as there were three consecutive breaks early on, allowing Djokovic to get out to a break lead. In the end, Djokovic would break Istomin in three of his service games in a row, taking the set 6-2 and looking like he had finally killed off the fight from Istomin.

The top-ranked player from Uzbekistan didn’t go away easily, as he came right back in the fourth set and got out to an early break lead. Djokovic didn’t let him hold on to that lead for too long, though, and broke to get back on serve midway through the set. Once again, the two men needed a tiebreak to decide things, and once again it was Istomin coming out on top. This one was a little easier for the wild card as he raced out to a 5-1 lead and claimed the set on his third set point.

In the decider, Istomin had a little trouble in his first two service games while Djokovic was cruising. Seemingly out of nowhere, Istomin broke the Serb for a 3-2 lead with a screaming backhand down the line, and that was all he would need. In his last three service games, the wild card dropped just three points, sending Djokovic out of the tournament, and himself into the third round.

“Whenever he needed to, he came up with a big serve, a big play. All I can say is hats off,” said Djokovic, who actually won seven more points than Istomin did in the match. “He’s a well-deserved winner.”

Istomin is into the Australian Open third round for just the third time in his career, and he will get to take on Pablo Carreno Busta. Istomin will be looking to match his best result at a major against Carreno Busta, as Istomin reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2012 and the US Open in 2013.