TURIN | Because he chose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Novak Djokovic has played very few matches this season. But when he plays, the Serb has lost none of his luster.
Seventh favorite for the ATP Finals, “ Djoko ” again demonstrated this on Monday, against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. For the third time in as many tournaments, the former world No. did not outrageously dominate his rival, but he was opportunistic. As in this very first game of the match, where the Serb immediately made the break.
Then there was this superb passing in the second set tiebreaker, which allowed him to take a 3-1 lead. An advance that he only accentuated, at the same time shattering the hopes of the Greek.
“It was difficult for me to find a certain balance, to play my best tennis with all that was happening outside the courts, after Australia [from where he was expelled on the eve of the first tournament of the Grand Slam of the season] , conceded Djokovic about his atypical season.
But he believes that his victory at Wimbledon played a decisive role in his end to the year. She both gave him 'relief' and a “surge of confidence”.
We can believe it, because from London, in three tournaments apart from the Laver Cup, the ” Djoker ” only suffered one setback: it was in the final of the Masters 1000 in Paris, against Danish sensation Holger Rune.
Deprived of the throne
No doubt bitter about another loss to Djokovic, Tsitsipas met the media in the moments after the game. And the 24-year-old refused to comment on the origins of this setback, preferring to focus “on his next matches”.
The Greek had two good reasons to be disappointed. Not only does this failure relegate him to the bottom of the “red” group, but it also deprives him of his chances of reaching the number one spot in the world.
Because Tsitsipas was with Rafael Nadal l one of the two players who could aspire to the crown currently held by the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, absent in Turin due to an abdominal injury.
But the odds were still low: to become first in the world, the Athenian had to win the tournament without losing a single match in this table made up of the eight best players of the last season.
< strong>A great and hard battle
Earlier in the day, Russian Andrey Rublev, seeded sixth, beat his compatriot and friend Daniil Medvedev, seeded fourth, after a tough 2 h 30 min battle, which resulted in the score of 6-7 (7), 6-3 and 7-6 (7).
It was a high-flying match, punctuated by spectacular rallies and many turnarounds. < /p>
Rublev led the opening set 5-2 and had seven chances to take the lead in the encounter. But it was ultimately Medvedev who decided first, on his very first set point.
“It's never happened to me, I don't think, to lead a set 5-2, then a tiebreaker 6-2, and not be able to win the set,” said the player of 25 years old.
The winner called this marathon “emotional” and “dramatic”.
“Normally, if such a scenario happens to me, I am not in a position to turn the tide and win”, a- he continued.
With this victory in three sets, Rublev is second in the “red” group, dominated by Djokovic, by virtue of his victory in two sets. Medvedev is third.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas will meet tomorrow, as will Djokovic and Rublev, who will face off in a duel at the top.
– With AFP
Tuesday in Turin, in addition to the clash between Félix Auger-Aliassime and Rafael Nadal scheduled for around 8:00 a.m. Quebec time, the first two winners of the “green” group, Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud, will compete for victory around 3:00 p.m.