While watching the match between world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia and American Mardy Fish, I was simply in awe of the tennis that Djokovic is and has been playing all year. Going into the match, everyone, including myself, gave Mardy zero chances against Djokovic. However, Fish was able to take a set off Djokovic which stunned many in the crowd and around the world. The set that Djokovic dropped to Fish was only his 18th set lost all year. Think about that again when I say, out of 55 total matches played on the year, Djokovic has lost a total of 18 sets. Though the score line of yesterday’s match read a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory for Djokovic, it was the way Djokovic won the match that is just simply amazing.
Djokovic is now 54-1 on the year, with the only blemish coming in the French Open semifinals against Roger Federer, a match he probably should have won anyway. Winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal yesterday gives Djokovic his 9th title on the year. What I found to be an impressive stat while watching yesterday was hearing that no number one in the world has won the first tournament he’s played in since becoming number one. The last player to do so was Pete Sampras 18 years ago in Hong Kong. Now you can appreciate the tennis Djokovic is currently playing as not even the great Roger Federer, or Rafael Nadal or Andre Agassi were able to accomplish what Djokovic did yesterday.
If you watched the match, disregard the first set, as Djokovic came out and simply toyed with a nervous Mardy Fish. From the start of the second set all the way through to the conclusion of the match, it is safe to say that Fish threw the kitchen sink and more at Djokovic with unbelievable winners, movement and focus. Yet, it was still not enough to take town the world number one. Here’s the scary part, Mardy Fish’s best was not able to take down a vulnerable Djokovic. Shots that Djokovic normally hits for winners, were left more towards the middle of the court letting Fish do the work. The best thing Djokovic had going for him yesterday was his retrieving ability as it was almost impossible for Fish to hit a winner by Djokovic, unless it was the most perfectly placed ball at the right speed and angle. That’s the type of tennis Fish had to come up with, and for a little while, he was. The ability to sustain that type of tennis was just too much to ask from Fish against the Serb, as he eventually faltered, hitting unforced error after unforced error.
Watching Novak Djokovic from the beginning of the year until today, I do feel that Novak could go undefeated for the rest of the year. The only player who I think could possibly take Djokovic down would be the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, Djokovic has beaten Nadal five straight times. My only reasoning for picking Nadal as the only guy who would be able to subdue Djokovic is the shear fight Nadal puts up every match he plays. Yes he’s lost five straight times, but don’t you think that’s even more motivation for him to try and end that streak the next time they play? Ask me who I think is going to win this year’s U.S. Open and I’ll tell you Novak Djokovic. He will be seeded number one and will either have to face Roger Federer or Andy Murray in the semifinals, two players who aren’t playing anywhere near as good as Djokovic is playing. Should it be a finals rematch of last year between Djokovic and Nadal, I would think Djokovic would want a bit of revenge for last year’s final, which is why I’d give Djokovic the edge going into that match.
Before we get to the U.S. Open and Djokovic winning it all, we still have another Masters 1000 series tournament which is already underway in Cincinnati, Ohio. We all know who the obvious favorite is in the tournament, but on any given day, something dramatic could happen, such as the Rafael Nadal vs. Ivan Dodig match at last week's Rogers Cup in Montreal. Don’t expect that to happen to Djokovic though, as his biggest potential threat in Cincinnati will be either American Andy Roddick or France’s Gael Monfils should one of them reach the quarterfinals. From there, Djokovic could possibly meet Federer in the semifinals. Federer though has a rough pathway to the semifinals, beginning with his opening match against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
The year of Djokovic will continue when the world number one goes up against young American Ryan Harrison or Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the second round.