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  1. achronai
    achronai September 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

    It seems Nadal is getting the better of his rivalries. Federer and Djokovic. Not to mention his h2h vs almost every player except Davydenko?Darcis?. I guess he makes the most improvement in the actual matches as opposed to practice sessions. You can almost see his shots visibly improving within a given match. I like how he pulled off that brilliant down the line in a crucial point although it wasn’t a high persentage shot. Totally caught Djokovic off guard. Same thing happened in Roland Garros for only a few albeit very important points.
    Tactically I think you nailed it back in your commentary of the Roland garros match. Nadal simply wouldn’t allow himslef to be pinned back on either wing behind the baseline. I imagine this is a reason why many people underestimated Nadal in the past.
    Still I feel that 2 handers-at least the top ones like Djokovic,Nadal,Murray have a chauvinistic view of tennis rallies-gaining the upperhand in a slug fest. I think Federer proved that its not always necessary bringin Nadal to 3 sets in Cincinnati. He also had more success with Djokovic in 2011 than Nadal did varying the pace of his shots as much as possible before finishing off the point. Like a ping pong game, or Mike Tyson-esque finish-one clean knock out after poking around,feeling the opponents penchant for mistakes. Ofcourse in the long run the grinding game pays dividends esp in 5 setters.
    Nadal plays more like Ali. The matches vs Frasier/Foreman come to mind.
    The 1st set was his but it was inevitable that Djokovic would gain momentum in the 2nd. The end of the 3rd and the 4th saw a resurgent Nadal because he saw that his opponent was down and he decided to commit his reserves. 3rd set was a steal but credit to Nadal for being the more clutch player by far. Its not easy for Djokovic let alone anyone else to be clutch when you’ve been busy returning top spin after top spin for hours on end.

    I see parallels in their matches with boxing or other sports,struggles because their standards of tennis transcend tennis. Their gruelling rallies are a credit to their defensive skills and tactical mastery of the game. Like a chess game where every move is an agressive step and every small mistake can cost you the point or the match.

    Would like to see more variety in the 2 handers’ games. Varying of pace instead of this constant struggle for the upperhand. I think it can open up a whole world of possiblities in their game. More so for Djokovic since he’s already accustomed to many of Federer’s tactics adapting some of them into his own game. Also perhaps since it seems he’s the one at this point running out of solutions/options to counter the inevitable dominance of Nadal in his rivalries. Another recurrence I’ve noticed is that it seems the worst things happen to people who beat Nadal…think about it…no explanation needed. Think of all the players who beat him or those who came close this year…bad voodoo. There’s something about playing Nadal that takes the life energy out of his opponents. That includes beating him in 54 shot rallies. One point-albeit a break point but then the whole next set and the match. Not a great trade.

    Australian Open should benefit both players. Should be a better match than this US Open. Djokvic’s defensive skills for some reason are punctuated there perhaps because the courts are slower. Nadal will be more potent there judging from his US Open results but should have a more difficult time in my opinion.

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