Djokovic loses to pal Tipsarevic
Originally published on: 25/11/11 15:25
Janko Tipsarevic is due to fly to the Maldives with Novak Djokovic on Monday and it could be something of a bumpy ride for the bespectacled Serb after he defeated his friend in three sets to leave the world No.1’s qualification fate in the hands of Tomas Berdych at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Tipsarevic did not have a chance of reaching the semi-finals, but with 200 ATP points and $120,000 up for grabs for a round robin win he certainly had the motivation and battled hard for a 3-6 6-3 6-3 triumph.
The result means Djokovic must now rely on David Ferrer to beat the 6’5” Czech in tonight’s evening session if he is to stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals at the O2 Arena, and a Berdych victory could make life uncomfortable for tournament alternate Tipsarevic next week.
“We are scheduled to go [on holiday] together. I have to talk to him but I don’t think anybody is going to change the resort,” Tipsarevic joked.
As for their O2 encounter, he added: “I feel it was an interesting match from both Novak and me – a lot of ups and downs for both of us.”
Djokovic started the stronger of the two, pulling up the first break point of the match at 30-40 in the fourth game and promptly converted at the first opportunity when Tipsarevic dragged a forlorn-looking backhand into the tramlines.
A 3-1 advantage quickly became 4-1 as Djokovic, who had produced a lacklustre service display in defeat to David Ferrer in his previous roun-robin tie, re-discovered the dominant serve that has played such an important role in carrying him to 70 wins on the ATP Tour this season.
At 5-2, the world No.1 had a chance to win the set on a second break, but his countryman forced him deep behind the baseline to grind out the service hold. Undettered, Djokovic strolled through his next service game and clinched the opening set in 37 minutes.
Facing down increasing pressure in the first game of the second set, Tipsarevic had to knuckle down to hold serve in an 18 point opening game before watching his opponent coast through his reply with comparative ease.
The first three games of the second set took 22 minutes, time spent largely on Tipsarevic’s serve, but just when the cracks in the 5’11” Belgrade native’s resolve appeared to widen, Djokovic handed over two break points. Seizing his opportunity just as he had when news of Andy Murray’s withdrawal at the tournament broke, so did Tipsarevic, converting on the first after Djokovic opted for a dinked backhand drop shot that failed to clear the net tape.
But with his thoughts already drifting to a third set, Tipsarevic’s concentration wavered and Djokovic broke straight back, dashing around on the baseline with some athletic defence as his soon-to-be holidaying partner, in command of the rally, inexcusably netted.
The world No.1 was the next to have an attack of the nerves, double faulting at deuce in the eighth game before looping a forehand long to hand over Tipsarevic the chance to serve out the set, which he duly did, finally, in 53 minutes.
Continuing the momentum, Tipsarevic broke to 30 in the first game of the third set, dragging Djokovic to the net with a drop shot before volleying his scrambling opponent’s reply back across court.
At 5-3, Tipsarevic brought up three match points and though Djokovic saved the first two, a forehand error handed Tiparevic his first win in four battles with the world No.1 after two hours and seven minutes.
“I lost a match that I think I was on the way to win,” said Djokovic. “But you know, if this is my last match in the Masters Cup I’ll be happy because I think at least comparing to the match against Ferrer I played a little bit better.”