US Open Final: It’s Serbia Vs Russia

One of the US Open’s semi final matches, arguably the more fancied of the two, came on, Friday night. Almost as anticipated and like a tradition, Novak Djokovic went a set down but emerged winner despite committing more unforced errors, 11 in all, than his semi final opponent, Alexander Zverev.
To emerge winner, Djokovic was compelled to, once again, dig into his experience-toughened mental armory, enough to breakdown Zverev’s armoured-like barricade to end the game with a thrilling 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 five setter to outlast, outclass and put an end to any dream the German may have nursed about a playing appearance at this year’s Sunday, US Open final.
Effectively, his victory came with a mouth watering tie that pitches Djokovic’s Serbia against Russia, Daniil Medvedev’s home nation.
But Zverev was most charitable in defeat, describing his victorious opponent in sublime terms.
“He plays the best tennis when he needs to, which a lot of players don’t. “There is a reason why he’s won 20 grand slams. There’s a reason why he’s spent the most weeks at world No 1. I think mentally he’s the best player to ever play the game.
“Mentally in the most important moments I would rather play against anybody else but him,” Zverev said,
“I’m going to treat this match as it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important one of my career maybe,” Djokovic explained in his press conference,” Djokovic responded humbly, perhaps trying to shove of off the hype over his next match, the final against Medvedev.
The only problem with his just-one-game stand is that history sees it differently. It is one game away for the No 1 tennis player to sit among the very few elites, Don Budgie and Rod Laver. Both are recorded in history as the only ones to have won all four grand slams in one year. Certainly, Djokovic is not unaware of that fact even as he tries to downplay how huge it could be.
“…“I know everybody wants to talk about history. I’m just trying to lock into what I know works for me. I have my routines, I have my people. I isolate myself. I gather all the necessary energy for the next battle, only the next match. Excitement is there. Motivation is there, without a doubt. Probably more than ever. But I have one more to go.
“There’s only 1 match left, all in, let’s do it. I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it’s the last match of my career,” he added.
Djokovic and Medvedev have met eight times on the ATP tours. Whereas the Serbian has the edge with five, leaving three to the Russian. However, the Medvedev made mince meat of Djokovic in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics where he stormed from a set down to teach his number one opponent a blistering lesson, winning him by 1-6 6-3 6-1. That’s as recently as July 30, 2021.
Yet, there may be something in their head to head stats that could come to play in Sunday’s final match.
Djokovic is 34, with a 188m reach and weighs 77kg against 25 year-old Medvedev’s 198m and 83kkg. If that is not interesting, there is something in both their service, return and point records that sure is.
Djokovic has a first service record of 54% accuracy, first service point win, second service point win and break point saves play of 54%,65%,48% and 58% respectively.
Medvedev, on the other hand parades a stronger stats with 49%,70%, 62% and 50% respectively.
In terms of returns, Djokovic has a rating of 133, first return win of 30%, second return of 38% and break point conversion rate of 50% while Medvedev parades a 35%, 52% and 50% success rates respectively.
Djokovic, who turned pro 18 years ago can boast of 51% service points wins, 34% of return points wins whereas his Sunday opponent, with just seven years on the pro circuit has 66% and 43% of same in his kitty.

” Let’s do it,” he says. But he needs to be reminded that there a Russian, world number 2, Daniil Medvedev, standing tall on his way.
So let’s see how Serbia will fare against Russia.

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