Djokovic expects finals to hot up

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Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Novak Djokovic expects the excitement levels at the ATP World Tour Finals to hot up after the succession of one-sided matches continued on Wednesday.

In Group A, the losing players have won only 11 games between them in four matches after Tomas Berdych defeated Marin Cilic 6-3 6-1 and Djokovic thumped Stan Wawrinka 6-3 6-0.

Group B has been marginally more competitive but the packed O2 Arena crowds have yet to witness a three-setter in singles with more than half the matches played.

Djokovic was at a loss to explain the unusual pattern, saying: “Obviously I can’t speak in the name of the other players, so I don’t know how they feel on the court. I know that I’ve been playing very well this week and hope that I can continue this way.

“Of course, since it’s the tournament of the best eight players in the world, people expect to see a little bit more excitement and longer matches. So far we didn’t have any three‑setters.

“I think that’s going to change as the tournament progresses.”

Although Djokovic’s victory may have been swift, it was certainly not short on quality, with the world number one close to his metronomic best.

It was a 29th consecutive win indoors for the Serbian, who has lifted the title without losing a set for the past two years.

Another victory over Berdych on Friday would guarantee he will finish the year above Roger Federer on top of the rankings.

Wawrinka had ended a run of 14 consecutive defeats by Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on his way to the title and began brilliantly to open up a 2-0 lead.

But Djokovic dropped just three points over the next five games and finished the match on a run of seven straight games.

The 27-year-old said: “There are some tournaments around the world that I play, like this one or Beijing, that I wish all the tournaments are played in one place, the way you feel on those courts.

“Obviously Stan wasn’t feeling his best today, he made a lot of unforced errors, a low percentage of first serves in.

“I didn’t start so great. I thought he played very well the first two games. But I wasn’t frustrated. I kept calm. After that, it was a really amazing performance.”

Djokovic remains unbeaten since wife Jelena gave birth to baby Stefan three weeks ago, providing him with an extra source of motivation.

He said: “I do feel mentally even stronger since we became parents.

“It’s a huge experience, a huge event in our lives, a blessing. Hopefully that new energy and inspiration can stay for a longer time with me on the court.”

Djokovic is still not quite through to the semi-finals, with Group A in exactly the same complicated position as Group B.

The defending champion will need a set against Berdych to be sure, while even Cilic is not out of the reckoning.

Wawrinka remains in a good position, with victory over Cilic likely to be enough to put him into the last four.

“Even if I got killed today, I still have a good chance to qualify,” said the Swiss.

“I’m still playing great tennis. I played a great match against Tomas Berdych. I’m practising well now. I need to accept that match tonight and focus tomorrow to do some good practice and be ready for the last match.”

Berdych was much improved from his 6-1 6-1 hammering by Wawrinka and handed out another heavy beating to Cilic, who had lost by the same scoreline to Djokovic on Monday.

Berdych will probably have to beat Djokovic to reach the last four, a feat he has managed just twice in 18 meetings.

Their last match in the final of the China Open last month was the most chastening of the lot, with Berdych losing 6-0 6-2 after Djokovic served for the match at 6-0 5-0.

“I’m going to try to maybe get three, four games,” he said with a smile. “That would be better from the last time.

“That experience was really an experience. As I said after my first match, it couldn’t be worse than that. So let’s see. It’s pretty much the same scenario.”

It was not the way Cilic wanted his debut appearance to pan out, and he said: “Of course, it’s a little bit disappointing to play like this. I was not expecting it. But I feel a little bit tired, and my body feels a little bit tired on the court.

“It seems that the things I’m doing are all basically going in a wrong direction.”

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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