2015 timeline

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January 7thBrisbane, the second round. Alexandr Dolgopolov leads 6:2 in the 2nd set tie-break, also *4:2 in the 3rd set, later *6:5 & 7:6 in the deciding tie-break, but loses to [34] Martin Klizan 6-1 6-7 6-7 blowing six match points in total. Dolgopolov [23] lost despite winning 25 points more (the biggest difference occurred during a Stefan Koubek vs. Cyril Saulnier match in Melbourne 2002 – thirty points).

January 11thBrisbane, the final. Roger Federer [2] wins his match no. 1000 defeating Milos Raonic [8] 6-4 6-7 6-4. “It’s a special moment, no doubt about it,” said Federer receiving an award from Laver. “I’ve played a lot of tennis over the years, so to get to 1000 wins tonight really means a lot to me. I’ll never forget this match.”

troicki_kukushkinJanuary 17thSydney, the final. Viktor Troicki d. Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-3. The first final in history between two qualifiers [ranking: 92 vs. 66]! Nevertheless, in 1990 Francisco Clavet (lucky loser) beat Eduardo Masso (qualifier) in the Hilversum final… “There are a lot of emotions actually,” said Troicki. “It’s been a tough road, a lot of work, and it paid off with a nice title. If I look back to where I was five, six months ago, it’s amazing to have a title already. So it’s a really nice moment for me and for all my team. It’s very emotional.”

January 17thAustralian Open, the first round. Andreas Seppi [46] defeats a four places lower ranked opponent, Denis Istomin 5-7 6-3 2-6 6-1 6-4: only ninth meeting between them, but already the fifth concluded after a five-setter (Seppi leads 3-2). It is just one out of six pairs to play as many five-settters against each other in the Open Era.

January 26th Australian Open, the fourth round. Feliciano Lopez [14] takes a 4th set tie-break against Milos Raonic [8] saving a match point, but loses in five sets. If Lopez had won it, he would have been just the second man in the Open Era (at the main-level) to win three matches within a tournament facing match points in three different encounters!

February 1st Australian Open, the final. Just like in 2011 and 2013, Novak Djokovic [1] is better than Andy Murray [6] in the Melbourne final. The Serb prevails 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0 after 3 hours 39 minutes winning the last nine games. What is quite intriguing, it its their third four-set meeting within two years that they trade tie-breaks in the opening two sets. I have noticed that on each occasion Murray was not able to keep the pace when the time-clock approached 3:00… Djokovic becomes the first man in the Open Era to claim five titles in Melbourne!

February 8thQuito, the final. The 34-year-old Victor Estrella [73] of Dominican Republic, stuns Feliciano Lopez [14] 6-2 6-7 7-6 to become the oldest first-time ATP title winner. “I was nervous at the beginning but thank God I was able to win the first ATP in Quito and the first for me,” Estrella said “Today I felt as if I was playing at sea level. I felt very good on court.” Two weeks later Estrella claims another title, but that time at the Challenger circuit (Morelos in Mexico).

March 8thDavis Cup, the first round. 6 hours 43 minutes… Unbelievable fourth rubber in Buenos Aires during an Argentina-Brazil tie: Leonardo Mayer defeats Joao Souza in the longest Davis Cup singles match ever (and the longest match in history concluded within a day), converting his 11th match souza_mayerpoint to win 7-6 7-6 5-7 5-7 15-13. After squandering 10 match points, Mayer finally broke Souza’s serve while leading 14:13. The 29th-ranked Argentine dropped to the ground as the crowd and his team-mates loudly celebrated. ”We are a team, you need to have faith,” Mayer said, crying, in the post-match interview. The fifth set alone lasted 2 hours, 30 minutes. Mayer had three match points at 5:4, two at 9:8, and four at 12:11, all on Souza’s serve. He squandered the 10th in the final game before finally sealing the win. The 75th-ranked Souza served for the match at 6:5 but was not able to capitalize on his opportunity as he was broken right back.

April 5th Miami, the final. Novak Djokovic [1] emulates his marvellous achievement of 2011 and having won Indian Wells, he captures another title in Miami two weeks later. For the second time in the Miami final he outplays Andy Murray [4], this time 7-6 4-6 6-0. It is Djokovic’s seventh consecutive win over Murray. “I’m trying to enjoy the moment and also utilise this time of my career where I’m probably playing the tennis of my life, and I’m feeling confident and physically fit,” the Serb said.

May 6thMadrid, the second round. A flamboyant Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios [35] stuns Roger Federer [2] in an-all tie-break duel (2 hours 37 minutes), 14/12 in the deciding tie-breaker saving two match points in the process. It is the longest tie-break lost in Federer’s career, he had won all his eight previous tie-breaks when the scoreline reached 11-all at least.

May 18thGeneva, the first round. For the first time in the Open Era at the main level, play against each other guys who share not only the same surname, but the first name as well! The umpire of that match Manuel Messina of Italy, deals with the unique situation saying “Jeu Sousa-Portugal/Jeu Souza-Brasil” to distinguish between the two players. Joao Sousa wins quite easily 7-5 6-3. Sousa reaches the final to be defeated by other Brazilian – Thomaz Bellucci.

wawrinka's shortsJune 7thRoland Garros, the final. Stan Wawrinka spoils Novak Djokovic‘s hopes to collect all Grand Slam titles. The Swiss unexpectedly defeats the Serb 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 snapping his impressive 28-match winning streak. Wawrinka comments his unusual shorts that allegedly brought him good luck in Paris: “You can see my shorts every day if you want. Everybody talks about these shorts since I put them on. I quite like (them). Apparently I’m the only one. I had a good talk with Magnus before the final.” In the quarter-final, Djokovic had easily beaten Rafael Nadal – it ended a five-year reign of the Spaniard in Paris.

June 9thStuttgart, the first round. A new grass-court tournament in the calendar and the oldest player on tour – an unranked Tommy Haas comes back after a year hiatus to beat Mikhail Kukushkin [59] in straight sets. For the 37-year-old German it is the third time in his career that he comes back to the professional sport being sidelined for a year (it previously happened in 2004 & 2011)!

June 19thHalle, the quarterfinal. Ivo Karlovic [27] serves 103 times against Tomas Berdych [6], and 45 of those serves the Czech is not even able to touch – it is a new record for number of aces delivered in a ‘best of three’ encounter. Despite awesome service performance, Karlovic had been forced to save break points in two different games before he prevailed 7-5 6-7 6-3. The Croat has overcome his own record (44 aces) which he shared with Mark Philippoussis. Two weeks later Dr. Ivo fires more aces at Wimbledon (53) but in a five-setter.

July 12thWimbledon, the final. Novak Djokovic [1] squanders seven set points in the 2nd set (the most in his career), but keeps his composure and defends his Wimbledon title beating [2] Roger Federer (7-6 6-7 6-4 6-3) for the second year running on Centre Court. “It’s a great privilege to play against Roger, who is a great champion. I was aware coming onto the court, that Roger would play his best when it matters the most. He pushes you to limits says” says Djokovic, who was four points away from a sensational loss in the fourth round to Kevin Anderson (he trailed two-sets-to-love).

August 2ndGstaad, the final. 22-year-old Austrian, Dominic Thiem [24] captures his second title within two weeks; first he triumphed in Umag (Joao Sousa in the final), then in Gstaad (David Goffin in the final). Thiem’s streak of 11 wins in a row on clay is finished in Kitzbuhel as he loses in two sets to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

August 5thWashington, the first round. A record of the longest tie-break in doubles is almost tied after 29 years… A 25/23 tie-break is manufactured as Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah defeat Austin Krajicek and Nicholas Montroe 7-6 6-3. The Colombian pair saved eight set points in that marathon tie-break, before converting 11th set point for themselves. Cabal/Farah take the longest super tie-break of the season as well, 6-3 6-7 [19-17] a few months before in Acapulco (four match points saved) against a German pair (D.Brown/T.Kamke).

August 7thMontreal, the quarterfinal. 59 points in three tie-breaks as Jeremy Chardy [49] defeats John Isner (9/11, 15/13, 7/3) fighting off seven match points, five in the 2nd set tie-break including one on return. Never before so many tie-break points had been played in a ‘best of three’ match. “It was a crazy match,” said Chardy. “We both served really well and we both had our chances, so I am happy that I won it in the end. On those match points, I was only thinking about where I wanted to hit my serve or how to play the point. Under pressure it’s easy to get nervous and miss if you start thinking about the match point or the break point.” Chardy’s second win having saved seven match points (previous: Acapulco ’12 vs Kei Nishikori).

August 23rdCincinnati, the final. A comfortable 7-6 6-3 for Roger Federer [2], and Novak Djokovic [1] loses his fifth Cincy final (third to Federer) – the only ‘Masters 1K’ he has not won yet. Federer phenomenally played the entire week applying a new SABR tactics, which means “Sneak Attack by Roger” – he starts attacking the net right after the toss of the opponent at the second serve. Federer insisted he would continue to use the quite efficient tactics during the US Open ’15 (which he does in fact)… Not everyone is amused with a new ingredient in men’s tennis. Djokovic’s coach, Boris Becker says that players in his day would have gone “straight at” Federer if he tried his ‘sneak-attack’ strategy.

August 25thWinston-Salem, the second round. Three all-tie-break three-set matches on the same day (winners: Aljaz Bedene, Simone Bolelli, Teymuraz Gabashvili). A day before his match in the same style also won Sam Groth. It is the first time in history that four matches in one tournament are concluded after three-tie-break encounters.

September 5th US Open, the third round. After exhilarating contest that finished around 1.30 a.m. Fabio Fognini [32] defeats Rafael Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4. The Italian hit 65 winners to upset the Spaniard for the third time in the season. Two of those wins come from clay-courts (Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona). He says about his brilliant shot-making: “Well, with Rafa you have to try that […] If you want to play against him and if you want to do something different, you have to take risks. That’s the only thing.”

federer_djokovic_uo15September 13thUS Open, the final. Novak Djokovic [1] saves 21 break points & claims his 10th Grand Slam title after a 3-hour 20-minute victory over an inspired Roger Federer [2], who was calmed down once again by his most frequent opponent at the biggest arenas – it was their 14th major meeting, the Serbian leads 8:6! “I have to share my admiration for Roger, everything he’s still doing for tennis. It was a tough one tonight. I have a tremendous respect for Roger, an incredible record,” said Djokovic. The final scoreline: 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4.

October 29thDavis Cup, 2nd round play-off (Europe/Africa zone). Amazing opening rubber at the lower level of men’s tennis in a tie between Sweden and Denmark, held in Slagelse – a small Danish town. Swedish Markus Eriksson [457] defeats an unranked Andreas Bjerehus after 5:03 hrs, 6-7 6-7 7-6 7-6 9-7 saving a match point at 6:7* in the deciding set. Two days later the Swedes win the tie 3:2 thanks to their best player Elias Ymer of Ethiopian descent.

November 22ndLondon, the final. Novak Djokovic [1] claims his fourth consecutive ‘Masters’ title (fifth overall) with a 6-3 6-4 win over Roger Federer [3]. It is their eighth match of the season – that specific record is tied for the second time featuring Federer’s participation in all three (other two were produced by him along with Juan Martin del Potro & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga). The Swiss defeated the Serb 7-5 6-2 in their ’round robin’ match snapping Djokovic’s 23-match winning streak.

November 29thDavis Cup, the final (Ghent). Andy Murray [2] secures the first Davis Cup title for Great Britain since 1936, with a 6-3 7-5 6-3 victory over No. 16 David Goffin of Belgium. “I just can’t believe we did it. I play some of my best tennis when I’m playing for my country.” said Murray. He finished the Davis Cup 2015 edition with a perfect 11-0 record – in the Open Era a better record had only John McEnroe, but the American played three dead rubbers out of eight then, while Murray won all his eight singles that were vital.

December 23rd – 31-year-old Robin Soderling announces retirement more than four years since he played his last professional point (a baseline winner against David Ferrer in the Bastad final)… The Swede joins Pete Sampras as the second Open Era player to finish his career having won a tournament in his last appearance. Three other notable players to call it a career in 2015: Americans Mardy Fish & Robby Ginepri & the best Finn in history Jarkko Nieminen (all they are older than Soderling).


66 tournaments played in the year 2015, by surface: 38 – Hard, 21 – Clay, 7 – Grass
11 – Novak Djokovic
6 – Roger Federer
5 – David Ferrer
4 – Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray
3 – Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Dominic Thiem
2 – Tomas Berdych, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Richard Gasquet
1 – Kevin Anderson, Thomaz Bellucci, Marin Cilic, Pablo Cuevas, Victor Estrella, John Isner, Denis Istomin, Ivo Karlovic, Martin Klizan, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Nicolas Mahut, Benoit Paire, Rajeev Ram, Milos Raonic, Gilles Simon, Jack Sock, Joao Sousa, Bernard Tomic, Victor Troicki, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Jiri Vesely
Most matches won:
82 – Novak Djokovic
71 – Andy Murray
63 – Roger Federer
61 – Rafael Nadal
57 – Tomas Berdych
Longest winning streaks:
28 – Novak Djokovic
23 – Novak Djokovic
15 – Andy Murray
11 – Roger Federer (twice), Novak Djokovic & David Ferrer
10 – Dominic Thiem
Leaders by surface:
hard (outdoors & indoors): Novak Djokovic – 59
clay: Rafael Nadal – 26
grass: Andy Murray – 12
indoors: David Ferrer – 14
Singles & doubles winners: none
‘Wild Card’ winners (2): Kevin Anderson (Winston-Salem) & Tomas Berdych (Stockholm)
Qualifying winners (3): Viktor Troicki (Sydney), Jiri Vesely (Auckland), Nicolas Mahut (‘s-Hertogenbosch)
Lucky loser winners: none
Oldest winner: Ivo Karlovic – 35 years 11 months (Delray Beach)
Youngest winner: Jiri Vesely – 21 years 6 months (Auckland)
Lowest ranked winner: Rajeev Ram – No. 161 (Newport)
List of first-time title winners (6):thiemblonde
12 – Victor Estrella (Quito)
24 – Jiri Vesely (Auckland)
42 – Dominic Thiem (Nice)
46 – Jack Sock (Houston)
99 – Benoit Paire (Bastad)
169 – Denis Istomin (Nottingham)
Longest final:
3 hrs 39 min. Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 (Australian Open)
Shortest final:
63 min. Viktor Troicki d. Mikhaail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-3 (Sydney)
Longest matches (best of 5):
6 hrs 43 min. Leonardo Mayer – Joao Souza 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 5-7, 15-13 (Davis Cup)
4 hrs 57 min. James Ward – John Isner 5-7, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 15-13 (Davis Cup)
4 hrs 57 min. Joao Souza – Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 (Davis Cup)
Longest matches (best of 3):
3 hrs 20 min. Marcel Granollers d. Gael Monfils 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 (Madrid)
3 hrs 12 min. Fabio Fognini d. Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 (Rio de Janeiro)
3 hrs 10 min. Gilles Simon d. Marcel Granollers 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 (Nottingham)
Longest tie-break:
Montreal: Jeremy Chardy d. John Isner 6-7, 7-6(13), 7-6
Longest tie-break in the deciding set:
Madrid: Nick Kyrgios d. Roger Federer 6-7, 7-6, 7-6(12)
Most match points saved:
7 – Jeremy Chardy d. John Isner 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 (Montreal)
Best comeback:
Montpellier: Jerzy Janowicz saves six match points in two sets (four & two respectively) against Dustin Brown, beginning his amazing comeback at 2-6 *3:5 (15/40)
Match point(s) saved title winners (2):
– Denis Istomin saved 1 MP in QF (against L.Mayer) in Nottingham
– Rajeev Ram saved 1 MP in 1R (against J.Isner) and 2 MPs in QF (against A.Mannarino) in Newport
Most tie-breaks won:
1. John Isner – 40
2. Stan Wawrinka – 34
3. Ivo Karlovic – 32
4. Kevin Anderson – 31
5. Gilles Muller – 29
Best tie-breakers by percentage (at least 10 played):
1. Lucas Pouille 9-2 (81%)
2. Nicolas Mahut 11-3 (78%)
3. Benoit Paire 9-3 (75%) *
4. Marin Cilic 26-9 (74%)
5. Stan Wawrinka 34-12 (73%)
Most aces served throughout the year:karlovicserve
1. Ivo Karlovic – 1447
2. John Isner – 1260
3. Kevin Anderson – 1074
4. Gilles Muller – 765
5. Milos Raonic – 743
Aces per match (at least 40 matches):
1. Ivo Karlovic – 22.9
2. John Isner – 18.5
3. Milos Raonic – 15.8
4. Kevin Anderson – 15.3
5. Gilles Muller – 13.9
Most aces in a match:
53 – Ivo Karlovic (Wimbledon) 5 sets, defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov
45 – Ivo Karlovic (Halle) 3 sets, defeated Tomas Berdych
43 – Ivo Karlovic (US Open) 5 sets, lost to Jiri Vesely
Qualifying leader: 8 – Mischa Zverev
Biggest H2H: 8 – Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer (5:3)
Double bagels: Sergiy Stakhovsky – Mikhail Ledovskih 6-0 6-0 (Munich)
* Paire’s TB record 21-8 (.724) in 2015 counting all levels, he notched appearances in Futures & Challengers – amazing stuff for someone who finished the year in the Top 20

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