Court no. 10, controversial & one of the most important matches in Djokovic’s  early development. The 18-year-old Serb showed very good technical skills, also a tremendous will to win as well as trickery. From the start he had problems with breathing, he saved a double break point at 3-all and won the opener. In the 2nd set he asked for a trainer to check his shoulder and both calves. In the 3rd set when began wearing a hat, he was serving first and actually was focused only on holding (saved a break point at 4-all), in the tie-break (7/5) he stepped up as a receiver and converted his second set point. Once he was broken at the beginning of the 4th set, he wasn’t interested in fighting to save that set, trying to accumulate energy for the decider, but in it at *3:4 (third deuce) he collapsed on his back. The break between the points lasted 12 minutes in total – after he caught his breath, he was treated for cramping in his left leg. He had saved break points at 1:2 and 3:4, there was (0/15) at 4:5… he had no chance in  Monfils’ first five service games of the decider, having broken the Frenchman just once three hours earlier, but was able to break at 5-all and served the match out firmly. The 19-year-old Frenchman had won their first two encounters, in junior (Australia) & Futures (Italy) events a year before. Their first main-level meeting initiated Djokovic’s 17 (!) consecutive wins over Monfils, until the moment I’m writing now. # 14 years later Djokovic won a Wimbledon final with a similar pattern of sets.
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