8th WEEK

In the initial period of the 2011 season, three players are in the form of their lives: Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling and Nicolas Almagro. Djokovic [3] elevated by the triumph in the Davis Cup final ’10, followed that success with an Australian Open crown and today won in Dubai (his 20th title) for the third consecutive year as the second player in history. The Serb in the final with surprising ease ousted the 4-time champion, Roger Federer [2] in straight sets, albeit the Swiss led 3:1* in the 2nd set only to lose five games in a row, it’s something what never happened to Federer before in his 20 meetings with Djokovic, who has won 14 matches in a row (17 counting Hopman Cup). “I have this feeling in my head, and it’s really important to know for me that I can perform this well,” said Djokovic. “This match has probably been one of the best that I played this year“… Dubai hasn’t been a place for dramatic matches in the last few years. Just like a year ago, among 31 matches, none of them came to “5:5” in the decisive set, last year three matches were finished ‘6-4’ in the third set, this year only two! Sergiy Stakhovsky, who won in doubles teamed up with Mikhail Youzhny is worth mentioning – the Ukrainian has perfect career record in finals in both singles (4-0) and doubles (3-0).

Djokovic’s 15 consecutive wins in Dubai:
2009: Cipolla  6-3 6-2; Hernych  6-3 3-6 6-4; Cilic  6-3 6-4; Simon 3-6 7-5 7-5; Ferrer  7-5 6-3 – 2010: Garcia-Lopez  6-4 6-4;  Troicki  3-6 6-4 6-2; Ljubicic  2-6 6-4 6-0; Baghdatis  6-7(2) 6-3 6-4; Youzhny 7-5 5-7 6-3 – 2011: Llodra 6-3 6-3; F.Lopez 6-3 2-6 6-4; F.Mayer 7-5 6-1; Berdych 6-7(5) 6-2 4-2 ret.; Federer  6-3 6-3

David “Pics” Ferrer [6] defended the title in Acapulco, clinching his 11th career tournament win, the second of the season. In the final, the Spaniard overcame his in-form compatriot Nicolas Almagro [13], for whom it’s the first defeat after career-best 13 match-winning streak. Almagro repeated Ferrero’s feat from last year winning Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires before being beaten in Acapulco’s final by… Ferrer. “I didn’t think I could win here twice in a row and I realize I am having the best season start of my career this year,” said Ferrer. “I hope I can continue like that this season. Acapulco is a very special event for me, where I always received great support from the people and I will do everything possible to come back next year.” Ferrer holds a perfect record (6-0) against Almagro, but in their first encounter five years ago (Cincinnati), was forced to save six match points.

Delray Beach. Janko Tipsarevic [52] is arguably the best active player without a title. The 26-year-old Serb began his third ATP final rather promisingly, leading 4:1* (deuce) against Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine managed to win the next five games though, being ‘0-40’ serving for the set (won that game after five deuces, saving five break points in total). In the 2nd set, decided a break in the 5th game. It’s Del Potro’s 8th title but the first one since his US Open triumph two years ago. Del Potro who played his seventh tournament since comeback after the wrist injury, didn’t drop a set in the entire tournament; beside the 1st set in the final, had also slight problems in the 2nd set of his semifinal match against Mardy Fish (the American like Tipsarevic led 4:1* ‘deuce’). “Janko had the control in the first set, but I was focused on my serve because it was only a break. If I get a break soon, maybe I can come back to fight that set, and that’s what happened” said Del Potro, the first “special exempt” tournament winner since Paul-Henri Mathieu’s triumph in Lyon 2002… The win allows Del Potro to move 77 places in the ATP ranking (from No. 166 to 89). At the start of the year he was No. 258, after the Australian Open dropped to No. 485!


Dubai (500)
S: (2)Novak Djokovic d. (1)Roger Federer 6-3, 6-3
D: S.Stakhovsky/M.Youzhny d. J.Chardy/F.Lopez 4-6, 6-3, [10-3]

Acapulco (500)
S: (1)David Ferrer d. (3)Nicolas Almagro 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2
D: V.Hanescu/H.Tecau d. (4)M.Melo/B.Soares 6-1, 6-3

Delray Beach (250)
S: (SE)Juan Martin del Potro d. (6)Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4
D: S.Lipsky/R.Ram d. C.Kas/A.Peya 4-6, 6-4, [10-3]

Choker of the week:
John Isner led against Teimuraz Gabashvili at Delray Beach (the first round) 4:1* in the 3rd set, then had four match points in the tie-break on return (7:6, 9:8, 11:10, 13:12), but lost 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(13) – it’s been the longest decisive tie-break since Autumn 2007.
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