Miami – round 4th + 3rd
During the last fourth round match, the temperature was low (9 Celsius), the wind strong, nevertheless Novak Djokovic got accustomed tennis fans to win in every conditions. Therefore his 2-6 4-6 shocker to Tommy Haas everyone should interpret as an amazing upset regardless of the unpleasant weather. It’s not only that the German turns 35 next week, so an age when almost all his peers are on retirement, he hadn’t beaten a No. 1 player in the world since… 1999 while Djokovic was on a 14-match winning streak in Miami having beaten Haas 6-2 6-0 last time they met two months ago in Perth! That chilly & windy evening, everything clicked though for Haas, even when he wasted chances for a double break twice in the 2nd set, he kept the mental composure (albeit threw his racquet once) and won the last three games, producing three winners in the 10th game, including an authoritarian forehand down the line on match point.“Playing against someone like Novak and coming out on top at this time of my career, it’s unbelievable. It goes up as one of [the] best wins of my career.” Haas said. “I congratulate him. He definitely made great tactics,” admitted Djokovic. “He used the serve well and he moved around the court really well. He was better.” Haas is the second oldest player to breat No. 1 in the world in the Open era # Nicolas Almagro had had an awful record of deciding 3rd set tie-breaks in first few years of his career, then improved it for a while, and recently loses deciding tight sets again. His 2-hour-39-minute 7-6(3) 5-7 6-7(3) loss to Richard Gasquet, marks Almagro’s fourth defeat of this type since Madrid ’12. The fourth round clash of these two players who are considered as best one-handed backhanders (among with Wawrinka), had an interesting process: Almagro jumped to a 4:1 lead with two breaks but was forced to save two set points at 4:5. In the following two sets, Gasquet served thrice to stay in the match but never was closer to lose it than three points. Fellow Frenchman, Gilles Simon played similarly long match with completely different scoreline in terms of number of games. He tortured Janko Tipsarevic with his amazing patience to a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win (2 hours, 29 minutes) with the last game consisted of eight deuces (lasted 15 minutes) where break- and match points changed its owner many times. Third player to win from a set down on Tuesday – Jurgen Melzer (2-6 6-3 6-3 victor over Albert Ramos) seemed rather erased from competing in crucial stages of the biggest tournaments, but somehow regrouped and now is on an 9-match winning streak (unofficially, because first five wins come from a Challenger). It’s tough to say whether it’s his “swan song” or not. He’s the only unseeded quarter-finalist. Certainly a few good years has Marin Cilic ahead. The Croat dropped out of the Top 10 three years ago, but since last year’s Queens Club (No. 25) he’s been playing consistent tennis everywhere, improves his ranking systematically and his Top 10 renewal seems very probable soon. Just like in the previous round against Isner, Cilic lost his service once, beside that one poor game he was very solid on all service games penetrating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga‘s weaker backhand side with heavy forehands. Cilic won 7-5 7-6(4) improving his tie-break record this year to 8-1 (he had never a period of winning tie-breaks with such a frequency). Tomas Berdych hardly survived two battles against inferior opponents, when he faced theoretically tougher guy (Sam Querrey) he destroyed him 6-1 6-1. With Querrey’s loss (his career-worst), it marked the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1985 that an American male failed to reach the quarter-final stage. ”Just one of those awful days,” Querrey said. ”The more you miss, the harder it gets to get the ball in. It just kept getting worse.”
# Six oldest players to beat Nos. 1:
Wimbledon 1974: Ken Rosewall (39 years 8 months) d. John Newcombe 6-1, 1-6, 6-0, 7-5
Queens Club 2000: Gianluca Pozzi (34 years 11 months) d. Andre Agassi 4-6, 3-2 ret.
Miami 2013: Tommy Haas (34 years 11 months) d. Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-4
Miami 2003: Francisco Clavet (34 years 4 months) d. Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-4
Stockholm 1976: Mark Cox (33 years 4 months) d. Jimmy Connors 7-6, 3-6, 7-6
Queens Club 1998: Mark Woodforde (32 years 8 months) d. Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-2
Jurgen Melzer has been lately experiencing how single points can turn the things around. Two weeks ago he was two points away from losing to Jan Hajek in the first round of a Challenger in Dallas (Melzer’s first tournament on this level since 2008), which could be his fifth straight loss, then he won the title and now is on an 8-match winning streak after prevailing a tough battle against Tobias Kamke 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4 in 2 hours 30 minutes. Similar amount of time needed Janko Tipsarevic to overcome Kevin Anderson. The Serb was 2:4 & 4:5 down in the 2nd set tie-break, but once he won that set, Anderson inexplicably collapsed losing the 3rd set one in a very bad style, and the match 6-4 6-7(5) 0-6. Tommy Haas with an ease dispatched Alexandr Dolgopolov avenging a final loss in Washington last year. The German enjoys playing in front of his little daughter Valentina: “It was nice also having my daughter there too. It was a small dream come true for me. I’ve always said when I became a father, how special it would be to see my daughter in my box. I know it’s a little cheesy sometimes, but to have those memories one day is going to be fantastic.” Albert Ramos moves through to the fourth round of a Masters 1000 event for the first time beating James Blake 6-4 2-6 7-5. The Spaniard was *4:5 in the decider, then won 12 out of the last 13 points. Ramos said: “I don’t know how to explain what it means to be in the next round right now, but I am very happy. I really want to keep fighting out there. There are a lot of Spanish and Latin American fans here, so it was nice to play on the center court. Hopefully I can play on it again.” Tomas Berdych won his second consecutive match escaping in a 2nd set tie-break. This time only centimeters separated him from defeat to Alejandro Falla. The Colombian, supported by Latin colony, after winning 1st set easily, led 5:3* (40/30) in the 2nd set when Berdych served a second serve ace clipping the line. Falla had another match point in the tie-break, and Berdych’s second serve to receive again, this time he netted a forehand and the Czech player never looked back finishing a 2-6 7-6(6) 6-4 victory with offensive attitude. “My goal through the whole match was to stay as close as possible with him. He was playing really well,” Berdych said. Two months ago Grigor Dimitrov wasted a set point in the 1st set of a final in Brisbane against Andy Murray, in Miami lost to him blowing a set point as well (to be correct: two set points) in the 1st set. The Scot survived with the help of a moon-lob facing second set point, and notched a 7-6(3) 6-3 victory. John Isner in a revers scoreline, 3-6 6-7(3) was beaten by Marin Cilic. The Croat snapped Isner’s streak of 9 tie-breaks won in a row with a methodical performance, despite losing the serve in the opening game. Milos Raonic withdrew prior to his third-round meeting with an illness: “I had a fever before my first round going into the match and it just got really bad over the last two nights.” He withdrew from third round match at Sony Ericsson Open also twelve months ago. With eight retirements/walkovers, it’s second highest total in the Masters 1000 history. First is Shanghai ’09, which had nine in a 56 draw.
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