Saturday 17 March 2012

The Server downs the Returner - Isner downs Djokovic for a spot in Indian Wells Final 2012

It was a big day for both players at BNP Paribas Open 2012, Isner wanted his first win over reigning no.1 player, he wanted to make it to his first Masters Series final, while Djokovic wanted to have a shot to defend his crown at Indian Wells for the first time. There was not much difference in the rankings, just putting another 1 in front of Djokovic's ranking makes up Isner's ranking, and Isner did show that today. The match started out in Djokovic's way as he broke Isner in the third game at love, and then held the rest of the way to get a chance to serve for the set. But that was where it all started, a double-fault to open the game, followed by 2 stunning winners by Isner and there you go, it was back on serve. The set went to tie breaks. You never want to play tie-break against a guy like Isner on a day when his serve is on, and that is exactly what happened, Djokovic turned to defensive as Isner took control and ended up winning the first set 76(7).
In the second set Djokovic upped his level, winning 92% of the first serve points, as against only 69% in the first set and wining 100% points on his 2nd serve as against only 50% in the first set. Djokovic earned tripple break point in the 8th game of the second set but Isner saved all three with some good serves, however he ran out of gas on Djokovic's 4th break point chance, handling Djokovic the break and again an opportunity to serve for the set, only that this time there would be no breaking back by Isner. Djokovic served it out to level the match one set apiece.
The 3rd set started with each player holding his serve, Djokovic was the first to see a break point opportunity in the 7th game of the set but a big serve (an ace) shut out that opportunity for Djokovic. Inser earned his first match point in the 12th game of the 3rd set,however Djokovic saved that match point to send the match to the tie-breaker. Coming into today's match Inser was 9-2 in tie-breaks so far this year, while Djokovic was only 3-2. In the tie-break Djokovic saved 2 more match points, however, there would be no win for Djokovic this time after saving match points, as Isner seized the match on his 4th match point by firing his 20th ace of the match. The final score was 76(7) 36 76(5).

Let us see how a brief overview of the stats:
Djokovic's Stats

Description  Pre-SF      SF      
1st Serve %age     62%    65%
%age Points won on 1st Serve              72%    78%
%age points won on 2nd serve     63%    62%
Break points saved     86%    50%
1st return points won     36%    28%
2nd return points won     58%    48%
Break Points won     58%    33%

For Djokovic, he did everythig well today as compared to his previous matches so far here at Indian Wells, with the only exception of his return as is evident from the stats above (highlighted), but what else can you do against a guy like Isner, who is constantly throwing bombs at you, coming at 143 M.PH and 144 M.P.H.

Isner's Stats
How did Isner pull off this win?

Description  Pre-SF     SF     
1st Serve %age     62%   74%
%age Points won on 1st Serve                       79%   72%
%age points won on 2nd serve     67%   52%
Break points saved     75%   67%
1st return points won     31%   22%
2nd return points won     48%   38%
Break Points won     39%   50%

You can see a marked difference in his first serve %age (highlighted), and that was what won Isner the match today, although his winning %age on his second serve dropped but with Isner serving at 74% and winning 72% of those points, a dip on the second serve can be forgiven.

All in all it was a solid performance from a big guy, who will break into the top 10 for the first time in his career and there could not be a better way to do this, than dismantling the world no.1.

The Question at the start of tournmanet was who can break the hold of Big 3???? Well! We all now know who can.

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