Wake-up. You all heard me say that I would be especially interested in watching Djokovic, but you know my eyes and tennis sense cover far more ground than such a comment might imply. Listen-up.
This kid Davidovich Fokina is a potential natural disaster for his draw. I am pleased to see him get a solid win yesterday and that draw has opened up nicely for a guy like Davidovich.
Watch the highlights above. He toyed a bit with Hurkacz who is a dangerous player. This Spaniard now gets Norrie, with the winner to play whomever survives Zverev vs Mannarino. With Sascha hitting a high FS %, he will be tough to beat, but we know he can be as vulnerable as he can be unplayable (the Zverev 130+ FS is legit, to be clear, and his numerous accolades on tour make throwing too much shade at the German now a bit ill-advised).
But Davidovich Fokina, as I said back in 2019, looks brash and bold with all sorts of drop-shot, fore-court confidence (me likey the volley) and even some under-handed serves. He’s a nightmare and we love that.
Tsitsipas gets Coric next. I know the Greek has been playing a lot this spring/summer, even during the shut-down and what I’ve seen shows he’s continuing to improve. He has the make-up to be a real force in this sport for years. He can put his foot on the gas and squash his opponent, a bit of that old school cachet, smiling while he’s destroying.
Watching Shapovalov yesterday reminded me of one incredible fact about today’s sport: three of the top players in the game (now and certainly in the next 10 years) are one-handers. Thiem and Tsitsipas are legit top-5 or better and Shapo looks to maybe join that hit squad. Seeing the trainer on the court a bit with the southpaw Canadian isn’t great, but he’s been very good of late. Shapo, Domi and the Greek all play a vicious one-handed brand of tennis. Huge fan here.
That top of the draw has a nice set of 3R matches tomorrow:
Djokovic vs Struff. Novak just routined him “in Cincy” so this shouldn’t be close. Having said that, Novak has looked off at times, last week and even here at the Open. Unfortunately for his competition whatever problems he has still appear to be in a language they can’t code or crack. And, again, the Bo5 plays so much into the top seed’s wheelhouse. To be fair, Edmund did show some class yesterday, but to sustain that kind of form in this format against a guy who needs no crowd support, good luck to the field.
Djokovic follows that with a R16 match against the winner of Carreno Busta v Berankis. Not a bad draw for the undefeated Serb.
Shapovalov vs Fritz. People (B Gilbert) have had their eyes on this match for a few days. Fritz has had the talent and overall package for awhile. He’s been working with Nainkin and Annacone, won Eastbourne last year, etc.
I suppose I’ll to watch this, an American vs a one-hander (where’s my allegiance?).
Winner here gets a R16 with the winner of . . .
Krajinovic vs Goffin.
We can see how this quarter, despite the shadow of Djokovic, is pretty wide-open.
QF: Djokovic vs Shapovalov (unless the latter’s back holds him back –we have to like the Canadian’s power tennis a lot).
Tomorrow’s other set of matches, in that 2nd quarter:
Tsitsipas vs Coric. Could be fantastic if Coric has some form. A couple of years ago Coric was wearing Stefano’s equanimity. Could be a good four setter.
Thompson vs Kukushkin . . .
Norrie vs Davidovich Fokina. My darkhorse.
Zverev vs Mannarino. The potential Chancellor vs the crafty Frenchman.
QF: Zverev vs Tsitsipas (say the oddsmakers). I like an upset in here, but the oddsmakers are often right.
Enjoy today’s matches. Keep an eye on the Russian take-over of that bottom half. Talk to you tomorrow.