'Novak Djokovic in a very good place now going into...', says former ace

by   |  VIEW 2279

'Novak Djokovic in a very good place now going into...', says former ace

Novak Djokovic claimed the first Madrid Open crown in 2011, beating Rafael Nadal in the title match. The Serb suffered early losses at the Caja Magica in 2012 and 2013 and did not play for the next two seasons. Novak returned to Madrid in a big way in 2016 as one of the contenders for the title.

Djokovic dropped Croatian youngster Borna Coric and Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to advance to the quarters, where he eliminated Milos Raonic to meet in the semifinals. Seeking a place in the first Madrid final in five years, Djokovic edged out Kei Nishikori 6-3 7-6 in just under two hours.

It was his tenth meeting and the eighth win for the Serbian, the seventh in a row after that loss at the 2014 US Open. Novak unseated one of the Caja Magica's most consistent players in the last two years and earned the opportunity to play for a record 29th Masters 1000 title against Andy Murray.

Both had more winners than unforced errors, and Novak forged the win for him in the forced error department. He had the upper hand in the shorter exchanges of up to four strokes and delivered better tennis when he mattered most to seal the deal in straight sets.

Nishikori outclassed the World No. 1 in the longest exchanges, but it wasn't enough to keep him safe. He converted one in five break point opportunities and dropped serve twice to propel Novak into the title clash. Three of Kei's five chances on the return came in the first game of the match, and Novak fended them off to avoid an early setback.

Djokovic broke a break at 4-3 when Nishikori sent a forehand long and secured the opening on serve at 30 for 6-3 after 40 minutes.

Djokovic is ready for Roland Garros

According to former tennis player turned commentator Nick Lester, Novak Djokovic has found his form ahead of the second Major of the year.

"He played three or four matches (Belgrade Open), all of them going three sets, that really gave him a foundation to work with, he got better in Madrid, and this week didn't drop a set on the way, I think this is the 11th time that he has won a Masters without dropping a set," Lester said.

"So, you know, the couple of elements that were really good, the return of serve is back to where he was, the depth that he is getting in the return of serve completely neutralizes what Tsitsipas did today. So, Djokovic in a very good place now going into Roland Garros," he added.