Monday, 26 September 2016

Best ATP Matches of 2016 – Part1

Some enticing matchups were played on the ATP Circuit this year. Let’s review some of the best matches on the tour in 2016.

10. Grigor Dimitrov vs Andy Murray

3rd Round, Miami, Florida
6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3
Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray produced a gripping third round match on a sunny and humid afternoon in Miami. Murray, looking to pounce from an early round upset in Indian Wells, took the first set in a tiebreak. Dimitrov opened the second with a double break. Murray broke back once, but Dimitrov consolidated one of the breaks to even the contest. The Third set was tense and very close. Down 1-3, Dimitrov won five games in a row to prevail 6-3.

The match saw a renewed Grigor Dimitrov, who played very calmly, with patience and a lot improved understanding. In total, there were 9 breaks of serve in this great match.

9. Novak Djokovic vs Jiri Vesely

3rd Round, Monte Carlo, Monaco
4-6, 6-2, 4-6
This match was not an epic. But with so much actually happening as the outcome of this match, this match deserves to be counted among the best of the year. Czech Jiri Vesely stunned the World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the 3rd round to prematurely end the Serb’s Monte Carlo campaign. The defeat was Djokovic’s earliest at any tournament since 2013 Madrid Open. Also, it was the Serb’s first defeat to a player outside the Top 50 since Queen’s in 2010. Djokovic was looking to defend the title he won for the second time in 2015.

After dropping a tight first set, the Serb stormed back to take the second 6-2. Vesely broke early at the start of the third but Djokovic broke right back. Vesely broke once again and stayed on course to deliver some brave display of shot-making and deny the Serb a golden piece of history.

8. Rafael Nadal vs Gael Monfils

Final, Monte Carlo, Monaco
7-5, 5-7, 6-0
History was beckoning when Rafael Nadal reached the Monte Carlo Final this year. An unfamiliar opponent in Gael Monfils was on the other side of the net. The match lived up to the expectations. A first time Monte Carlo finalist and an eight-time champion produced a memorable final which lasted for 2 hours and 46 minutes. The first set saw Monfils breaking Nadal when he was serving for the set. A game later, the Frenchman saved two set points and leveled the set at 5-5. But the effort was short-lived as Nadal broke again to take the opener 7-5. The second set was a complete see-saw. Just like the first set, five breaks of serve were exchanged, but this time, Monfils was finally awarded for his exploits as the finale was sent to a third set. Nadal, drawing from his experience and mastery on the surface, swept past the Frenchman in the decider to win the set 6-0 and the title for a ninth time.

There were 13 breaks of serve in the match. Nadal won only 30% of his second-serve points but his fighting attitude once again proved to be the deciding factor.

7. Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray

Final, Madrid, Spain
6-2, 3-6,6-3
A final which pits the World’s top two players against each other is more remembered by the fans and the media. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray squared off for the Mutua Madrid Open final. Murray, just like the final in Melbourne, started slowly and Djokovic raced away with the opener, breaking the Scot’s serve twice. In the second, Murray was the one to race off the blocks as he broke the Serb and evened the contest.

The third set saw Murray breaking Djokovic and leveling the decider at 2-2. Djokovic, however, broke again to go up 5-2. Murray saved a match point and it was left to Djokovic to serve it out. Murray’s resilience was on complete display in the next game. The Serb was baffled as Murray refused to buckle. Break points after break points came but no player was ready to give up. Another match point and Murray still stood firm. After saving the seventh break point of the game, Djokovic finally prevailed to win his second title in Madrid.

6. David Goffin vs Stan Wawrinka

4th Round, Indian Wells, California
6-3, 5-7,7-6(5)
Belgium’s David Goffin defeated Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in Indian Wells 4th Round.Wawrinka, looking to break the desert hoodoo for the first time, lost the first set. Goffin, 6-3, 4-0 up was very much on his way to upset the Swiss. Wawrinka fought back, but was broken again. Goffin, serving for the match at 5-3, tumbled and suddenly, it was one set apiece. In the decider, Goffin looked poised for victory but he once again lost his nerve, serving for the match.Wawrinka pushed the contest to a tiebreak, where Goffin prevailed after 2 hours and 26 minutes.

The match had 13 breaks of serve. At times Wawrinka’s baseline game disrupted Goffin’s strong defensive game and at times, Goffin didn’t provide pace to Wawrinka to setup his backhand. Goffin won 109 points, compared to Wawrinka’s 107.

Part 2 for the remaining five best matches.

Read here- Best ATP Matches of 2016 – Part 2

Written by Mayank Sharma
A third year Engineering student at Delhi Technological University. An avid tennis fan and a die hard fan of Roger Federer. Loves writing articles on Tennis and developing Web pages.

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