Djokovic stumbles again
The Sydney Medibank International served up a semi-final shock on Friday when top seed Novak Djokovic crashed out 6-4, 7-6 to Finn Jarkko Nieminen who goes on to face Argentine David Nalbandian in the final.
The defeat for Djokovic, who is struggling for form ahead of the first slam of 2009, marked a missed opportunity for the Serb to gain a career-high world ranking.
He needed to reach the final in order to overhaul world No.2 and 13-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer in the new ranking list published next Monday.
Despite the defeat, though, Djokovic is maintaining a positive attitude ahead of the Melbourne slam.
“It’s always great to win a tournament prior to a Grand Slam, but he was better today,” the Serbian said. “My forehand didn’t really work and you could see in all the important moments he served to my forehand and I couldn’t put the ball in.
“Just a bad day. But we keep on going.”
Nalbandian, the fourth seed, reached his 20th ATP Tour final with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Richard Gasquet.
The 27-year-old Argentine, who has nine tour titles and was runner-up at Wimbledon in 2002, overpowered Gasquet with backhand winners and by attacking the Frenchman’s second serve.
Every day, I feel more feeling on the ball and on the game, so it’s good playing a few matches and to be in the finals here,” Nalbandian said.
“I have to keep going and believing in my game and try to do a good match tomorrow.”
The Heineken Open in Auckland served up only one shock at the penultimate stage. Spaniard and second seed David Ferrer fell to sixth seed Sam Querrey while the top seed, Juan Martin del Potro, maintained his good form to overcome Robin Soderling of Sweden.
Del Potro, the South American 20-year old, took the ATP World Tour by storm last year when he won four successive titles and ended the year as the youngest player in the top 10.
He faced no break points against the Swede and converted three of the six break points on Soderlings serve to come through 6-4, 6-3.
Querrey needed longer to fight off Ferrer in their first ever meeting with a close 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 scoreline.
He fired down 10 aces and managed to save two match points in the final set tie-break. After winning his first ATP World Tour title in Las Vegas last March, Querrey hopes to notch up a second this week against Del Potro in the final.
- Join the tennishead CLUB and receive £250/$350 of FREE GEAR including ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 trainers, shorts, shirt & socks
- Keep up to date with the breaking news & tennis action at our tennis news section
- Win amazing prizes by entering our competitions
- Learn more about your favourite players including Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic
- Check out the latest tennis equipment with our tennis gear reviews
- Receive regular updates in our legendary free newsletter
- Read in depth features with stunning photography in tennishead magazine
- Can’t visit the tournaments you love? Check out our guide on how to watch tennis on TV
- Don’t miss a thing with our Live Scores service
- Follow tennishead on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
- EXCLUSIVE 5% DISCOUNT for all tennishead readers on tennis rackets, balls, clothing, shoes & accessories with All Things Tennis, our dedicated tennis gear partner