Novak Djokovic lost 4-6, 4-4, 15/40. He was two points away from losing serve and five away from his first loss in eleven years in Paris before the quarterfinals. However, the 36-year-old Serbian bounced back and won 4-6, 7-6 (2), and 6-4 against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in the final ATP Masters 1000 in 2023.
It seems difficult to predict all that ‘Nole’ will endure in this match because he won the two previous matches in this match in straight sets (he won the US Open 2021 and Dubai 2023). And even more so after his rough start this Thursday on the track, with 3-0 and 4-1 advantages in the first round.
However, Griekspoor gained some confidence by winning serve at 1-4, and from then on he was unstoppable, winning every game in the rest of the set, thanks to a side that managed only one unforced error and hit seven winners. after 46 minutes of the game.
And he could have made Djokovic’s injury worse if he had taken advantage of the break point when he came back in the first game of the second set. But he didn’t stay anchored in the wasted option either. In fact, he raised a 0/40 on his serve in the next game and maintained a good level that allowed him to continue to dominate.
You may also be interested in: Tsitsipas reaches his fifth consecutive Nitto ATP Finals qualification
He even has the aforementioned 15/40 advantage when he returns to 4-4. His first win against a Top-5 is on the horizon. The biggest of his career. Before this week, he was only 1-10 in the main draw of the ATP Masters 1000. He was only five points away from defeating the five-time tournament champion.
However, ‘Nole’ raised his level with time. He came back from 15/40 at 4-4 and gained enough confidence to win a tie-break where he lost just two points, one of which was due to an ace from his opponent. In the third set, he didn’t have to come back, but he pushed himself.
Although he took advantage of the first break point he created, at 2-2, he lost his serve at 4-3, and the tension returned. Fortunately for him, it didn’t last long. He prevented Griekspoor from confirming the break, and in the next game, he closed out the match to add his 30th win of the year on hard courts.
“I started well, but I ran out of steam. I’ve been struggling the last few days with my stomach, and I’m not feeling well at all. I was just trying to hold my serve and reach the tie-break, which happened in the second. I was lucky with two shots there. It might have been easy in their favor, but overall I played a good tie-break and started to feel better in the third. “I am very happy that I have overcome this challenge.”
This is ‘Nole’s seventh victory of the season after losing in the opening round, and his eighth at the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris. His first win of the week was on Wednesday in straight sets against Argentine Tomás Etcheverry. A day later, he also celebrated, even though he was suffering, and guaranteed his place in the quarterfinals of the tournament for the eleventh time in his career.
Their next game does not promise to be any easier. This is against the Danish Holger Rune, who this Thursday defeated the German Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 6-3. The #NextGenATP star defeated Novak in the final of this event in 2022 and leads the Lexus ATP HeadToHead 2-1 between them.
But that’s not the only reason Rune could be a danger for ‘Nole on Friday. The 20-year-old right-hander showed a good level in Paris-Bercy, where he eliminated Dominic Thiem and Altmaier without dropping sets and won all his service games.
The world No. 7 will also gain motivation this Friday that his victory, combined with the loss of Hubert Hurkacz to Grigor Dimitrov on the same day, will seal his first qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals, which will begin on November 12 in Turin.