Friday was a day of the almighty scare in Melbourne on the men’s singles side. Number 1 seed Novak Djokovic blew a 2 set lead against American Taylor Fritz but managed to get his wits together in the deciding set 6-2 to win the match. Signs were there early on that the unseeded Fritz was not going to roll over in this match with the first being taken to a tie break. Taylor recovering from an early break of serve to force a tie break. He even served to stay in that set twic, at 5-2 and 5-4. He eventually lost the breaker 7-1. Novak had himself to blame here, his shot selection pretty horrible, hitting the net on crucial break point 5-3. Unforced errors were Fritz’s undoing in the tie breaker and carried them onto the second set as well. He was broken in his first service game of the second and eventually lost it 6-4. With everyone thinking the world number one will cruise into the last 16, Fritz struck in the 8th game of the set. His hard hitting was too much for Novak forcing him to play on the back foot for the majority of that game. 6-3 third set to Fritz.
A single break was enough as well for the American, who had an impressive 155 points won against 157 for Novak for the whole match, in the fourth set to take it 6-4. Novak’s normally reliable forehand letting him down and not hitting the intended target.I was disappointed with the ease at which Novak went through Taylor in the final set, was certainly expecting much fight from the American. Novak eventually triumphing 6-2. From the point of 2-2 all fell apart for Taylor. He lost the long rallies especially when the forehand of Djokovic started hitting the mark deep on the base line.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios did not survive the comeback of Dominic Thiem from 2 sets down unlike Novak.The Aussie Nick was served very well in this match. He notched up 24 Aces for the match which was top drawer. Serve and volley combination was on point. His gamesmanship underhand serve gave me a smile.The opening sets went to Nick 6-4 6-4. However Dominic was all business in the following 3 sets. He varied his shots more, making Nick work overtime to win points. He took the next 3 sets 6-3 6-4 6-4. For the entertainment value he brings, I wish there was a wild card for Kyrgios in the last 16.