Novak has been hardly untroubled in Tokyo this week and standing in his way towards the Gold medal match was Germany’s Sascha Zverev. The match had two one sided sets at opposite ends of the match with Zverev edging the middle set to go through. This feat by Sascha in defeating Novak cannot be under-estimated, the match was played on the Serb’s favorite surface after all. The opening hold from Novak was crucial with Sascha going for it up to 30-0. But the serve served really well on first serve to hold. Zverev would win only one game this set as Novak took control of it. Watch the Serb’s first break of serve at 2-1(15-40). He still moves pretty well for a 34 year old and from watching him a few times that defensive forehand slice shot does the trick more often than not during the rallies to turn them in his favor. Serving 101. This is as near a perfect serve as it can get without hitting an ace. Check out 3-1(40-15 to Novak). Hit the corner of the service box, ball going wide. Novak doesn’t get the point but not because he didn’t serve well though. 6-1 to Novak first set. In as much as Sascha was in it in rallies for most games in this set, the German hit shots wide or hit the net on crucial points.
Second set started ever so brightly for Sascha with a fairly comfortable hold. Contrast this to the next service game by Novak. Djokovic held on but only just. The first break of serve in this set, one of two in this set, went the way of the German. A shockingly poor service game by Novak at 3-2 which he lost to love. Watch at the end of it, no balance on the volley at the net, deserved to lose it. Almost like he stumbled into the ball. The second break came on 4-3. Another stinker from Novak punctuated with errors and great shots from Sascha. Zverev closing it 6-3 to set up a decider. With the wind of momentum in his back, one fancied the German to at least take the game to a breaker(after all Novak was almost unbeatable on hard court). He didn’t need to take it there he did it for the loss of just one game. More unforced errors from Novak, this time made to pay right from the get go in his first service game of the third. This one is my point of the match watch 1-0(adv Novak). Djokovic was looking to break straight back and seems destined to win the point when he was first to the net but the poor backhand volley there turned the tide in Sascha’s favor. The match was effectively over when the German went double break up at 3-0. An impressive victory for Zverev and he will NOW FACE Karen Khachanov in the final on Sunday. The Russian as surprise finalist(Daniil was highly fancied) BEAT Spain’s Carreno Busta. The Spaniard will now play Novak for the Bronze.