Since losing to Marco Cecchinato in the quarter-finals of the French Open, Djokovic’s form reads as follows.
Runner-Up at Queens, winner at Wimbledon, Last 16 in Toronto, winner in Cincinnati, winner in NYC and now the winner in Shanghai. He gained revenge over Cecchinato 6/4 6/0 in Asia and really upped it against Anderson, Sascha Zverev and Borna Coric in the last three rounds. It is impressive from the Serb and he is looking untouchable right now. He served superbly all week on the faster courts at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena. I actually put Coric in my perms for the week, I liked his draw. He took full advantage having taken out Stan Wawrinka in the opening round. Delpo then took a fall in their last 16 match and hurt his knee, retiring after the first set. The Argentine has since pulled out for the remainder of the season to get ready for Australia. I once again feel for Del Potro, who has had so much bad luck with injuries in the past. It really is wretched luck. Coric went out to beat Roger Federer in the semis, doing everything a little better than Fed. The top-seed had looked uncomfortable at times during the week, being extended by both Medvedev and Bautista-Agut.
Absolutely superb from Nick Kyrgios after his loss to Bradley Klahn. The Aussie was quoted as telling the press, “James (Cerretani) is my coach now—you can quote me on that one. We’ve been talking on the phone a lot, but starting in Tokyo it’s the first week we have been working together officially.” He then went on social media afterwards and said it was an example of giving the press “ridiculous information and they completely go with it.” Hahahaha. I am still loving this, even now when I am writing it I am crying with laughter, class from Kyrgios. People who know me will know I am a big fan of making up convincing bullshit for banter or to toy with someone. Basically to rip them a new asshole. Good work Nick.
Dayana Yastremska has won her first tour title with victory in Hong Kong. Like Coric, I put the Ukrainian in my perms and she was a deserved winner in a field that included Elina Svitolina, Shuai Zhang, Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and the inform Qiang Wang. Naomi Osaka withdrew with the back injury she recently suffered. Yastremska took out both Zhang and a tired looking Wang in the final. It was at times a little patchy from Yastremska, but when she was on, she was on! It was obviously more ‘hit’ than ‘miss’ as she didn’t drop a set all week. Top seed Svitolina lost a match that went over two days to Wang (6/2 6/4) in the quarters. Wang then came back out the same day to beat Garbine Muguruza from a break down in the decider. It is not hard to see how she had little juice left in the final as a result. There has been a lot of high-level tennis from her over the past few weeks and her body was bound to suffer at some point.
Ekaterina Alexandrova lost in the final of Linz to Camila Giorgi. The Russian had been in tip-top form most of the week having got through qualies. She dropped four games there against Mona Barthel and Mandy Minella…in total. In the main draw she beat Katerina Siniakova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, two players I fancied to go well in Austria. After beating Andrea Petkovic in the semis, she made her first tour final. Giorgi had the winning formula all week though and only really struggled against Margarita Gasparyan. The Russian had taken out Kiki Bertens in the last 16. It is Giorgi’s second career title. Petkovic will also take a lot of confidence from the week, beating Goerges earlier on, it has been a good end of the season for the German.
And finally, in Tianjin, the top two seeds squared off in the final. Karolina Pliskova lost to Caroline Garcia. Garcia took out my best hope of nicking a few quid on my ‘cross perms’ by beating Su-Wei Hsieh in the semis (@22/1 shot that would have tied in with Coric and Yastremka as an each-way treble). Close but no cigar. It was pretty routine stuff for Garcia, who moved her opponent around well in the final. There were a few nerves in the last two rounds against Hsieh and Pliskova but she kept her head and got over the line in straight sets on both occasions. Aryna Sabalenka was obviously fancied for the event but came up short against Timea Bacsinsky, who went on to make the semis. As was Elise Mertens who pulled out at 6/2 4/0 down to Hsieh in the quarters.
Andy Del Potro