September 7, 2016
How lucky is Novak Djokovic?
He has only needed to complete two matches to make the US Open semi-final.
Can there ever have been a more fortunate player in Grand Slam history?
Or does Novak’s icy stare carry secret powers, burning into opponents to cause chronic mental tension and physical damage within?
Whatever the reason, Djokovic has benefited from two retirements and a walkover. Scary stuff. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the latest man to break down while playing Novak.
The Frenchman had to quit with a knee injury when trailing 6-3, 6-2. Now Djokovic finds himself facing Gael Monfils in the semi-final. And the Serb’s own aching body has been given the time it required to rest.
‘This is the scenario that I needed and wished for. I got a lot of days off and recovered my body. Right now I’m feeling very close to the peak. That’s the position where I want to be,’ he said.
Sounds ominous for the likes of Andy Murray or Juan Martin Del Potro further down the line.
But as Roger Federer has discovered in the past, Monfils can also be unstoppable – if the game’s ultimate showman hits a hot streak.
On balance, however, you’d have to back Djokovic and he might even go all the way. If he defends the title, will he deserve it?
Of course. You make your own luck. The players who retired in the heat of battle against him found that their condition had quickly deteriorated under that relentless Djokovic pressure, until they could play no more.
Novak is the world number one, he deserves to be where he is. Sure, good fortune has played a part – but let’s not begrudge him that.
We’ll soon see if his luck can hold and his form continue to improve in the final few days.
Meanwhile a former world number one is still in the mix at the US Open too, though this scenario is far more unexpected.
Caroline Wozniacki thrashed Anastasija Sevastova 6-0, 6-2, even if once again an opponent was debilitated – this time by a twisted ankle.
No one thought Wozniacki, who has struggled with her form for so long, would get this far.
But it would be even more surprising if she was able to defeat Angelique Kerber in the next round.
With the number one spot in her sights, the German will be in no mood to roll over.