And Then There Were Two: Tennis After Roger Federer

Alcaraz finds himself in a similar situation today, with the possibility of him, Medvedev, and Zverev all being 2-1. At least for Alcaraz, Zverev’s set % is worse so it’s not quite as dire.

Yeah, I think Medvedev advances no matter what happens, Alcaraz advances if he beats Medvedev no matter what Zverev does, and Zverev needs Medvedev to win and he needs to beat Rublev.

It’s weird to me that head-to-head results are the third tiebreaker, after percentage of sets and percentage of games won. It’s also weird to me how much a player withdrawal can bork the results that way. Rune got credited with a 2 sets to 0 win (100%) over Tsitsipas because Tsitsipas withdrew in the first set, which lifted his set percentage above Djokovic’s, and put him ahead of Djokovic, even though Djokovic beat him. The scheme also gives Alcaraz the nod over Zverev, even though Zverev beat Alcaraz.

At this point I think the narrow favorite to win the title is Djokovic, because you just can’t discount him once he’s in the semis. But I think Sinner is a close second, assuming there isn’t anything really wrong with his back.

Yeah, Alcaraz wins in straights so he and Medvedev advance regardless of what Zverev does in his Rublev match: if Zverev wins in straights, his sets record will be 4-3, which is worse than both Alcaraz (5-2) and Medvedev (4-2). Regardless of how they got there, a final four of Djokovic, Alcaraz, Sinner, and Medvedev feels right based on the past season.

Man, Daniil Medvedev is one stubborn, hard-headed tennis player. He simply refuses to change anything about his game, no matter whether it is being successful or not.

That match from Djokovic was unanswerable. I thought it would be close, but it was not. Djokovic over Alcaraz in straight sets. One hour twenty-eight minutes.

Djokovic will be the top seed at the AO.

These two are going to play each other today. In some ways, it must feel really weird for both of them.

Until this game, Sinner has not really in this match. Djokovic was serving 80% and on the rare occasion when he faulted, he’d won 100% of his second serves. Can’t really do much about that. Except, now Sinner’s won two second serves. He’s down a break and down a set, so Sinner really needs this game.

Edit: Sinner had 15-40, but now Djokovic is back to deuce. And Novak won it to go up 4-2.

Days like yesterday and today have to be so demoralizing for young players like Alcaraz and Sinner. He beat both of them in the time of a single 3-set match, just over 3 hours.

This match was 3 and 3 so it looks respectable on paper, but watching it felt like a complete beatdown. Sinner did beat Djokovic a few days ago so he can take something from that I guess, but Djokovic has made it clear he is still the best tennis player in the world by a bigger margin than the younger players would feel comfortable with.

And hey, speaking of old dudes who had a good year, 35-year-old Adrian Mannarino finishes the season at a career high of 22 with three titles. Dude played 31 tournaments so either he wants to get as big a bag as he can before he retires or he’s still feeling pretty spry.

Sinner avenged his Tour Finals loss to Djokovic twice yesterday (beat him in singles and then again in the deciding doubles match with Sonego) to send Italy to the Davis Cup finals, where Sinner immolated poor de Minaur 3 & 0 to seal Italy’s victory.

And I believe that concludes high-level tennis for the year.

Yes, that’s it for tennis this year. New season inbound!

In weird tennis news, the ITF has announced that Nadal and Alcaraz will get a ‘wild card’ into the Olympics, even though they didn’t participate in the Davis Cup competition, which had supposedly been a condition of participation in Paris next year. It’s great that they will be playing, but once again highlights the way tennis governing bodies put their thumb on the scales for the big names.