Another huge tournament and another huge win for Novak Djokovic.
The big duo of Spring North American Harcourt premier’s followed triumphs in Dubai and of course the Australian Open. The Serb is just one win away from bettering Ivan Lendl’s 25-0 start to a season, it is an amazing achievement, more so when the player in question was looking to capitulate a few years back.
Of the top five players recently, it was generally regarded that alongside the Nadal/Federer rivalry, it would be Andy Murray or maybe even Robin Soderling who would really crash the party. After his 2008 Oz Open win, Novak Djokovic had come up short time and time again. He just didn’t seem to have the stamina or the concentration for large parts of the year especially in the bigger tournies.
This has evaporated – since Federer’s victory over the Serb in the ATP finals last November he hasn’t lost a match.
Imperious form, and as Federer flounders further, it is Djokovic who now represents Nadal’s biggest challenger.
Clay though will serve up a different challenge, the transition may be too great for the 23 year old, but by recent form it would seem rather doubtful to expect a collapse of old.
With Azarenka again taking the Miami title at the weekend, the transition in the women’s game from the older established names of even the mid 00’s continue to look older than their years when coming up against this new breed of youngsters.
Sharapova proved the exception to the rule this week, brilliantly coming back against Petkovic, but this is – for now at least – a rarity as the new blood continue to make a mockery of a generation of players who haven’t even reached their late 20’s let alone their 30’s.
Still the Russain screamer couldn’t beat Azarenka – someone who makes Maria’s screeches seem twee in comparison – who looks increasingly dangerous this year after a bit of a stutter in recent months.
She too may find herself in the prematurely past it bracket the way things are going!
Finally, a word for another Hantuchova triumph, doubles this time with Agnieska Radwanska. ‘Agniela’ as the folks at the Cocktail Party have dubbed the team look a sure bet to repeat the Sugiyama days from the mid 00’s. Either way success at such a big tournie is welcomed.
Red/Green earth awaits both tours – roundups to come.
Pics from Getty Images/BBC