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Defensive Defense

Friday, July 02, 2010 /by
Novak DjokovicDefense is Novak Djokovic's strength. But there's such a thing as defensive defense, and that's what we saw from Djokovic today in the first men's semifinal, won by Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-3.

Djokovic played passively for much of the match, and from too far behind the baseline. Keeping the ball in play is a smart strategy, but it can't be the only strategy. If that's the case, you're being timid.

"I wasn't going for the shots too much," he said. "You know, I was kind of waiting for him to make mistake. I was wrong."

Djokovic had his moments, especially in the second-set tiebreaker, which included a remarkable rally that was nullified by a blown call. But he double-faulted that set away and double-faulted on break point late in the third set, too.

"The fact of the matter is that I didn't deserve to win," he said. "It's just as simple as that."

Djokovic had plenty of good things to say about Berdych, who will play in his first Grand Slam final Sunday.

"He's a more patient player [now]," Djokovic said. "He's not making as many unforced errors anymore. He moves better." Indeed, Berdych looked fearsome. If he holds his nerves in check and lets that forehand fly, he's going to be difficult to beat.

Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are on court now…


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