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Ricky’s Picks From Madrid • Djokovic Hits Worst Overhead Of All Time • Rafael Nadal Plays Wednesday

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action against Kei Nishikori of Japan during their first round match of the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain, 07 May 2018. EPA-EFE/KIKO HUESCA

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

The “Djokosmash” is one of the most notorious shots on the ATP World Tour. But Novak Djokovic took his “Djokosmash” to a whole ‘nother level at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday afternoon.

 

Serving at 7-5, 3-3, 30-15 during his first-round showdown with Kei Nishikori, the 30-year-old Serb approached the net for what should have been the easiest of overheads. Djokovic, however, is well-known for making a mess of that shot–and he did exactly that once again in this particularly circumstance. Instead of depositing it in the court and over the wall for an easy winner, the former world No. 1 dumped it straight down into the net.

 

Nonetheless, Djokovic ended up winning 7-5, 6-4.

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas was not so lucky in the end after he also delivered an infamous display in his opening-round match. His was a statistic, not a single shot. The 19-year-old Greek converted a measly one of 20 break-point chances against Evgeny Dosnkoy on Tuesday and eventually lost 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3).

 

Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during a training session of the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain, 08 May 2018. EPA-EFE/MARISCAL

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal will begin his week against Gael Monfils on Wednesday. The world No. 1 is dominating the head-to-head series 13-2, including 5-0 on clay 10-1 in total sets in those five dirt matches. Nadal is taking a 12-match winning streak with him into Madrid and he has won an amazing (even by his standards!) 46 consecutive clay-court sets dating back to last year. The Spaniard recently earned his 11th tournament titles in both Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, and he is now bidding for a sixth in Madrid. Monfils is 14-7 this season but did not play in between Indian Wells and Munich–where he fell in his opener last week in Mirza Basic in a three-setter.

 

Also on Wednesday’s schedule is Juan Martin Del Potro, who will face Damir Dzumhur for the second time. Del Potro won their only previous meeting 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 at the 2017 Delray Beach event.

 

The sixth-ranked Argentine has reached at least the semifinals in four of six tournaments this season, with titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells to go along with a runner-up performance in Auckland and a semifinal showing in Miami.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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