Djokovic and Monfils Meet in Saturday’s Eastbourne Final

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Novak Djokovic continued his fine form this week in Eastbourne as he won yet another straight sets match after beating Daniil Medvedev, 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals. It was the first time that Djokovic had decided to play this event in Eastbourne, but the Serb has got his wish of playing competitive matches, but most importantly he got the competitive match-wins heading into Wimbledon. That’s without a doubt the ideal preparation for Djokovic after a season of troubled losses.

Djokovic took the early break but squandered that break lead with a sloppy forehand into the middle of the net. It was a ball with virtually no pace and a lot of slice in the wind, which is what we saw against Donald Young in the Quarter-Final, where the American started to play better when he gave Djokovic no pace to work with.

The game of the greatest importance came in the eighth game. Medvedev generated three break points, but couldn’t get over the line. When coming up against the Top 5 players in the world you are judged on the way in which you deal with the big points but Medvedev’s level dropped significantly after that eighth game. Djokovic held and went on to win the first set without dropping another game.

Medvedev still attacked the same way. Pummelled shot after shot off the forehand, but he struggled to keep up the positive differential on winners to unforced errors as his tennis game took a slide in the second set, in which he could not recover from. Djokovic advanced to the final, but will be mightily relieved and satisfied with the way he returned against another big server in the tall Russian Medvedev.

Djokovic opened up his press conference by saying: “Yeah, it was a close first set. He had a couple of break points and 4-3 could have gone a different way in the first set and maybe changed, you know, the dynamic of the match, but I think winning that first set and playing well at the end of the first set has kind of put me in the position where, you know, I’m taking the momentum away from him.”

He continued: “So I started off very well in the second. Break of serve that I held all the way through. I did struggle a little bit with my serve today and wasn’t as accurate as it was in the first two matches, but also, that’s due to his quality of return. Just all in all, it was a really tough match.”

Djokovic’s arrival and participation in the Eastbourne event has got a lot of fans talking and has prompted many to take a long journey to see him play live for the first time this week. He was asked by one of the journalists whether he was tempted to make Eastbourne a permanent fixture in his calendar, he replied: “I wouldn’t make that promise because it was a particular situation this year, although I wouldn’t rule it out, considering the nice experience I have had so far this year. It just really depends. I’m not accustomed to play in the week just before the start of the Grand Slams, but I will still not rule it out, of course, for next year.”

The Eastbourne final will take place on Saturday as Djokovic rallies against No.2 seed Gael Monfils, who beat fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet to advance to the Final 2. He trails 13-1 in the head-to-head against Djokovic, with his only ever win coming in a Futures Event in 2004, a long time ago.

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