US Open: Novak Djokovic storms into semifinals for 9th time

first_imgNovak Djokovic’s U.S. Open quarterfinal was suddenly tied at a set apiece, and he tore off his shirt as he headed to the sideline. He sat, halfheartedly tried to smash his racket, then began screaming.Hardly the first time, nor likely to be the last, that Djokovic has let out a little emotion during a match. Gathering himself after getting pushed around a bit by an opponent with an unconventional style, Djokovic wound up reaching the semifinals at Flushing Meadows for the ninth consecutive year with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over 18th-seeded Feliciano Lopez that finished a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday.Also read: Serena Williams beats sister Venus, advances to US Open semis  “It was frustrating at times,” the No. 1-ranked Djokovic said, “but this is the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. This is what you expect.”For all of his success getting to the closing days of the U.S. Open, though, Djokovic has one championship to show for it, in 2011. His other eight major titles came at either the Australian Open or Wimbledon.Still, Djokovic is certainly consistent: He has now made it to the semifinals at 22 of the past 23 major tournaments.”I hope I can keep on going,” the Serb said.On Friday, he will take on defending champion Marin Cilic, who was unfazed by wasting a big lead or match points while holding on to beat 19th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4 earlier Tuesday.”A big mental fight,” the Croatian called it, “especially after losing that fourth set.”advertisementDjokovic has never lost to Cilic, winning all 13 of their matches.The two men’s quarterfinals on the other half of the men’s draw are Wednesday: No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France, and No. 5 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 15 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.Lopez’s loss dropped him to 0-4 in Grand Slam quarterfinals; this was his first time that far in New York.He is a 33-year-old lefty who is that rare player these days who likes to use serve-and-volley tactics, doing so 41 times against Djokovic, winning the point 28 times. Djokovic, a brilliant baseliner, tried serve-and-volleying twice.Lopez’s only break of the match came in the second set, and he made it count. Serving out that set, he saved a break point, then ended the game with an ace and pounded his chest. That’s when Djokovic was soon in his chair, bare-chested and bellowing.Yet 40 minutes later, Djokovic was back in control, serving out the second set at love and capping it with a forehand winner.Cilic appeared to be heading to a relatively straightforward win after taking the first two sets, considering he was 47-0 in his Grand Slam career when up by that margin. But Tsonga took the third set by finally converting his seventh break point of the match, and then serving it out from 15-30 by taking the last three points with a pair of service winners at 131 mph and 132 mph, followed by a 124 mph ace.Tsonga, the 2008 Australian-Open runner-up, then saved three match points in the fourth set to force a fifth.”Jo just came up with amazing shots,” Cilic said.In the last set, Cilic broke at love to lead 3-2, and didn’t falter this time, although he did need another two match points to close it out, double-faulting on one, before finally winning when Tsonga sailed a forehand long.”It’s a lot of frustration, of course, but that’s tennis,” Tsonga said.Tsonga entered his quarterfinal against Cilic having held in all 56 of his service games in the tournament, a streak that reached 60 before Cilic broke to go up 5-4 in the first set. Cilic broke early in the second, too, and wound up winning three of Tsonga’s service games.Tsonga helped out by double-faulting 11 times.”I just served, I would say, very bad compared to the other days,” Tsonga said.Cilic, meanwhile, hit 29 aces and saved nine of 10 break points.Cilic wore a thick brace on his right ankle, which he tweaked during his fourth-round victory over another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy. But it was Tsonga who appeared more troubled by an ailment, wearing a thick band of tape under his left knee.”I don’t really want to talk about this, you know,” Tsonga said. “It’s part of the game, unfortunately, for me.”last_img read more

Did MS Dhoni’s slow half-century cost India the Sydney ODI vs Australia?

first_imgIndia vs Australia: Brief Scores – Australia (288/5) beat India (254/9) by 34 runs. Virat Kohli said MS Dhoni ‘s dismissal was the turning point in India’s 34-run loss to Australia in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday. Chasing 289, India managed only 254 for 9. (Full Scorecard)MS Dhoni may have managed to win the hearts of some of his hardcore fans by bringing up his first ODI century since December 2017. The former India captain had a memorable outing, personally at the Sydney Cricket Ground as he became the fifth batsman from the country to score 10,000 ODI runs for India during the first ODI between India and Australia on Saturday.However, the pace at which he got the 51, it is safe to say, was one the primary reasons, India weren’t able to cross the finish line at the SCG.Yes, India were jolted early in the chase of 289 as young Jhye Richardson removed Virat Kohli (3) and Ambati Rayudu (0) after Jason Behrendorff handed Shikhar Dhawan his first golden duck in ODIs but one cannot deny the fact Dhoni was struggling to put bat to ball and consumed a lot of deliveries towards the start of his innings.Dhoni didn’t have any match practice since November 1, 2018, as he was not part of the T20I series against the West Indies at home and the T20I series against Australia at the beginning of the ongoing tour. Dhoni had also opted to skip Ranji Trophy duties despite some of the senior cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar questioning senior players’ absence from the premier domestic tournament.advertisementThe rustiness was visible as the wicketkeeper-batsman found it difficult to pick gaps in the vast SCG field, let alone finding the boundaries.Virat Kohli, speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, conceded that that 300-plus was par on the SCG wicket and pointed out that India bowlers had done their jobs to limit Australia to 288 for 5.Dhoni had joined Rohit Sharma when India were reeling at 4 for 3 inside the first four overs. The 37-year-old had the license to start slow but taking 96 balls to score 51 wasn’t going to help the team as the asking rate was always going to be a problem on what was a slow SCG wicket.Yes, the SCG wicket was slowing up but Dhoni’s inability to rotate the strike not just piled up the pressure on Rohit Sharma but also made life difficult for the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja, who had very little time to get used to the conditions.There was only an illusion of an opportunity in this game. The 4th wicket partnership had consumed too many deliveries.Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 12, 2019Why u r worried so much from Dhoni’s fans,,say it loud & clear,,,Rohit played till the end,,he made use of all those deliveries,,Dhoni wasted 96 balls,,,????Don’t you think his small backlift play is hampering his performance,,We all love Dhoni,It’s time to take tough decisionHarshit Kumar (@Er_kumarharshit) January 12, 2019Dhoni consumed too many deliveries and at the end even Rohit Sharma was no able to catch up with the required run rate though he was better than run a ball….Navneet Trivedi (@NavneetTrived20) January 12, 2019Dhoni in the same shoes that the famous boys were when he took over. He should RETIRE !!No ride, No story !! (@Kevin16117) January 12, 2019Kindly give Mahi a graceful exit. Someone needs to tell him that he is just not timing the ball and is struggling. Karthik has to be ur wicket keeper if he is in the team. Get likes of kedhar Jadhav or Manish Pandey in the place of Dhoni. U can’t have MSD in the team jst for DRS!Raj Nair (@rajnairview) January 12, 2019The No. Of dot balls Dhoni consumed in his innings is really question mark surely he is struggling with rotating strike he is not in great form, the selector need to take some bold decision before world cup and Rishabh pant or DK will be alternate wicket keeper batsmanGopi Mariappan (@gopi_mariappan) January 12, 2019Dhoni has been a shadow of his former self, especially in the 50-over format for quite some time now.More than the lack of big scores, the rate at which Dhoni has been scoring in ODIs has been a huge cause of concern for India. Dhoni’s strike-rate from 20 matches in 2018 was a paltry 71.42, as opposed to his career strike-rate of 87.60.In fact, Dhoni was even booed by a few Indian fans at the Lord’s during India’s tour of England in 2018. The crowd was frustrated with Dhoni’s slow approach to a steep chase of 323 in the second ODI against the then hosts.advertisementIndia were already behind the asking rate when Dhoni walked in to bat at the fall of Virat Kohli’s wicket. His approach thereafter was baffling: Dhoni scored 37 off 59 balls and hit only two boundaries.Dhoni had also scored the second slowest half-century in Indian cricket history when he scored 58 off 108 balls in India’s 11-run defeat against the West Indies during the Asian giants’ tour of the Caribbean in 2017. Also Read | Not pleased with the way we played in Sydney, says Virat KohliAlso Read | Steve Smith to undergo elbow surgery as ball-tampering ban draws to a closeMS Dhoni 5th batsman to score 10,000 ODI runs for IndiaAlso Read | Also See:last_img read more