Tramlines

Vanquished Djokovic to be congratulated

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So world number three Roger Federer has put an end to the Novak Djokovic winning streak.

The Serb fell one match short of equalling John McEnroe's 42 match winning streak to open the 1984 season, and three matches short of equalling Guillermo Vilas's all time record winning streak of 46 matches.

More immediate is the fact that Rafael Nadal, who also made the French Open final when he beat Andy Murray in three sets, will retain the world number one ranking for at least another couple of weeks.

Nadal was in the slightly odd position of knowing that, despite having already made the Championship match, he could do nothing to retain the top spot in the world rankings.
If Djokovic made the final, he was the new number one. End of story.

It's a shame that the Serb did not make it because he clearly deserves to be the world number one. He has been the best player in the world since the day the season started and one loss at the French Open does little to change that.

That said, Federer produced the match of the season to beat him and was very good value for his place in the final.

Tramlines hasn't made too much secret of wanting to see Nadal take over Djokovic in the final, especially after two thrilling claycourt Masters series finals last month.

But Federer turned back the clock a couple of years with some of the tennis he produced against Djokovic in the semi-final and that bodes well for Sunday's final.

Nadal and Federer have not played each other in a Grand Slam final since the Australian Open in 2009, when Nadal triumphed in five sets after four hours and 19 minutes.

Despite the loss, Djokovic should also be congratulated for his part in what TL believes has been the match of the season so far.

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Apart from one listless set, which only just proved too much to bounce back from, Djokovic was right in the match.

The main problem that Djokovic suffered against Federer was a failure to capitalise on his opportunities, most notably when he was serving for the fourth set.

Had he taken that set, the match would certainly have been suspended due to poor light and the duo would have returned on Saturday for a one set shoot-out that the Serb had every chance of winning.

The world number two has already withdrawn from next week's pre-Wimbledon grasscourt build-up at Queen's Club in order to take a bit of time off.

Hopefully, after two weeks off, he can bounce back to winning ways and keep the rest of this season can be as exciting as the first five months have been.

The worst thing that Djokovic can do is wallow in this defeat. It would be understandable now that he has finally suffered his first loss of the year, for the Serb to suffer some kind of comedown but it would also be disappointing from a fan perspective.

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Despite not tying the record and not securing the world number one ranking, a 40-1 win-loss record for the start of the season, including a Grand Slam and four Masters titles, is obviously hugley impressive.

Djokovic has made it a genuine fight between the top three this season, while Andy Murray and Robin Soderling loiter not far behind and Juan Martin del Potro continues to storm back up the rankings, which has made things highly exciting and entertaining.

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The close nature of both the men's semi-finals on Friday again threatened to expose the French Open scheduling for ridicule.

They have already had problems earlier in the tournament with matches having to be postponed and moved in a bid to get through them all.

However, that was more understandable with a huge number of matches to get through, particularly in the first few days of a Grand Slam.

But other than the French crowd wanting to enjoy a leisurely lunch, what was the reason behind not starting the men's semi-finals until 2pm (Parisian time)?

As it was, Djokovic and Federer did not get on court until just gone 6pm. Had Murray taken a set or even two off Nadal, which was infinitely possible given how many break points the Scot enjoyed, the second semi-final would have been even later to start.

And had Djokovic won that fourth set against Federer, the match would have been suspended until Saturday.

Djokovic and Del Potro had their third round clash suspended due to a lack of light at one set all. The Argentine had just levelled the match by taking the second set and was threatening to cause the Serb real trouble.

But when they returned the next day, Del Potro struggled to get going and Djokovic took the next two sets to ease to victory.

Fine, both players were in the same position and yes it comes down to which player reacts better to that both mentally and physically.

But when it's an avoidable issue, such as it would have been in the men's semi-finals on Friday, why not simply start play a little earlier and let both the players and the fans enjoy uninterrupted matches.

Or at the very least install some floodlights so that, weather-permitting, the matches can go on later into the night.

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Next up the women's final between defending champion and fifth seed Francesca Schiavone and Chinese sixth seed Li Na.

It's a final that promises much, not least because there is little to choose between the two players.

It could genuinely go either way and Tramlines is hoping for a cracking match to finish off an underwhelming women's tournament.

Eurosport expert Mats Wilander has marginally plumped for Schiavone as the favourite to lift the title.

Find out his reasons by watching the video below.

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