Djokovic 6-4 6-3 Isner – A masterclass in returning serve

It was always going to be the most complete performance of the week to date, you just had that feeling!

Novak Djokovic put on a masterclass of a performance and the big standout for me was how he served and importantly how he returned serve.

1st serve points won – 26/30 87%
2nd serve points won – 11/13 85%
1st serve return points won – 15/45 33%
2nd serve return points won – 12/20 60%

The stats are super impressive, but to get the interest and to be effective on Isner’s serve as he did was quite special, so lets have a look;

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.39.28

Image Credit – Sky Sports / ATP

There were so many to choose form before this moment and in the first set the first break of serve was a service return winner but this is the one to focus on.

The second serve goes out at 127mph and the only reason John is off to the net here is because he knows it is coming back. The way Novak moves his body to connect to this ball with interest is superb, it really is! Novak got quite an awkward shot on it meaning John had to slow down and ended up playing a poor drop shot which Novak got to and won.

The next;

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.40.37

Image Credit – ATP / Sky Sports

This is the one.

Match point. 140mph serve and he orchestrates his body to return this with a question attached. The short return nine times out of ten on the tour gets taken care of by the server but when Novak returns the ball short it is an invitation you don’t really want to accept but you have to.

What does he do? Backhand passing winner cross court to seal the match.

Returning serve is a big skill especially against such a great server, it’s all about learning, awareness and planning ahead. Where do you want the ball to go next?

 

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