Tokyo Olympics: Can Zverev halt Djokovic’s march to gold?

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 29: Novak Djokovic plays a backhand against Kei Nishikori on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 29: Novak Djokovic plays a backhand against Kei Nishikori on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /

Novak Djokovic destroyed Japan’s home favorite Kei Nishikori in their quarter-final matchup, enroute to a 6-2, 6-0 drubbing, all of which, took just 70 minutes.

Another day, another win for Novak Djokovic, as the world No.1 swatted aside Japan’s Kei Nishikori, to roar into the men’s singles semi-finals.

And although the scoreline doesn’t reflect it at all, the final result wasn’t for lack of an effort from Kei Nishikori. In fact, Nishikori was really battling hard to stay in the match, always working to stay in the rallies and upping the aggression whenever he saw an opportunity.

The only problem was, that the opportunities didn’t come that often, and when they did, they were quickly shut upon him, every single time.

It was a dominant display of all-court tennis, with Djokovic dictating baseline rallies, constantly moving his opponent from side to side, coming to the net to finish off points (Djokovic won 12 of 13 points when he came forward), all of it built on a solid serving performance, losing just SEVEN points on his serve, in the entire match.

Frankly, there wasn’t a whole lot Nishikori could have done in the match, he was simply outclassed and outgunned against Djokovic, who’s moving through the gears, with his sights firmly set on that elusive gold.

Djokovic, is also in the running for the mixed doubles gold alongside teammate Nina Stojanovic, after the Serbian duo beat the German pair of Kevin Krawietz and Laura Siegemund in the mixed doubles quarter-finals.

Zverev is a dangerous opponent

Alexander Zverev, Tokyo Olympics
Alexander Zverev serves to Jeremy Chardy during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s singles quarterfinal match (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Up next for Djokovic, in the men’s singles semifinal, is potentially his biggest roadblock yet, as he squares off against Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who’s been flying under the radar all tournament long, winning in straightforward fashion and like the world No.1, hasn’t dropped a set yet.

Zverev easily took care of his quarter-finals opponent, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, beating him 6-4, 6-1 in slightly quicker time (66 minutes) as compared to the Serbian.

It was a dominant serving display, one that saw Zverev firing 11 aces, losing a mere FIVE points on serve during the whole match.

Looking at the head-to-head between these two men, it’s 6-2 in favor of Djokovic, who hasn’t lost to Zverev since his loss in the Final of Nitto ATP Finals, back in 2018.

However, the German has managed to take a set off of the world No.1 in two of their most recent meetings, the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, in highly competitive matches.

Zverev certainly possesses the tools to hurt Djokovic (something he has done before); a consistently big serve that regularly fetches him a lot of free points, powerful baseline play and ability to generate power from both wings (forehand and backhand).

The question is, like with any of the ‘NextGen’ players: Can he perform on one of the biggest stages there is, in the sport of tennis, or any other sport for that matter, against the best player in the world, in the kind of form he is, and one who’s attempting to overhaul all the records and rewrite tennis history?

Perhaps he can, or maybe, he cannot. Either way, we shall have our answers, once the two men step onto the court.

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