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By Ajay Tyagi
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Having had a brilliant start to the year, Novak Djokovic faded in mid season as he failed to make the kind of impact he did have in Melbourne. At the Rogers Cup last week, Novak retained his title, but that could be construed as a false awakening, as most of the top players were already out of the event. Now in Cincinnati, Novak is back and will be hoping to go one better than last year, having lost in the final.
At the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Djokovic appeared to be back. Djokovic's backhand looked flawless for the first time since the Aussie Open in January, as the Djoker dominated and waltzed to victory. That could however be a case of “A big fish in a small pond”, as most of the top players were either not playing in the event or were eliminated early. And although his performance in the final was top draw, he must not dig too deep into it as Richard Gasquet is no where near the likes of the players that he will have to battle here in Cincinnati.
Last year when the Serb had come into the event, he was the man to beat. Interestingly, things have changed a lot over a season, as Djokovic has not been able to replicate his last season’s performance in the ongoing season. In fact, the Serbian looked way ahead of his opponents in the last season, but he is struggling to find that form this year. Though, he is not in the devastating form of last season where the Serb had last only two matches until this point of the season, the Serbian still has a stellar 50-9 win-loss record with three titles in his kitty.
His opponent - Del Potro is a tall, lanky Argentine and is the first player to beat both Nadal and Federer in a slam in 2009, when he stunned the tennis world by winning the 2009 US Open title. Though injuries have played a spoil sport, Del Potro is back in the Top 10 – all thanks to his tremendous consistency in the new season. With 47-12 win-loss record and 2 titles in 2012, Del Potro’s left wrist has really been troubling him off late as he suffered a shocking loss at the hands of Radek Stepanek at Rogers Cup last week. Here at Cincinnati Open, he looks back in form and would want to win the title also.
Both players have met six times before and Djokovic leads 4-2 in head to head contest. Last time they met at London Games, where Del Potro win 7-5, 6-4.
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