Dominant Djokovic The Tie-Break King
Novak Djokovic has become the tie-break king.
The Serbian won a critical second-set tie-break 7/0 in his Roland Garros quarter-final win on Tuesday against Karen Khachanov to avoid going down two sets to love on Court Philippe Chatrier. It was more of the same for Djokovic, who improved to 5-0 in tie-breaks at this year’s clay-court major.
"I kind of held my nerves in the tie-break of the second, played a perfect tie-break, really," Djokovic said. "Amazing tie-break. Every single point I played it in a perfect manner."
The two-time champion’s tie-break stats this fortnight have been jaw-dropping. Djokovic has outscored opponents 35-12 in his five tie-breaks and hit 13 winners to an astonishing zero unforced errors. Once the Serbian has entered his “lockdown mode”, there has been little any opponent has been able to do about it.
Djokovic's 2023 Roland Garros Tie-breaks
|R3||A. Davidovich Fokina||7/4||2||0|
|R3||A. Davidovich Fokina||7/5||0||0|
According to Infosys ATP Stats, Djokovic has also moved into the lead on the Open Era leaderboard for tie-break winning percentage. With his five tie-break wins in Paris, he is now 307-162 in his career (65.5%).
"In the tie-break, the format is such that you serve every two points. Every point matters. Really, every point can decide in which direction [the] tie-break is going to go," Djokovic said. "So I think it's kind of a mentality of a lockdown. 'Okay, I'm present, I'm focused only on the next point and I have to really think clearly about what I want to do'... obviously, depending on who you're facing in a given opponent. It [has] worked really well for me."
Djokovic passed Roger Federer, who finished his career with a 65.4 winning percentage (466-247). The next active players on the list are ninth-placed Milos Raonic (61.1%) and 10th-placed Rafael Nadal (61%).
The Serbian has been dominant in tie-breaks this year, tallying a 14-4 record (77.8%) so far. His tie-break success has been clearest at the majors, where he has gone 8-1, including 2-0 in the Australian Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic is now two wins from claiming his third Coupe des Mousquetaires. It is safe to say he will feel confident in any potential tie-breaks.