Why Losing The First Set Against Djokovic, Nadal Is A Deadly Mistake
Getting off to a slow start against the best players in the world is almost always a deadly mistake.
According to the ATP Performance Zone, the top eight players this season after winning the first set were all in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Combined, those eight men were 205-15 after taking the opener (93.2 winning percentage).
World's Top 10 Players After Winning The First Set (2020)
|Player||Record After Winning 1st Set||Winning %|
Leading the way in this category in 2020 was World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who won all 35 matches in which he took the first set. Getting over that hump made a big difference for opponents, as the Serbian was only 6-5 when he did not win the opener.
Andrey Rublev enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2020, leading the ATP Tour with five titles. Part of the reason for his massive success was how well he did playing from ahead. The Russian was 35-1 when he won the first set. Glaringly, he was 6-9 after losing the opener. His only defeat after taking the first set came at the Rolex Paris Masters, where three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka beat him.
Rafael Nadal entered his Nitto ATP Finals semi-final against Daniil Medvedev on a 71-match winning streak after claiming the opener. The Spaniard was 24-0 on the season. But his one loss, which broke his long streak, came at an inopportune time.
Instead of advancing to the championship match and playing for his first title at the season finale, Nadal went home. Medvedev stunned the World No. 2 with a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory, and he ultimately lifted the trophy.