Djokovic, Murray Among Men Making Montreal Quarters
Leicin Sinha for Tennis Atlantic
Djokovic d. Sock 6-2, 6-1
MONTREAL, August 13–The coin toss was about the only event that could possibly have gone Jack Sock’s way today, but even chance wouldn’t dare hedge its bets against the world number 1 as Djokovic toyed with the young American on Thursday afternoon en route to a dominant 6-2, 6-1 victory. It was oddly enough a match that started well for Sock, as he managed to hold his first service game to love and in the 3rd game force Djokovic to genuflect under a barrage of penetrating inside-out forehands to earn himself a break point opportunity.
This would be as close as he’d ever get to even denting the Serb’s armour in the match. Djokovic, regimented by his brilliant economy of movement and the subtle ability to raise his game ever just enough to lull his opponents out of their comfort zone, set out to break down Sock’s offensive game, which, albeit powerful, lacks the touch and variety necessary to trouble Djokovic’s all court mastery. Sock can hit a devastating flat forehand, but he is unable to surfeit that obvious weapon with precision tools that would allow him to set it up more efficiently. As such, once Sock’s power game was nullified, the Serb was able to coax errors from both wings and turn his best weapon against him.
This is not to say that Djokovic didn’t put on a show of his own, he was simply put, brilliant on this day, serving well and hitting great winners from the baseline, including one crosscourt forehand in the final game to go up 40 love. That particular shot would form a near parallel arc with the baseline and will certainly feature in this week’s highlight reel.
Djokovic will face Gulbis in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. It goes without saying that he’s the favourite in this matchup.
Murray d. Muller 6-3, 6-2
The second match of the afternoon session featuring #2 seed Andy Murray and big serving lefty Gilles Muller was just as expeditious as the first, lasting a little over an hour. Westerly winds shuffled through the deck which may have accounted for Murray’s erratic ball tossing early on. He immediately staved off 4 break point opportunities in the very first service game, calmly resisting Muller’s aggressive net approaches with his composure and solid groundstrokes.
The rest of the match would fortunately carry far less friction for the Scot who sealed the first break of the match by calmly lobbing the ball past his opponent in the 4th game of the set. This was preceded by a backhand pass that stunned Muller. Murray, serving strongly, would go on to win the first set 6-3.
The tables would reverse in the second set when Muller went down 0-40 on his serve and eventually conceded the break without winning a point. Muller would ultimately lose his concentration from that point on and start leaking errors while allowing Murray to subdue his relentless chip and charge attack. A 3rd double fault gifted Murray a 2nd break which he would immediately return when Muller finally converted a break point on his fifth attempt. However, Muller served poorly for the remainder of the match, throwing two straight double faults to give Murray a third break. Murray closed out the match with a fitting ace for a 6-3, 6-2 victory. He will face last year’s Champion in Toronto, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.