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June 25, 2011

The Djokovic 43-match winning streak

Filed under: sport — ckrao @ 1:04 pm

I had been meaning to write something about what I believe is the most impressive winning streak in men’s tennis in my 20+ years of following the game. In almost 6 months between December 2010 and May 2011 Novak Djokovic won 7 tournaments (including the Australian Open) as well as the Davis Cup final. The quality of Djokovic’s run is remarkable for the quality of opposition he had to defeat. At the time of writing Rafael Nadal has won 4 of the past 5 grand slam titles and has reached the final of all ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments this year, yet right now he leads the rankings by a tiny margin (12070 points to 12005). Djokovic was able to conquer Nadal in those four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals, two of which were straight sets victories on clay. He won 10 matches against players in the top 5 including 4 against Nadal, 3 against Roger Federer (including the Australian Open Semi-Final in straight sets) and 2 against Andy Murray.

Other points of note:

  • The winning streak is the third best by men in the Open era, behind Vilas with 46 and Lendl with 44 (the all-time record is 95 by Bill Tilden, way back in 1924-5).
  • 26 of his wins came on hard court while 17 were on clay.
  • Djokovic picked up 7470 points during his streak (a grand slam tournament is worth 2000). Even if he did not play again this year he would most likely remain in the world’s top 5 at the end of the year.
  • He defeated 32 different players, only 8 of whom were outside the top 50.
  • In the 26th and 38th matches of his streak (against Nadal and Murray respectively) he was 2 points away from losing the match in the third set.
  • He had a total of nine 6-0 sets and seven tie-breaker sets, winning five of them.
  • He won 97 sets and lost 10 during the streak.

Here is a list of his wins (from not including 3 Hopman Cup wins), with results found via the ATP World Tour website.

Tournament, date and points Match # Opponent Name Opponent Ranking Score
Davis Cup Final, Serbia, 3/12/10 1 Giles Simon 42 6-3, 6-1, 7-5
2 Gael Monfils 12 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
2011
Australian Open, 17/1/11 3 Marcel Granollers 42 6-1, 6-3, 6-1
4 Ivan Dodig 81 7-5, 6-7(8), 6-0, 6-2
5 Viktor Troicki 27 6-2 RET
6 Nicolas Almagro 14 6-3, 6-4, 6-0
7 Tomas Berdych 6 6-1, 7-6(5), 6-1
8 Roger Federer 2 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-4
2000 points 9 Andy Murray 5 6-4, 6-2, 6-3
Dubai, 21/2/11 10 Michael Llodra 27 6-3, 6-3
11 Feliciano Lopez 41 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
12 Florian Mayer 38 7-5, 6-1
13 Tomas Berdych 7 6-7(5), 6-2, 4-2 RET
500 points 14 Roger Federer 2 6-3, 6-3
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells, 10/3/11 15 Andrey Golubev 39 6-0, 6-4
16 Ernest Gulbis 34 6-0, 6-1
17 Viktor Troicki 18 6-0, 6-1
18 Richard Gasquet 21 6-2, 6-4
19 Roger Federer 2 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
1000 points 20 Rafael Nadal 1 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami, 23/3/11 21 Denis Istomin 54 6-0, 6-1
22 James Blake 173 6-2, 6-0
23 Viktor Troicki 17 6-3, 6-2
24 Kevin Anderson 40 6-4, 6-2
25 Mardy Fish 15 6-3, 6-1
1000 points 26 Rafael Nadal 1 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Start of clay court season
Belgrade, 25/4/11 27 Adrian Ungur 175 6-2, 6-3
28 Blaz Kavcic 85 6-3, 6-2
250 points 29 Feliciano Lopez 37 7-6(4), 6-2 (Janko Tipsarevic withdrew from SF)
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid, 1/5/11 30 Kevin Anderson 35 6-3, 6-4
31 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 29 6-1, 6-2
32 David Ferrer 6 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
33 Thomaz Bellucci 36 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
1000 points 34 Rafael Nadal 1 7-5, 6-4
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome, 8/5/11 35 Lukasz Kubot 141 6-0, 6-3
36 Stanislas Wawrinka 14 6-4, 6-1
37 Robin Soderling 5 6-3, 6-0
38 Andy Murray 4 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2)
1000 points 39 Rafael Nadal 1 6-4, 6-4
Roland Garros, 22/5/11 40 Thiemo de Bakker 71 6-2, 6-1, 6-3
41 Victor Hanescu 60 6-4, 6-1, 2-3 RET
42 Juan Martin Del Potro 26 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
720 points 43 Richard Gasquet 16 6-4, 6-4, 6-2

(Fabio Fognini withdrew from the QF at Rolland Garros before Roger Federer ended the streak with a 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5) win)

Further reading:

Tennis – ATP World Tour – Novak Djokovic 39-Match Win Streak – By The Numbers

Djokovic’s Streak – By The Numbers | Tennis Panorama

The Dominant Djokovic Streak – WSJ Blogs

+ 40-match winning streak, which one the most impressive? – MensTennisForums.com

The end of Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak | Voo de Mar

NOVAK DJOKOVIC ALWAYS HAD THE TALENT AND DRIVE TO BECOME – 05.23.11 – SI Vault

Novak Djokovic’s 2011 among greatest tennis years ever – ESPN

Greatest Matches of Novak Djokovic’s 43 Match Winning Streak – Top Ten List


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