Despite a wayward first set — wherein he was laid low by a mixture of wavering focus and Aljaz Bedene’s persistence — Tipsarevic posted a resounding comeback, rekindling the potency of his backhands. Thereafter, the match was no less than a canter, as he thoroughly dictated the match’s tempo.
In the first, he reflects, his focus wavered midway through the first set. “I started well. But for some reason, I lost my focus. Instead of hitting the ball I was just pushing at it, giving him a lot of time for recovery, which he capitalized on,” he recollected.
However, Tipsarevic recalibrated his cool — often in the past his game had regressed in such junctures. “I knew I was playing well. And I realised I shouldn’t give him time to play his forehands. So I played more aggressive and was intent on not giving him much time. This worked well in the second set, but I knew I had to persist with this game plan. He lost his focus a bit and I made him run around,” he said.
An early break wrested him the initiative in the third set. “It wasn’t easy, which the scoreboard doesn’t denote. Winning the seventh game was crucial. He went close to break me, and had he achieved that it could have been 4-3 and he would have went on to win the match. I was just telling myself to keep fighting,” he said. The Serb would now want to wipe out the heartbreak of last year’s defeat in the final and snare his maiden title in the city.
“I just need to focus on my game. In one way, it’s reassuring (to be the favourite) and that he hadn’t been here (final). In another way, it isn’t going to be easy. He is chasing his first title and would feel he has nothing to lose. I’ll just be aggressive and make a few changes in my game depending on how he plays,” he said. Meanwhile, Aljaz Bedene, only the second Slovenian player to reach the semifinals of an ATP event, said the exposure would augur well in the future. “Experience decided the match. Janko is one of the best players and against a player of his quality you can’t afford to lose your focus, which I did in the second set. But I’m getting better and once I get used to this I’ll be able to keep sustain the focus throughout the match,” he averred.