Six-Time Miami Open Champion Novak Djokovic Loses to Benoit Paire
(March 23, 2018) Six-time Miami Open winner Novak Djokovic lost his third consecutive match since coming back from an elbow injury, falling to No. 47 in the world Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4. The loss snaps his 16-match win streak in Miami, he won the event three straight times 2014-2016, he did not play in 2017.
Djokovic came back to the tour at the Australian Open after taking six months off the tour.
“I’m trying, but it’s not working,” the ninth seeded Djokovic said. “That’s all. That’s all it is. I mean, obviously I’m not feeling great when I’m playing this way. Of course, I want to be able to play as well as I want to play. Just it’s impossible at the moment. That’s all.
“I lost to a better player.”
“I felt I started the match well, first six games, then I just ran out of gas,” the 12-time major champion added. “He was serving well. I just wasn’t able to break him down. He was just coming up with the good shots at the right time. It happened very fast.”
“I’m just in general trying everything I can,” Djokovic said of his play. “You know, it is what it is. I’m not at the level that I used to be. I’m aware of that. I just have to obviously believe in myself and hopefully it will come.”
“I wanted to come to Indian Wells and Miami because I wanted to see whether I can play a match. I love playing on the hard court. I wanted to get a couple tournaments before the clay court season starts.
“I obviously wasn’t ready for that.
“I wouldn’t go out on the court if I don’t believe I can win a tennis match. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t trying. I mean, nobody is kind of forcing me with a whip to go out on the court. I have a freedom to choose whether I want to play or not.
“I love this sport. There’s a lot of people that support me, especially here. I thank them for their great support. Unfortunately I’m not at the level they would like to see me at and I would like to see myself at.
“But it is what it is. Life goes on.”
Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro was taken to three sets by Dutchman out Robin Haase 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
Naomi Osaka, who won the BNP Paribas Open this past Sunday and defeated Serena Williams on Wednesday in Miami lost to No. 4 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-2.
The 22nd-ranked Osaka said that she was felling sick before the match but did not want to retire from the match.
“I tried the best that I could,” said the 20-year-old. “I’m not sure of the stats or anything. I think it’s pretty hard to be consistent against her, because she’s one of the most consistent players.
“I think in that way, I would either have to make a choice to step in and just attack more or try to, like, out-consistent her, which is kind of weird for my style of game.
“I think if I made more unforced errors today, then that’s something I have to deal with.”
“I think she played well,” Osaka said of Svitolina. “Like, she always plays well. I think every time I play her, her serve gets better. She’s ranked as high as she is for a reason.
“I don’t think I could have done better today to do anything special, so I’m pretty happy about how I did. Yeah, I think she’s really great. She can probably go far.”
“Well, I always knew that she can produce a great game. All the time we played, we played quite a bit now,” Svitolina said. “I knew that I have to be always on my toes, have to be ready for her strong shots, for her strong serve.
“Always knew that she can really play well, you know, take the game in her hands. I was just trying to don’t give her any opportunities. I think I was playing pretty solid today, serving good. This was the key for today. Making it physical, as well.”
Three-time Miami champion Venus Williams beat No. 54 Natalia Vikhlyantseva 7-5, 6-4.
“Obviously she was playing well. She didn’t play like the No. 54th ranked player in the world. It was really only one break, so getting that break back was huge.”
More to follow…..