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Top 10 ATP matches of 2016

1. Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal (ATP Doha final) 2-0 (6:1, 6:2)

The first match of our top took place in Doha where Novak Djokovic faced Rafael Nadal. We were amazed by the Serb’s performance. Right at the season-opening event Novak displayed his complete dominance over the Spaniard. 75% of the first serve points won, 73% of the second serve points in, 53% receiver wins point against only one break point converted by the Spanish player. Rafa had no chances and took only three games.

In fact, Djokovic gave a very strong start of the season. That match showed how the perfect tennis should look like.

2. Fernando Verdasco – Rafael Nadal (Australian Open, R1) 3-2 (7:6 (6), 4:6, 3:6, 7:6 (4), 6:2)

Another match featuring Nadal.

Nadal - VerdascoFernando Verdasco astonished everyone by defeating his friend and compatriot Rafa Nadal at the Australian Open R1 event. Verdasco came from two sets to one down but managed to break the course of the match, crocked his fellow up and claim the memorable victory. The battle lasted for 4 hours and 41 minutes and was a tense one not only due to exhaustion but also due to the continuous struggle of the characters. Verdasco performed worse on the second serve and on return but prevailed with the powerful serve and effective shots from the baseline in his arsenal.

Such matches are worth watching and revising.

3. Kei Nishikori – Fernando Verdasco (Roland Garros R3) 3-2 (6:3, 6:4, 3:6, 2:6, 6:4)

Knocking Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open wasn’t a single sensation by Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard kept being dangerous and showed brilliant aggressive tennis against Kei Nishikori at the French Open. The Japanese ultimately won the five-set thriller but Verdasco was again showing the best tennis he could: powerful shots, strong mentality and superb forehand ensured him a spot in our top. Two sets up and seemingly driving to a straightforward victory, Japan’s No.5 seed found himself being drawn into a desperate battle with the unseeded Spaniard before finally prevailing in five thrilling sets. Fernando created 19 break points and converted 8 of them. Nishikori could have easily follow Nadal’s path at the Australian Open but the clay court advantage made a difference. Haven’t watched that match? It’s never too late to catch up.

4. Roger Federer – Marin Cilic (Wimbledon, QF) 3-2 (6:7 (4), 4:6, 6:3, 7:6 (9), 6:3)

Roger FedererIt was an incredible match. The audience on Centre Court supported Roger Federer who fought back from two sets down to secure against Marin Cilic to secure a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. The match was full of askew moments and deciding points. The five-set thriller featured only 3 break points converted and 50 aces hit.  The play at the net made the match even more spectacular. Three and a half hours was a real challenge for the 35-aged Swiss but he survived it. A thrilling match that can’t be missed by tennis amateurs.

5. Andy Murray – Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (Wimbledon, QF) 3-2 (7:6 (10), 6:1, 3:6, 4:6, 6:1)

The match was expected to become a pleasant walkover for Andy but Tsonga had his own point of view. The French showed the mood of a fighter and made effective comeback to set a brutal five-set examination to Murray. Tsonga, on fire, broke with a searing backhand winner and served out for two sets all. For the eventual champion, Andy Murray, it was obviously the toughest match at the Wimbledon.  

6. Lucas Pouille – Rafael Nadal (US Open, QF) 3-2 ( 6:1, 2:6, 6:4, 3:6, 7:6 (6)

The match worth to be named the Breakthrough of the Year. Lucas Pouille delivered the biggest surprise by outplaying Rafa Nadal. The four-hour victory revealed Pouille’s sensational courage and consistency, while Rafa turned out to be mentally exhausted. It’s interesting to point out that Pouille won only 46% of the first serve points but was highly offensive. Nadal couldn’t stop the 25-year-old Frenchmale who showed his career best tennis.

7. Kei Nishikori – Andy Murray (US Open, QF) 3-2 (1:6, 6:4, 4:6, 6:1, 7:5)

Any defeat of Andy Murray is a sensation, especially if it takes place at the major event and in five sets. Murray was furious, arguing with both umpire and tournament referee, but the final victory went Nishikori's way. The match was full of long rallies, tactical novelties and fitness competition at the highest level. If you missed the match, take your time to watch its highlights. But be ready that it will take you about thirty minutes. What are we driving at? There were 28 break points and 17 of them converted. A terrific match!

8. Stan Wawrinka – Novak Djokovic (US Open final) 3-1 (6:7 (1), 6:4, 7:5, 6:3

The Djokovic – Wawrinka rivalry has become a classical one. Everyone expected that Djokovic would lift the title but the Swiss upset the plans. Someone could call the victory unjust as Djokovic had prevailed in all aspects but lost his nerve in the deciding moments.

We guess that Stan will keep being a real obstacle to Djokovic in the upcoming year.

9. Mikhail Youzhny – Milos Raonic (St. Petersburg Open, R2 ) 2-1 (2:6, 7:6, 6:4)

Mikhail YouzhnyMikhail Youzhny has richly deserved to get in our top. At the St. Petersburg Open he shocked Milos Raonic, while the Russian  was two points from defeat, down 5/2 in the second-set tie-break, but fought back to secure his first win against the big-serving Canadian. Mikhail displayed fantastic fighter’s spirit. The match wasn’t memorable in terms of quality, but one where the desire to win was incredible.

10. Juan Martin Del Potro – Andy Murray (Davis Cup semifinals) 3-2 (6:4, 5:7, 6:7 (5), 6:3, 6:4)

A very special match we couldn’t pass by. Del Potro not just defeated Andy Murray, but did it on his territory. The home crowd supported the Scot and there was hardly anyone expecting that the Argentine would survive the five-hour thriller. Juan Martin delivered 20 break points and won 52% of the second served balls. Del Potro was also as good on return as Murray did (35% vs 35%)! By the way, Murray hit 35 aces but it didn’t help out. This match was exactly what the doctor prescribed to DelPo who needed it to gain confidence. Great job, Juan!

This is our list of the most intriguing matches of the year. What is your top?

Relevant news:
US Open 2016: were the bookies right?
Wimbledon 2016: were the bookies right?
Roland Garros 2016: were the bookmakers right?
Making use of the Australian Open 2016 betting lines
Davis Cup 2016 final preview and prediction: Federico Delbonis v Marin Cilic

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