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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, May 24, 2024


World No. 44 Tomas Machac shocked world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 to reach his first ATP Tour final on the red clay of Geneva.

Photo credit: Gonet Geneva Open Facebook

The historic Tennis Club de Genève became a shake shack today.

Novak Djokovic couldn’t quite terminate the twitchiness.

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World No. 44 Tomas Machac shocked world No. 1 Djokovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 to reach his first ATP Tour final on the red clay of Geneva with his biggest career victory.

The bearded Czech, who upset Andrey Rublev in Miami last March, scored his second career Top 10 victory. Machac broke serve five times and won 21 of 32 points played on Djokovic’s second serve.

"I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball," Machac said. "When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like."

Machac will play either two-time Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, the No. 2 seed, or Italian Flavio Cobolli in tomorrow’s final.

It was a bizarre and uneven match from Djokovic, the oldest semifinalist in tournament history, who started off superbly, faded physically, played a pristine second set then again looked physically and technically uncertain in the decisive set.

Given Djokovic has not won a tournament title this season and will launch defense of his Roland Garro crown next week, it’s understandable if he wanted to conserve energy for Paris.

A troubling trend for Djokovic this season is even when he builds a lead, he sometimes descends into a sloppy stretch to give it back. Djokovic will carry a 14-6 record on the season into Paris for his Roland Garros title defense.

The 37-year-old Serbian superstar was in total control racing out to a 4-1 lead only to falter physically. Djokovic began to look lethargic and Machac started belting his backhand down the line to open up points.

Djokovic broke for 3-1 then banged a backhand that helped him hold for 4-1.

Machac continued to take his cracks with his forehand. The Czech clad in the canary colored shirt broke back sparking a run that saw Machac win five straight games and snatch a one-set lead.

As his opponent was growing sharper, a depleted Djokovic was slumped in his court-side seat with an ice towel wrapped around his next like a tourniquet. After dropping the opening set, Djokovic, whose right hand was trembling at times as he drank, called for the physio and tournament doctor for treatment.

At that point, the reigning Roland Garros champion looked unsteady, but Djokovic came out and held to start the second set.

Rapping a forehand pass crosscourt, Djokovic broke for a 2-0 second-set lead. Rallying from love-30 down, Djokovic held to back up the break for 3-0 then slowly pace to his court-side seat.

Pressuring the Czech again, Djokovic won a backhand-to-backhand duel when Machac narrowly missed a drop shot. That miscue gave Djokovic the break and a 4-0 lead.

Saving a couple of break points, a revitalized Djokovic aced his way to a 5-0 lead. Earning triple set point, Djokovic came forward to block a forehand volley winner capping a near-flawless bagel set to force a decider after 87 minutes.

Though Djokovic reeled off seven straight games, Machac came right back drawing a backhand error to break for 2-1.

Roping his two-handed backhand down the line, Machac confirmed the break extending to 5-1. The 23-year-old Czech closed on a pair of Djokovic errors.


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