Expected Points, May 31: Go Ahead, Dropshot a Dropshotter


Anticipated Factors, my new quick, each day podcast, highlights three numbers as an instance stats, traits, and attention-grabbing trivia across the sport.

Up right now: Qualifier Alex Molcan finds a chink in Novak Djokovic’s armor, Barbora Krejcikova follows an uncommon profession trajectory, and Alexander Zverev will get some additional apply on Lenglen.

Scroll down for a transcript.

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Music: Love is the Chase by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2021. Licensed underneath a Artistic Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. Ft: Apoxode

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Tough transcript of right now’s episode:

The primary quantity is 17, the variety of drop pictures performed by Alex Molcan within the Belgrade ultimate on Saturday towards Novak Djokovic. Molcan, a 23-year-old lefty from Slovakia, started the week in qualifying, ranked outdoors the highest 250. He dropped just one set in six matches to succeed in the ultimate towards Djokovic, the hometown hero with the marginally extra in depth resume. Djokovic has drawn consideration for his rising reliance on the dropshot lately, however it was Molcan, the upstart, who was faster to attract his opponent to the online. The match solely lasted 111 factors, so the Slovakian’s dropshot whole represents nearly one per six factors. Extra importantly, it labored. Molcan received the purpose on 9 of the 17 dropshots, a slim margin, however significantly higher than the 43% of whole factors received by the underdog. For Djokovic, the Belgrade occasion was little greater than a warmup. For Molcan, it was a profession spotlight, and he could have trialed a tactic to be integrated by sure different left-handers trying to beat Djokovic on clay.

Our second quantity is 135, the variety of weeks between Barbora Krejcikova’s first look at #1 within the WTA doubles rankings, in October 2018, and her first tour-level singles title. The solo feat got here in Strasbourg on Saturday with an easy win over Sorana Cirstea, and it caps a meteoric rise from doubles specialist to all-around menace. Most exceptional about Krejcikova’s trajectory is the order of her accomplishments. For the reason that tour started publishing doubles rankings in 1984, 45 totally different girls have held the highest spot. Of the 38 who additionally received a singles title, the doubles #1 rating got here on common 5 years later, and for a number of gamers, there was a full decade between them. Solely Krejcikova, Sam Stosur, and Peng Shuai reached the doubles milestone first, and the parallels between Stosur and the Czech are exceptional. Krejcikova is 25 years previous, inside one month of Stosur’s age on the time of her first title. Each girls reached the highest of the doubles desk on the energy of two main titles with an everyday accomplice. One would possibly fairly doubt that Krejcikova is a future slam titlist in singles, however in 2009, the considered main champ Sam Stosur was equally outlandish. Two years later, the Australian upset Serena Williams to win the US Open.

In the present day’s third and ultimate quantity is 4.1, the common variety of units performed per match by Alexander Zverev in his profession at Roland Garros. Final evening, Zverev continued his apply of constructing easy issues difficult in Paris, needing 5 units to get previous 152nd-ranked qualifier Oscar Otte. Now in his sixth primary draw look on the French, Zverev has performed extra five-setters than fours or threes, together with three in a row in 2018 and two within the first three rounds in 2019. He’s now 7-0 in deciding units at Roland Garros, a considerably deceptive stat as a result of he ought to by no means have performed any of them. Solely two of the seven opponents had been seeds, none ranked greater than Damir Dzumhur’s #29 in 2018. Zverev’s roundabout win over Otte is a brand new low, which units the fallacious tone for a draw that has carried out him nothing however favors. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal landed within the different half, potential quarter-final opponent Dominic Thiem misplaced yesterday, and his second-round opponent is one other qualifier. Zverev stays the favourite to satisfy Stefanos Tsitsipas within the semis, however it’s unlikely that he’ll make the following 4 rounds look straightforward.


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