DJOKER v LAMONF
The two best athletes in men’s tennis will take to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court on Friday as World No.1 Novak Djokovic, tennis’ version of ‘SUPERMAN’, meets magical Gael Monfils in a mouth-watering US Open semi-final.
Having spent just over six hours on the court during his first five rounds, the defending champion has hardly broken a sweat coming into the last four match against an-inform Monfils. The Frenchman, who has lost all of his 12 encounters with the Serb, will look to unsettle and stretch Djokovic and make this match a war of attrition.
Here, Sport360 gives an insight into all of the key numbers and history between the two ahead of the epic battle. Who has the statistical advantage?
NUMBERS for NOVAK
14 – Djokovic would be winning 14 sets (at most) if he goes on to clinch the title. This would become the record for the least number of sets won en-route to a major title in the Open Era. The current record is held by American great John McEnroe who won 16 sets en-route to the title at the 1979 US Open (third-round walkover, quarter-final retirement).
9 – Completed sets by Novak Djokovic is the fewest sets en-route to a major semi-final (with 128 players’ draw in the Open Era).
6hrs 26mins – Time spent on court by Novak at the 2016 US Open. At the 2012 Australian Open, he had spent a total of 10hrs 43mins in his semi-final (4hrs 50mins – win over Andy Murray) and final (5hrs 53mins – win over Rafael Nadal) respectively.
3 – Djokovic is the first man to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era with three retirements/walkovers (among 186 different semi-finalists in the 195 majors during Open Era). At the 2011 US Open, Djokovic received two retirements (first round & quarter-final) en-route to his first title at Flushing Meadows.
10 – Djokovic is through to his 10th consecutive US Open semi-final (2007-16). Nole holds a 6-3 win-loss record in his “Last 4” matches at Flushing Meadows (including 5-1 since 2010). Jimmy Connors holds the all-time record with 12 consecutive semi-final appearances (1974-85).
31 – Djokovic is also through to his 31st Grand Slam semi-final (20-10 W-L), tying him with Jimmy Connors in second place in the all-time list for ‘most GS semi-final appearances’. Federer leads the pack with a record 40 major semi-final appearances.
16 – This is Djokovic’s 16th hard-court GS semi-final appearance (6 AO, 10 USO, 12-3 W-L); Federer is the all-time leader with 22 showings (12 AO, 10 USO, 12-10 W-L).
7 – Djokovic will be looking to reach his seventh US Open final (including his 6th in the last seven years).
6 – Since losing to Kei Nishikori in 2014, Djokovic has won the last six Grand Slam semi-finals he has contested.
13 – Djokovic will be looking to reach his 13th hard-court GS final – which will be a new all-time record. Novak has played in six AO and six USO Finals to date. He shares this record with Federer who has also played in 12 hard-court GS finals (5 AO & 7 USO).
2007 – The last time Djokovic failed to reach the last eight of a hard-court major was the 2007 AO. Since then, Novak has reached the “Last 8” of both the Aus Open and US Open every year (19 hard-court slams in a row). Federer also enjoyed a similar streak from the 2004 AO to the 2013 USO (19 hard-court slams in a row).
20 – For a sixth year in running, Djokovic has recorded at least 20 match wins at majors. Federer managed eight consecutive seasons with 20+ match wins at majors (2004-2011).
25 – Djokovic is on a 25 match win-streak in hard-court majors (2015 AO – 2016 USO). Roger won 40 consecutive matches in majors on that surface (2005 USO – 2008 AO) including a record five consecutive hard-court majors (2005 USO – 2007 USO).
Same Nation Double – The last time Novak played opponents from the same nation in both the quarter-final & semi-final of a Grand Slam was the 2007 US Open (QF – Carlos Moya (ESP), SF – David Ferrer (ESP)).
Nole v FRANCE
– Overall Novak owns a 94-16 win-loss record against Frenchmen. Since losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2014 Canada Masters, Novak is on a 16 match win-streak against French opposition.
– Since losing to Michael Llodra at the 2010 Paris Masters, Novak has compiled a staggering 53-1 record against French opposition to date (exc. l. to Tsonga (W/O) – 2011 Paris Masters).
– At Slams, Novak is 31-2 against Frenchmen, including a 22 match win-streak at majors (since losing to Tsonga at the 2010 Aus Open quarter-final).
– Tsonga is the only Frenchman to register multiple wins against Novak (six wins to 16 losses).
NUMBERS for MONFILS
2 – Monfils is through to his second Grand Slam semi-final after improving to 2-6 in comparison to Grand Slam quarter-final appearances. Since his 1st major semi-final showing at the 2008 Roland Garros (l. to Federer), LaMonf had suffered defeat in six successive “Last 8” matches at slams.
15-0 – Monfils has been in red-hot form at Flushing Meadows this year, winning all the 15 sets he’s played. Since his first round defeat to compatriot Jérémy Chardy at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, Monfils has gone 19-2 on the hard-courts.
Cédric Pioline – The last Frenchman to reach the finals at Flushing Meadows was Pioline in 1993 (l. to Pete Sampras in straight sets). Pioline is the only Frenchman to reach the championship match at the US Open in the Open Era.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Tsonga was the last Frenchman to reach the finals of a Grand Slam at the 2008 Aus Open (l. to Novak Djokovic).
Top 10 – With his quarter-final win, Monfils will return to the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since November 2011.
0 – Monfils is yet to register a win over Djokovic, having lost all his 12 matches with the current World No.1.
LaMonf vs World No.1
– Monfils owns a 1-15 record against No.1 ranked players (0-2 in Majors) – his only victory over a World No.1 was back in 2009 when he defeated Nadal at the 2009 Qatar Open (Doha).
– Since then he has lost his 10 last matches against No.1 ranked opponents.
Will LaMonf Play Spoiler – Monfils has lost 38 times in majors (82-38 win-loss record). Of the 38 times, only once has the winner gone on to clinch the championship – Federer (2009 Roland Garros; defeated Monfils in the quarter-final).
So does Novak really have an advantage ??