Looking back at the last 3 times Novak Djokovic escaped from match points down

Novak Djokovic exults at the 2020 Dubai Open
Novak Djokovic exults at the 2020 Dubai Open

Following his exploits at the inaugural 2020 ATP Cup where he won all six of his singles matches for the victorious Team Serbia, Novak Djokovic recovered from two sets to one down in the Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem to clinch a record-extending 8th title at the tournament.

Back at No. 1, the Serb entered Dubai for the first time in four years. After successive straight set wins over Malek Jaziri, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Karen Khachanov, Djokovic met his match against Gael Monfils in the semifinals.

The 32-year-old looked all set to endure defeat against the Frenchman for the first time in 17 matches, going down multiple match points. However, Monfils got tight and Djokovic sensed his opportunity, and the rest is history.

Djokovic returned the following day to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to lift his 5th Dubai Open title.

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On that note, let us re-live the last three occasions when Djokovic fought back from match points down to win a match.

#3 2020 Dubai semifinal - Gael Monfils (saved 3 match points)

Djokovic beats Monfils for the 17th time in as many tour meetings between the pair.
Djokovic beats Monfils for the 17th time in as many tour meetings between the pair.

Djokovic squared up against Monfils for the 17th time on tour, in the semifinals of the 2020 Dubai Open. For large swathes of the match the Serb looked second best; Monfils took the opening set 6-2 and led by a break in the second as the Frenchman's heavy hitting punctured massive holes in Djokovic's usually formidable defense.

At 6-3 in the second set tiebreak, Monfils had three consecutive match points - two of them on his own serve - to close out his first win against the World No. 1. But it was not to be, as the Frenchman blazed a backhand wide and a forehand long before Djokovic hit a forehand winner to erase the third.

The moment had come and gone for Monfils in a flash, and he would not recover. Though the Frenchman did well to save a seventh set point at 6-7 down with an ace, Djokovic restored parity by forcing a third - where he bulldozed his way to the finish line for the loss of just one game.

It marked the 15th time in his career that Djokovic had won a match after being a point away from defeat. In all but one of these matches (2011 ATP Finals against Tomas Berdych), the Serb saved multiple match points before winning the match.

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#2 2019 Wimbledon final - Roger Federer (saved 2 match points)

A distraught Federer (right) poses with his runner-up trophy at 2019 Wimbledon.
A distraught Federer (right) poses with his runner-up trophy at 2019 Wimbledon.

In a pulsating title match at 2019 Wimbledon, eight-time champion Roger Federer stood on the brink of a record-extending 9th title at the tournament when consecutive aces brought him to 8-7, 40-15 in the fifth set.

However, not for the first time against Djokovic, Federer came up second best from the doorstep of victory. A Federer forehand fired wide followed by a sizzling crosscourt forehand pass by Djokovic erased both match points. Two points later, the set was back on serve as Wimbledon descended into stunned silence.

Federer had another break point at 11-11 before the match entered uncharted territory. In the first-ever fifth set tiebreak in Wimbledon history, Djokovic converted his first match point to become the fourth player to win the grasscourt Major at least five times.

In the process, the Serb also became the first Wimbledon champion in 71 years to have saved multiple championship points.

Earlier in their epic rivalry, Djokovic beat Federer from match points down in the 2010-11 US Open semifinals, with the Swiss squandering consecutive match points on serve in the latter.

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#1 2019 Rome semifinal: Juan Martin del Potro (saved 2 match points)

Djokovic (left) downed Del Potro from match points down in the 2019 Rome semifinals.
Djokovic (left) downed Del Potro from match points down in the 2019 Rome semifinals.

In a thrilling last-four clash at the 2019 Rome Masters, Djokovic dropped the opener against Juan Martin del Potro and found himself down consecutive match points at 4-6 in the second set tiebreak, before reprising his match point saving avatar.

Del Potro missed a makeable forehand on the first opportunity before Djokovic reeled off three points in a row to force - and win - a third, to reach his 9th final at the tournament.

โ€œI never lost faith I could come back to the match. One break of serve, mini-break in the tie-break when he was 6/4, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that's all it took for me to come back,โ€ Djokovic said.

A day later, Djokovic would lose in three sets to Rafael Nadal, who lifted his 9th title in Rome and a record 34th Masters 1000 title.

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Edited by Musab Abid


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