Best performances in a losing effort?

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
Yes, I would add that also. Best Djokovic played against Nadal at RG for sure, even better than when he beat him in 2015.
Murray v Djokovic AO 2012 to go along with Nadal v Djokovic AO 2012, both played as well as they could and Djokovic beat them both back to back
Isner v Nadal RG 2011 - The big man played as good as he could against Nadal, took him to five.
Dimitrov v Nadal AO 2017 - The best match Dimitrov played at slam level IMO
Anderson v Djokovic W 2015 - Was two games away from beating peak Djokovic and defending W champion
Grigor - Rafa at AO17 was terrific, although I haven't even watched highlights since to see if it's as good as I recall. As an AO semi, does it rank with Fed-Safin 05 and Verdasco-Rafa 09? As of now, I'd probably put 09 inches above 05, but two all-timers for me.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Had Jimbo won that match, he would've had a solid chance to win his sixth USO title and become a record holder in Open Era. He still owned Lendl in big matches was definitely comfortable playing him at the time.
Yeah, Connors had just beaten Lendl at Wimbledon and would also win their next match in the finals at the Tokyo Indoor event...and then Lendl put the hammer down.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
Grigor - Rafa at AO17 was terrific, although I haven't even watched highlights since to see if it's as good as I recall. As an AO semi, does it rank with Fed-Safin 05 and Verdasco-Rafa 09? As of now, I'd probably put 09 inches above 05, but two all-timers for me.
I think many here voted Dimitrov v Nadal the match of the year for 2017, it really was that good. Nadal won that match due to his clutchness more than anything else because Grigor was playing out of his skin. Certainly check out the highlights, you won't be disappointed.

AO 05 and AO 09 semis were the best matches of their respective years also, and I can understand fans choosing either over the other, because all four players were at their peaks. I would put AO 2017 a notch below that because Nadal had obviously declined movement, but still took on the best version of Grigor.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
If it is both players playing amazing, then you can just list all the epic matches, it is basically the same thing. For instance I personally think

Corretja v Sampras USO 96 qualifies because Corretja played as well as he possibly could and still lost, but Sampras wasn't close to his best IMO because he was sick on the court among other things.
Well fair enough. I noticed that happened as the thread developed.
 
First two sets of the 2004 AO SF (not the Federer one, obviously). Some of the best aggressive baselinery ever seen, from both sides, culminating in two tight tiebreaks decided by Safin's big shots in crunch time.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
I think many here voted Dimitrov v Nadal the match of the year for 2017, it really was that good. Nadal won that match due to his clutchness more than anything else because Grigor was playing out of his skin. Certainly check out the highlights, you won't be disappointed.

AO 05 and AO 09 semis were the best matches of their respective years also, and I can understand fans choosing either over the other, because all four players were at their peaks. I would put AO 2017 a notch below that because Nadal had obviously declined movement, but still took on the best version of Grigor.
I can see that. Having not rewatched Grigor-Rafa, hopefully, it will stand up to my memory. The other two we mentioned both have, as have many other AO classics, including Rafa-Roger 09, Novak-Rafa 12, Novak-Stan 13-14, and even, Roger-Rafa 17 - although its significance may have elevated its still-high-level play.
Grigor is such a puzzling player, but that's for another thread, I suppose.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
First two sets of the 2004 AO SF (not the Federer one, obviously). Some of the best aggressive baselinery ever seen, from both sides, culminating in two tight tiebreaks decided by Safin's big shots in crunch time.
I've coined a ton of words/phrases in a variety of settings, and I appreciate "baselinery" -- well done.
 

Sunny Ali

Hall of Fame
Federer Wimbledon 2019 final- better player throughout the match. If Federer had the same mental strength as Sampras, he'd have 24 slams now.

With Sampras' mental strength, he'd have won the following instead of losing in the final- AO 2009, USO 2015, Wimbledon 2014 & 2019
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
I can see that. Having not rewatched Grigor-Rafa, hopefully, it will stand up to my memory. The other two we mentioned both have, as have many other AO classics, including Rafa-Roger 09, Novak-Rafa 12, Novak-Stan 13-14, and even, Roger-Rafa 17 - although its significance may have elevated its still-high-level play.
Grigor is such a puzzling player, but that's for another thread, I suppose.

Just sit back and enjoy this. Simply great tennis.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame

Just sit back and enjoy this. Simply great tennis.
Thanks!
Yep - as great as I remembered!
Among other things, Grigor's DTL backhand and Rafa's inside-out FH were really crackling, and they both showed versatility from both wings, covered the court beautifully, and volleyed quite well.

The sequence from about 26:16, with Grigor serving at 1-1 in the 5th at 15-all, is incredible - as are many points/segments of this match.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
Thanks!
Yep - as great as I remembered!
Among other things, Grigor's DTL backhand and Rafa's inside-out FH were really crackling, and they both showed versatility from both wings, covered the court beautifully, and volleyed quite well.

The sequence from about 26:16, with Grigor serving at 1-1 in the 5th at 15-all, is incredible - as are many points/segments of this match.
Yeah, I know. I think it will get just better and better with age. The quality was outstanding for 5 hours. Deserved to be the best match of 2017 without doubt.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
Yeah, I know. I think it will get just better and better with age. The quality was outstanding for 5 hours. Deserved to be the best match of 2017 without doubt.
I wish I had more of a photographic memory about years and matches.
That had to be the best of the year - at the slams, for sure - and the runner-ups may have been the AO final and the the other AO semi.
Other than that, I'm really not sure -- perhaps, even the R of 16 Wimbledon match where Muller upset Rafa 15-13 in the 5th probably figures in.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
I wish I had more of a photographic memory about years and matches.
That had to be the best of the year - at the slams, for sure - and the runner-ups may have been the AO final and the the other AO semi.
Other than that, I'm really not sure -- perhaps, even the R of 16 Wimbledon match where Muller upset Rafa 15-13 in the 5th probably figures in.
I'd put Wawrinka v Murray from RG 2017 semi in there as a great match at the slams too.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
Good call. I kind of forgot about it, as Rafa destroyed Thiem and Stan, and Novak faded v. Thiem after a good first set.
The match though was overshadowed by Nadal's dominance hence why sometimes it gets forgotten, but it is a hidden gem of 2017. USO the only thing that comes close is Thiem v Del Potro in the fourth round, which had a great ending to it, but there was a serious choke by Thiem early on. When Del Potro was not feeling too good, and Thiem didn't kill him off. Other than that at USO 2017 there really wasn't anything.

For Masters matches, Federer v Kyrgios in Miami, Nadal v Goffin in Madrid, Nadal v Thiem in Madrid, Nadal v Shapovalov in Canada, Federer v Del Potro in Shanghai, Federer v Del Potro in Basel come to mind.
 

Sport

Legend
Nadal's AO 2019 is not too bad either. He didn't lose a set coming into this final. What a tournament by Rafa!
He was 32 years old and slow as hell though. And had a cakewalk path to the final, only having to defeat ancient Berdych, Tiafoe and Tsitsipas. Apart from that, impressive performance indeed.
 

DSH

Legend
He was 32 years old and slow as hell though. And had a cakewalk path to the final, only having to defeat ancient Berdych, Tiafoe and Tsitsipas. Apart from that, impressive performance indeed.

Do you really think that the reason he lost that way in the final was because of his age?
:rolleyes:
 

Sport

Legend
Do you really think that the reason he lost that way in the final was because of his age?
:rolleyes:
As Nadal ages, he becomes worse and worse on faster surfaces like the AO or WB. No matter how much he tries to improve offensively, he will never be equally good in the offensive shot-making as Federer or Djokovic, that explains why he generally matched up better against them at the AO or WB (excluding 2018) when he was younger, because when he was younger he was faster and could reach more defensive balls and defend better. Nadal was a naturally defensive player, and now is "artificially" trying to play offensively to compensate the physical decline. It has been effective so far at RG and the USO because those surfaces are slower and allow current Nadal to reach most defensive balls, but on faster surfaces like the AO and WB he can't compete as effectively with Federer or Djokovic since they have a better repertory of offensive shot-making and current Nadal's defense is less effective on those faster surfaces.
 
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