Vasek Pospisil follows through on a backhand

Photo : Tel Aviv Watergen Open

For the second time in the month of September, 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic was given everything he could handle by a Canadian player, but he was not about to suffer a second defeat.

Vasek Pospisil followed the lead of Félix Auger-Aliassime, who beat the Serbian star at Laver Cup, when he pushed Djokovic hard for two hours in the quarter-finals of the Tel Aviv Watergen Open, but unlike his countryman, he could not finish him off, falling in two tight sets 7-6(5), 6-3.

As he often does, Djokovic brought his best tennis in the big moments, converting the only two break points he saw on Pospisil’s serve. The Canadian actually had more break point opportunities in the match, but only converted one of three.

Overall, there was not much more Pospisil could have done to change the outcome, as he fired 26 winners to Djokovic’s 19 and won 84 per cent of his first serve points. However, Djokovic was just to clean, committing just eight unforced errors.

Pospisil came out firing on serve, opening with back-to-back love holds and winning his first nine service points, but he was unable to generate much on return as Djokovic lost a mere three points on serve in the opening set.

In the tiebreak, Pospisil fell into an early 4-0 hole but refused to go away, fighting back to level at 5-all. However, Djokovic was not to be denied as he took the final two points of the breaker to take the opening set.

Djokovic looked to stamp his authority on the match early in the second set when he broke serve in the second game and raced out to a 3-0 lead. But Pospisil was not going away and responded with a break and a three-game run of his own.

Still, Djokovic kept pressing. He once again broke Pospisil to regain the lead and set himself up to serve out the match at 5-3, which he did to book his place in the semifinals.

With the loss, Pospisil falls to 0-6 in his career against Djokovic and has yet to win a set against the Serb, although the nine games won at the Tel Aviv Open was the most the Canadian has won in a match against Djokovic.

Reaching the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event still matched Pospisil’s best result of 2022, having also reached the last eight earlier this year in Dallas.