Novak Djokovic was probably thrilled playing an evening match. His breathing issues are well-known and they may have cost him at least getting a little deeper in the first two Slams of the year. Indeed, even his match against fellow Serb, Victor Troicki, went 5 sets, and although he recovered to win the match, it’s not the kind of match he wants to play often.
Petzschner’s best surface is probably grass. He has a big first serve, one that’s more power than precision. He slices his backhand a great deal a la Feliciano Lopez, and he has a huge forehand. Petzschner has been on the tour a while. He’s not so young. Usually, a player like that has some weapons but they lack, say, consistency. They miss way too much, or lack mental toughness, and play loose games here and there.
By and large, one felt Djokovic would win this match, despite being close. Djokovic would win enough of the key points. In the middle of the match, there was a fight in the crowd, that disrupted the match for several minutes. Apparently, a man was swearing and a woman didn’t appreciate, then she took some swipes at her, and the man continued to be rowdy, and her group started to go after him. Security took them off and basically said they weren’t allowed back for some period of time.
Djokovic kept things interesting in the third set tiebreak when it wasn’t clear whether he’d win or not. He had match points, but Petzschner saved them, but eventually, an errant return gave Djokovic the match and he was spared playing another set.
Final score: 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (6).
At the end, Brad Gilbert came out for the post-match interview, he asked Djokovic’s opinion on the Federer tweener as Fed had hit this shot last year at the US Open, as well as in his first round match against Brian Dabul. He asked Novak if he could hit the tweener like Roger, hit the shot between his legs. The impish Novak responded “No, I have something else between my legs”. The rowdy audience laughed at this. Novak’s father smiled, wearing an outrageous shirt with his son painted on it, wearing a shirt with an eagle on it. Novak’s mother seemed embarrassed her son would say such a thing.
One should credit Novak for handling this well. It’s not an easy thing to keep Brad Gilbert from talking as he was minorly stunned at what he heard.
Tomorrow, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are the headliners. Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner also play.