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Daniell defeats Djokovic, Wawrinka

Marcus Daniell in action. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

TENNIS

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

Wairarapa doubles player Marcus Daniell has beaten two of the best players to ever grace a tennis court.

Daniell and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof took on 12 times singles grand slam champion Novak Djokovic and three times grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka on Thursday morning [NZT].

Daniell and Koolhof won the match 6-4 7-6 [2] in just over an hour in the first round of the doubles at the Queen’s grass court ATP tournament in London.

The Kiwi No 3 and Koolhof only got in to the main draw as lucky losers from qualifying and made the most of their opportunity.

Daniell told Tennis NZ doubles required a completely different approach to singles.

“It’s often the case playing against top singles players, they don’t understand the tactics of doubles and how positioning yourself on the court can create pressure.

“When you play doubles every week and you focus on it and you are looking at the strategy and tactics you get a bit of insight that the singles players don’t seem to get.”

He said Djokovic and Wawrinka were hitting big from the baseline, serving well and returning well but the way they had positioned themselves at the net made the difference.

“We took the net away from them early in the match and they didn’t really know what to do about it.”

The event is Daniell’s first tournament back after three months nursing an injured wrist, first event with his new partner, and is right in the middle of exams for his masters in philosophy.

The statistics show Daniell and Koolhof were the dominant team and thoroughly deserved their victory.

The pair won 31/40 points on first serve and 14/19 points on second serve.

In contrast, Djokovic and Wawrinka only won 30/47 on first serve and 10/23 on second serve.

The scoreline could have been more one-sided if Daniell and Koolhof had capitalised on more break point opportunities, but in the end they won three out of 11 and that proved to be enough.

The win over the renowned duo put Daniell and Koolhof into a quarterfinal Friday morning NZT] against fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
– with NZME

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