ATP Wrap-Up: Top Ten Worst Matches of 2014
10. Tomas Berdych d. Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1 (ATP World Tour Finals RR)
This was not a match that will go down in history. Think about how well Marin Cilic played at the US Open. Now think the exact opposite of that level. That is what we saw from him against Berdych in London. Berdych, who lost to the Croat in Flushing, needed just 75 minutes to dispose of his rival, and really only had to keep the ball in play as Cilic imploded.
9. Martin Klizan d. Kei Nishikori 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-1 (Roland Garros R1)
After going up a set and a break on Rafael Nadal in the finals of Madrid, the Japanese star injured his back, and was forced to retire down 3-0 in the final set. Nishikori attempted to make the most of things at the French Open, but was quickly ousted by the formidable Martin Klizan in the opening round. Nishikori proved that he could play on any surface in 2014, but looked well below the best we saw for much of that Madrid encounter. It will be intriguing to see how the fast-rising Nishikori holds up on the red dirt in 2015.
8. Mikhail Youzhny d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-1, 6-4 (Cincinnati R1)
A lot of people expected this type of result, yet it still was a massive disappointment. Several days earlier, Tsonga had won the most significant title of his career, defeating Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov and Federer within a span of four days to win in Toronto. The Frenchman was clearly physically and mentally spent, but at this point in his career, such a letdown was pretty shocking. The loss blunted much of that hard-earned momentum, and he would lose before the quarterfinals at the US Open.
7. Dudi Sela d. Donald Young 6-3, 6-0 (Atlanta R1)
Players often find it tough to thrive at events in their home cities. It is possible that no player has experienced this phenomenon worse than Donald Young this year. Young, who had lost three matches in a row coming into the event, provided precious little resistance to eventual finalist Dudi Sela. This result was particularly disappointing for the American, who had matched up quite well against the Israeli in past encounters.
6. Borna Coric d. Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-6(4) (Basel QF)
Without question, this is the worst match I have ever seen Rafael Nadal play. In a tournament that he probably wouldn’t have been at if were not for a contractual obligation with the tournament, the French Open champion was just plain bad. Within minutes, he had made 12 unforced errors, and went down 0-5 in the blink of an eye. The Spaniard was able to keep it close in the second set but his uncharacteristic inconsistency, likely worsened by his appendicitis, did him in. Young Coric may have arrived, but it was Nadal who helped set the date.
5. Roger Federer d. Andy Murray 6-0, 6-1 (ATP World Tour Finals RR)
The highs of Federer’s game in this match were greatly exaggerated. For his part, the Swiss veteran made only 38 percent of his first serves and was still able to win the match in just 56 minutes. Plain and simple, this was about Murray being bad. The Brit actually made 7 percent more first serves, but was put at the mercy of Federer’s offense off his second serve points.
This was the most lopsided match of a week filled with lopsided matches.
4. Gael Monfils d. Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 (Roland Garros R3)
If you’re looking for the Sparknotes of this third round debacle, look no further. Fabio Fognini hit 81 unforced errors in five sets, and Gael Monfils still only managed to win six points in the fourth set. “I wanted to serve first in the fifth, so the only option I had is to take six‑Love. Why should I make any effort [when trailing that much]?” (Sports Illustrated)
It was the first time Fognini showed off his middle finger in 2014, but not the last. That leads me to…
3. Chuhan Wang d. Fabio Fognini 7-6(5), 6-4 (Shanghai R1)
Fognini silenced any doubters of his immature, childish personality after his opening round loss to World No. 553, Chuhan Wang, at the Shanghai Masters. Fognini not only shoved his opponent following the match, but proceeded to flip off the crowd with his middle finger as he walked off the court. Awkward.
2. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 (Roland Garros R1)
After winning the Australian Open and Monte Carlo Masters, big things were expected from Stan Wawrinka on the terre battue. Despite his tremendous year, this was not one of its highs. Wawrinka hit 62 unforced errors in four sets, never giving himself a proper chance to win. It left most shaking their heads and the Swiss less optimistic than he had been earlier in the season. If there was a silver lining to be found, it is in how Wawrinka comes into 2015 with no pressure at what should be his best Grand Slam tournament.
1. Jarkko Nieminen d. Bernard Tomic 6-0, 6-1 (Miami R1)
The logic in the idea that the troubled Tomic tanked this now infamous match isn’t exactly flawed. He entered the Miami Masters unfit to play; he was still dealing with the back injury that forced to withdraw from the Australian Open and miss the first several months of the season that followed. Knowing that he would lose ranking points if he didn’t, he showed up for his first round against Nieminen and put forth absolutely no effort, knowing that the outcome of the match was inevitable. The Finn needed but 28 minutes and 20 seconds to take care of the Aussie and cap off the shortest recorded match in ATP history.
Correction (December 6, 2014): An earlier version of this story erroneously omitted match #4 from the countdown, and attributed an incorrect highlight video to match #5.
glad I didn’t watch any of these matches, not surprised that tomic gets #1