Federer Cruises into 3rd Round of French Open with Efficient Win over Devvarman

Bonjour friends. Yesterday I had to work so I couldn’t watch this match, but thank God I found some good highlights. The French Open doesn’t allow any highlight videos on Youtube due to copyright reasons, so I was worried that I may not even get to see highlights. The highlights I found was comprehensive though and I could get a good idea of where Roger’s game is at. And although this is just Devvarman I thought the 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win was pretty impressive. Sure we can’t deduct much from a match against someone who has nothing at all to hurt Roger with, but we can deduct that Roger is feeling comfortable out there and striking the ball well. The important word here is efficient. It was just a clean, clinical performance where he once again conserved energy for the second week. It’s hard to impress against an opponent like Devvarman, but you can win as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

And that is just what Roger did. So you can’t ask much more of him. But there were some other good signs in this match. The first thing that was apparent was that Roger was hitting his backhand really well, especially his backhand down the line. I have always said that is a shot he hits well when he is confident. Against Devvarman he hit countless backhand down the line winners. The other thing that was noticeable was his attacking mindset in general. He was being aggressive on the return and looking to come in to the net. But we have seen this from Roger for a long time now. It’s nothing new. It shows that Roger is getting wiser as he gets older. He lost too many French Open finals in his prime against Nadal stubbornly trying to beat Nadal at his strength, which is from the base line. Just because it is clay doesn’t mean he should not play attacking tennis and become a clay court specialist.

If he does that he plays into the hands of the pushers. He must take things into his own hands. So it’s good to see him thinking ahead and practicing the things he will need later on in the event. Roger touched his back early in the second set which made it look like he had some discomfort in the area. A reader of my blog mentioned that his first serve percentage then went down, but went back up in the 3rd set when the sun came out. I see his first serve speed was also low at 180 kmh. So it does indeed look like his back was bothering him again, but only when it cooled down. The first serve percentage was good anyway at 62%, although not as good as it was in Rome. The winners to unforced errors were 54/33, while he won 19/30 points in the fore court. So overall another very clean and efficient performance.

There is a feeling now that Roger is motivated and confident to take advantage of his draw, and he wants to do so saving as much energy as possible in the process. This all started in Rome and it is good to see him keeping the momentum going and getting some help from the draw gods. The first two rounds were almost warm up matches though. In a sense the tournament starts now for Roger. He now faces Benneteau who he admitted in his presser can be an awkward opponent for him. Of course Benneteau really tested Roger at Wimbledon last year and beat him in Rotterdam this year. He also beat Roger in Paris in 2009. Personally I see this as time for revenge. Yet again you feel the draw gods have been on Roger’s side because Benneteau had a tough five set match with Kamke in the 2nd round. He will probably be tired and he is there for the taking.

I’d like to see Roger get this done in straight sets. If Roger beats Benneteau then he will play the winner of Querrey and Simon, who has been another tricky opponent for him in the past, although he destroyed him 6-2, 6-1 in Rome. It just feels like everything is falling into place for Roger. But like I said one match and one point at a time.  No opponent can be taken lightly. Every opponent from here on can potentially cause an upset. As far as today goes Djokovic destroyed Pella 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 which was nice to see. He now faces Dimitrov again who had a pretty routine straight set win himself. Dimitrov is potentially a dangerous opponent for Djokovic but I think Djokovic wins in 4 sets here. Yesterday Monfils continued his good form as he took out Gulbis in four sets and Tsonga beat Niemenin in straight sets.

Good luck Rog!

Highlightshttp://www.dailymotion.com/video/k2j6XxUVg2f5da487aT#.UadVykBQFWV

Presser: http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/multimedia/2013-05-29/013ef1970b4000000bc9.html

Monfils Upsets Berdych to Clear Federer’s Path to the Final

Howdy folks. I am not working this morning and Roger is still not playing today, so I thought I’d make a quick post about what transpired at Roland Garros yesterday. But before I continue let me just thank you for all the nice comments of late. I have worked more normal hours recently which has allowed me to be more active on my blog. Up to now work has taken up most of my time which meant I had very little time for other things. Now that I am working slightly less it just gives me that little bit of extra time and I realize it is better that way for me, even if I make less money. When I was so busy I am kind of distant from you guys and Roger and I don’t like that. I feel there has to be a balance in life. It should definitely not be all about work and money. You are all important to me because you have become like my family over the years.

My Fedfamily. I am proud of this blog and the amazing people I have attracted to it. I am astonished in fact. I have not always been nice to people and attracting such fantastic people to my blog makes me feel that I can’t be all bad. You really are classy, smart, and warm people. The best readers I could possibly hope for. We share a passion for tennis and for Roger Federer and it has brought us all together. Like Chris said recently as well, these are one of the few places on the web where you can go and have a civilized discussion about tennis without the name calling and personal insults. Yes things get heated sometimes because we are not afraid to discuss anything. We know for instance doping is a part of tennis and that turning a blind eye would do no one any good. I like that aspect about my blog too.

There are no taboo subjects here. I also wanted to let you know that sometimes I would reply to your comments from an earlier post and I hope you keep in touch with recent posts. I don’t always reply immediately to comments. I do so at my own time and convenience. I added a plugin yesterday which should notify you when there is a response to your post so hopefully it works. I feel it is important because it will help me to stay in touch with you guys better, and you can also subscribe to the comment in the comment form when you make a comment. Then you will be notified whenever a comment is made on a given post. Anyway I just want to say it is good to be ‘back’ and I really hope it can stay that way. My traffic and comments have already increased markedly in just a shot period of time and I intend to keep it that way.

Now back to the Berdych/Monfils match yesterday. Unbelievable. You have to start thinking that the draw gods are on Roger’s side in Paris this year and that they desperately want him to make the final(or win the title even?). Monfils won 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-7(4), 7-5. I was able to watch this match, or most of it anyway. When Monfils went 2 sets to love up I thought he would win for sure. Berdych expectedly won the third set. I thought the match would be decided in the 4th set. If Berdych won it too there would be a big momentum shift and he would progress to the next round. Monfils seemed to choke in the tie break. He missed makable shots at crucial moments and it cost him the 4th set. I thought he wouldn’t keep it together mentally but at a crucial juncture in the 5th set he made that extra shot, which caused Berdych to miss a volley and Monfils broke serve.

So all credit to Monfils for beating the world #6 after he had slipped to #81 in the rankings. Before the French Open Monfils won the challenger in Bordeaux and made the final in Nice. So his confidence was on the rise and would have helped him a lot to win this match. I thought if Berdych won this match there would have been a good chance of him losing to Gulbis, who Monfils will play now. But the sooner Berdych was out the better. He is just a huge danger for Roger. He has already beaten Roger twice in a slam and came very close on another occasion. But like I said in my last post it is one point at a time and we don’t know what can happen in the draw. Gulbis could go on a run and make semis where he could be hard to stop for instance. There is also still Tsonga who could be a danger especially in front of his home crowd.

Another match which I watched was Nadal/Brands. That was interesting because Brands won the first set and the second set went into a tie break. Brands was on fire at the start, looking like he could cause a Soderling-like upset. I haven’t seen much of him and he was really impressing me. He is a tall guy with a massive serve and his ground strokes were huge too, especially his forehand. He was showing the way to beat Nadal on clay but he just couldn’t keep it up. In the second set tie break he folded mentally while Nadal was clutch as usual. You gotta give credit to Nadal for his mental strength. Even if he is doping there is no dope for mental strength. He just has that ability to play his best tennis when the pressure is at its highest. The interesting thing is that if both Nadal and Rosol wins their next rounds, they will have a rematch in the 3rd round.

I don’t expect Rosol to cause another upset if that match happens, but I would like to see it anyway. At least Rosol is not scared of Nadal and has a big game, whereas Fognini have just about zero chance against Nadal. Today Dimitrov is already through to the second round after winning the first set and Falla withdrawing with injury at the start of the second set. That will help him to save energy which is important for him with his questionable fitness, especially since he is drawn to meet Djokovic in the 3rd round. Djokovic himself will be in action today against Goffin. Goffin is a promising youngster and it will be interesting to see if he can give Djokovic a hard time. And of course Roger will be in action again tomorrow against Devvarman. That is another match where Roger can dominate and save energy. Things are looking even better for the GOAT…

 Roger’s Presser: http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/multimedia/2013-05-26/013ee163a0f800000b22.html

Federer Starts Off French Open Campaign with Routine Win

Bonjour guys. Good start for Roger today in his first opening match in Paris as he disposed of Carrano-Busta 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Always nice to see Roger send a Spaniard packing. I got up and watched the first set but then passed out. I had a late night the night before and it was one way traffic in this match. So there isn’t much to report on and I have to make this a fast post anyway. Carreno-Busta is a 21-year old youngster ranked 164th who is rising fast. Until very recently he was still playing futures and then qualified for the ATP event in Casablanca where he made second round, made second round in Barcelona, and then qualified again for the ATP event in Portugal where he made semis and lost in 3 sets to Stan. So he is definitely making fast progress, considering he was ranked 654 at the start of the year.

Roger however made short work of him in his grand slam debut. Roger’s first serve percentage was high again at 68% like it was for most of Rome, and he served quite a few aces at 10. The winners to unforced error ratio was 33/19 and the net points won was 14/18. Maybe the best stat was the 7/7 break point conversions. However Roger won’t be pleased that he dropped serve once. But in the end you have to say it was a good start to his French Open campaign. There was no drama at all and Roger got the job done in 80 minutes. Just what was needed to conserve energy for the second week and to make him feel confident. Roger now faces another qualifier in Devvarman, who beat another qualifier in straight sets. Devvarman is pretty solid, but has nothing to hurt Roger with. So I expect another straight set win for Roger.

Bon début…

I am a little more confident now in Roger’s chances to go deep in this tournament after Rome. Having said that, I am not gonna assume that he will make the final. Yes he has a favorable draw but he has not taken advantage of it yet. I think Roger has a pretty good chance of making the quarters here and extending his quarter final run at slams, but then it starts getting tricky. If it is Tsonga anyway. Tsonga beat Stan in Monte Carlo and made semis where he lost in two close sets to Nadal. In Madrid he lost in a very close match to Stan in the quarters, and then in Rome he was kind of disappointing when he lost to Janowicz in the second round. Not that Janowicz is a bad player or anything. The point is Tsonga has become a competent clay court player, and on top of tat the French love playing in their own country. Remember Tsonga has already won the Masters Series event in Bercy.

Having said that, he has also lost in the final there to Roger. Either way he can be dangerous and already beat Roger in the quarter finals at Wimbledon in 2011. Then in the semis it could get especially tricky if he faces Berdych. If he faces Ferrer or Gulbis it could be tricky as well, but not nearly as tricky as Berdych. Berdych has become somewhat of a crisis opponent for Roger of late, and Berdych will be pumped to make his first slam final should he make it to the semis. But there is a decent chance he may not make it that far. I have a feeling Gulbis could take him out. And if not he still has Ferrer to contend with. If Roger does manage to avoid Berdych it really will be one of the best draws he could possibly hope for. And I feel that is the kind of break Roger may need to win #18. If he can conserve a lot of energy until the final and Djokovic beats Nadal in a marathon, then #18 could be on the cards here.

What do you think about the new attire? I like it(yes, there are outfits that I’m not particularly fond of).

But anyway I am getting way ahead of myself again and pretty much anything can still happen before then. I am just happy to see Roger get a good start and looking confident. And that is what you would have expected after making the final in Rome. From here on it is one match at a time and one point at a time. No looking ahead. No thinking about the final, no thinking about the semis, not even thinking about the 3rd round. Not even the next round.

Just the next point.

Highlights: