Tursunov Tests Federer, but Federer Rises to the Challenge

Hi, friends. I haven’t had time to read all the comments of late but what I’ve seen is that some people are quite concerned about Roger’s win over Tursunov while others are quite happy about it. I fall into the latter group. First of all it’s hard to be concerned after Roger won. And it’s even harder to be concerned when he beat an inspired opponent in four sets. I don’t think Tursunov can play any better, but that should be no surprise given how many players seem to play their best tennis against Roger. How many times have we seen players in the zone against Roger and beating him? Many times in the last few years. The big difference in 2014 is that Roger is still winning those matches and winning them ugly if he has to. Roger is past his prime and can’t just school all comers the way he used to, so he has to find a way of winning despite not being at his best.

And that is exactly what he did against Tursunov. Despite a dismal break point conversion rate of 4/21 he served up a storm and found a way to get it done in four sets. Brilliant. I was really proud of my player for the way he fought through a rampant opponent and found a way to get the job done. Especially the way he came back in the third and fourth sets after losing the second set on a tie-break. The final score was 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-4. Roger played a solid tie-break, but Tursunov finally came up with a scorching winner that made the difference. Just too good and nothing to have regrets over. And clearly Roger did not have any regrets as he won the next set by two breaks and the final set by another break. Granted Roger wasted even more break points than he did in the first two rounds, but who cares given the score line?

If anything this was another very encouraging performance from Roger. Roger lacked matches since Monte Carlo, so is the rust that he is showing really such a surprise? Taking your break point opportunities have to do with match fitness and confidence. But since Roger don’t have those at this point the second best option is to win despite not having them. What more can you do? Then you either play yourself into confidence and match fitness or you lose and try again. It’s that simple. Roger is doing the best he can do at this point. So far, I would say he has done the necessary in every match. Nothing more, nothing less. How can you fault him for winning? Of course, that doesn’t guarantee him a win against Gulbis, but if he keeps doing the necessary it logically follows that he will win again.

Roger does not come into the French Open with his usual two warm-up events or a final in Rome. He played Monte Carlo which is the first of the clay court events and then lost in the first round of Rome. Considering that I think he is actually doing very well. I guess this is a point where I and some of my readers differ like night and day. I am realistic but positive. To me, it seems like many Fedfans are unrealistic but negative. They expect Roger to do the impossible, but they are all too ready to criticize him. I don’t expect Roger to do the impossible, and I praise the little victories. This is why I don’t believe in creating expectations because it causes disappointment and negativity. Just go day by day and round by round and enjoy every step of the way. I simply cannot be negative over a win.

Roger is my favorite and I will always give him the benefit of the doubt. I just can’t get myself to criticize him when he has won. Especially after digging so deep and showing so much heart. It was clear that he was struggling somewhat out there and that things were not quite going his way, but he found a way and for that I have nothing but admiration. I will also give Roger the benefit of the doubt against Gulbis. I refuse to be negative and say that his form against Tursunov means he will lose to Gulbis. For that, I believe too much in my player. I will only accept defeat after the two have shaken hands at the net and Roger came out the loser. This will be the attitude of any true Fedfan. No doubt Roger is in for a difficult match against Gulbis, who had another impressive win against Stepanek.

But before the French Open started Gulbis had a negative win-loss record in slams while Roger became the first man to have at least 60 wins in all four slams when he beat Schwartzman. Think about that for a second. Clearly Gulbis lacks consistency, especially at slam level, while Roger lacks anything but consistency. Of course Gulbis can beat Roger, but it is very far from guaranteed. The way some people make it sound Roger has already lost. The win against Tursunov may have been exactly what Roger needed before playing Gulbis to give him self-belief and confidence. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts in a very efficient performance and defeats Gulbis in four sets. The main thing is to tidy up his break point conversion rate. As far as the match stats against Tursunov goes, let me also remind me that it was the first match his winners outnumbered his unforced errors.

Fighterer

And then of course the serving stats were impeccable. The volley stats were decent too. So once you take the dismal break point conversion rate away it was actually very good match stats. The fact that Roger created 21 break point opportunities is already a promising stat. Now he just has to convert more of them. If he does that against Gulbis he will win. As for the rest of the draw, Djokovic had a tough 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4 win over Cilic. I never rated Cilic but since he hired Ivanisevic as his coach he has become a very competent player. He played out of his mind against Djokovic and in the end Djokovic did well to shut him down in four sets. It was also ironic that after playing so well that Cilic served a double fault on match point. The negative ones will say that Nadal is now the clear favorite to win the French Open.

The way I see it Djokovic did well to get it done in four sets and he learned an important lesson that may serve him well if he faces Nadal in the final, which is that he was being too passive. Djokovic has a much harder draw than Nadal, but it may end up costing Nadal the title. Djokovic is being thoroughly tested while Nadal has a cakewalk draw. Berdych had a good win over Bautista-Agut as well while Isner did the same against Robredo. Those two will now face off for a place in the quarter finals against the winner of Roger and Gulbis. Things are getting interesting. Today Nadal will be in action against Mayer who will probably get utterly destroyed by Nadal while Murray is playing Kohlschreiber which will be interesting. Well, I’m gonna stop here. This post has already gotten long.

Allez Roger!

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/media/2014-05-30/yo4kqrlj8mrlgeyjbt_u6437ynzdpshn.html

Federer Passes Schwartzman Test to Make French Open Third Round

Hello, guys! Sorry for the late post but I left you a comment to let you know yesterday was my first day at my new job, and it was way too hectic to make a post. Today I got off early so I thought I’d try to fit in a quick post before Roger’s match this afternoon. I will make a proper post after Roger’s match with Tursunov, so this one will be shortened. Roger defeated Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday and I was happy to be able to watch. It was the first time I saw Schwartzman and I was quite impressed. He is a short guy, but I quite liked his game. Roger won each set by a break, broke serve four times, and was broken once himself. He was 4/10 on break points and probably could have won this match more convincingly as was the case in the first round. Roger’s unforced errors also outnumbered his winners again(34-29).

On serve, Roger was good as usual, making 63% first serves, hitting 9 aces, and making 2 doubles faults. In the forecourt, Roger had a pretty decent day winning 13/18 in that area. It was another performance from Roger that was not overly convincing, but he did what needed to be done and I don’t see why anyone would criticize him. Especially after a lack of matches since Monte Carlo. As far as I’m concerned he is right on a track to make a deep run. That said Gulbis is a potential danger after a pretty impressive straight set win over Bagnis. He now plays Stepanek who he is expected to beat. Probably a whole score of Fedfans are already worried about Gulbis. But we are not even there yet. There is no reason to look any further than the next round. The most important thing is that Roger raises his level against Tursunov and puts in a convincing performance.

A study of concentration

He has two matches under his belt now and the rust should be shaken off. The negative people will say Roger is in for a tough time against Tursunov, but if he raises his level as I expect it should be another straight set win. You never know when Roger could have a bad day, but I’d like to believe that before he could play Gulbis he will raise his level. As far as the head-to-head go Roger is 4-0 against Tursunov and has only dropped one set. Tursunov is potentially a dangerous player, but if Roger plays anything close to his best it should be a comfortable win. Elsewhere in the draw both Djokovic and Nadal had convincing wins again in the second round. Djokovic disposed of Chardy in impressive fashion winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, while Nadal sent very promising youngster Thiem packing 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

I was fortunate enough to watch both matches and no doubt these two looks to be on course for another final meeting. No one is currently on their level. Ferrer is the only player left in Nadal’s path to the final who can challenge him, but I don’t see him beating Nadal at all. Then Murray is still in it as well and looked good in the second round, but there is no way he is beating Nadal. As for Djokovic, I don’t see anyone who could beat him either. Roger could potentially make life difficult for him, but that is about it. Djokovic clearly has a tougher draw than Nadal though, which is not necessarily a disadvantage. If Tsonga catches fire he could potentially make life difficult for Djokovic, and if Raonic plays like he did in Rome he could too. But I think people who think Djokovic can be beaten before the final are slightly delusional.

Not to mention those who think anyone can go through Djokovic AND Nadal here…

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/media/2014-05-28/9ij9urnd7bpyr8zirfiuupxn9jyg_k39.html

Nadal Clear Favorite for French Open According to Federer

About Nadal:

“It doesn’t go week by week. I don’t know who’s talking all the time, but Rafa is the favourite, and then Novak, and then the rest, you know. It’s very clear,” insisted Federer.

“I think he’s back where he wants to be. He’s played the matches he needs to play. He’s even won at home in Madrid. So I think he probably is where he wants to be, in my opinion.”

About Djokovic:

“Three weeks ago he couldn’t play tennis anymore. When he was injured, oh, my God, you know. Things are looking so terrible. Now everything is great,” said the Swiss.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/tennis/french-open-2014/top-stories/Nadal-favourite-for-Federer-not-Djokovic/articleshow/35608339.cms

 

Hello, friends. I am currently traveling to my new job in the north of Thailand and have some time here in Bangkok before my bus leaves, so I thought I’d make a post while I can. I have said for a while now that Djokovic is my favorite for the French Open, but after reading this statement from Roger I can’t be so sure anymore. When it comes to tennis Roger always seems to get things right, so I was not particularly happy about this statement from him. It made me think that I have been biased myself, and it made me realize how differently we fans think from the players themselves. It seems to me that Roger is not bothered much about what Nadal is doing. I think he is just focused on being the best he can be and winning another slam. What Nadal does is out of his control anyway.

If Nadal wins the French Open this year I feel like his chances increase drastically to catch Roger in slam titles won, as opposed to him not winning it. After the setback that was the Australian Open, winning the French Open would put Nadal right back on track in his hunt for Roger’s record. And it doesn’t seem like it bothers Roger much. Eric remarked that Roger might be playing mind games and is just putting the pressure on, Nadal. In my own opinion he is just being honest, although we can’t know for sure. But if you look at it logically then I guess he is right. Nadal has won the title 8/9 times now while Djokovic has never won it. I just felt that Nadal has looked more vulnerable than ever this year after what happened in Melbourne. Even during the clay court season. So if ever he was gonna get upset in Paris I felt it would be this year.

Even in 2009 when he lost to Soderling he still won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome, and lost in the final of Madrid to Roger.  Also, I think the Djokodal rivalry is alternating in terms of dominance. Djokovic was utterly dominant in 2011, winning 7 straight matches. Then starting from the clay court season in 2012 until the US Open in 2013 Nadal was the dominant one, winning 6 of the next 7 matches between the two. Finally at Beijing last year the tide started turning again with Djokovic winning the last 4 meetings, including the last one in the final of Rome. So as far as the rivalry goes Djokovic is definitely the dominant one right now. It makes me think of 2011 where Djokodal was on course for a meeting in the French Open final, only for Roger to save Nadal’s ass.

I truly believe Djokovic would have beaten Nadal there given how he was utterly dominating Nadal. How ironic was that? After all the brutal losses Roger had suffered at the hands of Nadal he goes and saves him with a God-like performance in the semis, only to hand Nadal the title again in the final. Is Roger suffering from Stockholm syndrome? Unbelievable. And now he is once again supporting Nadal as far as naming a favorite goes. I’m not sure you can trust Roger in these matters anymore. I have always felt he has too much respect for Nadal and not enough for Djokovic. Nadal has always been much more of a threat to Roger than Djokovic, and in my opinion one of the reasons Nadal owns him is because Roger shows him so much respect. In doing so, Roger is basically telling Nadal that the gamesmanship and other nonsense is acceptable.

As far as I’m concerned his attitudes towards Nadal and Djokovic should be reversed. He should be friendly with Djokovic who is no direct threat to him. In fact, Djokovic could even be seen as an ally, given that he has stopped Nadal from winning 3 slams and a Masters Cup since 2011. He is actually preserving Roger’s slam record. As for Nadal Roger should treat him the way he has been treating Djokovic, with contempt and disrespect. But who am I to tell the GOAT what to do? I’m just a nobody sitting behind a keyboard. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything Roger says and does, however. And, in this case, I don’t agree with what he does or with what he is saying. My opinion remains intact. I still think if there was ever a year for Nadal to relinquish the French Open title to Djokovic it is this year.

I think Djokovic has come closer every year, he is currently in the dominant position as far as the rivalry goes, and I thought he did a tremendous job in how fast he got back to his very best after his wrist injury. He had Rome only to get back to form and he had to beat Nadal if he was gonna have any chance of winning in Paris. He fought through 3-setters in his last 4 matches against 4 extremely competent clay courters in Kohlschreiber, Ferrer, Raonic, and Nadal. And if you think Kohlschreiber doesn’t belong in that bracket; he just won the title in Dusseldorf on clay. I say it again: if ever Djokovic is going to win the French Open it is going to be this year. He will never be as ready as he is this year, and Nadal has never been as vulnerable for defeat as he is this year. Sorry Roger old sport, but I am going to disagree with you here.

I think calling Nadal the clear favorite for the French Open is your lack of respect for Djokovic talking. I also think you show Nadal too much respect. Anyway, we will find out who was right at the end of next week. I just have a feeling that this year will be the 2011 that should have happened but didn’t happen. That is what my gut feeling is telling me. I don’t think Roger can actually be objective when it comes to Nadal. He thinks with emotion instead of logic because that is what Nadal has done to Roger. He has made him emotional. But too much analysis won’t bring us anywhere. We will just have to see how things play out in the next 13 days. As far as yesterday’s action goes the big news was that Stan lost in 4 sets to Garcia-Lopez. It’s been disappointing from Stan since winning his first slam in Melbourne, aside from Monte Carlo of course.

You would have expected him to gain much confidence from winning his maiden slam title, but it’s been a bit of a struggle for him, even losing his Davis Cup match to Golubev. Then the two big title contenders Djokovic and Nadal was also in action. Nadal double bageled Ginepri, but that was expected given his opponent. Djokovic only managed to deliver one bakery product and it wasn’t a bagel, but he played a much more competent clay courter in Sousa. Apparently Djokovic could have closed it out earlier in the third set, but beating Sousa 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 is a good scoreline in my book. Nadal’s scoreline of 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 looks more impressive, but like I said his opponent was a joke. It is just first round after all. Tomorrow there will be none of the top 4 men seeds in action, which seems kinda strange.

Roger will only be in action again on Wednesday against Schwartzman, who I’ve never heard of previously. But like I said previously I expect a pretty easy match for Roger, which would serve him well as far as match practice goes. I start work again on Thursday so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to watch Roger’s match or blog about it, but at the very least I would catch up again with you over the weekend. Just to finish this post off I want to get to the quote Roger made about Djokovic as well. It is not clear whether he was having a dig at the media or at Djokovic, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a dig at Djokovic. Historically he hasn’t been very respectful to Djokovic and have said things like that about him. If it was a dig at Djokovic I think it was a mistake and I hope Djokovic proves Roger wrong by winning the French Open this year.