Federer Still Turning Back the Clock, Routines Giraldo

Hi, folks. Reporting back to you after I was away for the weekend. Fortunately, there was rain on Saturday causing Wimbledon to fall behind in their schedule which meant that Roger would not play today. I say fortunately because it means I don’t miss a post. It does, however, mean that Roger will have to play two days in a row, tomorrow and on Wednesday. I don’t think that is necessarily unfortunate for him, but I do find it a little strange that Wimbledon does not use middle Sunday to catch up on matches if needed. It’s all about the tradition of course, but if the final isn’t played on Sunday they have to break tradition by scheduling a Monday final anyway. Either way Roger did finish his match against Giraldo because he was playing on center court as usual, and these days there is a very much needed roof that can close.

It is also something that may have helped Roger to win Wimbledon in 2012, and this year it could be a factor again. Roger is probably the greatest indoor player of all time, so it doesn’t hurt his chances when it rains and the roof closes. If Roger is to play Nadal in the semis he probably needs the roof to be closed to win, but there is no rain predicted for Friday. So at this point things are not looking too promising for Roger to make the final, but it’s too early to be thinking about that anyway. Both Roger and Nadal still has two tough matches to win before they are in the semis. I do think they both will make semis, but nothing is set in stone. I think Roger will destroy Robredo and get his revenge for the US Open, and then it depends on who he faces in the quarters. Isner is the most dangerous so he wants to avoid him if possible.

Stan already had a good straight set win today over Istomin. He must have been playing well to beat Istomin that handily on grass. He awaits the winner of Lopez and Isner now, who is locked up at a tie-break each and on serve in the third. The play was just interrupted by rain again, but the players are now back on the court. It looks like the Isner/Lopez match will be another marathon so maybe they can tire each other out too. It could even be Stan that faces Roger if he makes quarters. I guess Stan could be dangerous too. My first choice for Roger in the quarters would be Lopez, then Stan, then Isner. But of course, Roger has to get through Robredo first. I just think with the way Roger has played this year compared to last year and the fact that Nadal is not waiting in the next round, will cause Roger to reverse that shocker at the US Open.

The break point conversion rate was above 50% again…

Robredo had a pretty good five-set win over Janowicz in the last round, but he should really be no match for Roger on grass if Roger is playing anywhere near his best. And he has done that so far at Wimbledon. But let me get back to the Giraldo match for a second, which Roger won routinely again 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. I didn’t watch it as I was gone for the weekend and it wasn’t a match that captured my imagination anyway. What was more interesting to me was the Nadal/Kukushkin match, but only after Kukushkin won the first set on the tie-break. Then I quickly lost interest again after Nadal broke in the second set. I knew it was all over and Nadal went on to triple bread stick Kukushkin in the last three sets. Looking at the match stats they were not as good as against Muller, even though the score line was much more routine.

This is due to the fact that Muller has a pretty big serve while Giraldo is a much better mover than Muller. The match stats were still very good, however. The first serve percentage was very high again while the winners outnumbered the unforced errors by about 2:1. It is good to see that Roger approached the net 23 times as opposed to 9 times against Muller. That is something that Joe just brought up on my last post and I have noticed since the start that Roger have not had the same eagerness to approach the net as he did in Halle. He seemed very intent in Halle to dominate at the net, and I thought that was a very positive thing. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but Roger has not seemed so intent on dominating at the net at Wimbledon. He hasn’t looked as decisive and confident in the forecourt as in Halle.

I thought it was a positive and refreshing sign in Halle, and I have been a bit disappointed that he hasn’t quite showed the same urgency to approach the net where it really matters. I think it shows a lack of belief in his net game, something that could cost him. Definitely with the eye on facing Nadal in the semis and Murray/Djokovic in the final he should be working on his net game a lot. That is the one area where he has an advantage over them and he knows he can’t really compete with them from the baseline. Yes, his serve is an advantage too but it’s not enough given how well those guys return serve. It’s been seven years since Roger beat Nadal at a slam so he must know he needs to do something different if he is gonna stand a chance. It won’t help to hope for a closed roof on Friday because it probably won’t happen.

More of this, please

The other thing he can hope for is that Nadal loses before the semis, but I’m sure he won’t be stupid enough for that. I doubt Nadal is losing before the semis anyway. Fans should know better than to expect that, given Nadal’s history. Sure Kyrgios and Nishikori or Raonic will have a chance, but to bet on it would be madness. Even to hope for it may be a mistake. Nadal is relentless. He takes whatever he wants and he doesn’t get tired. End of story. Now, if Roger wants to beat him he has to take initiative and bring something new to the party. Playing like he did in the past won’t cut it. Roger can be stubborn like that. He may believe since Wimbledon is the only slam that he leads Nadal in the head-to-head that the match is on his racquet and he doesn’t have to change anything, but in my opinion that would be a mistake.

Anyway, it’s still a long way to go and way too early to talk about. I just have a feeling they will both make it this time which is why I talk about it at all. In the top half of the draw Murray routined Bautista-Agut which was a disappointment of a match. Bautista-Agut seriously lacks weapons and I’m not even sure how he won ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Murray also just took the court for his fourth round match against my countryman Kevin Anderson. I’m quite looking forward to this one as well and hopefully Kevin can put up a better fight than RBA. I’m sure he will  because for one thing he has a much bigger game. He can actually beat anyone if he just keeps it together mentally. He has destroyed Murray before and the outcome of this match will have a lot to do with how well Anderson keeps it together mentally.

Then Djokovic is scheduled to play Tsonga afterwards on center court where I expect him to be triumphant, although Tsonga can possibly make it competitive. Dimitrov also just took the court against Mayer and hopefully he pulls off the win there as well so we can have him playing Murray or Anderson in the quarters. And just as I am about to finish my post Lopez has beaten Isner in four sets. Lopez has really hit a rich vein of form in the grass court season and the match with Stan should be another good one. It’s nice to see Lopez playing that well. He is the only Spaniard that I care for. Well I’m off to watch Murray vs Anderson and maybe some of Djokovic vs Tsonga later on. I see Murray has already broken. Seems like an obvious favorite for this match now. Looking forward to Roger vs Robredo tomorrow, as well as Nadal vs Kyrgios!


Presser: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/interviews/2014-06-28/201406281403984829362.html

Federer Clinical in Second Round Win at Wimbledon

I couldn’t watch much of this match as it was the last match on Center Court and the WTA did a good job as usual of holding up the play. I just watched some of the first and second sets and then caught the highlights on youtube. From the start, I could see that Roger found a very good rhythm on his serve. In fact, I don’t remember the last time he looked so smooth on the serve. The match stats says it all. 25 aces is high over three sets in anyone’s book and only one double fault. The 77% first serves made is ridiculously high, and so is the percentage of points won on first and second serves. It doesn’t get any better than that on serve and I really think the new racquet is helping Roger in that department. The rest of the stats are just as impressive. I said in my last post that I expect Roger to tighten things up, especially in the break point conversions, and that is exactly what he did.

4/6 break points converted is good for anyone, let alone Roger Federer. Roger didn’t approach the net much, but he still won a high percentage in the forecourt. The 44-5 winner to unforced error ratio is highly impressive as well. Finally, Roger didn’t face a single break point on his serve and broke serve four times himself to win 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. Just an extremely efficient and clinical performance and nothing less will do if he wants to win the tournament. This is because the rest of the big four continues to impress. Nadal was thoroughly tested by Rosol again but this time he prevailed 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4. I watched this one and was amazed to find that Rosol was playing exactly the way he played when he beat Nadal in 2012. The difference being that Nadal never gets upset consecutively by the same player and this time he was up to the challenge.

As good as it gets

Rosol came out blazing away again, just hitting aces and winners at will almost. He breezed through the first set and went a break up in the second. It looked like this time he could make short work of Nadal, but I was stunned by Nadal’s mental strength yet again. He came back from a break to force the tie-break and in the pivotal tie-break he came back from a break again after Rosol was up 5-4 with two service points in hand. Nadal also saved a set point at 5-6. It is honestly scary how mentally strong Nadal is. I hate his game and the way he competes, but you have no choice but to respect his mental strength. It is without a doubt the best in history. Rosol himself was fearless yet again, showing no signs of intimidation from Nadal like just about everyone else does. That in itself was impressive.

He even deliberately knocked over Nadal’s water bottle at a change of ends. But Nadal remained unfazed and got his revenge. Unreal. Now you better believe Nadal will make semis, if not win the tournament. But as Fedfans it won’t do us much good to focus on what he is doing. I am just happy with the way Roger plays because with the way he plays at least he will have a chance if he faces Nadal in the semis. Roger now plays Giraldo who beat Granollers in a marathon 5-setter. I can’t imagine that Giraldo would do much damage with the way Roger is playing and I expect another straight set win. Looking a bit further on in the draw Janowicz beat Hewitt in five sets and it looks like Roger could face him in the last 16. Janowicz can be dangerous but not really with the way he played this year so far.

Clenched fist after a job well done

Then Stan is looking pretty good as well, while Lopez and Isner should be interesting in the next round. It should be between the three of them as to whom Roger faces if he makes the quarters, and it is impossible to call a favorite as to who it will be. Roger’s draw looks good for him to make semis, but that is looking too far ahead. In the top half, Djokovic was thoroughly tested by a rampant Stepanek. I watched some of that and Stepanek was playing out of his skin. So I wouldn’t make much of the close scoreline. Djokovic also beat Simon handily today, and will face Tsonga in the last 16. Tsonga’s 14-12 win in the fifth set over Querrey in the second round would have boosted his confidence and he can potentially be another test of Djokovic. But Djokovic is looking good. I’m sure he will make semis at least, but probably the final.

As for Murray, he still has to play today against Bautista-Agut which I will be watching. Bautista-Agut just won the title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and it should be another very watchable encounter. Already this Wimbledon have delivered some great matches and I expect that to continue. Murray is looking sharp himself after losing just two games to his previous opponent. As for my dark horse Dimitrov, he may bite the dust today already because he is down two sets to one against very talented Dolgopolov. It is nice to see that another talent is coming through and continuing the good form he has showed so far this year after he has been too inconsistent for some time, so I don’t really care who wins. I like Dolgopolov’s flashy game too. Well, I’m off to go watch the conclusion of the Dimitrov/Dolgopolov match.

Enjoy the tennis!


Ps. I forgot to mention that the roof was closed after the rain stopped play at 3-3 in the second set. You better start praying for rain so long in case of a Fedal semi-final. No doubt that would make Roger the favorite.


Presser: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/interviews/2014-06-26/201406271403865544559.html

Federer Rolls Into Wimbledon Second Round with Win Over Lorenzi

Well, that was about the kind of start that was needed from Roger if he was going to have a chance at winning #18 at SW19. Roger looked quite impressive in a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Lorenzi. The break point conversion rate was poor again but other than that it was a very solid performance. If this was the second round I would be concerned about the break point conversions, but since it is first round I will let him off the hook. Everything else looked good. The serve was top notch again with 70% first serves, 9 aces, and only one double fault. The forehand was looking lethal at times and there was some nice backhand down the line shots as well. The returning, movement, and volleys all looked sharp as well. The break point conversion rate I expect to improve in the next round so this is as good a start as you could have asked from Roger.

The problem is the form of the rest of the top four. They are all looking awfully good too. Of course, an important match was the one between Nadal and Klizan, and I paid special attention to that. Nadal ended up winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, the exact same score he beat Klizan at the French Open with last year. In doing so, Nadal reached his 700th career singles win while Roger is currently on 957 wins, closing in fast on the 1000 milestone. Watching the first game of the match Klizan went up 40-0 on Nadal’s serve right off the bat and I thought the upset was on the cards again, but Nadal held serve with his usual tenacity. Klizan did, however, win the first set, and I was impressed with his game. He looked exactly like the kind of player that could upset Nadal because he had a big game and he was left-handed like Nadal.

The 2:1 winner to unforced error ratio were impressive as well

He looked mentally good as well because at 4-4 and 40-30 he pulled a huge psyche job on Nadal when Nadal had a second serve on break point down. Klizan moved way over to the middle of the court and left a big space open out wide, inviting Nadal to go to that side. It clearly confused Nadal as he double faulted and handed the break to Klizan, something you would never see under normal conditions. Klizan was also clutch at 5-4 and 30-30 when he went for a big second serve and pulled it off. It was exciting stuff, but Nadal broke almost immediately in the second set and then it was one-way traffic. Klizan could not keep up his level from the first set and went away mentally. It was depressing and disappointing after he had my hopes up. I have already said the first round will probably be Nadal’s biggest test.

And he did extremely well under the circumstances. I can now easily see him winning the title again. That said, I don’t give him a better chance than the rest of the big four. In my opinion, they all now have an equal chance of winning the title, which makes this a very interesting year at Wimbledon. After Nadal’s match, I was kind of disappointed and depressed, but then I decided just to enjoy the tournament as a whole. I still think Nadal is the favorite against anyone else than the rest of the big four, and I think he will make semis. But from there on it’s anyone’s title probably. I know I have said that Roger’s chances against Nadal is slim, but I don’t even want to look that far ahead. I just want to enjoy this highly fascinating tournament and not get caught up in expectations and hopes.

It was the black, not the gold

It’s not necessary to look ahead to the semis even because there are many other potential exciting match ups. In the top half of the draw, Murray already destroyed his second round opponent today and he is looking very sharp as well. Dimitrov is currently on and serving for the match right now. He is looking very good too and is my dark horse of the tournament. I obviously don’t think he will win it this year, but he can cause a big upset or two. He is drawn to play Murray in the quarters which is a mouth watering prospect. Then Djokovic destroyed his first round opponent as well and was looking just as impressive. It was good to see how well he is bouncing back after the French Open disappointment and he looks as desperate as anyone to prove himself by winning the title.

Each one of the big four desperately wants to prove something here, and they are all looking awfully good. Roger is playing again tomorrow against Muller after Muller took out Benneteau. Roger has played Muller three times and leads the head-to-head 3-0. Muller is a big server who can be a challenge on grass, but of course I expect Roger to get through in his current form. Nadal now plays against Rosol who he lost to in 2012. A lot of people seem hopeful that Rosol can do the impossible again but in my opinion that is like hoping lighting will strike twice in the same place. Rosol won’t be in the zone again and Nadal never gets upset consecutively by the same player. It is more likely that Nadal will utterly destroy Rosol. Well, I am off to watch Djokovic vs Stepanek.

Should be very interesting!