Wow what a match! Simply magnificent performance from the GAOT. This was an extraordinary match the likes of which I haven’t see in a while. It was the worst possible start for the GOAT, looking like a frightened child out there. It looked like the two recent losses and all Davydenko’s talk in the media had indeed scared Roger. Personally I was extremely disappointed by Roger’s start. I thought this was the last thing he needed, to show Davydenko that he was full of fear. The way Roger came out gave Davydenko a big shot in the arm. He responded by breaking Roger twice in the first set, and at the start of the second set he broke again. At this point I felt like the match could be over very quickly, and was seriously questioning Roger’s GOAT status.
How can someone who won 15 slam titles look so scared of a virtual nobody, compared to himself? It just didn’t seem right. I knew for a fact Sampras was never scared of anybody, and Roger’s fear against Rafa and in the past and first set today, really had me doubting. However, it wasn’t going to be long before my doubts would be put to rest. At 2-3 in the second set the shadows had finally overcome the sunlight, and covered Rod Laver Arena. As I told you in my last post, a day match would favor Davydenko, while a night match would favor Roger. It was uncanny then that as soon as the shadows passed over centre court, Roger made his move. With Davydenko serving, Roger managed to somehow produce a break point, and he took full advantage with a stunning cross court forehand winner on the run.
This was the key point of the match where everything changed. Roger broke again at 4-3, after challenging a cross court forehand passing shot that was called out at 30-0. It turned out to have clipped the line, and for a second time in the match Roger had gotten a challenge right. He then took the break point at 40-0 to to break to love. From here on Roger went on a 13 game winning streak. It began at 3-1 in the second set and ended at 2-0 in the third, when Davydenko finally held serve. Davydenko started to show signs of a revival, as he broke back in the fourth set. However, Roger would get the break once more at 4-4, and at 5-4 and serving for the match he held a match point at 40-30. Incredibly Davydenko would hit two return winner off first serves, and broke Roger with a backhand cross court passing shot.
This was nervous times, because Davydenko was starting to gain momentum again. If Davydenko managed to push this match into a fifth set, any result was possible. But again Roger would come up with the goods. He broke Davydenko at 5-5, after he pressured him into missing a forehand approach that tipped the net and went long. Then at 6-5 Roger was not going to be denied again, as he held serve to love. Just another astonishing win by the GAOT. The fact that he denied Davydenko the fourth set, was an astonishing feat in itself. The fact that Davydenko could break Roger twice in a short period in the fourth set was an ominous sign, yet Roger still found a way to win without entering a tie break. Also the way Roger turned things around after a shocking start was legendary.
With this win Roger has now extended his grand slam semi-final streak to 23, and reinforced his GAOT status in the process. This was a significant win on many levels. After the exit of Rafa in the quarter finals, and the exit of Djokovic against Tsonga today, Roger has once again shown that he is simply in another dimension than these guys. I mean Rafa and Djokovic is several years younger than Roger, yet Roger keeps performing better than them in the slams. Rafa’s loss against Murray in the quarter-finals was another big setback for the Spaniard, as he withdrew in the third set with yet another knee injury. This win from Roger is a tribute to his economic game style, peRFect technique, and athleticism.
Someone like Rafa has written off his body at age 23, just to be able to rival Roger at the top for a few years. Yet Roger keeps notching up the wins in slams at age 28 as if it’s nothing at all. There is still some deluded Rafa fans and haters that has to understand once and for all that Roger Federer is in a class of his own. There is no one in today’s highly competitive men’s game that comes even close to him. Davydenko has beaten Roger twice in a row now outside of slams, one of those wins coming at the Masters Cup. Yet when it came to a grand slam, Roger again put him back firmly in his place. I mean you run out of words to describe what this individual is doing in tennis. The Federer legend is still growing, make no mistake about it.
For me Roger is now the favorite to win this slam for the fourth time. I am someone who is usually very optimistic about Roger’s tennis, but even I was having my doubts about Roger’s chances of beating Davydenko today. The performance against Hewitt did give me hope though. Having said that, the start of the match was horrible from Roger today, and I thought this was truly the end of the semi-final streak. Roger is hard to understand at times. But I guess that is just the nature of genius. In a way he is quite an emotional player, but he finds a way around that to still be incredibly consistent in the slams. Roger admitted after the match that he took a bathroom break to use up time, so that the remaining sunshine on court could be extinguished by the shadows, however little amount.
That makes me think: What if the women’s matches did not both go into three sets? What if it was over sooner? That would have meant that Roger may not have gotten that break in the second set, which means that he may not have recovered in time to beat Davydenko! But it never ceases to amaze me how the gods seems to be on Roger’s side. I guess they really like Roger, because he is just such a clean guy. They can’t help but love and favor him. Lol! It’s as if the universe conspired to give him a chance to extend his semi-final streak just a little bit longer. As you know by now, I just love being a Fedfanatic! Roger now faces Tsonga, who upset Djokovic in a pretty strange match that went to five sets. The score was 7-6(8), 6-7(5), 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Djokovic was suffering from vomiting and diarrhea before the match, and I think during the match as well. It’s a bit of a shame and I feel a bit sorry for Djokovic. This is now the second year in a row that he has health problems, after he withdrew against Roddick in the quarter finals last year due to heat stroke. All credit to Tsonga though, who makes the semi-finals of the Oz Open for a second time now. He has also played two five setters in a row, after never having played a five set match prior to his match against Almagro in the fourth round. I wonder if Tsonga’s long matches of late will have an effect on his performance against Roger. Tsonga is a great athlete. so it won’t necessarily affect him much. As I said before, if Roger wins his quarter final match, I expect him to go all the way.
I don’t think Tsonga will stop him, and neither do I think Murray or Cilic can stop him. I expect Murray to be in the final, and even though he has looked particularly sharp in the tournament, I still have to favor the GOAT. The Davydenko match was worthy of a final, but the scary thing is that Roger can probably even play better than he did against Davydenko. I mean the first set was not exactly vintage Federer now was it? Murray faces Cilic in the first semi-final tomorrow. Cilic had yet another five set win over Roddick, and even though he beat Murray at the US Open in straight sets, I think it ends here for him. Murray has been looking very sharp and Cilic surely have to be be out of gas by now.
It does look like a Federer/Murray final doesn’t it? That would be a terrific final, but we’re not there yet and you just never know with tennis. Congrats to Roger for reaching a 23rd straight grand slam semi-final, and may the streak continue for many more years!