Very nice start it was from the champ and true world number one. I watched some of this on live stream and although the quality wasn’t very good it was obvious that Roger’s quality was indeed very good. The match stats indicate a very clean match which it was. Lacko was never expected to give Roger much opposition, but he did manage to bagel Nadal in Doha. Lets not forget that. I mean the guy can play some decent tennis. Roger was just so solid from the back court though that Lacko got a complete schooling. It was the ideal start to the event for Roger. He sends a strong message to the rest of the field with a win like this. For me it is important that Roger keeps winning easily and that way put pressure on the rest of the field, especially his main rivals. That is what I have been expecting him to do anyway with the way he comes into this event.
I have said that I think he will make the final without too much problems. I think he will probably drop one or two sets like last year. Maybe even less. Last year he was in JesusFed mode and I expect the same this year. He is simply untouchable in that mode. Roger produced a lot of break points and converted on half of them. It means he failed to convert on 7 break points but it’s still not bad for a first round. If you have that many break points you don’t have to convert on all of them anyway. We know the break point conversion is something that Roger slips up on sometimes so it will be interesting to watch throughout the event. I expect Roger to tighten things up with every match so that when he plays his main rivals that his break point conversion rate goes above 50% at least. Roger now plays against Gilles Simon who he has a negative h2h of 0-2 against.
This is quite an interesting match given the negative h2h, which isn’t something many players can brag with against Roger. Those two losses were neither in slams however and you can expect something entirely different from this match. Simon is the retriever/counter punch type of player that has given Roger some problems in the past. But as I said in my previous post, I think Annacone’s influence will play a big part in him overcoming these kind of players. To me it has been a lack of game plan and decisiveness in the past that has caused him to have problems with these players(Nadal, Murray, Simon). He has the tools that these players should never have to give him problems, but he was too stubborn in the past, trying to beat these players at their own game. This has cost him many important titles, but it was necessary for him to wake up.
I think he realizes now that he has to bring his most attacking game against these players. You just can’t allow these players to lull you into a sort of sleep from the back of the court. As always the match is on Roger’s racquet. He just has to take advantage of that fact. The best offesnse is always better than the best defense and that is what Roger has at his disposal. I will be surprised if Simon wins a set. Simon played in the final of Sydney last week and now had a tough 4 set match against Lu. Not that being rested would have helped him much. He will simply be no match for the GOAT. Looking at the third round so long, Montanes and Malisse will play to face the winner of Roger and Simon. Mardy Fish also pulled off a five set win to make the second round and could face Roger later. Elsewhere in the draw Monfils made an escape in 5 sets.
A seed that crashed out was Davydenko. I just don’t understand how he plays the final of Doha and then plays in Kooyong as well. I don’t think he has his priorities set up right. It’s always about the money for him. He gets what he deserves. Sam Querrey also lost so Roger won’t be facing him in the fourth round. Day 2 of the Oz Open will feature Nadal playing against a joke player called Daniel. The matches that I am looking forward to is Del Potro vs Sela and Hewitt vs Nalbandian. I hope the two Argentines can pull through but it won’t be easy. Both of them has the potential to go further in the event and so some damage but my gut says that they probably won’t. Nalbandian is getting over his best now while Del Potro hasn’t had enough matches yet. It would be very nice indeed if they both could make surprise runs into the quarter finals though.
One down and 6 to go then. All aboard the GOATship!