Australian Open Rd 2: Federer Continues to Impress Over Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Hello guys. I never had the time to preview Roger’s second round match against Davydenko in my last post. Roger had a staggering 17-2 head-to-head record over the dangerous Davydenko before this match. Roger really has some amazing head-to-head records over some very good players like Davydenko, Roddick, Ferrer, etc. Davydenko did make the final of Doha where he lost to Gasquet after being a set and a break up, so he was in good form. When the draw came out everyone was going on about what a tough second round this would be for Roger, yet he made it look easy. I was very impressed with Roger in his first round and I was equally impressed with this match. Not because it was another masterclass, but simply because of the efficiency with which he defeated a dangerous opponent.  He won without expending much energy while at the same time not using up his best form.

I thought it was important against Paire to get off to a flying start, just to make his intentions clear to the tennis world after being on the side line since the Masters Cup. People also doubted him because of his draw, and I don’t think there are many people now who doubts that he can make it at least to the semi-finals. Roger drew first blood against Davydenko when he broke at 3-2, after Davydenko steered a backhand cross court wide. At 5-3 he served out the set to love, and closed out the set with a forehand volley winner after following his serve to the net. He was playing attacking tennis and dominated with his serve and forehand. Davydenko is a very attacking player himself, but he simply doesn’t possess the heavy artillery that Roger possesses . Neither does he possess the same variation. Taking those things into account it is not hard to see why Roger now has a 18-2 head-to-head record against Davydenko.

In the second set Roger broke at 1-1 after opening the court up with a superbly times backhand, and then doing the finishing with that lethal forehand. Roger’s backhand was looking very solid against Paire and that was the case again against Davydenko. He hit a couple of stunning backhand down the line winners in this match as well. At 5-4 and 40-15 in the second set Roger forced the short return with a serve, after which he cleaned up with the forehand to go up two sets to love. It was once again that lethal combo that did the damage. Roger then proceeded to break to love in the first game of the third set after a double fault from the Russian. Roger consolidated on serve with one of those masterfully executed drop shots that left Davydenko stranded on the base line. Roger then continued to dominate on serve and served an ace on match point to close out in style.

Pretty in pink

The GOAT dominated this match with his serve and ended with a very high 68% first serves. And like I said he backed it up with his forehand as well as net play. The unforced errors outnumbered the winners by 42-35, while Roger only converted 3/13 on break points. So he was obviously playing within himself and just did what was needed. That is the advantage of having one of the best serves and forehands in the history of the game. Roger can rely on those two alone to win matches for him without having to be at his very best. Even against a quality opponent like Davydenko. I have been extremely impressed with Roger so far. He had a slightly disappointing indoor season last year considering it is probably his favorite part of the season, but still ended very well at the Masters Cup.

So I had a lot of hope for 2013, but you are never sure just what is gonna happen after such a break from the tour. What was next after scaling the heights of 2012? What would keep him motivated? Would Roger 3.0 stick around? Those were all questions at the back of my mind, even though they weren’t exactly bothering me. And then of course he got a really tough draw in Melbourne. So it has been a small revelation to see his form so far. The way he ended 2012, the exhos in South-America, the break from the tour, and the training all contributed to get Roger in prime shape for the start of the 2013 season. When I look at the highlights of his matches I can’t help thinking he must be very close to prime form. People tend to think that at 31 years of age that is simply not possible, but with Roger I guess anything is p0ssible.

If prime Roger(or Roger 1.0) was better than Roger 3.0, then it is by a very small margin. It is just incredible how well Roger moves and how cleanly he strikes the ball at the age of 31. It is almost like he didn’t age at all. People have to take into account that the competition have caught up as well. I mean Djokovic and Murray have both been playing some amazing tennis. Everyone has really gotten better. It is just impossible to keep dominating the way Roger 1.0 did. It is just a given that the field will catch up. So if Roger’s level have fallen from his prime days I think it is very marginal. Roger now comes up against Tomic, the potential match that had everyone talking before the tournament. Before Roger’s first match and after following the interviews with Roger and Tomic, I would be lying of I said I wasn’t a bit worried about this match.

Pink has never looked this good

But now I can honestly say that I am not as worried as before. I still think Tomic can win a set, but I’d be surprised if he wins more. Tomic won his first round easily but had a tough four setter against Brands yesterday, winning 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-6(3), 7-6(8). That doesn’t impress me all that much. Sure Tomic’s form was good up until Melbourne, but lets not forget the spanking Roger gave him last year. I think Tomic has improved since then which is why I believe he can win a set and make it competitive, but I just don’t see how he can beat Roger. So my prediction is Roger in four, if not straights. Tomic has an interesting game and he is talented, but I feel he lacks the weapons to really trouble Roger. As long as Roger keeps playing attacking tennis the way he has been, I think he will be just fine. He can once again dominate the match with his serve and forehand.

Elsewhere in the draw Djokovic and Murray has been moving along smoothly as well. Apparently Djokovic was impressive in his second round match against Harrison, schooling him 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. Obviously Djokovic remains a huge threat for the title, but there is a long way to go before we will start worrying about him. My friend Jonathan informed me that Roger said the courts are indeed playing a little faster, although I couldn’t find it in his presser after scanning over it quickly. If that is the case then it is another encouraging thing. Today Djokovic is playing against Stepanek which just started and which I will watch as soon as I’m done here. I think Djokovic will get it done in straight sets without much trouble, but it will be nice to be able to see him in action for the first time anyway.

I have three days off now hence the longish post. I will also be able to watch Roger against Tomic so I am excited about that. Then I will do another write-up on Saturday. In GOAT we trust!

Highlights: 

Presserhttp://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2013-01-17/201301171358421138574.html

Posted in Uncategorized.

26 Comments

  1. Great stuff Ru-an. I honestly think Fed will be very sharp against Tomic and he’ll want to prove a point. A dominating win, or even just a good straight sets win, would really send a message to the rest of the field that he is still a huge force to contend with.

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    Vily Reply:

    I agree! :-)

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  2. Hey Ru-an! Hello everyone!

    Nice post as usual! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s match. It will be good test for Roger. I expect straight set victory although a four-setter might not surprise me. Let’s hope for an exhibition display from Roger in order to shut Tomic up.

    It’s badly needed so that we can back on course! The Raonic – Kohlschreiber encounter will be interesting to look at the result so we’ll see what’d the state of Raonic’s game as well.

    Let’s go Roger!

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  3. Hi, Ruan. Thanks for keeping us updated. I appreciate it a lot. Couldn’t see the match myself unfortunately. Saw some of the Djokovic-Stepanek-match and the Anderson-Verdasco-match this morning. Congratualations! Your compatriot Kevin Anderson has been playing an amazing fifth set and send Verdasco packing. Waw. Great stuff! I hope he keeps improving his game.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are most welcome Wilfried. Same for me. I saw some of the Djokovic and Anderson matches. Djokovic looked decent but not overly impressive. Great win for Kevin who I know from my tennis days. Happy for him.

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  4. Hi, I just read an article in ATP site that Nadal will be coming back to ATP world tour on Feb 4. He’ll be playing 3 clay court tournaments in South America/Mexico this year. This will affect David Ferrer’s title defense for sure.

    Anyway, looking forward to Federer-Tomic match. I hope Roger will win it in straight sets.

    All the best Roger!!!

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  5. Great post Ru-an. I am very excited to see Roger take apart Tomic tomorrow. Roger sometimes has trouble dealing with big time heavy hitters when they’re firing on all cylinders (Delpo @ US, Byrdych), or relentless grinders, but what makes Tomic such a great up and comer is his “guile” – and there is simply nobody that can out finesse the Swiss Maestro. I think Roger will teach him another big time lesson. I came across this video of the court announcer introducing Roger at the Australian Open and thought you guys would enjoy seeing someone try to intro the GOAT with so many of his accomplishments in just 1 minute. Awesome! Go Fed! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4AcRwp3HnI

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  6. I am excited about the match vs Tomic later today. I think Roger’s backhand is looking good and he definitely is in good form and the media has been under rating him.

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  7. Greetings Ru-an! Have been diligently reading your blogs, today is another “thumbs up”! Thank you for keeping me up-to-date on Roger’s performances. Have not seen much of his matches as they come on rather late for me…at my age, I need all the beauty sleep I can get…ha-ha-ha. Seriously, am happy Roger is doing well so far, he will win tonight when he plays the Australian youngster.
    Ru-an, I like the new look on your blog….Roger will be giving his 18th trophy a kiss in 2013.
    “Bubbly Victoria” is so lucky to be able to see Roger LIVE…have enjoyed her comments as well.
    Signing off with hoping of Roger’s win, one match at a time.
    Oh, I love Roger’s pink shoes, they are neat!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  8. Veronica,
    Oops, I made a “boo-boo”, called you Victoria, my apologies. Know you will forgive this ole’ Grandma for memory lapse!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  9. For all that talk.Fed breaks Tomic 1st game of the match.GOAT off to flier

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    Chris Reply:

    Tiebreak second set, after RF missing XXX break points :-(

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    Chris Reply:

    And he just made the second set, and I need a drink…

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  10. Overall, a Masterclass performance from Roger Federer tonight! :-) ) I am very impressed with his display today considering that Tomic played out of this world today.

    I especially loved that Tie-break from Roger. He took care of business and that’s what counts!!!

    I believe that only he and Djokovic are the only two in the draw that aren’t broken!!!

    I could nitpick about his break point conversions rate but the fact that he finished strong, didn’t get broken and won in straight just makes everything better.

    The courts are playing faster this year and I like Roger’s chances. Actually the fact that his draw is the toughest may make his chances to lift a 5th Australian Open Titke that much tougher.

    I expect a much tougher affair with Raonic and possibly Tsonga but at least those two matches will be played during the day so that gives Roger an advantage!

    Let’s hope he keeps this up. Roger really impressed me tonight. Absolutely brilliant performance!

    Bravo to the Maestro!!! Bravo!!! :-) )

    PS. Delpo lost today btw! I like Chardy!

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    Vily Reply:

    Actually the fact that his draw is the toughest may make his chances to lift a 5th Australian Open Titke that much better. I feel that he is improving with every match!!! ;-)

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    jason Reply:

    Murray seems to have a shoulder injury but he kept going and won in straights. We will see how bad the injury is in the next matches. He’s quite lucky to get Gilles Simon who just looked totally exhausted after that marathon 5-setter.

    If Murray’s injury is pretty bad, then it seems Roger’s draw is getting easier. Still not easy with the prospect of Tsonga in QF.

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  11. Hi all, and thanks Ru-an. There was some substance to the hype, but not quite enough. Tomic is definitely improving by leaps and bounds but Federer played masterfully and won without being broken. A brilliant match not in terms of shotmaking but for tactics and intensity it couldn’t be beat!

    Now for another young hotshot, Raonic.

    Veronica, you’re lucky to be able to watch Roger beat Tomic live! How’d it go?

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    V Reply:

    second set-5 all,30 all on Tomic’s server-best point of the match if not the tournament.who said Fed is not a good defensive player.that lob was a most majestic nonchalant flick

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  12. Federer played a really clean match – 40 winners to UEs I think, and despite the score, Tomic really impressed in the 1st two sets. He would have beaten most people.

    something maybe you guys might have noticed? – Federer was wearing a shit under his normal shirt in the 3rd set. I remember in Wimbledon he had wore one in that match vs Malisse when he had some back pain issues. Hopefully there is no connection. You can always tell he’s a bit tight when his serve tosses are lower, and I didn’t notice that here.

    I was a bit annoyed Del Potro slipped up in his comeback. This makes Murray’s path to the SF almost a formality to be honest. Even Cilic lost. So basically Murray will get either Seppi or Chardy as a QF opponent (!?) That’s a joke…Federer will have a much tougher time vs Raonic, where every set is basically going to a winner- take all shootout tiebreak. And then Tsonga. So in that sense Murray will be relatively rested I think.

    I have been worrying myself watching youtube highlights from Fed-Roanic Indian Wells, Halle, and Madrid. If it’s a day match, then the courts will be faster, so I think this helps the big server…but Federer could survive Raonic at super-fast and slick Halle, so have to be optimistic….

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  13. Roger has been serving lights out thus far and I am optimistic about his chances. He looks to have a great return game and even if he is not converting all of his break point chances at least he is creating a bunch of them and thus far he hasn’t been broken.

    If he keeps thus up he is getting to the semis and possibly the finals. Raonic and Tsonga are both tough opponents but thus far Toger has great records against them and last year he had a great head 2 head.

    I think that confidence is the key here and I am sure that Roger got a lot if confidence from beating Tomic yesterday in straight set and a brilliant match. He hasn’t had a bad match so far so I think that JesusFed is here to stay!

    Nevertheless it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the day sessions once again. But from what I’ve seen I am very impressed. As long as keeps this level of play, he’ll be fine! :-) )

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