I suggested in my last post that the Andreev match would give Roger a lot of confidence, and that seems to be exactly what happened. With this clinical performance today it is safe to say that Roger is now back on form after a shaky start to the year. It did take a bit of a scare against Andreev, but Roger once again has to be the favorite to take this title. Still it won’t be easy, and there are several possible stumbling blocks on his way to the title. It’s just that I feel much more confident now that he can overcome those stumbling blocks. It was pretty much a clinic from Roger out there today. As you can see the first serve percentage was a very healthy 67%, the winners outnumbered the unforced errors by 52-16, and Roger won the point 81% of the time when he approached the net.
You can’t ask for a much cleaner performance that that. Roger’s forehand was clicking really well, hitting winner after winner from that side. The most important thing was that he moved well. Once he moves well the rest fall into place. Roger broke serve twice in the first set, once in the second set, and twice in the third. I was hoping for a bagel in the final set, and it almost happened as Roger had break points at 4-0. Hanescu did well to hang in there though and had a break point of his own with Roger serving for the match at 5-2. Roger was not in the mood to be broken today though, and held serve for the win. I must say I am happy and relieved by this performance after a shaky start to the year for Roger. I guess it’s simply a given that Roger brings his best form for the slams, no matter what happened beforehand.
Next for Roger is Albert Montanes, who won his match against a guy called Robert today after losing the first two sets. Pretty good effort from the Spaniard but this is where it ends for him. Not only will this match have taken it’s physical toll on him, but Roger is in no mood for making donations at the moment. Not on the tennis court anyway. I think this should be another straight set win for Roger. In the next bracket of the draw Baghdatis is playing against Hewitt. The winner of that match should be a better test for Roger. Baghdatis staged an epic comeback today against David Ferrer, winning from two sets and a break down. It was one of the best matches of the tournament thus far. Baghdatis actually started to cramp in the final game of the match and he couldn’t serve properly.
This win will also give Baghdatis confidence and I’m picking him to beat Hewitt, who won in straight sets over Donald Young today. He already beat Hewitt in the tournament in Sydney before the Oz Open. It should be a very interesting third round match nonetheless. The crowd will get pretty vocal as well, with both players having a lot of support in Australia. The other favorites, Davydenko and Djokovic, also had relatively easy wins. Davydenko won in straight sets and Djokovic in four. Then Tsonga looked impressive in a straight set win over Dent. I like what Tsonga is looking like, and it looks like we are going to have a Djokovic/Tsonga quarter final. Tsonga is a dark horse and I won’t be surprised if he faces Roger in the semi-finals.
Prince William and King Federer
He faces Tommy Haas next though, who beat Janko Tipsarevic in five sets. Haas is a dangerous player and that should be another good match between him and Tsonga. Verdasco is also still looking good and I’m very much looking forward to a probable fourth round match between him and Davydenko. Looking at tomorrow’s action, the match that promises a lot is the match between Isner and Monfils. Also Cilic vs Wawrinka and Karlovic vs Ljubicic could be interesting. I expect both Rafa and Delpo to advance to the next round without too many problems. It will be good to watch their matches nonetheless. Finally, Prince William, the future king of England, came to watch Roger’s match today.
Apparently Prince William is an avid tennis fan, but word has it that the real reason for his visit to the Australian Open was to ask King Federer what it takes to a true king (don’t tell them that I told you).