Australian Open Rd 3: JesusFed def Karlovic 7-6(6), 7-5, 6-3, Tomic Rises to the Occasion

Well that was a pretty impressive performance from the 30-year-old GOAT. How privileged are we to be a fan of someone who plays such inspiring tennis at such a late stage in his career? This was such a clean, efficient performance from Roger that I had no hesitation in calling this his JesusFed mode. The 55/13 winner to unforced error rate is testament to that. The first serve percentage was above 60% again which is always good, and although he converted only 2/6 break points you can’t expect more against a huge server like Karlovic. The score was the same as the Wimbledon 2009 match, although on that occasion it was 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(3). In the first set tie break Karlovic got the break at 5-5 after actually dominating Roger  in a base line rally, and had a set point on serve at 6-5. Luckily Karlovic missed his first serve and Roger would have a look at a second.

Roger chipped the backhand return to Karlovic’s feet and Karlovic could only come up with a weak half volley to Roger’s forehand. It should have been an easy pass but Roger made the mistake of hitting the ball straight to Karlovic who hit a reflex volley that fell just over the net. This was not a good position for Roger to be in, but his genius saved him as he hit a lob over the tall giant which he could only get his frame on. Roger had made a another great escape. On the next point Roger hit a stunning backhand return winner to break Karlovic and on set point he let rip with a loud ‘Come on!’ as he forced a return error from the Croatian. There were quite a few loud roars like that and it was great to see Roger totally into it. The second set was close again and it looked like we might have another tie break.

With Karlovic serving to force the tie break at 5-6, Roger came up with some sweet backhand passes and got the break to take the second set. Karlovic was playing some great tennis but it was clear that the GOAT was slowly breaking his resolve. I then predicted a 6-3 set and got it right. Not quite as impressive as Booya who got the whole score right! Roger got the break in the third set at 2-1 with a sick backhand return winner which reminded a lot of a backhand return winner which he hit against Karlovic at Wimbledon. I don’t know if you remember it but it was also a stretch out wide on his backhand on the ad court. He had no right to make the winner but with unreal control he steered it down the line. The one in this match was very similar aside from the fact that the trajectory of the ball was high and dropped in at the last minute, and it was on break point.

Therefor this one was even more special. After that it was just a question of holding serve which was no problem. It was really a terrific win for Roger after not playing a match for three days. If he keeps this kind of form up I think he can make at least the final here. I say final because Djokovic is still looking in ominous form. He opened the bakery again in his second round when he breadsticked Giraldo 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. Murray opened the bakery himself against Roger-Vasselin with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 win. Of course Nadal also played today and he had a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Lacko. You gotta laugh at Nadal’s draw, especially now that Isner also lost to Lopez in five sets. This means Nadal is playing one of his favorite Spanish whipping boys for a place in the quarters. At least Berdych is still in. Not that he can cause Nadal an awful lot of problems.

I won’t even be surprised if Berdych loses to Almagro and Nadal gets pretty much a cakewalk to the semis. It doesn’t matter though. Roger’s tough draw will come in handy if he meets Nadal in the semis. It is good preparation, especially since he had one match off. Roger will now face Tomic, who as I predicted would have the edge over Dolgopolov. It was just that though, and edge, because it was a very close match which Tomic ended up winning 4-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3. I thought this would be an interesting match and it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed this match immensely. It was crafty stuff. You certainly wouldn’t see a match with more slices. Both these players have very good slices and they would often get involved in base line rallies where they would go toe to toe on the slice backhands.

Tomic looked a bit nervous in the first set again. He was a break up but dropped serve immediately and then again to lose the first set. In the second set T0mic broke again but again he dropped serve immediately. Tomic was slowly taking control however and bageled Dolgopolov in the tie break. The second set was another tie break in which Tomic showed just what a big stage player he is. The third set was always gonna be crucial. In the fourth set Tomic didn’t show much interest as we fittingly headed into a fifth set. In the first game of the fifth set there was some controversy. It was a long game where Tomic had to save break points. Then on game point a rally ensued and a shot from Dolgopolov was called out by someone in the crowd. Tomic signaled to challenge but the rally carried on and Dologopolov made an error.

The fact that Tomic challenged distracted Dolgopolov. The umpire then looked at Tomic who said he didn’t challenge. Of course there are many people who hates Tomic and will use this opportunity to criticize him. But they will conveniently overlook the fact that someone in the crowd yelled ‘out’. If that didn’t happen Tomic would probably not have challenged. I’m not trying to make Tomic innocent here, but it is clearly a lot more complicated than the haters would make it appear. Tomic soon broke serve then and won this epic match. You have to feel sorry for Dolgopolov but this decision from the umpire was nothing compared to the Nalbandian controversy. The umpire in that match made a blatant error and it was on break point. This issue was much more complicated and it was not on break point.

It had no bearing on the outcome of the match as far as I’m concerned. Tomic was just too good here, even though by a small margin. He really showed great big match temperament to win this match and he is certainly a player for the future. He is a very intelligent tennis player and I like the way he messes with the minds of his opponents. A large part of this match he looked like he was losing, but that is just a way of putting his opponent to sleep. It really is quite fascinating to watch. The casual observer won’t appreciate what Tomic brings to the court and will call his game boring and all kinds of negative things. But he is truly unique and therefor like a breath of fresh air. Now I will get the match I was hoping for between him and Roger. I can’t see the 19-year-old kid upsetting the GOAT however.

I am just looking forward to see how Roger negotiates the lulling game of Tomic. I think Roger will just have too much firepower for the Aussie. Tomic isn’t really quick. His footwork is quite slow. If Roger serves well and make the forehand do the talking I don’t see how Tomic is gonna keep up. Tomic is basically the opposite of Karlovic. I mean they are really at opposite sides of the spectrum as tennis players. Karlovic basically relies on one shot and he doesn’t like rallying. It is basically a reactionary game against him. Tomic on the other hand doesn’t have anything really big and massages the ball.  He works his opponents over and lulls them to sleep. So I’m sure it will be a challenge for Roger to deal with a completely different opponent. Whereas against Karlovic one or two points decides the match, he will have to win several key points against Tomic to get the job done.

Patience will be key. Roger is experienced enough not to get impatient though. He will know that he can’t just hit winners left and right. So there will be a fine balance. It will have to be controlled aggression. Roger is a master of this and I see him taking care of  Tomic in three or four sets. Del Potro also won easily in straight sets against Lu and is looking strong for a quarter final place. He is facing Kohlschreiber next who is no pushover. Kohlschreiber is talented enough to upset the big names. It will be a test for Del Potro and it could reveal whether he is for real this time. I am still not convinced about his form since he came back from injury. If he beat Kohlschreiber then I would be more of a believer. The Tomic match will be a good preparation for Roger no matter what happens in the following rounds anyway.

Although Roger’s draw is tough I like it, and I think he is prepared for it. From here on he can just keep raising his game. Not that he needs to lift it much more. He seems to be in JesusFed mode already which makes him awfully hard to stop. Then against Nadal and Djokovic he needs to be Goderer. As we know Goderer has no equal, but I am getting ahead of myself. Lets take it round for round. Roger will already have his hands full with Tomic. Looking at today I don’t see that many interesting encounters again. I guess the bottom half is where it’s all happening. I expect Djokovic and Murray to have easy wins again. Then the Hewitt/Raonic match could be interesting. You have a huge server against a great returner which makes for good viewing, although Hewitt is not the player he used to be.

I hope you get to see some tennis and that you enjoy!

Highlights:

Presserhttp://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2012-01-20/201201201327045312778.html

The Tomic incident:

Photobucket

 


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67 Comments

  1. thanks for a fantastic post Ruan!
    and hats off to booya for the acurate prediction.
    i disagree about the “jeasusfed” call, though. it very easy to get winners vs karlo, the man doesnt move on the baseline… i hope, like you said, fed will raise his game a bit more with every match. this is not an easy draw at all. no way kolshy is beating delpo, they arent in the same league.
    i hope fed will be super agressive when playing tomic. i didnt like his play. he is worst than murray.

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  2. Oh thank you Ru-an for some of the details of the first two sets. I was on line watching the score and going nuts wondering what Roger was doing since the score was so close. Finally basketball ended and i got to see the third set. Roger was magnificent. Got to see Tomic match today and agree it was good. Mostly wanted to size him up for his match with Roger. I don’t see him beating Roger but think this kid will be in the top four in a few years.I like how Tomic lulls his prey and then strikes but that wont work against Roger or the other top players. Thought Tomic looked spent in the fifth set, Roger knows how to dig deep so the kid better get some rest. Excited for Sunday, Come On Roger.

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    TD Reply:

    Susan,
    What basketball game were you watching? it must have been something special to keep you from watching Federer’s match…

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    booya719 Reply:

    The problem was the sports channel was showing the basketball INSTEAD of the tennis. Forcing us to wait until it was over. We were not “watching it” with any intrigue. Only when the basketball ended did they cut in to the tennis feed and allow us to see the AO.

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    Susan Reply:

    I wasn’t watching basketball. The tv station airing the AO puts tennis on after basketball. Since i moved i dont have tennis channel like i did before. Its very hard. I can get some tournaments online but not all. Im in the states are you too booya> Must be if basketball was messing up your tennis too. Hope when the quarters start we will have full coverage. My landlord wont let me have a dish so im in tennis hell.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ugh that sucks Susan. I hope my blog helps at least a little bit, although it’s not a substitute for live tennis.

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    booya719 Reply:

    It was very descriptive and helpful for us who had to miss the majority of the match.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good!

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    Susan Reply:

    Oh yes RU-AN, the blog helped. By viewing the scores online i could tell those first two sets were close and Roger must has been superb. Thank you again for the play by play.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are welcome Susan!

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    TD Reply:

    Susan and Booya,
    If you are living in the States, have you tried watching through ESPN3 online:
    http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/source/espn3/

    It’s worth trying.

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    Susan Reply:

    Thank you TD, that is a good idea. Before i moved in May i had ESPN# online. Was without a home living here and there for a few months before i took this place. Was feeling so desperate i just ordered internet with present cable co. Will call around for internet that carries ESPN3.

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    steve Reply:

    The Tomic-Dolgopolov encounter was a treat. Dolgopolov is an impish player with a lot of flair and his quick-fire, super-aggressive style versus the languid, almost indolent game of Tomic made for a fantastic contrast. Both players have more than just power and they showed it all off, including those retro-style slice battles.

    By himself, however, I don’t find Tomic to be a very exciting player. He is remarkably gifted technically and, like Federer and Murray, has natural court sense and anticipation. On top of that, he’s mentally strong.

    But he’s somewhat passive, though not as passive as Murray, to whom he’s often compared. He’s better at controlling the tempo of a rally than Murray, I think, because he doesn’t need to do as much scrambling defense. But generally, he prefers to change pace and spin to trick his opponent instead of seeking to open the court to make a winner.

    As I said before, if his tennis is intended to put his opponent to sleep, how can it fail to do the same to the audience?

    A very aggressive player with good variety can blow Tomic away by exploiting his lack of explosiveness and mobility, as Cilic did at the USO.

    Sustaining that level of aggression is very difficult, though. Both Verdasco and Dolgopolov had the shots to do it, but weren’t quite consistent enough. Ultimately, mental weakness doomed Verdasco and fatigue did Dolgopolov in.

    Federer is another caliber of attacking player than those guys, though. When he last played Tomic, he had just come off that tough loss at USO and was perhaps mentally a little weary. This time he will be a lot sharper.

    If Tomic thinks he can keep Federer from going on the offensive simply by hitting six different kinds of slice to Federer’s backhand, like he does to everyone else, he’s in for a rude awakening. Having watched so many Federer matches, he ought to know that Federer mastered that tactic in his earlier years. He’s not going to get the edge that way.

    I think your prediction’s pretty much spot on. If Federer is patient, he will be able to pierce Tomic’s protective screen of slices, chops, and chips with a blitz of forehand winners. If in addition his backhand is working, he’s going to roll.

    This match is an opportunity for Federer to showcase some great tennis against one of the best of the young hotshots, and I think he’ll deliver.

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    Susan Reply:

    Beautifully written and insightful. Thank you.

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  3. You have to give Karlovic credit, he’s a player who knows how to make full use of what he’s got. He backs his serve well and is very good at chip-charge, Federer had to hit a lot of brilliant passing shots to get the ball by him. And he occasionally ran around his backhand to attack Federer’s second serve, which got him the first minibreak in the tiebreaker.

    Federer rose to the challenge magnificently. That lob to save set point was incredible–he was at the net and had no time to prepare, yet he still put exactly the right amount on the ball to carry it just over Karlovic’s head and land right behind him. That was pure genius.

    Eventually he just completely wore down Karlovic with his aggressive and varied returning. Besides the ones you described, he hit a really nice slice return down the line into a thin sliver of open court in the third set.

    He lost focus for a bit after breaking in the third set (and I’m not surprised–he had to maintain absolute concentration on every one of Karlovic’s service games) but he gritted his teeth and scraped through it, which showed good mental toughness.

    After four days off, his form was superb and I think he will be ready for Tomic.

    A word about the Roddick-Hewitt match. It was refreshing to see the two veterans play, a nice contrast to the usual dope-fueled slugfests. Because they lack the physical power of their younger competitors, they’ve been forced to learn a very patient, tactical game based on moving the opponent around with careful shot placement.

    Until Roddick hurt himself, it was a great match. Unlike his younger colleagues (especially a certain Spaniard), Roddick is too professional to retire at the first sign of a boo-boo and he gamely played on for two sets before bowing out, even though he was visibly hobbling. It was a shame because he had worked hard to recover from his health issues and regain his conditioning.

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  4. I don’t think about the title, I feel every match left for RF in this AO is a gift to us fans, just to see how he deals with this draw. He is enjoying himself out there, and I surely enjoy watching him having fun. Strong contrast to some players who are out there looking like construction workers hammering the ball

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    booya719 Reply:

    Nice comparison! I actually enjoy seeing Del Potro and Tsonga play whenever they are not playing against Roger. I prefer offensive, first-strike tennis always over defensive, pushing tennis.

    I don’t usually get excited to see matches between guys like Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Ferrer and players who push everything back and grind their opponents down into making errors. Djokovic however has evolved his game to be a lot more offensive and has just finished destroying Mahut as I type this.

    Still I prefer Tsonga, Del Potro, Dolgopolov, Federer type of tennis which focuses on offense and explosiveness. How hard a guy hits the ball doesn’t really put me off. I just enjoy seeing guys who go for winners and take charge of a point instead of forcing their opponents into errors with boorish rallies.

    When Federer is finished his career it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for offensive tennis. It looks like defensive grinders will just basically take over unless Del Potro takes charge again and guys like Raonic, Dolgopolov, Dimitrov and new names we don’t know yet can keep offensive tennis relevant. I think Raonic is a player who can improve his offense a lot and become more aggressive instead of relying on his serve for everything.

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    Aravind Reply:

    True.. I have at times found even Soderling’s game to be quite entertaining(even though it is the most hated on tennis forums!). Attacking tennis is always better to watch than defensive grinding tennis. It is a reflection of the slow courts that 3 of the top 4 play this kind of game(although Djokovic seems to be play a lot more attacking game than the other two).
    I think you need a phenomenally powerful weapon to really play attacking tennis today. Like a Delpo FH, or a Raonic first serve, a Djokovic BH etc. It is an amazing testament to Federer’s skills that he has been succesful playing attacking tennis when he does not have the sheer power of the Delpo’s/Raonic’s/Berdych etc..

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    booya719 Reply:

    You’re right about Berdych having some power. He lacks consistency the most out of the top guys however. It’s just too bad Berdych has such a poor character and is just an overall unlikeable guy. I just can’t seem to enjoy his tennis no matter who he plays against.

    Today was just another instance of Berdych’s poor sportsmanship. It was very shameful of him the way he refused to shake Almagro’s hand. The crowd is now going to be jeering him against Nadal to a large extent. Berdych is really going to be up against it and I expect Nadal to dominate their match.

    There have really been a lot of controversial and unsportsmanlike plays so far this tournament, or at least more than we are used to seeing. First Isner, then Tomic, now Berdych. Plus an umpire making one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen in tennis.

    I’m glad these early rounds are finally getting to be out of the way and we can focus on some great tennis match-ups hopefully without anymore controversy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You were right about Del Potro. There, I said it ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah as if Nadal needs it any easier, now Berdych will be booed for his poor sportsmanship. And deservedly so.

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    booya719 Reply:

    A straight sets victory for Nadal over Berdych. 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 or something along those lines.

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  5. Couldn’t watch Tomic-Dolgo but I’ve watched Tomic before and I don’t like his game either. I agree it’s refreshingly different but too slow for me. However, he’s obviously intelligent and dangerous and I’m sure Federer won’t have an easy match.
    In a broader view, if Federer does pass Tomic and Del-Potro he is going to meet Nadal after being tested by 3 different players with totally different styles. His weapons should be very sharp by then. If only he could play Beck (in the 2nd round) which is lefty, his preparation would have been perfect.

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    Manu Reply:

    I don’t think that Tomic is defensive, just maybe passive. That passive game you may attribute to his age. He has the skills to end rallies, but he sort of wants to wait it out. That was evident in the 4th set where he was content to wait for the 5th set rather than take off.

    That kind of attitude won’t work against Federer. If Federer of the Karlovic match turns up, then Tomic will have his hands full.

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  6. Roger as usual was bloody brilliant!Never lost his focus or his calm in the intense 1st. set…and then the rest of the match he just beat Karlovic into submission.No matter how many of his matches I watch he never ceases to amaze.I saw the match between Roger and Tomic in the Davis Cup final, Roger lost one set but he was really tired playing 3 matches.
    AO. trophy is waiting for you, go get it Roger!!!

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  7. Agree with everything Ruan said, except for the Del Potro part. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on his part to take Del Potro lightly but Lu is a solid player and Del Potro soundly took him to the woodshed.

    With all respect to Philipp, it will be no less than a quick straight sets victory in favor of Del Potro. It would be very surprising if we not watching a Del Potro/Federer QF in a few days.

    Nadal as usual gets a couple qualifiers, a washed-up Tommy Haas, and a couple of his Spanish whipping boys on route to another easy SF appearance.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not wishful thinking at all. I don’t mind if Delpo makes quarters. I’ve already said it would be good preparation for Roger. But what has Del Potro really done since coming back? He did well to rise up the rankings quickly last year but then went away during his favorite US hard court swing? It won’t be a quick straight sets win for Del Potro.

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    Aravind Reply:

    The key to the Delpo match is how well he is serving. He pushed Nadal almost to 5 sets while spinning in first serves at 165kph. Granted it was clay, but he seems to be serving better this tournament. If he serves well, he will become even more dangerous. I don’t think his last year’s hard court swing is a fair indication of what he can do. remember when he took Federer to 5 at the french open 09 SF. Nothing he did earlier indicated that he could do that. And he is still yet to win a Masters 1000 tournament, but he is a grand slam champion. He is a dangerous player

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I always liked him but I have lost some faith in him of late. He keeps getting injured and as long as that is the case he will never be consistent top 5 player which is what he should be.

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    Aravind Reply:

    Delpo is my second favorite player after Federer and the last 2 years as a Delpo fan have been tough. I dont think he will be a consistent number 2-3. I think he will be pretty much in the top 5-6. Beyond that I doubt his physique will let him dominate long periods of time. But when he is healthy, he is a threat to win any tournament he enters.

    I think you are being a little harsh on him. After almost a year out of the game, he went from 457 to 11 in rankings. He could’ve done better, but it could’ve also been worse. In slams, with the exception of Simon in US open, he lost to Nadal, Djokovic and Baghdatis early in the year in AO. He did not disgrace himself in any of those losses. I guess he needs to be feeling 100% confident to beat the big boys. At least he does not whine like Nadal all the time :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I guess I was disappointed with his US HC performance more than anything. He was building up slowly but surely as the year progressed and I expected him to really shine in his favorite HC swing. But then he just went away pretty much. Maybe I am having too high expectations but if he did well there he would have made WTF and be top 10 now. I don’t think he did much during the indoor season either. It didn’t even look like he tried to make WTF. But I guess he was injured again.

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    booya719 Reply:

    I don’t know if you’re a believer yet or not but Del Potro has just finished destroying Kohlshreiber in straight sets romping. The scary thing is that Kohlshreiber did not play poorly at all and played as good or better than he ever has. He tried his best from start to finish and it was just a beatdown from Del Potro. Philipp did his best tennis in every moment of the match, and at the end saved match points on his own serve for a brief period but there was just nothing he could do to stop Del Potro today or even make it close.

    Without a doubt Federer has a brutal QF ahead of him. It’s really a shame the QF is not Del Potro vs Nadal or Del Potro vs Djokovic instead.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Del Potro is the type of guy where what he did last week doesn’t matter. If he loses, he loses early but when he gets deep in tournaments he means serious business. He can show up and blow anyone off the court in any given tournament. Last year he was really close against Nadal in every match they played.

    On this court, Del Potro is flat out scary. It’s fast enough for him to hit through guys with his power and slow enough for him to still get to almost everything. It’s really tough to make a winner against him here compared to the US Open which is faster. It’s slower here, still fast enough here that it’s tough to return his serve. Tough to stay in rallies with him. These medium speed courts suit his game perfectly.

    Del Potro on just about any hard court is a nightmare and should always be considered the toughest draw you can get. Nadal was lucky to draw him last year on grass instead of hard where Delpo does not move very well. Del Potro’s movement has always struggled on grass and he is not so good at handling the bad bounces. Still that match was very, very close and Nadal had to pull out his old MTO and gamesmanship tricks to get the upperhand. And the Davis Cup, well, Nadal on clay is Nadal on clay.

    I was impressed with Delpo’s efforts last year. With the year Djokovic had, Delpo wouldn’t have been able to stop him at the US Open series anyway. Delpo is pacing himself well and I don’t think we need to write him off yet. He needs more matches against the top guys before he figures them out, especially Djokovic who he has never beaten before and only got to play once on clay. Winning a set is still a good result from that French Open match which will help Delpo going forward.

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  8. I think Federer had the toughest third round, of all the seeds. The result was never in doubt, especially when Federer saved of the set point in the first set and took the set. Federer’s return is very underrated. He routinely makes some amazing return winners against big servers. It was great to see Federer in full flow, although his 55-13 W-UE stat is a little misleading. Very easy to hit winners against Karlovic who cannot defend. Tougher tests lie ahead.

    I was hoping that Federer would face Dog, who has played 3 five setters in the first three rounds. Surely he must be weary. Bu Tomic has played 14 set himself and Federer should be very fresh having played only six so far(out of which he did not really have to exert himself against Karlovic). I think he beats Tomic in straights. Maybe Tomic takes a set if Federer is sloppy.

    The match that scares me most is the QF against Delpo. He has been quietly making his way through the draw. Ruan, perhaps you have not been following his matches. In his last match Delpo served at an average first serve speed of 200kph with first serves touching 217kph. After his injury, Delpo really lost his service. When he is confident he pushes up his speed on the serve and routinely hits 130s. When he does this, he is extremely difficult to beat(remember French open SF 09). He just hit Federer off the court for a large part of 3 sets. I think Delpo comes through against Kohls and gives a real tough match against Federer. I get the feeling that this match is going to be a toss up, especially if Delpo serves as well as he can.

    what a lucky break for Nadal, with the draw. No Isner now to push him and he gets his whipping boy Lopez. Berdych meanwhile has also been quietly making his way through the draw, straight sets win against Anderson, which is quite impressive. I think he is going to pose a few questions against Nadal in his QF match. Nadal is serving way too slow. On this court, Berdych will kill his second serves. Unless Nadal takes his serving a notch, we are looking at a tough match.

    As I am typing this, Djokovic is winning his match for the loss of just 2 games!! Mahut did not look fit, but the Djoker is looking positively scary on what is his best surface. I don’t think anybody beats him in this tournament. His toughest fight will be against Murray/Tsonga, Federer, Nadal, Raonic in that order. If he gets through to the final, I am not sure that Federer OR Nadal have enough to stop him.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Mahut was injured and is a poor match-up for Djokovic even when he is healthy. Djokovic’s draw is really fortunate up until the SFs. Raonic will put up a fight but really, in all reality, stands no chance of winning the match. Djokovic’s elite return game will neutralize Raonic’s big serve and he will eat him alive in rallies.

    Too bad we most likely won’t get a chance to see what Del Potro could have done against Djokovic here on this court. If Del Potro makes the final somehow that would be sad to see Roger out in the QFs, but I believe Del Potro has a better chance of beating Djokovic in the final than Nadal has.

    If somehow Roger loses to Del Potro, to our dismay, at least we don’t have to worry about Roger getting beaten by Nadal again. It also gives us a chance to see Del Potro take it to Nadal in the semis. So really whatever happens we will have something to look forward to the way the draw is set up here. Federer and Djokovic on opposite sides is the key.

    Best case scenario is that the winner of Fed/Delpo goes onto the final and wins it. Worst case scenario is for Roger to lose to Nadal in the SF or to finally beat Nadal only to lose to the Djoker in the final.

    All scenarios aside, Del Potro would have to beat 3, 2, and 1 in that order to lift this trophy and would truly be an amazing achievement for him if he were to do it.

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    Aravind Reply:

    I don’t think Delpo can beat Djokovic right now even if he is well rested(which he won’t if he has to beat RF and Nadal back to back). Djokovic is playing at a different level right now, but Delpo and Tsonga can take him out of his comfort zone. He is the best defensive player right now. I don’t think Nadal has any chance against him on a slowish hard court. He won’t be able to hit winners even with the new racquet and Djokovic has a much better offensive game right now. Murray I feel has a chance with his more varied game, but mentally he is not there yet. Maybe he will play freely if it makes it to the SF, he chokes big time in finals.

    I think if Delpo beats Federer, he will be playing extremely well and has a really good chance to beat Nadal or at least push him very hard. I wont be suprised if he beats RF and Nadal back to back for the second time, but the Djokovic mountain will be too high for him to climb in this tournament.
    Was just checking his serve stats. He has serve as fast as Isner in his last match(195kph first serve) which means he is slowly building confidence. I think there is a chance of a slam in Delpo this year, maybe at French open..

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    booya719 Reply:

    If Del Potro is in the final, you don’t give him a chance against Djokovic? I say he can win it the same way he won the 2009 US Open. Even if he gets blown away in the first set by Djokovic, he will keep hanging in there, keep it close, keep fighting, get to tiebreaks in later sets and go for broke.

    Djokovic could have Del Potro at his mercy but as long as he is within striking distance he can win any given set. Even if he is down a break he can break back with a couple of good bomb forehands and force a breaker. If Del Potro is somehow in that final he can win in.

    Djokovic will be tough to beat but is not invincible. Don’t lose hope and concede the outcome of the tournament to him. I’m not saying Delpo is going to be in the final, just saying that I would favor Delpo’s chances to beat him over Nadal’s chances of beating him.

    To beat Djokovic 2.0 you need firepower and the ability to blast winners from anywhere now and then. Trying to play him conservatively from the baseline like Nadal does is suicide. Long rallies that Djokovic takes control of, and when the time is right he cracks the winner.

    You have to overpower him like
    Del Potro could, step in, keep him off pace and blast winners like Federer can. You also have to win a good chunk of points off your serve. Federer and Del Potro could each do those things. Nadal not so much. Nadal’s serving won’t trouble Djokovic as much as the other 2 guys, and it will be more of the same that we saw in the past 6 finals.

    I just don’t see what Nadal can do anymore because pushing no longer works vs Djokovic. Nadal is beat every time now because Djokovic has the same level of defense with improved offense. He doesn’t make errors or give anything away like he used to. Another Nadal/Djokovic final would be the worst-case scenario for a final unless you’re a Djokovic fan. Even Nadal’s fans must be tired of seeing their man get beat in finals.

    It would be nice to see what someone else can do against Djokovic in a slam final and it’s either going to be Fed or Delpo this time around if it’s not Nadal in there again.

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    Aravind Reply:

    It is not Djokovic’s current form that leads me to think Del Po does not have a chance against him. He is just a bad matchup. Djokovic is flat out the best returner in the planet. If Delpo is not serving really well, he gets into trouble in his service games against the Djoker. Plus the Djoker really changes directions from both sides very well and well disguised in doing that. This again troubles Delpo more than others.
    I admire Delpo for his fighting skills. Every match he has played against a elite player I can remember, he has always fought. He may be losing to lower ranked players, but he really seems to step up and want to fight against the elite players. Just feel it will be a bridge too far to beat three of them in succession. If Djokovic is upset(only Tsonga can do it I feel), then maybe he can win.

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    booya719 Reply:

    How do you like Hewitt’s chances against him? LOL

    Cuz we are not gonna see what Raonic could have done here.

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    Aravind Reply:

    Routine three set win for Djoker and another routine 3 set win against Ferrer and his first challenge will come in form of Tsonga/Murray

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    booya719 Reply:

    Murray’s draw is suddenly changing from hard to the easiest due to Monfils getting injured and going out early, and now Tsonga is in some serious trouble vs Nishikori after going down 6-2, 2-6, 1-6.

    Big momentum swing after the first set. The match is still being played on Tsonga’s terms, but Tsonga is basically giving the match away to Nishikori with the amount of errors he’s been making. Tsonga is hitting errors like there’s no tomorrow. He is having trouble keeping anything in the court at the moment.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Tsonga a break up in the 4th. I’d still be surprised if he loses this.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Well, Nishikori has already downed Tsonga by 5 sets. Gets even easier for the Djoker though last time they met, Nishikori was the winner against an injured Navak.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nishikori is playing Murray.

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    V.Adhithya Reply:

    Yeah very surprising result and Tsonga has to blame himself with the tons of ue he made today.

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  9. I have to say watching Fed. and Karlovic play was a lot more interesting than watching Nadal or Djokovic play. Could those guys have it any easier? I think I saw people sleeping in the stands when Djokovic played Mahut. I don’t know what to expect next week but Federer better be weary because it seems like the top two are bageling and breadsticking everyone without a real display of major effort. Nadal doesn’t look the least bit injured and I’m starting to realize that he is full of baloney seems like he is always playing the victim card a lot. Anyways, awesome display from Federer, I am hoping Federer can play a lot more aggressive from the baseline and that his forehand gets a little more snap in it when he plays Tomic.

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  10. I agree with FeddyBear, i dont think this was quite JesusFed, coz its tough to gauge his game when he all the opponent does is serve big and just barge into the net, … Tomic,Delpo,Rafa,Djoker…. nice contrasting opponents for Fed in the next round, i’am hoping for a straight sets win against Tomic, and may be he will drop a set against Delpo, cant wait for Fedal match.
    Regrading Tomic-Dolgo incident, i’am convinced Tomic was at fault, it could be that some idiot in the crowd called out, but why did Tomic put his racquet up? why would he challenge an out call which will gave him the point? I’am not a Tomic hater or something, i respect what the kid has achieved at such a young age, but sorry he was definitely at fault.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Right. The umpire should have stopped the point because Tomic signaled to challenge. You don’t quit on the play signalling for a challenge, and then suddenly hit a shot back as Tomic did.

    The umpire basically said, “I have to decide if he stopped playing or not. To me that was not stopping.” The umpire was 100% wrong to decide that. Tomic held his racquet up in signal of challenge. As Alexandr rightfully said it was a shitty decision by the umpire.

    The point should have been stopped right then when Tomic signaled. Tomic would have then challenged, and lost the challenge. Under those circumstances when you stop a good point and you’re wrong on your challenge, you lose the point. The point would have been awarded to Dolgopolov under a proper handling of the situation, but at least it did not outright decide the outcome of the match like the Isner/Nalbandian incident.

    There was still a lot of tennis left to be played at 40-40, 0-0 in the 5th but it might have given the Dog another chance to break in that game where Tomic was under pressure.

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    michael Reply:

    You are right. Tomic raised his racket. It just shows the character of this player. Lack of sportsmanship, just look at the reaction of Tomic after the point. He behaves worse than Nadal and plays more passively than Murray. Horrible umpairing again. Especially at 0:0 40:40 in the fifth set.

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    steve Reply:

    Yeah, Tomic clearly challenged, then said nothing to the ump and lied about it in the press conference. On top of that, he claimed he was faking exhaustion during his first-round match to fool Verdasco. Not the best sportsman.

    Off the court, he seems to gravitate towards a flashy, high-profile lifestyle–the sports car, the model girlfriend, and his fan club of attractive young women, called the Atomic Kittens (ha-ha).

    There’s nothing wrong with him wanting to live in the fast lane, but it just seems a little over the top, and may indicate a lack of focus that could become an obstacle to his ambitions.

    If he can keep up that kind of high living while being a champion, more power to him. But I don’t think it’s that easy, especially these days when the sport is so professional.

    Maybe in the days of McEnroe it was still possible to be a party animal and a Grand Slam champion, you could get away with a lot if you had raw talent. Now it’s getting harder and harder, and raw talent isn’t enough.

    If Federer is really Tomic’s model, he should emulate Federer’s dedication to his vocation.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Tomic is a character which is great for the game. The sport has become so professionalized that there is hardly any characters left. I just find it strange that there is so much hate for a 19 year old kid. He has big match temperament and he will be a top player for many year to come. The haters will just have to deal with that.

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    Manu Reply:

    I to find it strange- I kind of like him and he HAAS got talent

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    Manu Reply:

    Oops- I meant has and not haas!

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Good comment, Steve. A sportsman has to be fully dedicated to his sport and also to be honest when he ‘s competing.

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  11. Judging by the score lines, some of the top guys are all business out there, looking very sharp and not loosing any time when disposing of their opponents. It looks like we’re gonna have some interesting clashes next week!

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  12. Roger displayed great craft and agility in the way he manhandled the one-note giant and his bomber serve. The outcome was never in doubt, even if Karlovic had won that first set. The great news about this tournament so far is that Fed is fresh and ready to rumble. The Beck walkover was a blessed gift, giving the Maestro a replenishing rest for the battles ahead. His next opponent, Tomic, is a strange, rather exotic bird with a languid gait and dull, unruffled feathers. Yet I seriously doubt if his possum-style of play will succeed against Roger’s first-strike firepower. Fed should win in straight sets; at the worst, four. Delpo is not the man he used to be. So Roger in four, perhaps even three. That leaves the plodding Spaniard as the last obstacle to the Final. Nadal’s knee has once again miraculously healed, no doubt the handiwork of the Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Lourdes. All these unearthly cures must surely make him a candidate for sainthood, at least on the Iberian peninsula. So Roger’s task is to expose him for the fraud that he is. The Great Swiss needs to make him run around like a jack rabbit, from corner to corner, and win in four sets. This can and will be done. At last, the Serb will probably await Roger in the final … the newly Annointed One, who everyone claims is playing lights-out tennis. But is he really? The Djoker has had nothing but push-overs so far in this tournament. The only thing that can be gleaned from all his bagels and breadsticks is that he has not yet been tested. Who knows, perhaps Tsonga or Murray could stick the dagger in, saving Roger the trouble. Either way, the Maestro lifts his 17th crown.

    [Reply]

    ines Reply:

    Nice post exactly my thoughts, thanks.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Not everyone in the Iberian peninsula likes Nadal as much as you make it sound, Balthazar; at least my sister in law doesn’t like him very much. But anyway, it is still a long road for Roger to reach that final with difficult hurdles to pass. I myself would already be very happy with Roger reaching the final after beating Tomic, Del Potro and Nadal back to back.

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    steve Reply:

    I like the way you think, Balthazar.

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  13. Tomic who? That was hardly a problem for TMF, let’s see if Delpo can bring more of a challenge

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Clinic.

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    Chris Reply:

    “Roger Federer was supposed to be yesterday’s man but, as an awestruck Bernard Tomic discovered to his cost on Sunday, the force is still very much with the Swiss master. Federer was like a Jedi master teaching a young padawan learner what it takes to master the Force, cajoling Tomic to attack, counter punch, parry, slice, volley and defend while all the time putting the ball back before he calmly killed off the point when the opportunity arose.” I just had to copy/paste here that phrase I just saw on uk.eurosport, because it made me LOL!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha awesome. It’s a good description!

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Winning from Del Potro will be less easy for Roger than winning from Tomic in my opinion. Del Porto’s level has been going crescendo in every match he has been playing uptill now and it will be a lot more dangerous for Roger to go to the net than it was against Tomic. Del Potro’s passing shots on both sides were deathly in his match against poor Philipp K. I hope Roger will recuperate well and will be in top shape to face the gentle giant.

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  14. Ru-an, your assessment was dead-on.

    It took Federer one set to figure out what Tomic was capable of, and then he simply dissected his oppponent. Otherworldly tennis.

    Looking forward to your match analysis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I expected a tougher match so I don’t know about that Steve, but thanks anyway. Like you say it was an otherworldly performance from the GOAT.

    [Reply]

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