Australian Open Rd 3: JesusFed Silences Tomic 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1

How good was that? I’d say pretty damn good. If Roger’s level dropped a notch in his last match, then he was right back in the zone against Tomic. Roger made his intentions very clear when he broke Tomic in the first game of the match. He was gonna stamp his authority all over this match from beginning to end, not giving Tomic any hope and the crowd any reason to get behind Tomic. Tomic was allowed only one break point the entire match, as Roger put on another masterful serving performance. In my last post I said he must dominate with his serve, forehand and net play, and that is what he did once again here. Roger’s serve was red hot as he made 69% first serves and hit 11 aces. It is the most important shot in his vast arsenal and he used it to take the initiative away from Tomic. After breaking in the first game Roger held onto serve, and served out the first set with a service winner.

The second set was always gonna be closer, as Tomic desperately needed to win it if he was gonna stand any chance in this match. The quality of play was high and Roger created quite a few break chances. One such break chance was created at 5-5 by the shot of the match, where after some incredible defense from Roger he hit an unreal backhand to win the point. Lets take a look.

The staggering thing about this point was that every one of the five shot Roger hit in this point was a defensive shot, yet he won the point. He was really just trying to hang in the point, and finally when he couldn’t wrestle back the dominant position in the point from Tomic, he came up with a moment of genius to hit an outright winner. Boom. Something out of nothing. This is why I call him JesusFed because he can turn winners into winners, and probably water into wine too. Anyhow he could not convert the break point and it was tie break time. Tomic drew first blood as he got the mini break and took a 4-1 lead. He looked like he would even things up at a set all. But Roger was in a ruthless mood and wanted to get off the court asap. Roger got the break back at 5-3 after another great defensive play, where he used the squash shot to great effect to stay in the point.

After an extended base line rally Tomic steered a forehand wide and things were back on even terms. With Tomic serving at 5-6 Roger had a set point and won it after another long base line rally. Again it was that ever reliable forehand that did the damage when Roger hit it inside out and forced Tomic into an error. Roger had the youngster by the balls. He was never going to recover from here. If Tomic was harboring any such hopes it was snuffed out right at the start of the third set, when Roger broke Tomic after the point of the match. Lets take a look again.

First Roger sets up the break point with a return winner. On break point Roger again uses the squash shot to great effect to stay in the point, and then he starts turning the momentum of the rally around with another sweetly timed backhand cross court. Tomic has to half volley and does pretty well, but not well enough. He makes the pick up and goes for the drop shot, but he fails to drop it short enough as Roger runs it down with ease and places the cross court winner right into the corner. Some more unreal defense from the GOAT. This piece of brilliance shatters any hopes that Tomic may have had left of winning the match. At 4-1 Roger puts it beyond any doubt as he breaks Tomic again, after forcing the weak reply from Tomic with an attacking return and then hitting the forehand winner. He then does the formalities and serves it out to love with another service winner.

After all the pre tournament hype about this possible third round match up I would have to say that it lived up to it’s expectations. Yes Roger breadsticked Tomic in straight sets, but it was some of the highest quality of tennis and Tomic impressed me. I now believe he will go on to win majors. The kid is that good. Sure he started last year well too and then faded away, but he already has a slam quarter final to his name at Wimbledon. I think this kid has big match temperament and has that special ingredient that is needed to win slams. Yes he is arrogant and people don’t like that, but as I’ve always said there are very few tennis players who are not arrogant. Roger himself is arrogant. It is just something that is needed to become great. Call it arrogance, call it an undying belief in yourself. The fact remains that it is needed.

Tomic is not scared of anyone. You guys may not have liked it, but he made that clear in his presser when asked what he thinks about Roger’s comments about him. Roger put the pressure on him and he responded in kind. That is just how it is done. He didn’t fold like a cheap tent the way Murray has in the past when Roger put the pressure on him in the media. He got soundly beaten, but you never got the feeling that he choked. That forehand he missed when up 5-3 in the breaker he went for the winner. He didn’t become defensive. Tomic is only 20 years old, and he already made a great improvement from his last meeting with Roger in Melbourne. In that match Tomic was totally outplayed. This time around it was much more competitive. Tomic was on the verge of winning a set but Roger snatched it away from him.

I’m sure most Fedfans are having their fun now in slating Tomic after everything he has said in the media of late. But that is not me. Cockiness is just a part of tennis and I respect Tomic for the way he played of late and in this match. I also look to the future and can see that he is a special talent. Speaking of future talent, Roger is coming up against another very promising youngster in his next match when he faces Raonic. Raonic straight setted Kohlschreiber 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4. So he is obviously playing well too. Raonic is a little older than Tomic and a little more accomplished, having won 3 career titles as opposed to Tomic’s 1. Tomic has however had the better slam result of the two when he made the Wimbledon quarters. Raonic has never progressed past the fourth round of a slam, having achieved that feat last year at the US Open and in 2011 in Melbourne.

So he will be looking to make his first slam quarters when he faces Roger, but I think he will have to wait a little longer. The GOAT has been in ruthless form. He hasn’t dropped a set yet in the first three round of what was called a horror draw before the event started. It has been peRFect so far. Roger may drop his first set against Raonic however. Compared to Tomic who doesn’t have one big weapon, Raonic has maybe the biggest serve tennis has ever seen. He is just very tough to break and you can expect a tie break if not several. The head-to-head between the two is 3-0 in Roger’s favor, but each match have been very competitive. Two of them ended in a third set tie break and the other had a tie break as well, with Roger winning 6-4 in the third. They have played four tie breaks in three best of three set matches.

So now you know why I say we are almost guaranteed at least one more tie break. Over the best of five you can probably expect at least two tie breaks. If Raonic wins a set it will probably be in a tie break as well. I doubt that he will break Roger. I have never predicted a scoreline in the history of this blog and I don’t plan on doing so either. I just think the chances of getting it right are way too small, especially over five sets. But I will say if Raonic wins a set it will be in a tie break, and then there will probably be another tie break which Roger will win. Then there will probably be two more sets where Roger wins the set by one or two breaks. That is as close to making a score prediction as you will ever see me come. Oh what the heck. Just for the hell of it I will even write out the whole score. Roger will win 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2.

Now watch how horribly wrong I get it. Haha. Quickly looking elsewhere in the draw the big news was that Del Potro was upset by Chardy in five sets. I’m really starting to think that I was wrong about Del Potro in the past when I said that he would win many majors. Ever since that impressive US Open title where he beat Fedal he has not lives up to the hype. Yes he has been injured a lot but he has also been disappointing a lot. I think he can be a top five player, but I’m not sure he will win more slams or be #1. Then Djokovic and Murray had straight set wins as well on Friday. Djokovic looked good against Stepanek but not overly impressive. I expect him to raise his level again. Of course with Del Potro losing it means Murray won’t have to deal with him in the quarters. My fellow countryman and someone I played against, Kevin Anderson, also had a big win over Verdasco.

I watched some of that match and didn’t expect Anderson to win after being down two 2 sets to 1, but he won the fourth set tie break and then went into the zone in the fifth set, breaking Verdasco twice to win it 6-2. It was the first time he made the last 16 of a slam so I am happy for him. He now plays Berdych who he has had some close matches with. I think an upset is not impossible, although I do expect Berdych to win. So the round of 16 match ups have been finalized and there will be some interesting encounters. The interesting ones for me will of course be Roger/Raonic, and then Anderson/Berdych, Ferrer/Nishikori, and Gasquet/Tsonga as well. Well just as I wrote that I checked the live scoring and Ferrer destroyed Nishikori 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. I thought Ferrer would win but I didn’t expect that kind of scoreline.

Very good from Ferrer and it looks like he will rack up another slam semi. Well that’s it from me guys. I hope you enjoyed the match and my post. I will be back with more on Monday. Until then!

Highlightshttp://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200374288828506

Presser: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2013-01-19/201301191358596376546.html

Match statshttp://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/stats/day11/1316ms.html

Posted in Uncategorized.

21 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an!!! Another great post as usual. Great post-match analysis.

    By the way, I am very surprised with the scheduling at the AO 2013 this year.

    Roger has played only 1 day and 2 night matches thus far. I thought that he’ll play his next two matches during the day and then eventually the last two at night.

    But he is scheduled to play tomorrow night again and not at 7:30pm but at like 9:00pm or so (after the Serena Williams match). So it’s going to be like 5am ET here. That’s just crazy.

    When it is all said and done he’ll have played 5 night and only 2 day sessions. But I don’t mind I guess.

    As long as he keeps winning right.

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  2. Hi Ruan,
    Great post as usual. I have been following your blog for the past three years but this is the first time am making a post.I Think the fourth round match against Raonic is going to be a very good indicator of how well Roger is going to do in this tornermant. Of all the possible match ups Roger has all the way to the final, Raonic has given him the most trouble. I know he has lost to Tsonga, Gasquet , Murray and Djokovic before but none of them have put on the defensive as match as Raonic does. When JesusFed is in the house,the rest of these possible match ups are absolutely not as much competetion as Raonic. Am looking forward to this match. Yesterday against Tomic was amazing. Hope you have all seen Tomic’s presser after the match where he admits he was unnerved by the announcementof Roger’s accomplishments during the warm up.

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  3. At very good match, credit to Tomic as well. He played as good as he can be and he can only improve further. Let’s hope he doesn’t get distracted by off-court fiasco and hold his head together. Roger has nothing but praises for Tomic. Can’t wait for RF’s next match against Raonic, that match will make worry more than ever.

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  4. Great post-match post, thanks. I like what you said about this ‘self-belief’ or whatever one calls it, which is an essential ingredient to success at this level. Some people call Federer arrogant – I would just say he’s honest and doesn’t hide behind false humility (like some others…) Djokovic has a quiet belief too, which makes him so hard to beat when facing defeat in the face. Lendl gave Murray this, and it seems Tomic has it as well at just age 20 and he will surely win Slams in the future.

    Anyway on to Raonic. It will be a very tough match. I agree Raonic will likely take at least a set via the tiebreaker. He was impressive against Kohlschreiber.

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  5. Darn It!

    Djokovic almost lost today but he just won in the 5th against Wawrinka 1:6 7:5 6:4 6:7 12:10.

    He wrapped his shirt as usual as if he just won the tournament.

    At least he got broken which doesn’t bode well. He got lucky tonight.

    I hope that Berdych is not as merciful.

    Let’s go Roger!!!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Absolutely, he was indeed lucky. At 4-4, final set, advantage Stan (breakpoint), the linesperson called an un-returnable return by Stan OUT. Stan didn’t even challenge. Well lets see how long he can ride on his luck.

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  6. Great Post Ru-an.And Djoker has just now won a marathon against Wawrinka.Both players played their hearts out and for me this is undoubtedly the match of the year and much much better than last years AO final because that match was just aws and oohs from both the ends of the net and nadal and djokovic were not playing tennis.But this match,the quality was unbelievable as both were serving in the high 190s well in to the 5th hour and the rallies were just tremendous with the djoker forehand and stans backhand going toe to toe and in the end Djoker just had that little bit extra called luck on his side because at 4 all 5th set advantage stan on the djokovic 2nd serve,stan went for the aggressive return and it clipped the line but the lines man called it out and stan didnt challenge that because he had just one remaining and was probably cautious not to lose that one too.That could have possibly been the match for wawrinka but in the end, Djokovic won and today stan earned my respect for taking the game to Djokovic and almost pulling off the impossible of defeating him in AO’s plexicushion. Anyways,this must be hard for djokovic to recover from,although the win will make it just a wee bit faster,but i think now that he is beatable at AO and Ferrer or murray or federer should take advantage of this because they will never get a better opportunity to know off Djokovic from his AO throne.

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    Vily Reply:

    I agree. I don’t get all this talk about the aura of invincibility surrounding Djokovic. Djokovic is no Federer and there is no such thing. Only Roger had that in his prime.

    The main take home message here is that the courts are playing faster and that benefits the aggressive minded players. As we have seen today Wawrinka was the aggressor while the Djoker just sat back and relied on his fitness to retrieve. That doesn’t bode well.

    I think that Berdych may take him out because he has played consistently and he did win the Davis Cup which is giving him a lot of confidence.

    So far Roger is the only guy standing who is unbroken so far so we’ll see. If Roger takes care if his service games as he has been people have to watch out.

    I don’t want to excited just yet. I’ll say more after tonight’s match. Raonic is no easy pickings so beating him in straights or 4 sets would be absolutely amazing. Let’s hope that Roger remains the cold blooded killer he has been thus far.

    Allez! ;-) ))

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  7. I feel so sorry for Stan! Always in the shadow of Roger, he has been able to play incredible matches but he seemingly never wins them. He would have deserved it so much today, outstanding tennis. On the other hand, I was happy there was this challenge system in place in the Federer match. I guess there where some 6-7 wrong calls in favor of Tomic, which Fed could get right by challenging. But great match from Tomic, he has potential and is nice to watch. But them, it’s always a pleasure to watch a player lose against the GOAT :-)

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  8. hi Ruan thanks for a great write up! i agree with all you said about Tomic and the match in general. fantastic match wasnt it? i think Fed was playing near his best and i just hope he can keep it up through the tough draw. Murray’s draw is wide open now you can just give him a pass to the semis but Fed has to sweat it. maybe it’s a good thing coz it forced him to be very focused from the get go.
    also hope Djoko’s marathon match today will take its toll. not likely but still…
    here’s some new HL from Fed-Tomic:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1fN-dB7qNc

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  9. Agree it was a great match, although I think Federer still can raise his game a few levels yet.

    Aside from the serve, which was impeccably placed, he came forward a lot and mixed up his groundstrokes enough to contain Tomic’s power and stay alive in the rallies. I think his half-volleys were the underrated part of his defensive game last night–his ability to redirect the ball with a flick of his wrist let him turn a lot of defensive points into winners.

    For such a big guy Tomic can spread the court really well and his flat, deep groundstrokes are tough to defend against. He threw away his previous game plan of trying to chop and float the ball and played very aggressively from the baseline, almost like a Del Potro. His serve is much better and he’s using one-two punches. His weird, unpredictable changes of pace serve to confuse his opponents.

    He really improved from last year so I think he has the potential to live up to, if not all the hype, at least a large part of it. All he needs is to keep working.

    This was not a shotmaking match like last year, Federer couldn’t easily open the court and make winners. It was more about tactics, trying to force errors from Tomic and serving well, coming to net, defending well until he could sneak the second set and then break the match open in the third. He did what he had to do without wasting energy or time.

    Federer, as always, kept his focus on the essential issues. I don’t think he ever bothered with the hype and the mind games and all that nonsense. A new player with a new style of tennis presents a new challenge, and Federer, the ultimate tennis player, lives for these challenges. That was his focus–and, of course, getting to the next round of the tournament.

    When he says to Tomic to improve, he means it, he’s not just being polite or condescending. He wants to see new players grow and develop, because it’s good for the health of tennis and because he enjoys facing off against new players for a change of pace. Surely even he would get a little tired if he played only Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray all the time.

    After today’s marathon, I’d say Djokovic is beatable here. Federer can potentially do in three or four sets what Wawrinka failed to do in five. It’s a question of execution and whether his game is at its best.

    Aside from Federer, though, I don’t see anyone else in the draw being able to topple Djokovic. Only an all-court attacking player like Federer can make a dent in Djokovic’s game, the baseliners will just be ground down. Unfortunately for Wawrinka he couldn’t quite attack with sufficient consistency, but hats off to him for a heroic effort.

    But before Federer can make the final he has to negotiate a long road, which begins with Raonic. I’m sure he won’t have been satisfied by eking out those last three victories and will have thought long and hard about new ways to neutralize that serve of Raonic’s.

    He has a great chance to win his 18th major title in Melbourne and stand alone as the greatest AO champion of the Open Era! So go Roger!!!

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    Vily Reply:

    I think that Roger has served impeccably thus far. I think that the key against Raonic is really to try and win that first set. In their last three encounters I believe that he kept losing the first set which was very tight.

    I know Raonic has a monster serve and it’s easier said than done but if Roger just manages to win the first set it will be a much easier night for him – even possibly winning it in straight. Roger has to go for it big in the first set. That’s the key against those big hitters. If they lose the first set, they get upset and start going for more on their serves which usually leads to more misses.

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  10. Hey Ruan, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but I’ve never commented until today. I really enjoy your insights on all of Roger’s matches. Without your analysis, the match doesn’t feel complete :-) I completely agree with your sentiments about Tomic today. It was great that Roger shut him down but I was also really impressed by his attitude and game because he looked more like a top 10 player. Even though I don’t like Tomic’s arrogance, I agree that it might be a prerequisite for succeeding at this level of tennis.

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  11. Dude, they must have forgotten to tell Roger that he was given a tough draw, he just dispatches one after the other, completely ignoring that he is supposed to struggle… :-) He just enjoys himself out there in this nice warm-up with the sparring partners, building up his confidence and fine-tuning his game for what is to come. He uses to have a day off in every slam, and did not have that so far. I hope he skips it completely and continues the great run, and I believe he can go all the way. What a performance of his skills it is, people sure get something for their money…

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  12. Guys, I watched the match yesterday and the performance was just CLINICAL. What impressed me the most the way Roger just neutralized Raonic’s serve and the way he improved his break point conversion rate.

    His serve was magnificent and the unbroken streak continues.

    All these amazing and consistent performances remind me of Indian Wells 2012, Madrid 2012 and Cincinnati 2012. He won all three, and particularly in Cincy he was unbroken until the end.

    If he keeps this up, he’s got to get that title.

    But the key is to stay focused, and take care of business.

    I have feeling that Roger will beat Tsonga as well and I will be surprised if he doesn’t win in straights as well. I predicted that the key to the match was to win that first set and that’s exactly what Roger did. He took all his chances and was merciless which I liked. Roger is on a mission.

    Let’s just sit back and enjoy this because I feel great things are yet to come!!!

    Allez Roger!!!

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  13. Wow!

    I just saw the schedule for tomorrow and Roger is scheduled to play in the night session yet again. Wow!

    The AO organizers must have fallen with Roger’s night outfit and his pink shoelaces LOL! I guess we won’t be seeing him wearing the blue shirt at this tournament. But no matter, no matter! I think that in a way that is great advantage because he has shown great consistency during the night matches so far. I also think that it will give even more confidence goin forward.

    Just to give you a perspective:

    Djokovic has played 2 day and 2 night sessions (will play his 3rd night session tonight)

    Murray has played 4 day and 0 night sessions (will play another day session tomorrow)

    Finally, Fedeer has play only 1 day and 3 night sessions (will play another night session tomorrow)

    So if Roger and Murray are to meet in the semis, Roger will have the advantage.

    We’ll see!

    Tonight will be interesting. In a way I want Berdych to take Novak out. At the same token I am weary of Berdych and his history with Roger so we’ll see.

    Also, tomorrow Chardy vs. Murray might be interesting as well.

    Finally, I hope that Roger absolutely dismantles Tsonga like he did in AO 2010 en route to the title.

    Allez!

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  14. OMG

    Almagro is the biggest choker in history. How many times can you serve for the match and choke. I think he served for it like 3 times and he choked every single time. So annoying to watch it.

    Choke choke and choke again. Terrible!

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