Australian Open Rd 4: JesusFed Destroys Tomic 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, to Face Del Potro in 1000th Match

What a performance from the Maestro. I expected a tougher match as did most other people, but Roger was like the great wall of China who wouldn’t let Tomic into the match. Every time Tomic got a half chance Roger would snuff it out with some masterful play. It was obvious from the start that Tomic was playing much more attacking tennis than in his previous matches. Massaging the ball was not gonna get the job done against Roger, but neither was attacking play. Roger surprised me a bit. I thought he would win but not this easily. He expended little energy and is now fresh for the hard road that lies ahead. It was clear from the start today that Roger meant business. I joined the match at 3-3 in the first and could immediately sense that Roger was in some kind of zone. The first set was close but Roger got the break to take a 5-4 lead.

Roger needed just one set to figure his opponent out and from there on shut Tomic out of the match. He got two early breaks in the second set, after which Tomic got one break back, but he broke again in the 7th game. In the third set there were two more breaks from Roger and it was all over. Just another very clean, efficient performance from the GOAT. The first serve percentage was good again at 58% and the average first serve speed was back at 188km/h. It was a bit slower in his first two matches, but as one of you suggested he has raised the speed in the tougher matches. I expect this to continue for the remaining matches. The winner to unforced error ratio was a very good 45/28 and the same for the break point conversions which was 6/10. Basically Roger just played too fast for Tomic. Tomic had a great tournament but he ran into someone who was on a totally different level than his previous opponents.

Tomic’s presser had some good stuff in it:

 Q.  How do you sort of say what you learnt most out of it then?

BERNARD TOMIC:  It’s very good experience to play a player like that.  You know, I don’t think there will ever be as good of a player as him.  I think you can only learn what he does and take in what you learned.  Last time I learned a lot of things when I played him, and this time I learned even more.

For me, it’s a great pleasure and honor to play him.  I think you learn a lot over the period when you play these top guys, top three or four guys.  You can just only get better if you lose against him.

Q.  What was different about tonight that you learned compared to Sydney?

BERNARD TOMIC:  Ah, grass I have more chance against him, you know, my slices I can use a little bit more and the ball stays lower.  Hard courts he’s always in balance.  The harder I hit it, you know, the ball comes back in a different corner and ends up always being a winner.

            It’s very strange.  Never did experience my balls that I hit that hard to come back and to be a winner.  It’s good to watch, you know.  (Laughter.)  Even for me, you know, playing, I enjoy watching it.

Q.  Seems like after a couple of his dropshots you shook your head and said, Wow.

BERNARD TOMIC:  I don’t know how he does it in that situation.  I mean, the ball happens so fast, and to think to do a dropshot in that moment, too good, because I ain’t running.  (Laughing.)

Q.  Did he say anything to you at all after the game?

BERNARD TOMIC:  Yeah, he said, you know, Great tournament, again, and work hard.

Q.  Would it be fair to say, with all respect, did you feel like a teenager out there tonight?  Was it sort of like man versus boy to an extent?

BERNARD TOMIC:  Well, now I know when I’m sitting at home and he makes Davydenko look like it’s nothing.  You know, you see these players lose 6‑2, 6‑1 to him, and, yeah, there’s nothing you can do.

            Like I said, I played pretty decent at times, but when I played well at times, he just played better and there was nothing I could do.  He broke my confidence down.

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2012-01-22/201201221327229348829.html

I thought this presser from Tomic gave us a good idea of what it’s like to face JesusFed. I mean you can play a good match but still have zero chance and basically just be a spectator. You just gotta smile and say too good, which is what Tomic did. There have been a lot of criticism of Tomic which I  think was unnecessary. Roger is his idol after all so he can’t be that bad, and he took the loss very well. In fact he seemed like he just enjoyed being on the court with Roger, even though he got destroyed. It was also nice to see what Roger said to him at the net. There is a mutual respect there. It was good to see Roger in such destructive form because he now comes up against a big test in Del Potro. Del Potro proved to me that he really means business by destroying Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. And again Booya got the prediction right when he said it will be three easy sets. Impressive.

Del Potro looks ominous. He is a player with massive power that can hit through anyone on a good day. If he is really playing at his best level then he will be incredibly hard to stop. A good example of this is the French Open 2009 semi where he had Roger on the ropes. Del Potro was basically hitting Roger off the court, and it took all of Roger’s court craft to hang in there until Del Potro tired. And then of course there is the US Open 2009 final. Is Del Potro back to that kind of form yet? It’s hard to say but he may well be, in which case this will be another cracker of a match. I can imagine that Del Potro likes this surface too. He will have time to wind up those big ground strokes and hit through the court. I don’t exactly know what kind of game plan Roger should employ because if the giant fires on all cylinders there is not much you can do.

In Roger’s presser he said he will mix things up and that he will also need to stay aggressive. He will need to take time away from Del Potro and not allow him to dominate with those huge ground strokes, while mixing it up will also not allow Del Potro to settle into a rhythm. There is no doubt that Del Potro is a huge threat to any player when he is on his game, even to Djokovic. So he certainly can’t be taken lightly. But at least Roger is in JesusFed mode. That makes himself very hard to stop. All I know is that Roger’s draw is incredibly tough. If he is going to get #17 here he is going to have to do it in the hardest way possible. I think it is pretty certain that he will have to play Nadal in the semis and Djokovic in the final, and that after playing Del Potro. It is scary to think that despite how well he played against Tomic, he will probably have to get even better with every match.

Tomic is a lightweight compared to what lies ahead for R0ger. I don’t think Roger is playing much worse than he played in his prime right now, but the field have caught up. One thing that worried me a bit is that these days Roger always have one ‘off’ match during a tournament, because he certainly can’t afford it here. But I will let the Beck walkover count as the ‘off’ match. Roger just has to get better from here on, and I am positive that he can do so. If I have to make a prediction about the Del Potro match I am going to say Roger will win in four, because that is what he has to do. Roger’s five set record is not that great. On the other hand if it goes to five Del Potro may just get tired, and it will be a day match. But I don’t want this match to take too much out of Roger before playing Nadal. On the other hand I think he will have two days off before the semis which would give him enough time to rest.

Whatever the case may be we are now moving into the business end of the tournament and personally I relish the challenge that lies ahead for Roger. Elsewhere in draw Nadal had an easy 6-4, 6-4. 6-2 win over Lopez as was completely expected. It was a terribly boring match, the kind of match that you often see Nadal play and which kills tennis. Nadal will now play Berdych, who beat Almagro 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(2) in another controversial match. During one point Almagro went straight at the body of Berdych and tagged him. It was a perfectly legitimate shot and definitely the right  shot to play in the situation. There was no ill will intended from Almagro. He was just doing what he had to to win the point. Immediately after hitting the shot he went to look if Berdych was ok. Berdych just ignored him however and walked away.

Then when the match was concluded Berdych would not shake Almagro’s hand. I thought that was terrible sportsmanship and the crowd rightfully got on Berdych’s case thereafter. He was booed all the way through his on court interview and as he left the court. You know I don’t have much time for Berdych and now you know why. The crowd will now probably be on his case again when he plays against Nadal. As if Nadal needs things to be any easier. Berdych never had much of a chance, but if the crowd gets on Berdych’s case he may just be utterly destroyed here. As far as today goes, Murray won easily after Kukushkin withdrew trailing 6-1, 6-1. Murray’s draw appeared the hardest on paper, but in reality it has been the easiest probably. And it got just a bit easier today when Tsonga lost in five sets to Nishikori.

Clearly Tsonga is not consistent enough yet to win a slam. All credit to Nishikori though as he became the first Japanese man in 80 years to make the quarters of a slam. As I am writing this Ferrer has just beaten Gasquet easily. The only fourth round match left now is Djokovic against Hewitt. I expect Hewitt to get max 7 games. Then Ferrer/Djokovic should be more competitive in the quarters. Ferrer beat Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 at the Masters Cup, and I am sure Djokovic is eager to reverse that result. Well I think I have covered just about everything. I’m looking forward to the quarters. Things are about to get interesting…

Ps: Forgot to mention some of the ingenious shots Roger played in this match. The backhand half volley down the line with Tomic at the net was extra special. The high backhand smash was not all bad either. For good measure Roger did the fake drop shot where he hits the ball deep on match point. Other than that his backhand down the line was simply on fire. PeRFect!

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2012-01-22/201201221327233686070.html

The Berdych incident: 

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62 Comments

  1. Bice post Ru-an as always.Good to see Roger play in prime form.But do you think the 2009 semis will play on Del Potro’s head while coming into the match.I mean he got utterly destroyed that day by GOderer.So what confidence can Rog take from that match and his present form??and I definitely don’t think that even though Djokovic is playing in a very high level,you have to admit that even if was not playing that well, he would still have won easily,may he would have spend a couple more hours on court cumulatively,his draw looks like a joke to me and there will be no surprises if he enters finals without losing a set and not being troubled.

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  2. Best part about the post is ….. the PS :D
    Booya pls predict the Fed-Potro game pls…

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    booya719 Reply:

    I will below, but you might not like what it reads.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lets hear it Booya.

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  3. For those of you who haven’t watched the Almagro point here it is

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3gEnCpjG1g

    Its a perfectly legitimate FH from Almagro i dont know why Berdych was complaining. I mean has he ever played doubles? These kind of shots are pretty common in doubles go ask the Bryans, the Woodbridges, the Heshs, the Lees..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    The point is in the video I posted too. Lendl used to aim for the opponents head, even if he had the whole court open.

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    Suhas Reply:

    oops.. missed it..thats better..

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    booya719 Reply:

    It was a shoestrings forehand on the run. There was nothing else Almagro could have done there. It was amazing he got to that ball to even hit a shot.

    Berdych could have even tried to hit a volley back instead of falling down to the court and rolling over as if he’d been shot with a real bullet. Almagro even goes to check if he’s ok, says sorry, and Berdych puts his nose in the air. It was definitely not as bad as Berdych made it out to be and his sportsmanship was terrible.

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    muhammad Reply:

    Berdych is a bitch!I hope he gets booed big time tomorrow and nobody will be cheering for him against rafa anyway!
    An utter disgrace to tennis this guy is!
    Third class player and he deserves no respect.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Excellent comment! It’s nice to read a direct and strong opinion. Berdych is certainly going up against the odds.

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  4. Nice post Ruan. What a pleasure it was to see Roger in full flight yesterday. The grace of his game and the joy he brings will never be equalled in tennis ever again.

    I felt that Tomic had no chance against Federer. Federer does everything better than Tomic. He has some skill and may trouble some one dimensional players, but Federer was not going to fall into his trap. Throughout the first set, I felt that Federer was deliberately playing less aggressive. He got sucked into the slicing and dicing game of Tomic and I thought it was a bad ploy. He tried to beat Delpo with power in US 2009(although it can just as easily be argued that Federer couldn’t have done anything on that day coz Delpo was too good) and I was a little tense in the early stages. It looks like he was trying to get a feel of the tactics in the first set and after that it was Roger in full flight.

    with regards to the QF matches, there is a real possibility that we may see a Delpo-Berdych SF. Hear me out. I think Fedal have their task cut out in the next match. Delpo is playing extremely well. Kohls did not play a bad match and there is nothing you can do when the giant is in full flow. Fed now has the toughest draw by far. This surface suits Delpo well. It is slow enough to allow him to defend and he can hit through the court with his sheer power. I think Federer needs to win the first set here(hopefully Delpo will come in cold). If the match ends in 3, Federer is my pick, 4 Federer still has the edge. If it is 5, then Federer is likely not playing his best and at that point it becomes a toss up.

    Nadal has slept through his draw. His buddy Feliciano does nothing on the BH side other than slice and Nadal literally did not have to do anything to win. He has not been returning well. for the first serve, he was 8 feet behind the baseline and for the second serve return he was 12-13 feet behind the baseline. I think Berdych is going to punish him. He has been playing very well. The Almagro match was very close and Almagro serving was very clutch(which is why it went to three tiebreaks). Nadal is not serving well(avg 175 mph). Here again first set is key. If Berdych wins it and maintains composure, he can beat Nadal. Forget the past and go by recent form. Also dont bother about the crowd. Berdych is a jerk who gets off by turning the crowd against him. He seems to want to spoil everyone’s fun kind of guy. This match will be close. Nadal has had difficulty maintaining top form and this may be costly.

    May the best man win in the Fed Delpo match. I obviously want Federer to win. But I won’t be too disheartened if Delpo wins. I think he can beat Nadal(if he does beat Federer) and it is important that there is a second player that Nadal finds it tough to beat in order for Federer’s slam record. If Delpo goes back to 2009 form, when he had a 3 match winning streak againt Nadal, Federer’s record will be safe!

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    booya719 Reply:

    I agree with most of what you’re saying except for Nadal/Berdych. Nadal is going to be the one who dishes out the punishment. Berdych MAY win a set at best, but most likely it will be straights for Nadal. I think I said 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 on the other post and I’m sticking to it.

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  5. Going up against in-form Del Potro in a hard slam is similar to going up against Nadal in French Open finals. There would be no shame or disappointment if Federer loses this QF to Del Potro.

    Del Potro is going to be coming hard with some huge serving, big forehand winners, backhands down the line, and whatever errors Federer gives him, can all combine into a recipe of disaster for our champ. It’s not in a negative sense either. I think a QF showing is a good effort from Federer here to keep his QF streak alive and also gives him a good look at Del Potro early in the year.

    Federer is going to have to go back to 2005 and play as good as he ever has to win this QF. Federer has to stay in long rallies where incredible shots are needed. There’s nothing Roger can do to end points easily against Del Potro on this surface. Del Potro likes to stay back a lot so the dropshot can be an option for Roger at times…but most of the rallies will be very grueling.

    The match will be played very similar to how the 2011 French Open final was played. We’re gonna see Roger hit 4 or 5 winners in one point and wonder how he still lost the point. A few points here and there will decide the sets. Federer has to make virtually no errors over the course of 4 hours to stay with Del Potro and it will give himself a chance to win key points.

    In short, Federer has to be perfect and convert on every chance he has. If Federer is up 5-2 and has a set point, there can be no missed dropshot like the one against Nadal. Even one mistake on a key point can and will cost Federer a set in this match.

    That being said, I still believe Federer can win similar to how I feel in his French Open matches with Nadal. Federer can always win any match he plays, but I don’t expect him to win this. I believe he can win but I am not expecting it to happen and I personally won’t be in dismay if he does lose.

    It’s really impossible to predict this match, because Federer himself is an epic hard court player in slams. He’s the greatest hard court player of all time, and Federer’s best miracles always been done in the hard slams. There is something extra special about both these men in hard slams and it’s shame we are not previewing the final.

    I originally had Del Potro beating Federer in 4, but on second thought, for what it’s worth, I’ll make winning scores for both men. I’ve got Del Potro beating Federer 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. If Federer wins it’ll be 6-4, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3. Logic says Del Potro to win, heart says Federer can win. Either way there’ll be a great player through to take on Nadal in the semis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    This time, you will be wrong ;-)

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    Suhas Reply:

    Ok. I just hope ppl dont hype up Fed in case he beats Delpo, because there will still be a mountain to climb.. :-)

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    muhammad Reply:

    How about roger in straight sets.Too wishful on my part.no? :D

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    booya719 Reply:

    I would actually love nothing more than to see Roger win in straights. We’ve been waiting a long time to see a Fedal match in a hard slam and it would great. The more Roger has left in the tank for Nadal the better. I do believe Del Potro is going to be tougher to beat than Nadal though.

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    V.Adhithya Reply:

    I dont think that Delpotro is such a good defender that Roger has to hit 4 or 5 winners and still loses the point.If its Nadal or Nole,its ok,but Delpotro can only win by hitting a player off the court and not by defending 5 winners.So I think Fed in straights or at best 4.

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    booya719 Reply:

    He actually did in a lot of the rallies. Del Potro moved really well today. About as good as anyone can. He’s not as fast as a Nadal or a Djokovic but his reach helps him make up for it.

    I thought Del Potro’s defense today was excellent. His returning was on par with what we’ll see from a Nadal and Djokovic. Federer barely had any aces this match as he normally does in a hard court match.

    I just checked the stats now and the aces were only 5 for each man which is surprising. Maybe the court was slow, but Roger handled himself in rallies very well. I haven’t heard much talk about the court speed here. I think Roger can definitely hit more than 5 aces against Nadal though. I’ll have to check the ace total for the 09 AO final and see what that was.

    There were a ton of rallies anyway which there will also be in the Nadal match. Nadal might not make as many errors as Del Potro did though. Del Potro’s errors were a bit too high on his winnable shots, but Roger himself hit a ton of amazing shots and forced a lot of errors.

    It actually looked like 2005 Federer out there early in the 1st set and again in the 3rd set. 17 straight hard slam semis for Federer. Without a doubt the greatest hard court player of all time.

    This match was a definite statement. With the same level Federer played today he should win against Nadal.

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    amine Reply:

    Perfect analysis. There is nothing more to say. The only thing is that Federer is playing the best tennis of his life so you now what reasonnable option you should take (80% winning 20% losing).
    Congratulations for the 2012 australian open for Mr ROGER FEDERER.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Have you ever seen Federer in 04, 05, 06? To say he’s playing the best tennis of his life is a bit of a stretch. 2005 Federer was way better than 2012 Federer.

    Federer is not as good as he used to be when he was in his prime. He’s obviously smarter and more clever now that he has so much experience, but there really is no replacement for youth. His mobility, spring, and ability to stay in long rallies have all declined from his glory days.

    Which is incredible that Federer is still able to compete and have a legitimate chance of beating the younger generation. It amazes me every time I think about it. Federer is from the Roddick, Hewitt, Safin generation. What are those guys doing now?

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    amine Reply:

    The reason why I think he plays the best tennis of his career is because he is a much smarter player now than in his youth age. He has become a tactical maestro since Annaconne join the team. There are lot of matches that he lost because of tactical mistakes (0A 09, RG 06, RG07, Wim 08, USO 09).
    He is physically strong enough to dominate again if he uses the right tactic for every match.

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    steve Reply:

    Your prediction about the draw is proving to be correct, as well. It looks like it will indeed be Tomic/Del Potro/Nadal/Djokovic if he wants to win the title.

    If he wins it’ll be the toughest draw he’s faced in winning a tournament for a while.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Don’t forget Karlovic. It’s really the toughest 5 rounds in a row you can have in this slam. Brutal, brutal draw.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I see you didn’t actually call a winner, although when you say logic says Delpo and heart says Roger it sounds like you want Roger to win but you think Delpo will win. Either way I think Roger will win this. He took the first set 6-4.

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    booya719 Reply:

    I originally had Del Potro in 5, but it’s just too hard to pick the clear winner in advance. I think we all knew if Federer wins it would be in 3 or 4 because he needs to win quickly. The longer the match goes on the more it favors Del Potro if it went 5.

    Roger’s returning has been unbelievable and that’s what has given him the edge early so far. Del Potro has won nothing for free off the service like he needed to. This is also exactly what Federer has to do against Nadal so it’s looking good.

    If Roger can return Del Potro with ease he can definitely get into Rafa’s service games also. The rallies are pretty even so far and Federer has done a great job keeping the errors low. Del Potro’s made more errors but it’s to be expected as he is going for bigger shots more often.

    So far Roger is doing everything he needs to do to win this. Del Potro had a load of break points just now at 5-3 and Roger has somehow saved himself with a bit of luck and a few missed shots by Del Potro. A missed forehand by a mere inch is the difference between 6-3 and 5-4 in the 2nd set.

    Against Nadal, Roger has never had that type of luck on his side in close games and on breakpoints, so hopefully he can carry this through.

    At 6-4, 6-3, 2-0 it looks like Roger is doing alright but we’re still not out of the woods yet. He’s still capable of losing from 2 sets up as he did the previous two slams. If Roger can close this out in straights it would be great for his confidence going into the match with Nadal especially the way Roger survived the 2nd set.

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    Suhas Reply:

    Man i’am so happy you were proved wrong…. that was vintage Fed, I thought he had a perfect game plan for potro but the same game plan might not work against Rafa, there will be a lot more longer rallies and Rafa will go after every Fed shot thats supposed to be a winner, so he has to attack Rafa’s weakness — serve — everytime he gets an opportunity…hav’nt seen a single match of Rafa, will watch how he goes against BirdDick…

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    booya719 Reply:

    Cheers man, I think everyone is looking forward to the SF as well. Especially for the fact that it’s not gonna be against Djokovic for once.

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  6. We should look from Del Potro’s perspective as well.. He’ll be up against an opponent, the likes of whom, he has not faced in his other round matches. True, del potro defeated Federer in d US OPEN finals, but since then lot has happened. Its one thing to break a stone, quiet another thing to break a wall, and its a mighty wall ahead of Del Potro.

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  7. Roger has a brutal draw in this AO.Next is Delpo, Nadal and finally Djoko to win the title.It would be very nice if he wins and prove he´s stil alive to his critics and even his “fans” who are writting him off.Delpo is not going to be very tough for Roger, I
    think he´s going to win in 3 or 4.In my opinion Nadal is going to be tougher for all what we know.
    Sure he´s going to be in semis.Come on Roger take down Delpo next!!!

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  8. Why should I believe that Delpo has all the self-confidence, fitness and mental strength back which he had that one day in which he won against RF at the USO? The guy has been through hard injury times and only slowly comes back to the top. RF will dispose him in 3 sets: 7:5, 6:4, 6:3.

    Rafa, he once had a mental edge over RF. But that was before being trashed by Djoker over and over again, and it was before being DESTROYED at the seasons ending Master Cup back in December. RF will dispose him in 4 sets. 6:4, 4:6, 6:4, 6:1

    And the final will be against Djoker, and it will be the battle of the year!. RF in five.

    Now that is wishful thinking, but my oh my, wouldn’t it be nice ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not necessarily wishful thinking Chris. Del Potro may just be over hyped and like you say Nadal has his own demons to battle with. A Djokerer final is what this tournament deserves.

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    amine Reply:

    You are only predicting the future. Enjoy

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    booya719 Reply:

    I wouldn’t call it overhyped. Just I have enormous respect for Del Potro and what he’s capable of on this surface. It just wasn’t his day today and a QF effort from him is a very good showing in a slam.

    The match was a lot closer than the scoreline indicated. Del Potro would have needed to split the first two sets to keep it going and he would have fought a lot harder.

    Del Potro is going to be dangerous in slams this year and we can hope for goodness sake Del Potro is in someone else’s draw next time.

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  9. I have to admit I am nervous about Roger’s upcoming match against Del Potro. Fed’s had some problems the last few years with these ultra big hitters and no one hits the ball harder than Del Po. I also am a little concerned that the match is scheduled for the late afternoon and it’s been very hot the past 2 days. Rafa gets the night match, which is an advantage to him.

    The best case scenario has Roger beating Del Po in 2 hours or less and Rafa being extended in his QF (though I doubt he will be). I am getting more and more nervous as Roger is almost set to meet Nadal. I will be seriously devastated if he loses another slam match to Nadal.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger will have two days off before semis and he already had a match off so i won’t be worried about exhaustion Candace. He may have a good chance of beating Del Potro if it goes to five since Delpo’s fitness is suspect. I wouldn’t worry so much about Nadal either.

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    booya719 Reply:

    The afternoon heat favors Roger so that’s nothing to be concerned about. Del Potro is more liable to get tired in the heat and the quicker conditions will give Federer a marginally better chance in rallies to set up and win points. A night match would have favored Del Potro for the lesser heat and slower conditions.

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  10. The first men’s SF is on Thursday, second of Friday. So, both Roger(DelP) and Rafa get only one day off.
    http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/tournament.html

    The crowd booing Berdych shouldn’t really affect him. He has never been the crowd favorite and is even used to this(Recall the time he beat Nadal in Madrid). That being said, he has only won one set in the last nine meetings with Nadal and most probably won’t win one tomorrow either.
    A lot of stuff has been written on Fed-DelP, so I won’t say anything except that my call is Fed in 4. 64 46 76 63. One thing that I did not see mentioned here is that this is going to be Fed’s 1000th ATP match.
    If Nishikori has recovered from his previous grueling matches(he has already spent close to 12 hours on court), he should be able to take atleast one set of Murray.
    The other shocker today was Hewitt taking a set off Djokovic. That too, after it took him 6 service games to manage to hold his serve once. He raised his level in the third set and managed to break Djokovic a total of 4 times. If nothing else, this shows us that Djokovic isn’t in the form many of us thought he was. But, without a doubt, he will raise his level in the coming matches. This AO is still his to lose. The lost set was more due to him losing some concentration after the break(due to seagulls, which seems to be happening atleast once every year at AO).

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘One thing that I did not see mentioned here is that this is going to be Fed’s 1000th ATP match.’

    In the title.

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    Pratik Reply:

    Ouch. My bad.

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    booya719 Reply:

    I’m thinking 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 for Murray vs Nishikori. Murray will be extremely fresh and virtually untested going into the Djokovic match. I’m not sure if this helps him or not.

    It could backfire when he gets into a tough situation vs Djokovic, having faced no resistance whatsoever since the first set of the tournament. It’s not easy to make the transition from practice matches to facing world number 1 the next round.

    We thought first Djokovic and Nadal had it easiest, but it turns out that Murray has had a complete cakewalk into the SF.

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  11. Federer played a masterclass to dismiss Tomic. Tomic’s game is unique. In place of defense, he spins a protective screen by floating, slicing, and chopping the ball to prevent the opponent from stepping into the court and getting into an attacking position. You can’t just hit your way out of it. Ordinary attacks are useless.

    It took Federer one set to see through it and figure out how to penetrate it. Tomic tried to be more aggressive but it wasn’t enough. Federer took full advantage of his lack of mobility, hitting some brilliant backhands that rooted Tomic to the spot and carving perfectly timed drop-shot winners, changing the pace constantly to get Tomic off-balance. Two hours of pure beauty.

    Del Potro is a much more familiar opponent and Federer will be ready with the necessary tactics.

    Del Potro hit a lot of running forehands and passing shots against Kohlschrieber, leading to fears that he’ll do the same to Federer. But Kohlschreiber consistently hits with a lot of topspin so the balls bounced high into Del Potro’s strike zone. Federer’s groundstrokes have more variety and he won’t make that mistake.

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  12. I think Federer will win the QF..I am a number’s man..and base my decisions on number…even in tomic’s case, i was sure federer will win in 3 sets…the reason why I say this is that in the entire tournament Federer has been playing better than Delpo and if he can attack his second serve, he has a great chance. Delpo has just won 48% points on his second serve(gotmy numbers from this reference: Federer vs. Del Potro–What does stats indicate http://bit.ly/AgVSOC )

    It will be Federer…

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  13. Roger carved up Tomic like a master surgeon, delicately exposing all the plaques and blockages under the tissue of the scrawny teenager’s game. Me thinks the kid eats too many superburgers over-loaded with mayo and cheese. It was never a contest, and again exposes the media as a silly, over-the-top hype machine. And now we’re getting a similar refrain about Delpo, who is currently ranked #11 in the world. Yet the press insists that this is an illusion, that the mighty giant is back to his 2009 US Open form. He is not. And Roger will show us why, using his lethal scalpel once again. The Maestro will expertly deploy the full array of his shots, aiming many at the slower titan’s feet to devasting effect. And Goliath will be panting very quickly as he runs from corner to corner, puzzled by the way the balls keep refusing to fly into his strike zone. Delpo may win a set, since he’s obviously better than Tomic. But that is all. The Swiss Magician will see to that, without a doubt.

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  14. This is a real drubbing for Delpo. Not as bad as AO 2009, but still a drubbing. Unfortunately, I can’t watch this live. Will try to watch the tape if possible.

    Anyone can comment on this? Is this a JesusFed vs. lame Delpo, Goderer vs. real Delpo, or Fed vs. super lame Delpo?

    The scoreline suggests something amazing, either it is:
    1. Amazingly good from both, especially from one.
    2. Amazingly bad from Delpo.
    3. Combination of the 2 above.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    The whole match is locked up in the game at 5-3 in the 2nd. At USO 09 Roger threw that game and it cost him the match. He almost did it here again but soon as he held serve it was all over. If he won the 2nd set at the USO like he should have he would have won in straights as well.

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    steve Reply:

    In ’09 he slipped into playing his usual baseline game and that allowed Del Potro to get comfortable enough to hustle and scramble for passing shots. Del Potro made one and the rest is history.

    This time, Federer was forced to play a long rally on the last break point at 5-3. He won it with a low, off-pace forehand which Del Potro mishit. That was the decisive point.

    The key was the variety he was using from the baseline. Del Potro never got comfortable enough to consistently play those heavy-hitting, frantic rallies where he could make something happen.

    Federer gave him a very tough ball to handle on that crucial point, he tried to make a winner, and he overhit it.

    Maybe if Federer hadn’t been mixing it up so much, he would have had the confidence to make that shot. But Federer made the right decisions from the beginning.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Don’t be fooled by the scoreline. It was definitely not a drubbing. Roger started fast and Del Potro fought back and tied it up. It was a very high level of tennis from both guys in the first two sets.

    The match was eerily similar to how the US Open match began and was played, but thank goodness Roger found a way to win the 2nd set this time.

    Roger saved a handful of breakpoints in that 5-3 game and a couple of Del Potro’s shots on key points were out by an inch or less. It wasn’t Del Potro’s day to win the close games and Roger ran away with it in the 3rd.

    Perfect scenario and great outcome to prepare Roger for Nadal. A 5-setter would have been bad for either man going into the SF.

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    jason Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an & Booya for the sneak preview. I definitely have to watch the tape delay.

    Winning #17 will now become so BIG for Roger. If he does win #17, he most likely will have beaten:
    1. Delpo, tennis’ biggest hitter & possibly the next dominator in tennis if Novak fails to keep it up.
    2. Nadal, his nemesis & bla bla bla (I need not explain anything, need I?)
    3. Djokovic, the current most dominant player in his excellent form. Had this guy won WTC, he would’ve become the person who had the best single-season ever in tennis.
    4. The most important by far: HIMSELF.

    Now I ask, is there a tougher task? Wishing the best for you, Roger!

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  15. Delpo who? I had predicted a 7:5, 6:4, 6:3. I underestimated Roger Federer AGAIN! The master is out there making the best of his draw: fine-tuning his movement and sharpening his weapons! He actually played a drop-shot return on a second serve of Delpo, which did not even run, amazing stuff! The GOAT is on fire!

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  16. He’s raised his level again! This is better tennis than he was playing at AO in 2010. Tactically brilliant.

    He prevented Del Potro from getting in a position to drive the ball and gave him no pace at all. Then when he himself was in a position to hit a winner with his forehand, he made it.

    His baseline game has improved since last year–and he’ll need it, combined with his volley game and touch shots, to handle Nadal and Djokovic.

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    chris Reply:

    …or to handle Berdych?

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    booya719 Reply:

    Nadal should have had set point at 5-5 in the tiebreak. His mistake was taking too long to challenge. He looked at his box for help and then waited for Berdych to hit a winner before he challenged Berdych’s previous shot. That’s a good example of taking too long to challenge.

    When Nadal saw the ball out he should have instantly challenged instead of dithering and looking to his box. First set goes 7-6 to the Berdman. Should have been set point 6-5 for Nadal. It’s the first time I’ve seen a bad break happen for Nadal, but it was own fault. Not the umpire’s fault for once. Bad luck for Nadal to end that first set in that manner but still a long way to go for Berdych to reach the SF. I don’t think this is going to rattle Nadal in the least bit.

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    steve Reply:

    Berdych’s endurance is his Achilles’ heel.

    He can’t keep this level of attacking tennis over five sets. It was luck he won the first set: a bad line call gave Berdych set point, when it was really Nadal who should have had set point.

    However, it was good to see the ump stand up to Nadal. You can’t wait till a point is over and then challenge a shot that happened in the middle of the point. You have to stop the point to challenge. The umpire was right, Nadal was wrong.

    Eventually Berdych will run out of gas. Nadal keeps going to the Berdych forehand, forcing him to try to hit running forehands which is not his strength. When Berdych’s legs go, he’ll start to make more mistakes. Nadal, of course, can keep this level up for six or seven hours if he has to.

    The way Berdych is playing, this stands a good chance of going five sets, but it will end with a Nadal victory, just like his semi against Verdasco in ’09.

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    neil Reply:

    Berdych should have been up two sets to love – as I write he has just been broken in the 3rd – but for all his power he is an unintelligent player; he persists in driving cross-court to Nadal’s forehand, where the Spaniard is waiting. Nadal then hits the ball down the line, out of Berdych’s reach or ability to control. The Czech fails to recognise that his most successful plays come from concentrating on the Spaniard’s weaker side, the backhand. I don’t see how Berdych can win. I cannot believe Roger would fail to exploit his opportunities in a match-up with Nadal, as I see Berdych do.

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    Aravind Reply:

    Hmm.. For large parts of this match Nadal was outplayed. The turning point of the match was when Berdych missed going two sets to one in the second set tiebreak. I think it would have been too difficult for Rafa to come back from 2 sets down. The volley went out and with it, Berdych’s chances. Berdych actually started the third set great breaking Rafa, but could not keep up the level and Rafa was able to grind him down. I think this is where you have to appreciate Nadal’s tennis IQ. At the start of the third set, Nadal was there for the taking. Berdych could’ve tightened his UEs, since Nadal was not attacking. As it turned out, he did not, made UEs at crucial junctures and lost the initiative. This is what differentiates a 10 time slam champion from one that has not won any!

    Towards the end Rafa was making some amazing returns of the Berdych serves. Nadal seem to get stronger as the match went on, hitting the FH more aggresively, especially the returns. But, Rafa started attacking the Berdych serve ONLY in the fourth set, when he went up a break. He seems to want to play defense first. Against a player that makes lesser UEs, it may not be a winning tactic. Berdych played as well as he could, and mentally did not go away. But he also made UEs at key junctures and gave away breaks to Nadal(fourth set break he made 3 UE in one set). Credit to Nadal though. He kept fighting and showed why he is a 10 time grand slam winner. Write him of at your peril.

    The Fedal match hopefully will be a good one. Both Federer and Nadal seem to be playing well. When that happens, you have to give the edge to Nadal given the match up and their history. I think Federer can play a lot more freely in this match. For starters, it is not the final, so the pressure should be lesser than a Fedal final. I think Nadal starts off the favorite although only marginally. If Roger, does not win, I hope Djokovic is there to meet Rafa in the finals!

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  17. I think he looked at the lineman and not his box…. i think his mistake was trying to run after breadman’s return..

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    booya719 Reply:

    Imagine a Berdych/Federer SF. That would be amazing. Would truly be surprised to see Rafa out of the tournament here. He just lost his break advantage in the 2bd when he was serving for the set.

    The strange thing is the crowd seems to be cheering in favor of Berdych as well which is the most surprising thing.

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    Chris Reply:

    Probably not cheering for Berdych as such, but maybe just cheering for the underdog, or are they cheering AGAINST Nadal????

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  18. Hey GOAT blogger, your online community gets all anxious while following up on the live events, and then we end up posting some comments here on your latest blog. Looks like we need some space to share our immediate thoughts on the events, maybe you should find a way to direct us to your forum? Just an idea, but some of us Ru-an addicts can hardly wait for your posts and want to comment on the events while they are happening… ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good point Chris. I have thought about that. I will create a thread for the Fedal match in the forum and let people know on my next post so that they can go post there during the match. Thanks for the idea! ;-)

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