Somehow ‘Federer beat Del Potro’ didn’t seem fitting this time around. This was more like a tennis clinic from Federer, showing the young challenger how tennis should be played. Del Potro was outclassed in every aspect of the game, he was but a lost child out there looking to escape the court of horrors. This Federer is the one we’ve taken for granted for such a long time and missed in 2008. Well I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Roger of old is back and 2008 is starting to look like a distant memory. Should Federer win the Australian Open, and it looks very likely now, 2008 will be all but a distant memory. There can’t be a better scenario for Roger than winning down under in his quest for tennis immortality.
OK I’m getting ahead of myself, just really excited about Roger’s future after this match. In stark contrast to his match against Berdych he came out with real purpose, looking to prove a point and send out a message to the rest of the field. And he did it ever so well. The match statistics says it all, with Roger playing virtually flawless tennis. Two 6-0 sets in a grand slam does not happen often let alone in the quarter-finals. It has to be said though that Del Potro didn’t have much to hurt Roger with. He doesn’t have any really big weapons in his arsenal. Surprisingly he has a bigger serve than Roger but not nearly the placement and variation that Roger has. Therefor Roger’s serve is much more effective and he can use it to dominate.
This is really the key for Federer. If he serves well everything falls into place. If he keeps playing like he played today I see no reason why he can’t win a fourth Australian Open title. It was just a stunning display of masterful shot making today. In this mode the best an opponent can do is hope to get a few games and pray that the misery doesn’t last to long. Never before in the sport of tennis have we seen such dominance from a player. Sampras used to dominate players but with less frequency and he dominated mainly with a big serve and forehand. Roger can actually dominate a player with sublime shot making without needing to blast his opponent off the court. This is why there has never been someone like Roger Federer in the sport and maybe there will never be.
OK enough of singing Roger’s praises, I think I’ve made up for the bashing I gave him in my previous post Onto other action, Djokovic retired from heat exhaustion in his match against Andy Roddick after trailing by two sets to one. It’s a shame it had to end this way but a much-deserved win by Roddick. Roddick has been training very hard in the offseason and has lost an incredible 7 kg. In tennis terms that is a lot and it showed in the way he moved around the court. In temperatures getting up to 60 degrees Celsius he didn’t seem very uncomfortable at all, whereas Djokovic seemed very uncomfortable indeed. This isn’t much of a surprise since Djokovic decided to stay home for new year’s eve and party instead of working hard at his fitness.
If Roger plays the way he played today he should beat Roddick without many problems. Roddick should get more games because he has a big serve that would get him some easy points, but really it can’t be much fun for Roddick stepping onto the court with Roger when he is in this devastating form. In the top half of the draw Nadal made quick work of Fernando Gonzalez winning in straight sets. Not much else to say about it other then it is what I expected. I feel Nadal will have his first real test in the quarter-finals against Giles Simon who got a walkover after his countryman Gael Monfils withdrew due to an injury to his wrist. Nadal has had the easiest draw of the remaining contenders in my opinion. Simon has already beaten him towards the end of 2008 so it should be a real test.
Elsewhere the pre-tournament ‘favorite’ Andy Murray was upset my Fernando Verdasco of Spain in five tight sets. I put the word ‘favorite’ in inverted commas because neither me nor Federer believed that he was really the favorite, as I made clear in a previous post called ‘Murray favorite to win the Australian Open?’. He did run into a very talented player with a great future it has to be said and he shouldn’t be disheartened by the loss. Murray has a great future ahead of him in tennis I believe. In the remaining fourth round match in the top half of the draw Jo-Wilfred Tsonga disposed of James Blake in straight sets. The quarter final match between Tsonga and Verdasco should be another interesting encounter. Until next time!