Unfortunately I missed the opening set and a half of this match but I watched the highlights and when I started watching Roger seemed well in control of things and playing like the genius he is again. Apparently in the first two sets Roger was just on fire, dominating Safin with masterful shotmaking. In the third set Safin seemed to recover from getting blown off the court in the first two sets and played some pretty good tennis himself. Safin was just able to hold serve and hang in there long enough to force a tie break. In the tie break Roger went ahead 4-1 after Safin was called for a foot fault on a second serve which was quite a controversial decision by the linesman.
The decision seemed to affect Roger more then it did Safin though and he would win the next four points to make the score 5-4 in his favour. After this Roger held serve to take the lead back 6-5 and would end the match with another ingenious pass down the line while on the stretch. Everything seemed to work just fine for Roger today including his backhand. I feel like when Roger’s backhand is working this well he is playing near to his best. He seemed to have found his rhythm and gotten used to the speed of the courts. This is all very encouraging for Federer if he is to win his fourteenth grand slam title. Danger man Murray still lurks in the top of the draw but the most important thing for Roger is to focus on the next match and improve with every match that he plays.
Next up for Roger is Thomas Berdych of the Tzech Republic who beat Roger’s countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets. Four years ago Roger lost to Berdych at the Olympic Games but I don’t see Roger having any trouble here at all. If Roger played close to how he played today he will win in straight sets. If Roger beats Berdych he will meet either Juan-Martin Del Potro or Marin Cilic, who both had pretty comfortable wins as well. Both these players are exciting young players looking to make a name for themselves in the game. In other matches Novak Djokovic continued his good form with a tough four set win over Amir Delic, a very talented American player. Delic is a hot and cold type of player who can cause serious upsets when he is hot. Djokovic in the end was just too solid and once again I am impressed that he limited the match to four sets. It does look like Roger and Djokovic is on a collision course for the semi-finals.
This in itself is a mouth watering prospect since Roger is a different player form what he was last year when he lost to Djokovic in the same round. But let me not get ahead of myself, there is still tennis to be played and both Roger and Djokovic have some tests left. In the top half of the draw Nadal is still looking good but once again he hasn’t been tested so far. Next up for him is Tommy Haas from Germany which should be a much sterner test, although I do expect Nadal to prevail again. Elsewhere the Frenchmen Giles Simon and Gael Monfils is still looking good and on a collision course to meet in the fourth round, another very interesting prospect of a match. Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga continued their impressive form as well, Murray winning in three easy sets against Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Tsonga getting the better of Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in four pretty tight sets.
Murray’s first real test should come in the fourth round against Tsonga while Nadal’s draw is rigged with dangerous players. If he wins against Haas he plays the winner of the Gasquet/Gonzalez match, and if he wins that match he is likely to meet Simon or Monfils. So the top half of the draw is more open then the bottom and therefor it’s much harder to make a prediction there. So far there has been very few upsets in the tournament and that is a sign that men’s tennis is in good shape and makes for exciting tennis in the latter rounds. My pics for the best matches of today is Nadal vs Haas and Gasquet vs Gonzalez. Both these matches should be well worth watching so if you have the time take a look. We are nearing the end of the first week and as I expected things are getting exciting. Most important of all Roger is looking good for his fourteenth grand slam title, and that is already exciting enough for me.