Basel Rd 2: Federer Survives Niemenin 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

Again I couldn’t watch this match, although I did catch some of the last set on a barely watchable live stream. From what I hear Roger played well the first set, but then went for a mental holiday in the second set. Kind of understandable as he just came from holiday. At one point he served three straight doubles, something I haven’t ever seen happening with him. It may be a first. Can’t say that I’m very impressed with that but it is what it is. At least in the third set he pulled himself together and got the break early on, which proved to be enough to get the job done. Niemenin did however have a break point when Roger was serving for the match. As I told you Niemenin made the final of Stockholm and winning a set off Roger is not entirely unexpected. It was the first time in twelve tries that he won a set off Roger and it ended up being a good test for Roger.

I think this match will put him in good stead for the rest of the tournament. Roger now plays his old turkey Roddick, who he has a staggering 20-2 record against. I bet he is already licking his chops for another beat down of his favorite whipping boy. For those of you who don’t know, a player becomes your pigeon when you have a 5+ lead over them in your head-to-head. When it’s 10 or more the player is your turkey. Surely there should be something for a 20+ differential? And it would only make sense to call it an ostrich, which is the biggest bird as far as I know. It would be nice if Roger can make Roddick his ostrich. I don’t know if that has been done in professional tennis before. Would be something. Anyway it’s still not a walkover. Roger still has to go out there can get the job done which is exactly what I expect him to do.

The big news is that Murray withdrew from his first round match after “injuring his butt during sleep”. Hmm sounds dodgy to me. This just goes to show that Murray should never have showed up at Basel in the first place. Basel is Roger’s turf and only Djokovic is a worthy opponent for him there. This excuse by Murray sounds like total nonsense to me. Can you imagine Roger injuring his butt during sleep? I mean he hasn’t even done so on court for crying out loud. I think this is a mental injury more than anything else. Murray should have stuck with Valencia and gotten his 500 points. Now he goes home with 0. Roger doesn’t mind. It just gives him a chance to take back the number three spot more easily. But in fact Roger wants to get back to number one again, as my faithful readers have pointed out after my last post.

I couldn’t find the presser, but apparently he said that he still wants the number one ranking back, and that it is a long term goal. That gives you a glimpse of his mindset regarding the future. Personally I love it. When many people, including some of his own fans, are talking about his retirement, he is setting his sights on the number one spot. Roger is the eternal optimist. I love that about him. He doesn’t allow anyone other than himself to dictate to him about his tennis. If he feels good physically and he still enjoys the game he will keep playing and set big goals. To hell with the rest. It’s not all about winning either. Of course the losses will come more frequently as he ages, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love being out there and can’t still win big titles. Getting number one back will be hard because of the consistency it requires, but I like Roger’s mindset anyway.

Elsewhere in Basel Djokovic beat Kubot 6-1, 6-2 today, reminding everyone that the first round hiccup was just rust after all. On Djokovic’s side of the draw Fish withdrew in the first round, and Berdych lost in the first round as well. It really is quite a mystery to me how Berdych can still be in the top ten. He never seems to have any big results and he is inconsistent. So it looks like there isn’t much in Djokovic’s way to the final. But the same can be said for Roger after Murray’s withdrawal and Tipsarevic’s withdrawal in the first round as well. I guess it was destined to be another Djokerer final in the end. I hope it is anyway. Would be very interesting indeed!

Mirka Federer


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10 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan, great article as usual.
    ‘Djokerer’! Finally, we have another new name after Fedal. Love it. We may start to see its use more and more from hereon.
    I agree with you that this match, while a little disappointing in terms of his mental walkabout, could stand him in good stead. Let’s see how his next match goes. Hope he gives his ostrich another good ‘hiding’…
    I managed to catch the second set and first half of the third set. It’s indeed worrying how he could just give away a set like that so easily, and so quickly too. Main problem seems to be his serves, which just disappeared. From thereon Roger struggled to establish any control over the flow and momentum of the set, and his opponent.
    Hope to see an improvement from him, building up to the anticipated Djokerer final.
    Whatever, it is what it is as you have said, and I am just so happy to get to watch him play.

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  2. ‘Djokerer’ final :D ..i think it will be a close final with a 50-50 chance to both
    Dont you think this “mental holiday ” is happening a bit frequently now during some matches.. he plays so well in the initial set and a half or two sets and then goes to complete sleep in the next hour or so..

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  3. “Can you imagine Roger injuring his butt during sleep? I mean he hasn’t even done so on court for crying out loud.”

    >> Well, he (Roger) did injure his shin during sleep a few years back. It was visible and he let it open in the media — he could still play, though. I’ve never seen him injure his shin on court, either. My point is… bizarre things (i.e. shit) sometimes do happen.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    True, but I don’t trust Murray anyway.

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  4. Federer Nieminien was a very inconsistent match by both players. They both played high risk tennis. Taking the ball early and so on. However, they made an incredible amout of mistakes. In the first set Nieminen played poorley. The second set was very low quality. Federer was totally off. Nieminien almost choked away a 5:1 lead with double faults. He barly served out at 5:4 (I guess that happens to you if you are your opponent’s turkey). For the next 10 mins Nieminien could find any serve and Roger was able to break and get a 3:0 lead. From then on it was a very strange game. Federer went up 30:00 on each of Nieminien’s service games but could get the second break. In the end his serve was just good enough to win 6:3.

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  5. Roger just dusted off his old punching bag, Roddick, in two crisp, fairly clean sets. Can’t read too much into this easy victory, since Roger matches up even better against Andy than Nadal does against Roger on clay. Still, this is a good little run for Roger, considering all the rust that accumulated during his long vacation. He should make it quite easily to the final, where hopefully he’ll meet the Djoker and exact some revenge. I think it’s very important that Roger wins at least 2 of his last 3 tournaments in 2011. After all, they are indoors on his best surface, and they could make this year’s title count look more Federesque and respectable, which would be a much-needed boost for his confidence going into the Australian.

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    FeddyBear Reply:

    i couldn’t agree with you more… about everything.

    i am hoping to see a Fed-Djoko final and i am very curious to see if Fed can put the USO SF loss to Nole behind him… in terms of the mental fortitude that he will need in order to win big tournies next year – this is very important.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Agree too. I’m starting on my post now.

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