Finally Roger got some court time in today after he played only 7 games against Istomin and Kohlschreiber withdrew from their third round match. I was a bit worried as Davydeko is a dangerous opponent, but in the end I was very happy about Federer’s performance. It was a high quality match. Federer got the break to love at 5-4 to take the opening set. He also got the break immediately in the second set and got off to a 3-0 lead, but Davydenko broke back to trail 2-3. At 5-4 Roger had two match points on Davydenko’s serve, but Davydenko came up with some gutsy tennis. So at least Roger did not throw it away. But at 6-5 he would get Davydenko at 0-40 again and finally took his chance. There were a few moments where you wondered if this was going to be another Berdych or Djokovic match, but as I had hoped, Roger seems to be getting sharper.
This is great to see. I was also impressed with his willingness to be more attacking on the return of serve and his net approaches. He really does seem to be making more of a conscious effort to come into the net more. He made some really nice slice approaches during rallies and off the second serve of Davydenko. But it must be said that these courts are more rewarding to such play too. This could be the reason Nadal lost today as well to Baghdatis. Nadal doesn’t look very comfortable on these courts at all and I can’t help but wonder what his success would have been like if there were more courts like these. Cincy is the only Master Series event where he has never passed the semi-finals, and now he lost in the quarter finals. It doesn’t bode well for his US Open chances either. The other two players in the top four, Djokovic and Murray, also lost to Roddick and Fish today respectively.
Poetry in motion (Source)
So yet again we won’t have a Fedal encounter. These two seems allergic to each other these days, having met only in Madrid so far this year. I was kinda hoping Rafa would win because this would have been a great chance for Roger to score a win over him, but it wasn’t to be. Even though Baghdatis missed chances in the second set he still came out triumphant. This now looks good for Roger to defend his title here. But these days I take one match at a time. I won’t say Roger is back to his best quite yet, but I think he is getting close. If he wins this tournament without any messy concentration losses I think he will be nearly impossible to stop at the US Open. Today he almost let Davydenko off the hook again, but he didn’t. I’d like to see him win this tournament as convincingly as he did last year when he beat Djokovic and Murray both in straight sets.
So far everything is going according to plan to make another very strong run at the US Open to win a record sixth title there. But it will help a lot if he can taste success in Cincy first and in the process become supremely confident again. If he wins the title he is also assured of at least one MS title this year(7th year) and he would have successfully defended his points from last year. That would also mean he goes into the US Open seeded number two, although a final would also get him seeded second. But all these scenarios is secondary to his tennis. If he stays focused and don’t allow his opponents back into the match when he has them down, the rest will inevitable follow. Roger still has the game to be virtually untouchable like he was at the Australian Open. It is now just a case of being more consistent.
We know he can play sets where he just dominates anyone, but then he lets it slip. This is simply a confidence issue and he is currently fixing that. If he wins this event I think he will be back where he was at the Australian Open this year and we may well see him dominate the field at the US Open again for a 17th slam. As far as the match up with Baghdatis goes, Roger has lost only once to him in 7 meetings, which was earlier this year in Indian Wells after having match points. So this is a great opportunity for him to get some revenge as well, and I really like his chances. I don’t want to speak to soon but I’m getting a really good feeling about Roger once more. I think if he stays aggressive like he did today, Baghdatis won’t have much of a chance. Not too sure who will win the other semi between Roddick and Fish, but it should be a good match.