It wasn’t as interesting a day of tennis as Friday, but there was some great quality from JesusFed again. The first match was Djokoray and Djokovic made short work of his uninspired opponent as he pounded Murray 6-2, 6-3. Murray simply had no answer to Djokovic’s relentless base line precision and consistency. And again the Djokoray rivalry disappointed. But this was mostly due to Murray’s inability to make the match competitive in any way. Murray has done well this year to get back to his old level after 2014, but he is still a long way back from the big three. I know the term that most people like to use is the big four but I prefer to call it the big three plus Murray. He is ahead of the pack but he is not quite up there with the big three.
As for Djokovic he is obviously in prime form and loves the conditions in Indian Wells. The match between Roger and Raonic was more competitive than Djokoray and more interesting, but given Raonic’s playing style it wasn’t exactly a classic either. With his massive serve there are always gonna be many short points and it is going to be a question of winning a few important points to get the better of him. And that is what JesusFed did. The first set was pretty close but in the eleventh game his quality proved to be too much as he broke Raonic and held serve to love to clinch the first set 7-5. Then in the second set he got the ideal start as he broke Raonic after two exquisite backhand winners.
After that it was just a question of holding serve to win the second set 6-4. It was another clinical display by JesusFed who was solid on his own serve and came up with a few moments of brilliance to break the Raonic serve twice. It is quite amazing how he beats these big servers on a consistent basis, often not even needing a tie break to do so. Like I said it wasn’t as watchable a match as the one against Berdych but it was another very high quality performance all the same against the player who eliminated a very threatening Nadal. So now we have a rematch of the Dubai final but this time it’s on the slower Indian Wells courts. Aren’t all these Djokerer matches just a treat? They really have become the big rivalry of tennis of late and what a terrific match up it is.
Roger leads the rivalry 4-2 since 2014 but of course he lost the all important one at Wimbledon last year. Still that was a very close match and Roger has done extremely well at age 33 to lead the rivalry while Djokovic is in his prime. If he beats Djokovic today that would really be a big statement. He has already beaten Djokovic in Shanghai and Dubai of late, but I think Indian Wells is slower conditions than both of those. Indian Wells really suits Djokovic’s game and he has already won three titles there. If he wins today he will equal Roger at four titles. However if Roger wins he goes two titles clear of Djokovic and becomes the undisputed king of Indian Wells. Roger holds the most Indians well titles at present but like I said Djokovic is breathing down his neck.
I like Roger’s chances. He straight setted Djokovic in both Shanghai and Dubai and I think he is ready to take it to the next level. It’s been a steady improvement for Roger since the beginning of 2014(other than the Australian Open anomaly) when he made all the changes and he is really starting to hit peak level again now. As in JesusFed level. JesusFed was absent for a long time. He hasn’t been around since 2012 but is finally coming around again and putting in some stunning performances. I still regret that Roger did not get a chance to play Nadal but at least if he wins today he would have made another big statement. That would be his biggest title since his revival and would really make me excited for what lies ahead.
And I do believe he has a great shot. He almost made Djokovic look average in Dubai. So it is time to face the next challenge which is to beat Djokovic on a slower court. And Indian Wells is not actually awfully slow. It is just medium paced. It is still fast enough to award attacking play. It just makes things a little more interesting now because it also gives Djokovic a bit more time to make those impossible defensive plays and Roger will need to be extra alert. I think the playing field is quite even in Indian Wells anyway and gives neither the defensive nor the attacking player an added advantage. So whoever wins is simply gonna be the better player in my book. Come on Rog take it to the next level!