Djokovic Pounds Murray, JesusFed Shuts Down Raonic to Set Up Djokerer 38.0

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!

 

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Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.

42 Comments

  1. Great post Ruan, I agree that winning this final would be the most prominent of his revival. If he does who knows what he will win next, could he continue his success on the clay? I think he definitely win Istanbul and perhaps skip one of the other clay masters (Rome?). Perhaps the battle for No.1 ranking will resume even though it is no longer his priority.

    His backhand down-the-line has been superb since the Dubai final. I got to watch both his matches against Berdych and Raonic, his DTL backhand was such a decisive shot in the rallies, it was unbelievable. You’d thought Fed had borrowed Stan’s one hander for a couple of tournaments!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Conal. If he wins IW it would be a sign to me that he is well on his way to winning Wimbledon again this year. His whole season is geared towards peaking at Wimbledon as he admitted. Last year he wasn’t quite ready to win Wimby but so far this year aside from Melbourne of course he has looked better than at the beginning of 2014. His confidence level if for sure higher. So if he wins IW it would just be another sign to me that he will Wimby this year. The clay season could produce some highlights too. It would be nice if he can win another clay Masters for sure. And I’d like to see him improve his results from the last couple of year at the FO. He needs the points to if there is any chance of chasing Djokovic down in the rankings too.
    And you make a good point about the backhand down the line. It is indeed a key shot and it is looking very good.

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  2. Nice post Ru-an. I remember reading your post before last years’ IW final in which you were being cautious about being too optimistic. But this time you’re quite optimistic about Fed’s chances, which is nice. I too feel the same. Last year Djokovic was yet to win a title that season, so he wanted that IW title desperately. Even then Roger lost marginally in the final set TB. If he had been a bit more clutch there he could have gone home with it. In the end it was just a question of Djokovic wanting it more. Same was the case with Wimbledon final. Most people predicted that Fed would win in 4 sets. Even that time you were not over optimistic but saw the bright side of Djokovic winning even before the final.
    So usually whenever you have a optimistic feeling about Roger he goes on to win. Hope that remains the case this time around!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers Nakul. I’m glad you can remember by posts from last year. I hardly remember them myself. I just live for the moment. But yeah I have been cautiously optimistic of late. But I am definitely feeling more confident about Roger’s chances these days. He has that old JesusFed confidence back which makes him almost unplayable. Like you said last year went to a final set tie break and he is for sure playing better this year, so surely he has a great shot. For me he is the favorite. And yes I have been mostly right about him in the past but I have also been wrong my fair share of times. That still makes me cautious but when I believe in my player I can’t help saying it.

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    Nakul Reply:

    If Fed wins today, then Djokovic will be tied with Roddick for the most number of matches lost against Fed(21)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting stat Nakul.

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  3. Regarding Murray he is such great talent I mean the way he was playing in that aus open final I dont think anybody could have pushed Djokovic that much but he is just not as consistent day in day out. Like he hasent played a masters final for two years. He never even contended for No 1 ranking sums it all. And between Roger and Djokovic matches Roger takes an early lead in all of those contests even takes first set 70% of time and then Djokovic claws his way back. He is such good match player that you dont win until the final point. Im sure Roger will come out of the gates firing today as well. He just needs to keep Djokovic atbay for the entire match. Easier said than done though.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Murray is a great talent Vijay but he lacks in the mental department. He is just not as strong there as the big three. That is also why he lacks consistency because he doesn’t have the mental fortitude to get through some matches when he is not playing well.
    And yeah Roger needs to win the first set which he often does against Djokovic. I don’t even think a straight set win is out of the question but given Djokovic’s form and the conditions that will be tough.

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    Vijay Reply:

    yeah couldent agree more Ruan. I rate only Roger higher than Murray natural talent wise but the big three are in a different league applying that talent relentlessly. Nadull dosent even play with his natural hand..lol.. and still is one of the greats because of his mental fortitude.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Nadull has the least talent of the big four but the most mental fortitude.

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  4. Very nice post Ru-an. Spot on. I am really excited to see some extraordinary tennis today. Both of these guys are playing at such a high level and given their styles, the history of the rivalry, the court, etc this could be the match of the year so far. Great day to be a tennis fan.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Two hours to go, unless of course we have another 3-hour WTA push fest.

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    Eric Reply:

    Oh my god, if this ridiculousness goes to a third set I am gonna lose it. Jeeeeeeesus do they suck or what???? Bring on the boyzzzz. It’s killing me!

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Oh man. I can’t stand Mike Tyson, but at least he can hit a backhand under pressure. I sure wish I could make 900,000 dollars being lousy at my job.

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    Eric Reply:

    Damn, I can’t believe it. Damn. I’m gonna go do my taxes, or go to the dentist or something fun like that for the next half hour.

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    steve Reply:

    The announcer informed us that “6 of the last 7 games have been breaks of serve.” How is it that people pay good money to see this?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    WTA = SHIT.

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    steve Reply:

    I don’t think anyone will argue with you there.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    The tragedy is that many will.

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  5. This will be the test for Roger, if he can beat Djokovic on this mediumish paced surface as you noted, then he has what it takes to beat anyone on the tour anywhere.

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  6. Indeed, this is an important match. Djokovic has been the most dominant hard-court player over the last four years or so, especially on slower courts–his record in AO, IW, Miami, and Rogers Cup has been incredible. Beating him in a Masters final on a slower hard court would be a remarkable achievement for Federer.

    Except for Cincinnati, which is one of the fastest hard courts on tour, Federer has never beaten Djokovic in an HC Masters final, losing in three sets in Montreal ’07 and last year at IW. So it would be a huge step forward to beat Djokovic on a slow hard court in a big match, which he couldn’t do in his prime (he did beat Djokovic at AO in ’07 but Djokovic was still a journeyman at the time, and that was a fourth-round, I think).

    The result of this match will be key in the battle for the #1 ranking this year. If Federer wins, he significantly erodes Djokovic’s HC dominance, having beaten him in two HC finals this year, and takes a big step forward in the rankings. If Djokovic wins, it will be much harder for Federer to mount a serious campaign for the top spot.

    Dubai was an important prelude to this match. Psychologically it gave Federer confidence and planted a seed of doubt in Djokovic’s mind, which may prove the difference this time. On this surface, first-strike tennis is less effective, but Federer has more chances to use his baseline variety and he can still come forward quite a bit.

    Federer is playing some of his best tennis and he’s eager to overturn the close defeat of last year and win this big title once again. So c’mon Roger!

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  7. Djokovic is playing insane tennis. If Federer is going to win this one, he’ll have to come from a set and a break down. If he can somehow drag this into a decider, anything is possible in the third. But it looks grim at this point.

    The only consolation is that Djokovic is being forced to produce his best stuff to get this far. The only hope is that the greatest attacking player in history can find the tiny chink in the seemingly impenetrable armor.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah the surface is is making things near impossible for Roger here. He can’t get the extra assistance needed to dominate proceedings.

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    Eric Reply:

    True but better serving sure would help.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    The two usually go together.

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    eric Reply:

    Fed is still pumping himself up and wants to win and I digggggggg that man!

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    eric Reply:

    Fucking great break!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah inspired stuff. Refusing to go down here is inspirational.

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  8. Forget it guys. Go on off to bed. This ain’t happening today. Give it to Novak already. The conditions are even slower than anticipated because of the cloudcover and cooler temperatures. Add to that that Novak seems more aggressive than other times and seems extra determined to win this one. Don’t worry fedfans. Novak can have this one. We want Wimby this year.

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  9. Well, I said he was in the mood where he would conjure up the right shots out of the ether at the decisive moments, and he sure did. An insane scrambling point at 30-15 which he somehow won, a chip-charge to unsettle Djokovic, and then finally, an error from Djokovic on break point to allow Federer to climb back into the second set.

    And Djokovic has a thin skin. Whenever the audience cheers for Federer, he has trouble dealing with it. And they wanted a third set, that’s for sure.

    In the tiebreak, Djokovic had the upper hand so many times and double-faulted away his advantage. This is now a mental battle.

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  10. Dont’ give up yet…

    Two double faults by Djokvoic in the tiebreaker – but FEdere missed two easy put away volleys too. So that cancels out.

    The fact is Federer’s comeback from 4-2 down – on such a slow surface as this – well it’s simply remarkable. Even if he ends up losing I can’t fault his determiantion and guts here. This is a surface designed for a aggressive baseliner like Djokovic…but here comes a 33 year old all-courter…

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  11. Federer had I think 4 break points and finally converted. Somehow he managed to recover form a horrible first service game in the 3rd set…but he can’t get away with that again. Djokovic looks tight here, and this is as good as a chance to beat him on a slow court as there ever will be.

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    steve Reply:

    It’s admirable that Federer gave it his all and fought so hard to get back into it despite having lost the first set. He wanted it so badly but it just wasn’t to be. The court speed allowed Djokovic to play his game and extend all the rallies forever until Federer made a mistake.

    I’d hoped Federer would be able to break Djokovic’s stranglehold on slow HC today. It will be harder going forward to do it, if he couldn’t do it today when he was playing so well. Well, there’s always the next match to keep us glued to our seats. This one certainly lived up to its billing.

    On to the clay.

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  12. he pooped out in the end but great match

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah unfortunate about that collapse after 2-3 and 40-15 in the 3rd but great match as you say.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah, very little to get annoyed about, and even if I was annoyed I’m too tired to show it: played four matches at a tournament today, just completely finished.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Yeah he seemed to be cruising at 40-15, then a losse point, a good Djokovic return, and it’s deuce.

    The final game was a disappoinment…even on match point I thought he had a winner there, but somehow missed a put away he makes 19/20 times.

    43 errors I think. So clearly he was playing too dangerously, but on this surface you can’t hit winners. Even the ace numbes are low all across the board, even for raonic and the other big servers.

    Long break now. I hope someone can stop Nadal in Miami. Glad Fed is sitting that one out…it’s even slower…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I have a lot to say about this match. Will do a write up tomorrow. Off to bed now.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Hey that sounds good – looking forward to it when you have time. There were many positives to take from the week, just a shame he wasn’t sharper…2/10 on break points, kind of the opposite to Dubai.

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  13. Only 3 things are certain : Death and Taxes and …..Seppi curse!

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    steve Reply:

    Veronica, forget an 8th Wimbledon title, forget returning to #1, forget beating Nadal in Paris, forget an Olympic gold medal in singles. If Federer breaks the Seppi jinx, I can finally rest easy as a fan.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Lol lol! I think I second that! Good one Steve!!

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