Djokovic Wins 24th Masters Title Over Federer in Rome

First of all my sympathies to Fedfans and second congrats to the Djoker and his fans. With his 4th Rome title, the Djoker surpasses Roger in Masters titles won and it looks very likely that he will surpass Nadal too to get the record. He has now also won every big tournament(Masters and up) that he played since losing to Roger in Shanghai last year.

  • Opening Set

There wasn’t much in his match until Roger set up a break point at 4-4 and deuce with a forehand drive down the line which forced the Djoker into error. The point that followed was definitely a key point. The Djoker played a rock solid point where he hit with great depth and finally forced Roger into error with an attacking inside out forehand. If Roger had won that point it is very likely he would have won the set, but the Djoker was just very clutch. In the next game, the Djoker played a very good return game to get the break and the set.

CFOgt3WWgAAlcQ4

Roger went down 0-30 I think but reeled the Djoker in with some great net play to 30-30. At deuce, there was another key point as the Djoker came up with a US Open 2011-like return winner cross court to set up set point. He then made another very deep return off a first serve from Roger and kept great depth until dropping one short which Roger netted.

  • Second Set

After winning the first set, the Djoker was immediately the big favorite to win it. The Djoker held his serve in the opening game of the second set after which he set up a break point in the second game. Roger saved it with a tremendous backhand winner up the line, but the Djoker ended up breaking anyway. And then when he consolidated for 3-0 you figured the match was pretty much a done deal. The Djoker had a break point in the next game as well for the double break, but at least Roger avoided a possible bakery product.

CFOHXoaVAAEbURE

Roger also did his part by making the Djoker serve out the match at 5-3 but this time there would be no miraculous comeback as Roger hit a routine forehand well wide to lose the match.

  • Closing Observations

In the end, it was a routine scoreline and it wasn’t a classic in any sense of the word, but it was still a high-quality match as you can see from the match stats. When both players hit more winners than unforced errors it is a sign of high-quality tennis. Both players had great serving days as well. The Djoker’s serve has improved recently and when he serves at 70% first serves on top of a rock solid baseline game then he becomes almost impossible to beat. The Djoker’s returns and passing shots is another big factor.

CFOguOEWoAEBhEv

As you can see Roger didn’t win a big percentage of net points because of this. His second serve was also under loads of pressure. On a slower court like this it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Roger. The courts were playing faster than usual this week and today was probably the hottest day of the week, but it still wasn’t enough. The Djoker is just too solid and impenetrable from the baseline. You had the feeling if Roger won that break point and won the first set, the Djoker would have won in three sets anyway.

  • Federer’s Week

As far as Roger goes I think Fedfans should feel very good about his week. At the beginning of the week, we were just hoping he could make semis, but he surpassed that and made the final. Of course Fedfans always want more and yes it would have been nice if he won, especially after losing last year to Stan in the Monte Carlo final as well. This was another chance that got away to win one of the two elusive Masters he has never won. That said, I think it is great that he is making the Rome final at this stage of his career.

Maybe not necessarily making the Rome final, because he did that in 2013 when he was playing poorly too, but the level of his play on clay. It is nice to see after that Davis Cup match against Gasquet last year that he is indeed so far resurrecting his clay tennis. The performances from Berdych and Stan were strange, but Roger still played very well. And this was exactly the kind of result he would have looked for after the early loss to Kyrgios in Madrid. So from my point of view this was another superb week for Roger.

CFO_wheWEAAnj5K

I can only speak for myself. I know many Fedfans get very disappointed after a loss like this and tend to look at the negatives. The way I see it Roger did as well as he could and lost to the better player in the final. Simple as that. He will go to the French Open with loads of confidence with a great shot of making semis. I don’t know what more you can ask as a Fedfan at this point.

  • Looking Ahead

As for the Djoker, he continues his utter dominance of the ATP Tour after looking vulnerable earlier in the week. You gotta respect the way he came up with his best tennis when it mattered the most in the semis and final. Today he was impeccable. I think it is fair for me to say he is the French Open favorite again, even after I made the wrong prediction last year. Nadal is always a danger and Roger actually said after the match that Nadal is still the favorite. I don’t know if there was any emotion involved in that comment, but he will say that until Nadal loses again at the French Open anyway, so I’m not sure how much to read into it.

Personally I hope the Djoker wins the French Open. I certainly don’t want Nadal to win it again and I think the Djoker deserves the title by now, having come the closest of anyone to beating Nadal at the French aside from Nadal’s loss to Soderling of course. Nadal’s loss to Stan in Rome, on the other hand, can’t bode very well for his French Open hopes. If he is to win the French Open this year it will be the first time he does it without winning a Masters on clay during the clay season.

CFOVHBdWAAU9hUR

He looks more vulnerable than ever. He is already number seven in the rankings and if he fails to defend the French he will lose at least 800 points, but probably more. As the 7th seed, he will play the Djoker, Roger, Murray, or Berdych in the quarters. He could fall as early as that if not earlier, and it will be very interesting to see in whose quarter he lands. If he lands in the Djoker’s or Murray’s quarter I can easily see him losing. Roger and Berdych are another matter with their histories against Nadal but they could beat him too.

But you are never gonna write Nadal off at the French. Not when he is the 5-time defending champion. All I know is that this is it for him. His obituary has been written a thousand times of late, but the final nail won’t be in the coffin until he loses in Paris. If that happens he will probably remain on 14 slam titles indefinitely, which is the number I had in mind for him all along. So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens but I am not gonna get my hopes up too high until it actually happens.

  • Highlights

  • Match Stats

CFOIMeQXIAAW1rW

  • Articles/Pressers

Djokovic feeling as good as 2011

Federer happy to back up late decision

The Djoker provided the entertainment as usual  =))  

The is in your court.

Posted in Masters 1000, Rome.

40 Comments

  1. You summed it up pretty well Ruan. Like I thought Roger went very deep in the tournament and he can definitely have a crack at the French Open as well. Come Wimbledon what he really needs is confidence that when things get tough vs Djokovic/Murray/Nadal he is still gonna be able to come through and that will come only if he does well in Halle and French Open I think. I still think the French Open is pretty open because even though we all know Djokovic is the firm favorite nobody wants to rule out Nadal and Federer/Murray/Nishikori are right behind Djokovic as the in-form guys. With Berdych being ultra consistent this year and Raonic with his always reliable huge serve and Stan and Dimitrov having decent runs in Madrid and Rome respectively its gonna be pretty close affair this French Open I think. We should probably watch out for the young guns – Krygios/Coric as well I think !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Another good comment Ajay. I agree Roger needs to keep his confidence up if he wants to win Wimby and that the FO is open. I wouldn’t mind seeing Stan close to Nadal in the draw. Will be interesting to see what the liked of Thiem, Kyrgios, and Coric does too.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Without seeing the draw I can’t be too specific yet but at the moment (I will probably revise some of these when the draw comes out):

    Federer to make semis
    Nishikori to make semis
    Djokovic to win
    Nadal to lose before the final
    A player 23 or under to make the quarters
    No British players other than Murray in the 2nd round
    No American players past the 4th round

    Most of these are shots in the dark until we know the draw but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway.

    I don’t really see anything for Roger to be worried about with regards to his clay-court form: 2 early exits, a win and a M1000 final is not bad for a soon-to-be 34 year old on his worst surface by some distance. Just hope that if he loses to someone at the French it isn’t in a really crap way like against Gulbis last year or Tsonga in 2013. Or another capitulation to Nadal like FO 2008.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Sound like good predictions Charlie. As for Roger I think he had a good clay court season so far and would love to see him make semis at the FO after the Tsonga and Gulbis losses, if only it is to test himself against Djokovic or Nadal.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    “We should probably watch out for the young guns – Krygios/Coric as well I think !!”

    I think David Goffin can also be a threat :-)

    [Reply]

  2. Nadal only won Madrid last year due to Nishikori getting injured. He is the favorite for the French Open and only when or if he falls there will it be doom and gloom. I don’t see Djokovic deserving anyhing at the French Open, he will deserve it when he earns it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, but he did win Madrid. This year he got owned by Murray and didn’t even make another clay final in Europe. Very poor by his standards. I don’t see Nadal deserving anything at the FO. He will deserve it when he earns it.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    “He will deserve it when he earns it.” Could not have been said better Ru-an and of course, this is what is called getting medicine from one’s own bottle. ~x(

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    :))

    [Reply]

  3. Roger made again the final of a tour he was not sure he would enter. How can we not be proud of that?? At age 33,5. Respect. TOTAL respect. Today he played great, Novak was just better.
    If Novak will rule until Wimby, then he has to be too tired after that. So that time, if Roger keeps his schedule right, he can “rule” the other half of the year. Because, even with the loss today, he still is the closest person who can beat Novak.

    First I didn’t understand why Roger would say that Rafa is still the favourite to win RG, even when Rafa is losing so much now. But Roger is smart….. Rafa lost one match at RG in 10 years. One match !! How can anyone not say he still is the favourite?? Anyway, I am not counting Rafa out, but I am certainly not counting Roger out for RG.
    And you may disagree with me Ru-an, but I don’t think Novak will win RG. It “seems” like “the Universe” stands in his way (Roger beating him, rain delay, net incident, being sick).
    We will see if he wins it or not. Maybe just like USO…. there could be two finalists we never would expect……

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t disagree that you think Novak will not win the FO Katyani. I’m sure you are not making that up. Anyway, no one knows who will win the FO. What we do know is that Djokovic is by far the best player in the world right now and that Nadal is pretty damn far from that.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Kat, Roger is very loyal to Nadal. He will say Nadal is favourite until the moon turns blue or when Nadal is crippled, whichever occur first :-) I would say Roger is in denial (sorry, just being realistic). How you label a favourite is based on history AND current consistent form. Roger, although he respects Djoker more these days, still refuses to admit Djoker into his tight inner circle of the greatest players of this era where he feels only he and Nadal belongs. He is also identifying Nadal’s spiral with his own life where people wrote him off and he came back and proved them wrong. I sometimes wonder too if the universe is conspiring against Djoker. It was looking like he would win it since 2011 but as you say, Kat, it was “Roger, net, rain, sick!” :-) but if you look at it properly, it was explainable. Djoker was under tremendous pressure to win it, he was not that experienced yet, Nadal was still in beastly form, Roger produced his greatest clay court game. The fact now is Djoker is at so much peace with himself, so happily married and a son to provide him with inspiration everyday. He feels joy, super confident with his game, sitting on top of the world mountain of points ahead of everyone, has a perfect team working for him, won all the big ones, no injury. And to make the argument even stronger that he will not collapse this year and that the universe will run out of things to stop him, Djoker is a “wholesome” sportsman. It works for everything in life, in work, in school, in play, in relationship. When you go on a healthy lifestyle of healthy food and healthy mind, you have the edge. How many tennis players look after themselves as well as the Djoker? None! He’s got everything covered. Where can you find a hole??!! Like you, Kat, I don’t like Djoker but I do admire all that he has achieved and doing to be a great player. What I’m saying is I think the universe has run out of ways to deter the Djoker at RG this year.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Also, Kat, he has added his serve as a weapon now! It wasn’t so few years ago. Heck Roger can’t get a look into his serve these days! As far as I know, players are usually a great server or a great returner. But Djoker is BOTH!!! Its hard to get into the match with him as how we saw Roger couldn’t get into yesterday. And even if you get a sneak, his baseline is so solid and strong, he neutralises at will!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ronnie and Ru-an, Novak totally deserved to win the match. Period. No arguement there. Even I could see that. Some of his returns…. how did he made them?? But I do have to say this too. In my opinion, Roger played amazing in the 1st set, but…. not in the 2nd set. Ofcourse that also came from the fact that Novak wasn’t ALLOWING him to play his best. Always pressuring him. Like the commie says… the point of the match that Roger made…. I think 2nd set, first game 30-40 for Roger…. Roger just had to play such a genius point just to stay in the match, let alone win it. That was Novak’s credit. He pressured Roger in every single way.
    It is not a secret that I don’t like Novak, but he played a fair and amazing match and totally deserved the win. But…. Roger should and could have made a 3rd set out of it. He ofcourse would lose that too, but….oke….

    And guys, I know you think I am talking nonsense with my “Faith and Destiny”, but…. something is standing in Novak’s way to win RG. He might win it this year or not. Everybody says that the big big reason Roger won RG in 2009 was that Rafa was out, but…. Roger didn’t get a free ticket to the final right?? Wasn’t he almost losing to Haas and Delpo?? Yes, Rafa was out, but he had to get to the final. Same goes for Novak. He is not the best player on the planet, but the best player in the universe !!!, but he still has to make it to the final and win it.

    This is not me dissing Novak for winning Rome. He earned the win. Moving on. But I don’t think he will win RG too. I think Rafa will. (Hoping for Roger with all my heart !!!). Because…. the match against Stan….. If that is Rafa at his “worst”…. my God…. we should all fear. He was everywhere !!! Returning everything. Stan had literally play above himself just to win. I am not counting Novak out, neither Roger and unfortunately… neither Rafa.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Good comment Kat! I agree Roger played as well as Novak allowed him to and as well as his present form. I didn’t expect his present form to beat Djoker. I’m just waiting and hoping he hits a higher form heading into FO and Wimby because anything less will not win no 18 with present climate. As for FO, it’s open this year and it is still anybody’s slam. Who knows we could have a winner outside Big Four like AO and USO last year! No one saw that coming! But it’s fun to speculate, discuss and predict isn’t it?!!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Oh and Ronnie, forgot to say to you great comment you wrote. Also… I didn’t know Novak was that popular in Rome?? Wow, he has a lot of fans there. And both Rafa and Novak speak fluently Italian. Wow.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, Veronica. Roger is too loyal to Nadal in fact. I think it may be Stockholm syndrome. But at the same time he always seems to be right. So I won’t write off what he says. For all we know Nadal will walk away with a 10th FO this year.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    I’m not sure if you people know this, but Djokovic supported the stand that FO should give a ranking boost to Nadal. We know that’s not going to happen now. But his point was that when Wimbledon does it, FO should too. I’m not sure what Djokerer are thinking when they make such statements. Of course Nadal’s form and his performance at FO are sensitive issues for them and it’s sort of their duty to stand up to each other. For instance, when Roger was struggling in 2013, both Djokovic and Nadal supported him when the whole idiotic tennis media wanted him to retire. So in a way it’s nice how the Big-3 stand up to each other, despite their intense rivalries on court. Such a contrast to the Agassi-Sampras rivalry.
    As Ru-an said Roger is usually right when it comes to predictions and Nadal might even win the 10th FO but this time Roger definitely can’t stop Djokovic. Only realistic chance is Murray. Murray is in a similar situation which Roger was in 2011, having lost a series of matches to Djokovic that season. I know it doesn’t seem much sensible to think that Murray might upset Djokovic, that too on clay. But most people thought the same about Roger before the 2011 FO SF.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Any scenario is basically possible Nakul. That’s why it surprises me when people are talking about the calendar slam already. The Djoker’s history at RG is enough not to even think about the calendar slam. But I guess his form suggests he can do it this year. It’s not like 2011 where Roger and Nadal are the same threats. That said, both of them can still beat him. And so can Murray. I don’t know if people realize how difficult it is to do what these guys do. The Djoker’s consistency is ridiculous, and it can only go on for so long. He also has loads of pressure to win the FO.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Great comment Ru-an, and you are certainly right about the CYGS. There’s a reason why it hasn’t been done since 1969. If Novak gets through FO and WB, then we can start to talk about it. The CYGS is so hard because one mistake and its over for the entire year. During Roger’s seasons where he was 27-1 at GS he played probably 20 good matches, 7 bad matches he managed to scrape through and then one bad match against Nadal each year. One bad match! But he lost that one match, and that was that. I would say the CYGS (if it ever happens again) would require some luck, and you would have to avoid the greatest champions of each event at least a couple of times I think. No way I ever can see anyone doing Djokovic at AO, followed by Nadal at FO, followed by Roger/Andy at WB, followed by Roger/Rafa/Novak/Andy at USO. I would give the probability of a CYGS in any given year as something like 1 in 100. Seen as Novak already won the AO and is in such good form I’ll say 1 in 25.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Charlie. Sound like fair odds. Another way to see it is that Roger was lucky even to get the career slam. If Nadal didn’t lose to Soderling in 2009 he would not even have gotten that. And if anyone was good enough to win the calendar slam it was him. So yeah it’s a very difficult task. I guess if Djokovic wins the FO he will feel very relieved and confident so that his chances increase of winning Wimby and the USO, but it would still be very difficult.

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Ru-an, before I make my comment, must comment on the video—Djoker needs to take a lesson on how to open a bottle of champagne more safely. Would you believe he saw a doctor to check his wound on his forehead? Luckily, it was a minor wound. Funny in way!

    A masterful blog, Ru-an, on today’s match in Roma. Thank You. It was “fair and square” imho, I watched the match, Djoker was playing superb tennis. Don’t know how to describe Roger’s game, but it was not there. My thoughts wandered a bit after Roger’s loss….here he is, approaching his 34th birthday and he is Nr. 2 in the rankings? He is still playing some super tennis even against some of the much younger players, playing aggressive tennis and he still wins on most occasions? Has earned 17 GS, was #1 for umpteen years and he is still playing tennis because he loves the game. He is amazing, in my eyes. Shall follow him as long as he is still playing the game he loves…I shall also appreciate the younger players from Nr. 1, Djokovic to the upcoming younger players as slowly changing of the guards takes place. Tennis is what we all like that come to your blog, Ru-an, and you know I like coming here, it is an expanding family that gathers here around you.
    Keep up the good work, Ru-an,
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello, Dolores! First of all I’m sorry that Roger lost. I knew how much you wanted him to win. But I’m glad your thoughts wandered a bit after the match because he is doing exceptionally well at his age. The second best player in the world! If it wasn’t for the Djoker’s dominance he would be winning more titles too.

    As for Djokovic yes he needs to be more careful but pretty funny if you ask me. Also thank you very much for the praise. There is still a lot of work to do but I think my blog is an awful lot better already! As for Roger’s game not being there is it normal to feel like that after a tough loss like this, but personally I don’t see how he could have done much better. You just have to look at the match stats to realize this. In fact he did well not to get a bakery product in the second set. That is just how good and dominant Djokovic currently is.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    “In fact he did well not to get a bakery product in the second set”

    Ru-an, will you believe I was almost praying that Roger wouldn’t get a bagel?? With the way Novak was playing… any other dude would have gotten one.

    Talking about bagels, Roger hasn’t got a single bagel in (coming May) almost 7 years !!! 7 years !!! How about that?? Lets just pray I didn’t jinx him now….
    If he does get a bagel…. you can all blame ME for jinxing him :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly Katyani. Most players would have gotten a bakery product, including Nadal probably. Roger is the only guy currently that can even be competitive with Djokovic on a consistent basis.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Haha Dolores! Maybe he doesn’t drink anymore, the Djoker, healthy lifestyle and all, ha! But as far as SMOOTH is concerned, there is no one like Roger. All players look rather clumsy alongside the GOAT! Btw, so nice to have you commenting regularly and longer comments too, Dolores! keep it up! At nearly 90, you are an inspiration! You can bet many of us cant keep up with you at the pace you are going!

    [Reply]

  5. Good post Ru-an and thanks for all the consolation you are giving us. A loss in a big one always hurts even if it doesn’t stink as much as before. He played as well as he could, given his inconsistencies, and at 33 still at number 2! Really proud to be his fan. He exceeded our expectations of reaching semis and he has found some form and deleted the losses in MC and Madrid. It is all good and I’m sure Roger is going to RG on a high. If he can manage semi in FO, again, he would have exceeded expectations. Even getting to quarters would be good already. However if he or we fans are thinking about no 18 in Wimby, a lot more improvements have to be done. I don’t know how he intends to go about it. Besides the obvious things he would need to improve on like return game and playing the important points well; for me, I feel, the most worrisome is the fh. Without his trademark fh that has won him his 17 slams, It would be hard for him to win the big ones.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    You know what I don’t understand Veronica? Why doesn’t Roger and Stefan work something out for him being a fulltime coach?? Look what that brought to Novak. This 10 weeks a year a coach…. why is he not his fulltime coach?? Didn’t Roger improve big time after getting Stefan on board?? What is the deal between them??

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    I think stefan can’t commit more time. Don’t you think relationship of boris and Djoker working out beautifully?!! I don’t know about you but I am touched when I see Becker watching Dkokers matches. He is like a loving father watching his son play, so absorbed, so supportive and so anxious and nervous too! But it’s a nice kinda nervousness. You feel he really cares for Djoker. And he is not biased and coach shamelessly like uncle Toni!

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Hi folks, another fair post by Ru-an and great to read how everyone can see the game a little different. First I have to congratulate Novak I thought he played as well as I have seen him play, thought Roger was a little flat just didn’t seem as up for it as usual although it would have been hard to beat Djo. As for RG I know that on form Novak should win and Nadal being off his game well you would think it a done deal….we know all this but everytime I think of RG I think of NADAL!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Veronica. Yes Roger will need that fh firing if he wants to win Wimby. Probably the improved serve, bh, and net game won’t be enough. But like Nadal at the FO you can’t count him out at Wimby. He is in good enough shape on clay now. So as long as he goes deep in the FO I like his chances at Wimby. So maybe me and you disagree there. But yeah someone like the Djoker will be very hard to beat there. Roger will have to play better than last year or he would lose again probably.

    [Reply]

  6. Well, Roger completely takes that 2nd round loss in Madrid out of the conversation by getting to the final in Rome, which I think is good for his confidence. Also shows that he deserves the number 2 seed in Roland Garros. I’m still amazed how much higher Federer is seeded than Nadal at the French this year, all despite Roger having put in a lot more years on tour.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, Alex. Madrid and MC taken out of the convo with solid performances in subsequent events. You don’t think Fed should be seeded higher than Nadal?

    [Reply]

    Albert Reply:

    Oh, I agree that Fed should be seeded higher than Rafa. But in my mind it’s part of his legacy that at age 33 he’s seeded higher than the man who has won more titles at Roland Garros than anyone else in history.

    [Reply]

  7. Aha Ru-an, latest posts with their dates first on top. Liking that a lot. Keep to changes coming. Blog is getting better and better :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    :-bd

    [Reply]

  8. Ru-an, I am currently watching the Cilic and Rublev match live, This kid has got some talent! (I am finding his game more exciting than the useless IPL matches here.) Simply fearless shot making; I find some of the shots, particularly on the forehand side very similar to Federer. He has got a pretty good return of serve as well. Looks like a very exciting prospect to me. I am sure in the near future, he will feature in your blog by doing well in the circuit. :-bd Hopefully he will do some damage in the French open.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I haven’t seen much of him, but I know he is a very promising youngster Jiten. I see he only just lost to Cilic. =D>

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    He had a matchpoint though. Once he lost the second set, he simply folded. Lack of experience. I am sure with more experience on his side, he would be able to win matches from situation like yesterday’s. :-S

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes I heard that Jiten. At least it was on Cilic serve though.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *