Doha Rd 2: Federer def Chiudinelli 7-6(5), 7-5

It was another pretty decent performance from Roger today, although I didn’t catch all of it on youtube. I thought Chiudinelli played just about as well as he could, and Roger did a good job of still winning it in straight sets. In the first set tie break Chiudinelli had his chance at 5-4 and two serves to come, but Roger came up with an exquisite pick up off his shoe laces at the net that just dropped over the net, and left Chiudinelli stranded at the base line. That was probably the most important point of the match. After that Roger broke serve again and then held serve for the first set. In the beginning of the second set, as we saw in the Masters Cup too, Roger played a loose game to drop serve and fell behind 4-1. That seems to be his latest pattern of play when he wins the first set. But what matters is that he came back and got the job done in straight sets.

Some people are claiming that Roger is still in exho mode, but as far as I’m concerned he played against two tough opponents in his first two rounds and did well to get the job done in straight sets in both occasions. Why ask for more than that? This is after all still the warm up event for the Oz Open and no need to play at his very best. Remember he also had some time off now and it may take some time to hit peak form again. The important thing is to try and build on the confidence he had towards the end of last year. I think things have gone well enough thus far. It would be nice if he can win this event to build on the momentum of last year. He will next face Viktor Troicki who he has met only once before and won in straight sets. Troicki has a big serve and can be a dangerous player, but he lacks in the mental department.

Source

I doubt he has the mentality to pull off the upset here. Even if he should win a set I doubt he will be able to pull off the win. Elsewhere in the draw Nadal got bageled today by journeyman Lukas Lacko. Not exactly an honor for a world number one but at least he fought back eventually to win the match 7-6, 0-6, 6-3. There is talk that Nadal has been suffering from a fever, but I’m not sure what kind of fever lasts only for a set. Anyway the fact is he is through to the next round and remains Roger’s main threat at this event. He will now play against Gulbis which could be a test if Gulbis plays well. Gulbis is certainly talented enough to give the world number one trouble. It was nice to see that Davydenko also had a straight set win over Niemenin. Last year he won Doha of course, defeating Nadal in the final.

He was still on fire back then, but sadly got an injury that sidelined him for most of the 2010 season. He is the only player that I know of that has a positive h2h against Nadal and it’s important for the game that he finds top form again. Another guy that has had a bad injury problem is Del Potro, who I hear will be back in Sydney next week. Del Potro will take time to find some of his old form again and will definitely not be a threat as soon as the Oz Open. Davydenko may be however if he can have a good result this week. Davydenko will now play big serving Ivo Karlovic which should be an interesting one. I kind of hope that Davydenko gets through to face Nadal, but wouldn’t mind if Gulbis beats Nadal either. The remaining quarter will be between Tsonga and Garcia-Lopez. Things are shaping up nicely.

On-court Interview: Nice to see Roger caring about his opponents and friends as he usually does.

Yesterday’s interview (They come out a day late): http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=68194

Highlights:

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7 Comments

  1. He played well during crucial time, its good to see him pacing himself not pushing too hard. I tot Marco played almost similar style like Federer, attacking tennis. Great shot making from both players.

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  2. Troicki will be full of confidence from winning Davis Cup. There will be no sign of the headcase who blew close matches against Nadal and Djokovic last year. He’ll come out firing in the belief he can win.

    Plus opponents always work extra, extra hard against Federer just so they can say they got a victory over the greatest player ever. That’s the price he must pay for greatness.

    Roger will have to play very tough to beat him.

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  3. I watched parts of the last two matches. Federer is playing in 2nd gear and it’s apparent he doesn’t want to make any special effort to win the matches (he only tries a bit harder on the important points). It seems like he keeps himself to the AO and won’t be too disappointed to loose before the final in Doha. It’s funny, but winning those close matches and tie-breaks might be very useful in the near future, much more than winning it easy.
    Don’t be surprised if he loses tomorrow and says something like “I could have played better today but I’m happy with my form. I’m going to train harder in the time left before the AO”.

    Oh, and Nadal is again following Federer’s lead (as in many other things) and doesn’t really want to play his best right now and you’ll hear the same excuse if he loses to Gulbis or Davydenko.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I dont know if i agree with you TD. I thought Roger did well in his first round against a guy who was hitting it big. Against Chiudinelli he said afterwards that it was an awkward match for him because he knew his friend was injured. Maybe you are being a bit hard on the GOAT here. Im sure he will step it up against Trociki if necessary. He said himself he wants to keep winning after the end of last season. I dont think he is taking this event lightly and neither should he especially if Nadal is struggling.

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    TD Reply:

    Well, Ruan, apparently I was wrong (and of course I’m glad I was). Today everything was ticking against Trociki and though I could watch only the last part of the match, it was inspiring.
    As the commentator said on Eurosport (more or less): “Like looking on a picture or sculpture of your favorite artist, I am never tired of watching Federer playing like this. You won’t find anything better in tennis in my opinion”. I couldn’t agree more.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger was always gonna step it up for Troicki and Troicki showed why he is mentally among the worst in the game.

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  4. I’m happy to be proved wrong, though I suspect that Federer raised his level, knowing that Troicki would be tough if it got close. He didn’t allow Troicki a break point.

    Tsonga can be very dangerous, but if Federer plays well he should be able to get through. BP conversion will have to be better, but he’s capable of fixing that.

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