Hi guys. It’s been another tough old week at work, so sorry for the missed posts. At least I have the weekend off and I’m happy to report that Roger made the weekend with an encouraging win over Davydenko. Roger started off his title defense against Jaziri after a two week break in which he went to my old country South Africa where he did some work for his charity. So it was hardly surprising when he lost the first set 7-5. But Roger quickly shook off the rust and won the next two sets 6-0, 6-2. Next up was the grunting Spaniard Grunollers(or Gruntollers). The rust was now a thing of the past as Roger got a routine 6-3, 6-4 win with a break in each set. While his first serve percentage was 55% against Jaziri, it was now a solid 60%. Against Davydenko Roger’s first serve percentage improved again and this time it was a very high 71%.
So no wonder he was able to win 2 and 2. We know Roger’s serve is an integral part of his game. As he aged and his movement is not quite as good as it used to be, it has become even more important. Roger’s serve is probably his most important shot and he uses it to dominate, win easy points for him, and build pressure to break his opponent. So it is important for him to make a lot of first serves if he wants to go deep in tournaments and win titles. I couldn’t find the match stats of his match against Benneteau in Rotterdam, but you can assume his first serve percentage was down there. Although I still can’t confirm this, I think it may have been because of his back. When I made a critical post after that match someone left a comment on my blog criticizing my post, saying that I was being way too harsh because Annacone said that Roger had struggled with a back injury all week.
Yet they failed to confirm it with a link. Commenters do that. If I make a post that personally offends them for some reason they come up with facts that ‘proves my post wrong’, but they never leave any evidence of those ‘facts’. Having said that, I still like to believe that in Rotterdam Roger’s back was indeed the reason he lost. It just didn’t seem like Roger 3.0 to me. Roger now faces his bogey man Berdych in the semis and for a change I will be able to watch. For me this is a match that he really has to win. It is one of those key matches. If he wins the loss against Benneteau will lose a lot of it’s sting and it would be safer to assume that he had a back problem. If he loses then it would be safer to assume that we are starting to see the fall of Roger 3.0. I don’t believe that is close to happening which is why I think he will win.
Great to see Pinkerer haven’t left us yet
For me there is way too much negativity from fans over Roger. I can’t believe when I read on forums that Roger’s serve has declined a lot of late, or even on my own blog that Roger 3.0 is falling. And that after only one bad match. One bad match. I mean you would expect the haters to say something like that. But Roger’s own fans? That is something I will never understand. I mean here is a guy who is 31 and played brilliantly at the Australian Open, destroying the young talent of the tour that is around ten years his junior and only just losing to one of the very best on a surface that suits his opponent. And his serving was superb throughout the tournament, with maybe the exception against Murray. I can accept the haters bashing Roger and being negative, but I can’t accept it from his own fans, and you see it everywhere.
It’s really disturbing. So like I said this match against Berdych will be important. If he does lose it then I will be more inclined to have doubts. But not before that. It’s the least I could do for someone who has given me great joy and who has played at a superb level even into his thirties. I think Roger will win. He has a point to prove against Berdych and will have nothing but revenge on his mind. Berdych is an awkward opponent because he always seems to be in the zone against Roger. It’s annoying but Berdych in the zone is still not good enough to beat JesusFed. It was tough to tell from the highlights but from what I’ve read on the forums, it seems like JesusFed showed up against Davydenko. I think Roger is primed for revenge against Berdych. I don’t want to assume anything but the courts seem fast, Dubai is like a second home for Roger, and he looks to be a prime form.
Also Dubai is warm and if Roger is suffering from back problems then that is helping him. So I will predict a win for Roger. I really hope he does win after my last off weekend where he lost before I could see him in action and makes the final, so I can at least see two of his matches. Berdych himself made short work of Tursunov winning 6-3, 6-2, while in the bottom half Djokovic seemed in good form himself beating Seppi 6-0, 6-3, and Rotterdam winner Del Potro beat Brands 6-4, 6-2. The semi-final lineup is strong as you would expect for Dubai. I think Djokovic will beat Del Potro as he usually does and hopefully we will get our Djokerer final. It’s a bit of a shame the Dubai final is on Saturday but at least I will see two good matches if Roger makes the final. A Djokerer final would be very interesting. I don’t want to look ahead to something that may not happen but Roger will have his chances if he serves well.
The courts are a little like Cincy and we all know what happened there last year in the final. A win against Djokovic in the final would shut the critics up one more time and it will be delicious. But beating Berdych will already shut up critics. Beating Djokovic in the final will just rub it in…