Dubai QF: Federer Blasts Davydenko 6-2, 6-2

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…

Highlights:

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12 Comments

  1. Ruan,

    Thanks for a great site.

    And I can’t agree enough about how spectators are quick to write Roger off when he has a bad match.

    But his consistency is unparalleled! And possibly his most impressive statistics relate to the consistency with which he wins matches. His many records for consistency, for example 23 straight semi-final appearances at slams, will probably never even be approached.

    I think fans should realize that we’ll all have the occasional off day as we age, and Federer, who is rarely even injured while playing (apart from aggravating his back), and who has played as much tennis as even the young guns (thank goodness he’s trimming his schedule this year), will occasionally show the effects of all that tennis with a sub-par performance, especially when competing with younger players.

    It doesn’t mean he’s lost it when that happens! Recovering from mono in 2008 and 2009, when even some of his staunchest fans thought his career might be over, is in my opinion one of his great unsung achievements. Has anyone compared his results with what has happened to other tennis players who had mono? Federer is an iron man that Lou Gehrig (apologies to those who aren’t familiar with baseball) would be proud to call one of his own.

    And I think his serve is actually improving (what do you think, Ruan?), except when his back interferes.

    I also think he could probably have beaten Murray in Australia, but unconsciously may not have wanted to face a fresh Djokovic after two difficult five-set matches, on a service that is definitely Djokovic’s favorite. But I have to admit that the fifth set with Murray would have been close, even if Roger had truly gone for it.

    And after a truly great performance in the French Open final in 2011, I think this year will provide a great chance for Roger to win on the Clay slam, hopefully beating Nadal in the process.

    In any event, I’ll always be a Federer fan, and I’m still looking forward to more insipring tennis from the greatest of all time,

    Pryzm

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Pryzm. Yes I think his serve has improved. It’s a lethal weapon.

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    Pryzm Reply:

    Hey Ruan,

    We all really appreciate the monumental work you do to make this such a great website.

    And something I meant to mention earlier is that when I’ve seen Federer lose to Berdych in the past, it’s (IMHO)because he’s trying too hard with his serve. I don’t think he needs to serve as fast as Berdych does, to beat Berdych. I hope Roger will keep changing service pace, speed, and direction in his match with Berdych, and if he can do that without back problems, I really like his chances.

    Best Regards,
    Pryzm

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  2. Ruan.You have served an ACE with this beautiful post of yours. I wonder how you come up with such articles when at BR one article read that roger hasnt proven anything this year and stuff like that.may you should start coaching class for the BR writers lol.Anyways,its very encouraging to see roger play with a kind of new strategy to keep coming to the net to finish points and have you noticed that he is trying to be more aggressive on those 2nd serve returns which obviously he thinks is best for him moving ahead this season.Rogers backhand looked solid against both gruntollers and davydenko and i was amazed at the speed of the rallies which rog and day played.absolutely classics and they were just pounding each other(not the way djokovic and nadal do btw) and it was just a treat to watch such fast rallies.Roger looks rimed for at least a final and i believe that if he gets there and meets djokovic,he can win and his back thankfully has held up this week and i hope that it does not hinder his performances in tournaments.
    V

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you V. What does BR stand for? Glad you brought up that Roger and Davydenko played hard court tennis the way it should be played and not that grinding nonsense Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic does.

    [Reply]

    V Reply:

    BR is Bleacher Report.they should have named it as BS-Bull Shit

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  3. Ru-an, I am heartbroken….this loss to cocky Berdych is a tough loss for Roger and all Fedfans, you, included. Roger should have won the tiebreak…that was the turning point in my view.
    Thank you for your new blog, Ru-an, always good to hear from you. Will be anxious to receive your next blog.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  4. Federer had the same problem as in Melbourne, not enough good serves and he had to play too many long points on his own service games. He didn’t have enough left to win that third set. He wasn’t able to capitalize on match points which is a sign that his game is not quite there yet.

    Davydenko no longer has a consistent serve, so it was easy for Federer to break him. Berdych serves very powerfully and very consistently, Federer only had a few chances to break and so there was a lot more pressure on his own serve, especially since Berdych also returns extremely well.

    Federer’s game is definitely not in the sublime shape it was this time last season. But he gave it his all against Berdych, which is all anyone can ask. That should certainly quiet those critics who claimed that he was tanking.

    He only has to play IW before taking another break to train and refresh himself for clay season. If he feels he lacks matches he may try to get a wild card for MC. But I think he will probably stick to his schedule.

    It’s not the end of the world. Federer’s an optimist and he will simply take what he needs to from this match and move on to the next challenge. His game may be less than 100% but he was only one point away from winning this time, so if he just keeps working and training, I am sure it will all come together.

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  5. Guys,

    The writing is on the wall. Roger 3.0 is over and we are back to Roger 2.0 status. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that Roger is not as confident as before. It reminds of 2010 and even 2011 when he was losing matches to Berdych and Baghdatis.

    It’s safe to say that Berdych is nasty torn in Roger’s game and with the decreased schedule it will become more and more difficult to win tough matches.

    The competition is so fierce nowadays that it’s becoming more and more depressing to watch.

    Roger is on his way down and the sooner we accept it, the better off we’ll be. I just don’t think that Roger will have enough physical, emotional, psychological energy to come back from this.

    It all starts so well and ends up so badly so quickly. It’s unexplainable and yet so obvious.

    Roger burned himself out with NOTHING to show for it in Australia and now he’s having a let down.

    Against Benneteau was bad but against Berdych with 3 match points it has to hurt.

    I mean how many times should we expect to see Roger come back from tough losses like this.

    Maybe this is coming more from where my state of mind is and I hope Rogers’s state of mind is entirely different. Otherwise, it’s going to be ugly.

    The level of play of 2012 is all but gone and it will take months to get some of it back. By that time Roger will be 32 and I just feel really bad right now.

    Roger hinted about retiring prior to Dubai but with another tough loss to swallow it won’t be easy for FedFans.

    3 match points – missed – that is a sign if lack if confidence and a sense of capitulation.

    Roger most likely would have lost tomorrow but T least he would be neck and neck with the best. Now he is neck and neck with Berdych, Tsonga and Del Potro.

    To me it is a sign of regress and very very worrisome. :-(

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I don’t know if the hinting at retiring is true but I agree this was a very telling loss and that Roger seems to be back to 2.0 level. He recently also said he wants to play until the 2016 Olympics so I don’t think the retirement rumor is true. Having said that this loss is so telling he may want to think about that. I chose to believe it was his back against Benneteau but I think that rumor was false and he was just back to 2.0 level. The loss to Berdych confirms it for me. Serving at 6-4 in the tie break and losing is unacceptable and not like Roger 3.0 at all. The passion is gone again. Without it he may as well retire. Why keep going through painful losses like this when he can spend time with his family and do other things? He will be making it hard for himself and his fans.

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  6. I have to agree with the fact that this match was worrisome. I’m a big believer in Fed and rarely do the whole “he’s losing his mojo” mantra, but this match was telling. Fed looked annoyed, irritated, even distracted and watching it, I kept thinking he was going to over-hit the ball, even when he was winning. His nerves seemed shot and his serve does seem to go up and down more than usual. In many ways, if he had played this way against the Djoker, he would have been smoked. I do think this is a confidence issue –Fed seemed hesitant today, and he may be pushed even more at IW in a few days. I’m definitely not saying this is bad news, because we know Fed lives to surprise and delight us, but I am troubled by these lapses in concentration –this match reminded me of the time he lost to Djokovic and smashed his racket –this time, his forehand was working but he just couldn’t stay consistent. That’s the key for me –Fed just doesn’t seem as consistent as he was last year when he won all these tournaments. Will he regroup and kick some ass at IW? I certainly hope so!!

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  7. I do think Fed is struggling to find his confidence but it is very clear now that it’s all about the Slams and not much else matters.
    I don’t think his body is letting him down though but his mind. His approaches were poor and the serve dropped off after the second set. His decision-making is questionable right now and he’s just struggling. I think things will turn around after Indian Wells – the long break can only help him at this point. More practice and a switch to clay could be what he needs. It’s what he needed in 2009 after a few bad losses.

    [Reply]

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