Today the rest of the big four played their opening matches in Rome and all of them had confident starts. The same can’t be said for all the seeds though, as half of the seeds that played today lost. The ones that won’t take any further part in the singles are Simon, Lopez, Dimitrov, Tsonga, and Bautista Agut, while Roger, Nadal, Murray, Nishikori, and Isner are the seeds who won.
- Federer vs Cuevas
So this was the rematch of the Istanbul final and it was a very similar match with Roger winning a competitive match 7-6(3), 6-4. Both players played well I thought but Roger has that something extra. He is more aggressive and takes the initiative which gives him the edge. But, of course, he also has bigger weapons than Cuevas and more variation. A feature of this match was Roger’s backhand and he hit more backhand winners than forehand winners(9-7), something I can’t even remember him doing before.
He hit some spectacular shots as well. The two I can remember off the top of my head is the defensive play to win the first set and a backhand half-volley passing shot which was unheard of. Hopefully, I can find it on Youtube and post it below. He hit some great drop shots too, but so did Cuevas. There was one drop shot from Cuevas which was particularly impressive. All in all, it was another high-quality clay court match and it’s good to see Roger is picking up where he left off in Madrid.
He now plays Anderson who has not exactly impressed of late so you gotta like his chances.
- Nadal Destroys Ilhan
Nadal made short work of Ilhan after he faced a break point early on, winning 6-2, 6-0. As I expected he is looking good, but his next match against Isner should be a better indication of his form. For now though it doesn’t look like the Madrid loss to Murray had any negative effect on him. I still think there is a good chance that he will go deep here and make the final, but it’s definitely not certain. He still has some tough competition ahead. Isner is always an awkward customer with his huge serve.
- Elsewhere in the Draw
If Nadal beats Isner he will play the winner of Stan and Thiem, who I was delighted to see win today. Simon withdrew at 0-2 in the second set, but I watched the first set and Thiem did well to win the tie-break 7-5 and he was probably the favorite after that anyway. His match with Stan tomorrow is probably the one I look most forward to. Thiem is kind of the baby version of Stan with his impressive one-handed backhand, powerful strokes, and good all-court game. I think he will be better mentally though and more consistent than Stan.
But that is pure speculation. No one knows what Thiem will achieve in the game and Stan already won a slam. Thiem doesn’t have much to lose here though and he will go for broke I’m sure. On the one hand, I want Stan to win because I think he will be tougher opposition for Nadal but I wouldn’t mind if Thiem wins either. Another Masters quarter-final would be a great result for him. Like I said Murray had a solid 6-4, 6-3 win over Chardy too and now plays Goffin who saved one of three match points against Tsonga with a lucky net cord.
Other good news is that Dimitrov got bageled by Fognini in the third set who will now play Berdych for a place in the quarterfinals against the winner of Roger and Anderson. In the top half, Nishikori also won and will now play Troicki, while Djokovic will play against Bellucci. There is no shortage of matches to look forward to tomorrow. My picks are Stan vs Thiem, Roger vs Anderson and Nadal vs Isner. It will also be interesting to see if the Djoker is back to his best again against Bellucci.
- Hot shots
- Match Stats
The is in your court.