I’m sorry for the late post. I was not in the state to make a post yesterday. Not sure if it was from Federer’s match or the partying over the weekend, but either way I was kinda drained. I saw you’ve already discussed yesterday’s match quite a bit on my blog, so now I will add my part. It was obviously a disastrous start to the title defense Federer, losing the first two sets. Falla was playing well, but Federer’s performance was more of what we have seen from him since the Australian Open, and maybe now you can understand a little better why I was criticizing him. All throughout the first two sets and until 4-4 and 0-40 in the third, there was no spark. It looked very much like Federer was going to lose this one in straight sets in what most people would call the upset of the century. I was constantly urging him to show some heart and fight.
In all the matches that he lost since the Australian Open I felt that there was a certain lack of heart and belief. But maybe because this is Wimbledon and Roger cares more for it than any other tournament, something in him just didn’t want to let go when he was down three virtual match points in the third. He really dug deep to fend off those three break points, and that was the key to the match. Of course the fourth set was far from plain sailing, but I felt that was the turning point. The fact that Roger held serve there and broke Falla to win the third set, put the doubt in Falla’s mind which made him falter at a break up in the fourth set. Once again Federer put his fans through the meat grinder. No one said it was easy to be a Fedfanatic. Even though I knew a huge momentum swing had occurred in the third set, the fourth set was far from what you would refer to as a state of inner calm.
Going down a break in the fourth was far from ideal, but leaving it right to the point where you are four points away from a first round exit was nerve wrecking, but a rush at the same time. I thought Roger had effectively ended his chances when he failed to take advantage of a 30-0 lead on Falla’s serve at 3-4. In that game he dumped two relatively easy backhand returns into the net. And it wasn’t like he was going for anything. He was just looking to chip it back into play. But at 4-5 he would go up 30-0 again after two unforced errors from Falla. My heart skipped another beat. At 30-0 Roger netted a routine backhand, and I thought here we go again. This is the end. Roger. But the next point was another key point in the match when Roger hit a sublime drop shot under immense pressure. Falla ran in down, and of course Roger was going to torture us once more by pushing the ball as close to the base line as he could for the winner.
In memory of Alejandro Falla
He hadn’t broken yet though, and Fala would make things almost unbearable as he hit an ace down the T at 40-15. Once point to claw his way out of hell. An extended base line rally would ensue, and the GOAT finally got a ball short enough to unload his forehand on. Falla’s return drifted long and Fedfantics breathed a collective sigh of relief. Surely Falla was not going to recover from coming so close on two occasions. And that turned out to be the case, as Roger won the tie break 7-1, and then the final set 6-0. The final score was 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-0. The final set was always going to be a formality since Roger gained so much confidence from defying the odds twice in the match, and Falla on the other hand was regretting just about everything at that point. In the end you could see how confident Roger was as he hit several drop shots winners. The spark was back.
Even after Roger won the third set, I felt he was way to passive from the base line. Basically he was just hitting down the middle and waiting for Falla to dominate him. Also I felt he was chipping to many returns and slicing too much overall. But he was obviously not feeling very confident, so he waited for Falla to falter when it really mattered. So once again the GOAT made a miraculous escape, and this win may just be what he needed to get his confidence back which was nowhere to be seen since Australia. I said in my last post that Roger needed some luck, and that is just what he got here. He even admitted it after the match. That doesn’t mean it was just luck of course. The heart he showed at 4-4 and 0-40 in the third set is what ultimately made the difference for me. You make your own luck and I thought that’s what Roger did there.
Once you make the decision to change things around, luck is just preparedness meeting opportunity. Remember what happened against Andreev back in the first round of Australia? Roger came into the first slam not exactly oozing confidence, but after he grinded out that win against Andreev he started playing really well. He was still tested against Davydenko, but that was kind of to be expected. I would say Roger’s confidence coming into Wimby was even worse than it was going into Australia, so therefore he needed an even bigger wake-up call to get his confidence back. I’m not suggesting he will now win Wimby for a fact, but I think there is a good probability. The draw from here on looks good. He’s got Bozoljac next, and from there on it gets a little harder each round, giving him time to build up his form nicely.
My posts of late have been suggesting that Roger needs some kind of wake-up call. Even those of you who didn’t like those posts had to admit that something had to change. I think this match scared the crap out of Roger and is probably what he needed to wake up. I keep referring to this moment, but at 0-40 and 4-4 in the third Roger really dug in and in a sense won ugly. This is something we have not seen from his of late, so it’s really great to see. A lot of people take this match as a bad sign for Federer, but then again they don’t follow Roger as closely as I do. I clearly prefer this kind of match to wake him up instead another routine win that gives him a false sense of confidence. Trust me when I tell you that this is a much better result than another straight set win. I now predict that Roger will make the semi’s without much problems.
The semi’s will be a pretty tough match but I seriously doubt he is losing to Djokovic, Roddick, or Hewitt. Long story short, I predict a seventh Wimbledon title for the GOAT. Lets hope my crystal ball doesn’t fail me.
Highlights: That crucial game in the fourth set.
Full match highlights
Tomorrow’s OOP: http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/schedule10.html
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May the Fedforce be with you.