Quite a clinical performance in the end from Roger I thought, although it’s hard to tell against a guy like Karlovic. In the first game Roger was a break point down on his serve and for a second there I thought it was going to be another nightmare match. But Roger did well to save it and later in the first set he was 15-40 down on his serve again but came up with two forehand winners. This was a good sign to me in terms of Roger’s mentality. Hitting two outright winners on break points takes a lot of confidence. The hard work on the practice court seemed to have paid off as Roger’s serve was solid enough and his forehand was working well. His first serve percentage was up at 57% which is fair enough and the winners and unforced errors were equal which is also good enough.
It’s still early days though and we will only really find out how confident Roger is when he comes up against an authentic clay court player. He now plays against the player he lost to last year, Radek Stepanek. Stepanek sent Filiciano Lopez packing 6-1,6-2. I didn’t watch the match but it was obviously a convincing win. The match against Stepanek should give us a better idea of what Roger is up to and where he is compared to last year. My intuition says Roger is playing well and he will go deep in this tournament. But I wouldn’t be happy with anything less then him making the final, and it’s hard to say at this point if he could do that. Djokovic has been playing well and he would probably make the semi-finals again, so he would be a tough test and Roger would have to be at his best.
David Ferrer who is in Roger’s quarter of the draw lost today against Paul-Henri Mathieu. So the draw is opening up pretty nicely for Roger, Ferrer is always a tough opponent on clay. Should Roger win his next match he will play the winner of either Mischa Zverev or Gilles Simon. Djokovic also had an easy win over Albert Montanes after winning the first set 7-6. The second set score was 6-0. Andy Murray wasn’t so lucky as he was upset by a pretty good clay court player in Juan Monaco. Murray had a good tournament in Monte Carlo but I always felt he could struggle on clay. His serve isn’t as effective on clay and his forehand lacks penetration. The forehand just falls short too much and lacks spin and pace.
He’s brand of ‘pushing’ is good on hard courts but isn’t very effective on clay. But I won’t totally write him off just yet, I’ll wait a little longer before I tell you for sure what I think. Rafa was also in action and had another easy win of 6-2, 6-3 over Andreas Seppi. Also Fernando Verdasco defeated Mardy Fish and Stanislas Wawrinka overcame Mikhael Youzny. Ok that’s all for now. I’m feeling pretty good about Roger’s game and for now expect that he will at least make the semi-finals. See you tomorrow!