Federer Defeats Haas to Avoid #7 Ranking

Finally a decent win for Roger guys. Probably his best win since Halle. Not that it was smooth sailing. Roger won 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 after being a break down in the second set. At that point it looked like it was going to be another humiliating loss, but a combination of more aggressive returning and Haas’ lack of mental fortitude allowed Roger to sneak the victory. Yes it was not pretty, but a much needed win nonetheless. Had Roger lost this match he would have slipped back as far as to #7 in the rankings. He had to stop the rot, and at least now changing back to the old racquet for the time being makes a little more sense. As I mentioned the returns were slightly more aggressive compared to the first round. I noticed early on that he was going over a few more backhand returns. But not enough to make him avoid the breadstick and a loss of serve in the second set.

Things weren’t looking good for Roger at 1-6, 2-4. Haas was playing well. He was going after the win, which is why this is Roger’s best win in a while. Roger somehow broke back in the second set and had some break points to break again. On one break point he made another negative chip return into the net. He was still using that shot a lot, and screwed up his break point conversion rate of 3/12 again. At 6-5 and 30-15 on the Haas serve Roger had another chance to bring up 2 break points. For once he went over the backhand return and what happened? You guessed it, he won the point and brought up 2 set points. On the first one he chipped another return into the net. Fortunately Haas served to his forehand on the second point and he could make another positive return which allowed him to win the second set.

Strange serving from Haas on an important point but we will take it. The momentum had shifted and it was enough for Roger to win the match. Like I said Haas is not exactly known for his mental fortitude so there wasn’t much left for Roger to do, but all credit to him for fighting back in the second after staring down the barrel. It is not the best win of his career but considering his recent form, it was an important win. Things have been slipping pretty fast and slipping to #7 in the rankings would have been yet another new low. You would think this win would give him a confidence boost going into his next match with Nadal, but as we have seen of late that won’t necessarily be the case. He could easily be destroyed by Nadal again. I’d like to believe that won’t be the case however and that Roger can at least make the score respectable.

He will definitely have to serve well and use the faster conditions to his advantage. Nadal is currently on a high and I don’t hold out much hope of Roger actually winning. Especially since Roger’s confidence is at an all time low. Nadal has been in devastating form. The only faint glimmer of hope is that Dimitrov managed to win a set against him after being a set and a break down. Hopefully Roger can at least achieve the same feat. If he loses something like 7-5, 6-4 it won’t be too bad either. It’s ironic that Roger finally comes up against Nadal on a fast hard court when he is at an all time low. But then again they met in the final of Dubai in 2006 too and Nadal won. In the end this is just a terrible match up for Roger and the rivalry has been overrated. I watched the Dimitrov/Nadal match until Dimitrov was a break down in the second set and saw how Nadal was killing Dimitrov on his backhand side.

Of course I couldn’t help but think about what lies ahead for Roger. There is just nothing he can do. The one-handed backhand is just a huge liability against Nadal. I would love for Roger to get the win tomorrow and prove that the head-to-head would have been better if they faced more on faster courts, but it’s hard to see. In tennis anything is possible and you shouldn’t count Roger out, but if you look at the current form of the respective players it really is very hard to imagine. If Roger loses tomorrow it also means he will slip back to #6 in the rankings I think. Beating Nadal would keep him in the top 5 and would be a huge confidence booster. It would also go a long way towards healing some of the pain that Fedfans have felt of late. Nothing satisfies a Fedfan quite like a win over Roger’s nemesis. But I don’t want to say Roger can win this just for the sake of being positive, or because I am expected to do so.

You know I’m a realist and would rather tell you my honest thoughts than what you want to hear. Sorry but that is just me. If Roger wins I will be delighted but it would almost take a miracle. Making the quarter finals and making the scoreline respectable against a rampant Nadal would be a good result given his recent form. His confidence is just low. I watched the 2012 Cincinnati final highlights today and it was unreal to see the difference in Roger’s confidence level. He is simply another player at this point. He was even going over his backhand returns on a much more regular basis then, proving my point that the returning is also a confidence thing. He sure needs to be a lot more positive on his returning if he wants to stand any chance at all against Nadal. Chipping his backhand return against Nadal is suicide.

The longer the points go the worse for Roger. He has no business chipping the return back and starting a base line rally. He needs to go over every return if he actually wants to win this. Going over every return and missing every single one would be better than chipping and starting a base line rally with Nadal. Yes you heard that right. The only way Roger has a prayer of winning this is by playing first strike tennis and keeping the points as short as possible. You know Nadal is already gonna put immense pressure on his serve and to offset that he has to pressure the Nadal serve with aggressive returning. It is all about his mindset. He must be looking to make the aggressive return, get the weak reply from Nadal, and try to end the point from there. Any rally that goes longer than 5 shots is just about a lost cause.

It’s all about sending a message and making a statement. There is no point in hanging around for another beat down at the hand of his nemesis. He either risks it all and play with purpose or don’t bother showing up. I don’t feel like seeing that resigned/stubborn look like he showed in Rome again tomorrow. Roger doesn’t have anything to lose either. Nadal is expected to win so he may as well go out there and take some risks. But somehow I doubt he is going to do that. He has just failed to do that so many times against Nadal in the past, which is why I am hesitant to say that he can win this. Even though the head-to-head is 20-10 already I can see Roger playing as though he has something to protect. I hope he proves me wrong and and plays ultra aggressive tennis, even if it means he loses 6-0, 6-0.

Highlights:

Interview: 

Posted in Uncategorized.

35 Comments

  1. Ruan, totally agree with you that Roger should just throw caution to the wind and take more chances against Nadal. No utility in engaging in long rallies and being pounded yet again! About the set point at 6-5, 30-40, the drop volley Roger played which Haas couldn’t run down reminded me of the one he played against Murray at Wimbledon, at the exact same scoreline to add! Hopefully Fed makes a match of this quarterfinal..

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    Pryzm Reply:

    Hey everyone,

    Great post Ruan! Roger came from behind to defeat Haas, just so he could face Nadal! That’s quite a change from some of the recent best-of-fives, e.g. AO, where he would not play his best if it meant facing Nadal or Djokovic if they were fresh and he’d just played two five-setters. Something is in the air!

    I didn’t see the match but it seems like Roger has his fire back! And I think that in this match we’ll see the one – and only – reason Roger went back to his toothpick of a racquet – causing concern to us all in the process: because he foresaw this match! Because he wanted to beat Nadal at this tournament, and not be burdened by a racquet he still hasn’t adjusted to completey.

    I don’t know if he’ll win, and of course I’m as concerned as everyone else about his back (and his return of serve) but if he’s healthy I really like his chances today.

    Let’s all get ready for something special!
    :-)

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  2. Am with you all the way too, Ruan. Just want to see the fire in Fed and see him just putting it all out there, even if it loses. He’ll at least walked away pumped even if he loses.

    One question though: I get your point about the chipped return but one of the ways in which Dmitrov was able to rattle Nadal was by using his slice backhand with more variety. He hit a lot of nasty slices down the line and when he did chip, he chipped deep rather than short (which is what Fed does). Given that these are fast courts, and given that the commentators are all saying, the slice is staying super low (especially if it has some bite on it), do you think this is something Fed should do more of? Fed’s slice has so much action on it, and it will make Nadal work more. And besides, if Nadal is not tired after today’s exhausting match, call out the doping police now!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Sakhi on these courts the slice could potentially be effective but not as a return. The return is a chip. You can’t slice through the ball on a return.

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  3. Hey, Ru-an!

    I happen to agree with you completely on this one. In Rome it didn’t work but unfortunately it was clay and Nadal stays way back on clay and the court doesn’t give Roger any favors. I think that the time of trying to beat Nadal with your grind game is never going to work. Roger just has to jump on Nadal and pray that he takes the first set. If Nadal wins the first set it will be a straight set loss. If Roger gets lucky and takes the first set, you never know.

    I realize that it will be very difficult to win but I give Roger a fighting chance. Any match from here can only boost Roger’s confidence. I will not say anymore. Let’s just see what happens. Hopefully the faster conditions should give a slight advantage to Federer. Hopefully his back will be stable and he can rely on a good serve. I completely agree with you about the aggressive mindset in pretty much very return point. That just has to be the new Federer from now on if he is to stay in the top 4.

    That’s pretty much it. Thank you for another great post, as usual! :-) )

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  4. Hey guys,
    Watching Roger yesterday, I am trying to figure out in what kind of mood he is in. I think that for once, even though he is low on confidence, the fact that tomorrow he will play Nadal, he may just have that hunger for revenge. It’s an opportunity on a fast hard court afterall. He may just be ultra aggressive, who knows.

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  5. And the Goat vs Nadal match is here. not sure what to expect. as much as I want Nadal to win, not sure I want him to. I can already imagine what Fed fans will say if he wins. So Nadal must just do us all a favour and lose. its better for all concerned. Sad really that every Nadal win is celebrated with dope accusations especially by Fed fans.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Emy, since you have been on this site long enough, have you ever stopped and thought to yourself, Roger is losing to guys left and right and center and up and down, Roger is losing to anybody and everybody, but why do the commentators on this site ONLY accuse Rafa of doping??? Have you ever thought about that?? Andy and Novak are beating Roger everywhere all year long, so are Tsonga and Delpo and the top 100-guys, but why do we NEVER accuse any of them of doping??

    I won’t tell you the answer, please try to figure it first out for yourself.
    Love to hear your reaction.

    Katyani

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    Mike Reply:

    Actually, this is not true. Murray and Djokovic have been accused of “doping” several times on this blog. Not by Ruan, but by several posters. Infact some posters accuse every top 5 player who isn’t Federer of doping

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Mike, you are right. Novak and Andy are sometimes here also accused, but no one as much as Rafa.
    I personally don’t believe that Novak or Andy are doping.
    And to be honest, even Roger gets accused sometimes of doping, which I don’t believe for a second is true.

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    rich Reply:

    How do we know they aren’t doping? No one here is living 24/7 with any of these players. But some players suggest doping more than others. Which is why Nadal is the subject of suspicion not just here but all over the net.

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  6. Good post, Ruan.
    What to expect for his next match, against his nemesis?
    All these years Nadal has most likely avoided to play against Roger at Cincinnati and at the US Open, but now that Roger isn’t feeling well at all, he calls “présent” at Cincinnaty, and is ready for the battle against the maestro for whom he feels but hate imo, to give him a good lesson in tennis and to tell him how he should play the game.
    My suspicion is that Federer is still running with this huge gorilla on his back when facing Nadal because in his heart he knows and feels his hate and his primal urge to beat the crap out of him, the more talented opponent.
    I don’t expect Roger to win this encounter.
    Roger’s passion and love for the game won’t be enough to escape his fate I’m afraid, his fate being the fate of the Jesusfed, the calvary and the humiliation of the humble servant. Not the kind of passion Roger talks about in his in his interviews.
    Real love is equanimity, patience, endurance, acceptance.
    So guys, don’t feel too devastated when Roger will suffer another humiliation from the hands of the Spanish bully, because it is not the end but perhaps the start of something beautiful, as we all have to creep through the tunnel before seeing the light.

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  7. Hi Ru-an and Ru-an’s readers! I hope to catch the Federer-Haas highlihgts later today. I did see the entire Dimitrov Nadal match and it was good to see Dimitrov refusing to lose and come back strongly in the second set. He was outstanding, holding his own serve impressively and constantly putting Nadal’s serve under pressure; importantly, and this is something Roger should do – he returned Nadal’s second serve with aggression with most of the returns going deep into Nadal’s feet. There was not one chip return in the second set that I can remember. Nadal won just 40% of those as Dimitrov was all over Nadal’s second it.Dimitrov is too good a player and he can only get better. I can see him in 2015 regularly beating Djokovic, Murray and Nadal once he sorts out his physical fitness and mindset.

    Nadal is looking a tad weary from what I saw and while Roger is not that sharp these days, this will be a good match to win for him. Chips will be devoured hungrily by Nadal unless they are hit really deep. High topspin moonballs to Nadal’s backhand may work as Dimitrov domonstrated a bit. For Roger to win, expect his serve to be in the mid 60s to 70s, aggressive returns, Forehand winners, high BP conversion and a proportionate winners:UE count.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Don’t let your self fool, grumpy.
    I may be wrong but I think Nadal will look fresh like a daffodil in the sunshine against Roger.

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  8. Lets be optimistic!! I feel Federer has a chance if he doesn’t let his head get in between!! He can win! lets have faith in our Roger Federer. Dimitrov took a set off Nadal so Federer can take 2 sets off him as well.. Lets hope and pray for our GOAT

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  9. Hey guys, you have to admire Rafa for one thing.
    If he wanted to, he could have skipped Cincy to rest after his Montreal-win, but the guy just KNEW he would be in Roger’s half and that THIS is the year to beat Roger on fast hc. You have to admire his “sneekyness” and also his cleverness.
    Because we all know, if Rafa would have played and won Montreal last year (2012), he would NEVER have played Cincy. Knowing about Roger’s form, the getting back to number one by defeating Novak and Andy. No, he knows this is his chance to “burry” Roger for good. He knows Roger is not in great form. For that fact alone God should make Roger beat Rafa.

    But I can also tell you this. Roger seems to be ready for Rafa. Otherwise would he not have “lost” to Haasi?? The way Haasi was playing he would even have an excuse.

    Maybe something great (miracle) will happen and Roger will beat Rafa. Otherwise with Rafa 2013 it will be bad. Hope that if Roger loses, he loses in three sets, or that he loses big time BUT by playing totally unexpected and aggressive.

    There is a reason Roger defeated Haasi. He was so close to losing, but he fought back. Maybe he wanted to get a chance for Rafa.
    Hope Annacone and he watched Dimi play Rafa and took notes.
    There is NOTHING wrong with taking some points of how the younger players are playing.
    AFTERALL did everybody not raise their game and level and played better because they wanted to defeat Roger???
    So, it is not a bad thing that he learns from them now. He is a learner of the game, he tries to be better, so…..

    Still thinking Rafa will win, but I will hope and prey for Roger.

    And please, let us not kid ourselves by thinking Rafa will be a bit tired….

    But I can tell you this, if Roger is winning the match and Rafa starts to limp again (for already having an excuse why Roger defeated him)……

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  10. Looks like Djoko has to wait one more year to create history.
    Cincy is not good to him, but then again, Cincy belongs to Roger….

    Anyone else thinks Novak is going the Roger way??
    Winning it all and then losing a lot to almost anybody??
    Seems like Rafa and Andy are rising and Novak and Roger are…….

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey guys, just thought of this.
    When Novak was using his “egg”-machine (don’t know the real name of it), he was invincible.
    Now he says he has stopped using it.
    Is it a coincidence that now he is losing a lot?
    Seems like when he got rid of the machine, he also got rid of the invincibility.

    And I know Novak wanted to win Cincy, to be the first to create a history that no one has achieved yet, not even Roger or Rafa.
    But Andy, no I think he tanked the match to practise some more for USO.
    What do you guys think. Is that true??

    Afterall, last year in Paris (before WTF) didn’t they all do the same??

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  11. Hey guys! What’s happening.?! Roger won first set?! My world has turned upside down. I’m overseas now, can’t watch anything but saw the scores!! Pls guys, REPORT to me when it finishes. I can’t check the scores. Fro now on I saw its 1 and 1 in second set. Comon common roger do not lose it now!,!

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    Alex Reply:

    It’s 1 – 1. and now 3 – 0 for Nadal in the 3rd. Doesn’t look good.

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  12. Why is this ALWAYS happening? Roger winning the first set, then Rafa winning the second, Rafa’s confidence gets sky high and Roger gets mentally broken? Why does he in the last set not believe that he can come back too? You will see, he will lose 6-2
    (or worse).

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    Vily Reply:

    I know. Oh well. We should try to look at the positives, no matter how limited they are. I always knew this would happen. Roger just have to have everything go his way in order to have any chance against Nadal. While Nadal knows he can always come back.

    It’s tough and Roger must know that it’s never gonna be the same as before. If he won tonight he would have gotten that much needed boost in confidence. And he was close but at the end he couldn’t get it done…

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    Katyani Reply:

    Vily, I am proud of Roger for the way he is playing. But when he is a set up and loses the second one, he kind of gives up. I don’t understand that. Novak, Andy and certainly Rafa don’t do that. He just needs to think like, ah well, this just means that I have to play another set. He was playing so well. He was really giving it to Rafa and now…..

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    Vily Reply:

    I am not sure what the reason is but it must have a lot to do with lack of confidence in general against Nadal. I just Roger will drop to number 7 after tonight. That’s tough to swallow but all things considering I think he did the best that he could.

    It would have been nice to see Roger pull through but at least he finished strongly…. :-)

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    Vily Reply:

    OMG!!!

    Did you see what happened. 3 match points saved by Roger. Then another one. That he’s got sitter forehand to go a break point up and he hits the net it goes wide to give Nadal a 5th match point. At that point I was like how unlucky can Roger get. That’s just nuts. And then, to top it all off: Nadak hits a ball and it goes out but Roger DOESN’T challenge and he loses the match. What the heck. He basically saved the 5th match point. Who knows what could have happened. That was just insane and so unlucky for Roger. Why didn’t he challenge? Darn it!!!

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    Katyani Reply:

    When that ball his the net and was out and Roger looked at Mirka, I knew someone upstairs really wanted Rafa to win this. Like you said, how unlucky can you get.

    And Vily, WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BEAT RAFA??? Is there anyone on the PLANET who can beat him???
    He will make it to the final with Delpo and….. hate to say this, will win it too

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    Dolores Reply:

    Vily, I almost knew Nadal’s ball was out but no Challenge from Roger…it was so frustrating…who knows what might have happened???? MHO is that Roger should have won the second set. Am very sad that he lost tonight….hope he will put this behind him as quickly as possible and look to the future. All your fans love you and support you, Roger. Am anxiously waiting for Ru-an’s blog.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Katyani Reply:

    Yes, Vily, the last game he did fight.
    Too bad that the point he could have won touched the net.
    Man, even Mirka could not believe it.
    Good news is that Roger is ready for USO. He just has to be in the other half as Rafa.
    Second good news is, could you believe when you saw them playing that Roger is 5 years older??? He matched Rafa completely.
    But it is always with him in the last set, if the opponent is serving first, then Roger loses his serve and gets behind with 3-0 and then he fights. But mostly it is too late then to come back.
    But… I am still proud of Roger.
    He played great.

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    Vily Reply:

    I completely agree with you. I think that Roger is ready. He’s not going to win the US Open. But he’s getting better. Obviously the rest of the year will basically be a rebuilding mode for Roger. He’s got to fight and try to get his ranking higherZ it will be very difficult. How do you get from 7 back to 4?! I really don’t know. He certainly will need to reach semis at the US Open. If he gets Ferrer in the QFs he should be OK, assuming no nightmarish hiccups in the early rounds. It’s unrealistic to start talking about anything else. But I do agree that this match today was very positive for Roger, overall. He played Rafa 2013 and was expected to lose badly. He surprised everyone by taking the 1st set and was unlucky not to hold serve for 5:5 in the second set. I did expect a blowout in the third so when I saw the fight and determination I was very impressed. Technically speaking, if he had challenged he might have still won this (in theory). So all in all a good result.

    The rankings has got to hurt but if Roger manages to somehow get back to number 4 by the end if the year he’ll be in great shape.

    I do agree that should tinker with the racquet maybe. What about the strings?! I heard that Serena switched her strings and look at her in the last 2 year. Absolutely dominating everyone.aube Roger can get something. Nothing drastic – but something that he can be comfortable with and something that can give him that extra 5-10% advantage if he is to make one final push next year.

    We all know that tennis is in cycles. This year Rafa is pretty much the number 1 player in the world and he’ll probably get to number 1 by the end if the year. Hopefully he won’t win New York along the way but if it happens it happens. Obviously it’s tough for anyone to stop him. Possibly DelPo might be able to. I count on him.

    But these are my thoughts… I guess. I’ll get over this pretty quickly. It’s not a telling loss at all. If anything, it actually made me feel great about Roger. He certainly played amazing tonight in certain moments… Probably the best he has played since the Australian Open. So that’s enough in my book! :-) )))

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily, I am glad that the name I gave Rafa “Rafa 2013” sticks with you !!! Lets face it, we are in Rafa’s year and world now.
    2011 was Novak’s year.
    2012 was Roger and Andy’s year.
    And 2013 is Rafa’s year. We just have to wait till Rafa fall and Roger rises.

    But I am SO PROUD of Roger. I was one of the maybe millions who thought Roger would be destroyed by Rafa. But… our Goat made us all realise he is not the Goat for nothing. He played better than Rafa the first set and second set till 4-4. He could have won the second set, but you know Rafa. Will not give up until he wins. When Rafa was serving first the third set, I knew it was going to be 3-0 for him.

    But really kudos to Roger. Especially the last game. And if you would not know it, you would definitely not say that Roger is 5 years older. Rafa won, but oh my God, did he have to fight for his win or what???
    But I am really proud of Roger. I don’t really mind that he lost (I am lying), but he fought and did not role over. He gave Rafa hell and back. The days of Rafa destroying Roger are over. Rafa will keep defeating Roger, I am not stupid, but now Rafa will know that Roger is waiting, is not going anywhere and can ALWAYS beat him.
    Can you believe this? This is the same Roger who played Haasi yesterday. That match was in the beginning so bad.

    And I know one thing, you guys might laugh at me, but Roger is getting closer to beating Rafa. Rafa was lucky that Roger’s confidence was not that high this year. And lets get also easy on Roger. Even Novak could not beat Rafa when he was playing better.
    Really, we just have to wait till Rafa falls.

    And on a personal note, I am glad that Novak lost. Let him create history next year. Roger is the one who deserves to have it first.
    Novak out, Andy out, Roger out.
    Man, we are currently living in Rafa’s world.
    But next year, Roger will come back. Now he knows he is getting closer to beating Rafa and that he CAN beat Rafa. Today he was just a bit unlucky.

    But…let me end this on a note that has to be said too, although it pains me… Rafa played great. But at moments he was beeing outplayed by Roger. Roger will get him next time.
    And I for on, found his decision to play with the smaller racquet, a good one. See what it did for him.
    But yes, after USO he has to play with the bigger racquet again.
    Kudos to Rafa. I do hope that Delpo wins. He has not got a 1000 title yet.
    But honestly, I really hope Berdych wins. He has not got a title this yearnat all and he deserves to have atleast one.

    KUDOS TO ROGER. Welcome back, Roger 3.0 or Roger 2.85.

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  13. Hey guys, I’m not one for cussing, so this doesn’t mean what I mean, but,,,,EFFFF and EHHHHHH! He did great thought IMHO. G

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    Vily Reply:

    But did you see the ending? Roger saved 4 match points, then he mishit a sitter forehand to give himself a break point so he went down a 5th match point instead. And then Nadal missed a ball out by a millimeter but Roger didn’t challenge so he lost the match. Can you believe it? If he challenged he would have saved the 5th match point and then you never know. Roger was unlucky but he was close so I’d say that he did the best that he could. With a bit more luck he might have won,

    I hope he gets Ferrer in the QFs at the US Open. Number 7 in the world. Ouch…

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  14. Anyone here thinks Andy “tanked” his match to avoid playing Rafa before USO? I mean, he had to know that Rafa would find a way to beat Roger.

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  15. Mark my word “nadal will certainly beat andy whenever and where ever they meat” andy has been avoiding nadal because nadal always takes him out…Andy Murray benefited so much when nadal was out injured

    He was able to reach back to back wimby final because he didn’t play nadal plus I can’t remember the last time murray beats nadal. I have the feeling that if he meets nadal in US open nadal will take him out…he will secretly pray for someone to help him out

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