Federer in Ferrer’s Quarter in Miami

http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2014/403/mds.pdf

 

I only posted the bottom half of the draw where Roger finds himself. You can find the top half through the link. Before I get to the draw I just want to mention something that Joe just brought up and which didn’t cross my mind in the last post. I felt during the final something was a bit off after the first set. Roger’s level dropped and he seemed to have lost his mojo. I think there is a possibility that he was becoming tired. Of course you would never hear him mention any excuses, but he did say he was not convinced that he would play Miami. That is already clue that he was feeling the effect of playing both singles and doubles in Indian Wells and going deep into both draws. He did say he is more likely to play Miami than not, and I think he will play. But I’m sure he won’t play doubles again.

I just felt something was missing from the second set onward in Roger’s game compared to what we have seen from him of late. That is why it is also important not to be too critical of Roger, because we never know the inside story. We look at things from a distance. I think Roger should play Miami, but of course he will know best. He is in the draw anyway and it looks like a decent enough draw. He doesn’t get Nadal, Djokovic, or Stan in his quarter. He gets Ferrer who he will most likely pass in the rankings after Miami, even if he does not play Miami. But I’d like to see him play Miami to put some distance between him and Ferrer. Also since he did not play last year and there is a lot of points up for grabs for him. With his draw he can make at least semis and score an additional 360 points.

His draw is Karlovic, Verdasco, Gasquet/Anderson, Dimitrov/Ferrer, Djokovic, Nadal/Stan. It’s a pretty tough draw but in his current form you’d like his chances to make semis at least. I don’t care much about Miami anyway. It’s so slow and I see it basically as free points for Roger to strengthen his ranking. Karlovic first round could be tricky and quarters with Dimitrov or Ferrer could be tricky too. A Fed vs Dimitrov quarter would be fun so hopefully we get that. Djokovic is probably the favorite for me to win the event and would be harder to beat here for Roger than in Indian Wells. It’s hard to know what Nadal will do. His draw is not that difficult and he could potentially make the final, but who knows with the form he is in now. Hopefully Stan can get it together again and make semis at least should Nadal be there.

But to get back to my opening argument I think Roger may well have been tired and that it was not necessarily a bad thing that he lost the final. Yes I would have loved for him to win Indian Wells a 5th time and beat Djokovic consecutively. But Roger has an eye on Davis Cup this year where Switzerland has a great chance, so playing doubles was important. Also playing a lot of matches now may serve him well further down the road. And finally Djokovic winning may work out well for Roger if Djokovic can finally stop Nadal at the French Open. I’m not trying to make excuses for Roger. I just feel like Djokovic looked a bit like a lost child out there for the first set and a bit and then he came back to win the match. I think Roger was mentally tired in that final set tie break especially. That would explain why he just ‘went away’ after being so clutch of late.

Something just didn’t feel quite right to me…

Posted in Uncategorized.

43 Comments

  1. Yes Ru-an, I actually mentioned this on your last post. In fact the ESPN commentator noted how unusual it was for Roger to go over to his chair and guzzle down water after an even non changeover game. It was very hot, Djoko was working Rogers legs very hard and Roger was sweating big time. I believe it was the combo of fatigue and Djoko upping his game, forcing longer points, that made the difference. I am amazed that at 32 RF can still battle prime top players like he is right now. I’m a bigger fan than ever!!!

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  2. Thanks for all your posts. You have been working overtime and we appreciate you for it. I realized close to the end of the second set his serve had dropped. Joker was keeping him at the baseline. He was not as able to chip and charge as much. Joker, Nadal, Ferrer, and many others will do that to him. They have enough film of his games from the past week and his success at the net and they will challenge him. I too saw that he was tired but then Joker had played more sets. Joker was there for revenge. Roger has to have that attitude in Miami.

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  3. I agree with your post.I think Roger playing doubles took to much out of him. He needs to conserve his energy for the singles. I think he could have won yesterday but he did look tired by the third set.

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  4. Joe I should have stated that it was singles. I personally feel the singles’s matches were tougher. When Fed had to play singles and doubles on the same day, that would have made him very tired or you could look at as a workout/practice

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Just to make it clear what I was saying is a theory. I can’t be sure it’s the truth because like you say Djokovic also played quite a bit in his singles matches. It’s a shame Roger could not grind it out mentally in the breaker for whatever reason. He was very close.

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    Joe Reply:

    Thanks, and I agree completely that singles matches tend to be a lot more demanding in terms of physical stamina than doubles matches.

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  5. I think he was tired but don’t think it was the doubles anyway, More likely it was Djoker working him from side to side in extended rallies in the dessert heat and not letting him score enough cheap points on his serve or letting him get to net. Djoker got better and better throughout the match. He’s young, he’s an incredible athlete and player, good for him. And great for Roger that he was within a few points of winning. Roger is still on the rise. The important thing is that he peaks at the right time and gets the right draw. I am feeling good that he can get to number four soon and then there is a real possibility that Stan or Djoker can tae out Nadal in the US or Wimbly, and Roger can bring home another big one. Same could even happen at the French – that would become a national holiday in my house!!!

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    Florian Reply:

    Since Nadal and Djokovic will stay #1 and #2 throughout this years slams, they only can meet in the final. So I hope someone other than Djokovic will take out Nadal. But if Roger and Rafa keep up their latest game I also like Rogers chances to beat Rafa at Wimbledon.

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  6. You are right to point out that Roger has Davis cup right after Miami. I would prefer to that he withdraws but then again Roger would know best how his body is coping. After that it will be almost 4 weeks rest for him. The draw is not doing any favors, a tad tough but based on current confidence level – he should be able to make it through till semis at least

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  7. Ruan, I agree it is the grinding and the running all over the court. Fed has a beautiful game but when the other players just want to play the power and grinding game it is not fun to watch. Fed is an artist in the game. There are 2 different styles on the court. I wish they could do away with this grinding style.

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  8. Ruan,
    I’ve being saying all along Roger must improve his fitness in order to compete with the likes of Rafa, Novak & Andy. Not only will it impact his physical side, it will affect his mental side. Imagine if you are tired already your thinking become slow & prone to make wrong or not the best decisions. I always believe Roger is mentally tough; it is just that when he play Rafa during his peak he is unable to match Rafa stamina.That’s why he lost a lot to Rafa on the slow courts. The only to beat a healthy Rafa is to be as fit or fitter than him & with a little luck. This is what Novak did in 2011.
    Coming back to Roger, is there anything he can do or he can eat or cannot eat to upgrade his fitness by say another 5%? I don’t expect the type of fitness like in 2004-07. In Miami, the court is slow & the weather is humid it make him even more tired easily

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    Joe Reply:

    It’s my thought that Roger was playing singles and doubles just to improve his physical condition for the upcoming majors.

    And I’m very encouraged that he was able to make a match with Djokovic, who is truly great, so close – on a slower court – and after going deep in the tournament in doubles as well as singles. I think it shows that his conditioning is already excellent – and I think his game should keep improving with familiarity with his new racquet, coach, etc. but mostly because of his new and unshakeable mental fortitude!

    I tend to think that Nadal wears Roger down on his backhand side, to the point where muscle fatigue causes him to mis-hit forehands and possibly even serves. Maybe, with an aggressive BHDTL, a better mix of shots, and possibly a little luck, Roger can take it to Nadal in future matches. It’s rightly said that Roger’s mental strength could be improved, but I also think that sometimes he gets blamed for being mentally weak when he’s struggling more with physical fatigue…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well the two go hand in hand Joe, physical fitness and mental fortitude. Nadal and Djokovic are mentally strong because they are so fit. They never have to worry about getting tired and that already gives them great confidence. So this is probably where they have an advantage over Roger. Given the court speeds which makes for longer rallies they have even a bigger advantage over him. Roger have struggled with injuries last year and he is not used to playing a lot. It will take time for him to get back to his physical best, which is why your argument about playing a lot now to help him further down the line is a good one in my opinion.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Mike, the two go hand in hand. I have always thought Fed can do away with some of the baby fat around his mid section and bulk up somewhat. But I am not his fitness trainer.

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  9. Thanks for the recent posts, which have been very good (coinciding with Fed’s play). I am pretty disappointed with the loss, as I have seen too many stupidly close losses to Djokovic (US Open ’10,’11, Masters Cup 2012, even Masters 2013 he lost in 3 sets). I am not sure if it was fatigue, because he played inspirational tennis to break back at 4-5 (and then a good service game to hold too right after).

    He just unfortunately had to serve first, and make an error and suddenly he was down 3-0 very quickly. So the tiebreaker got away from him very quickly.

    True, maybe he was tired because he couldn’t get a cheap first serve point (he did serve an ace to save a match point).

    I hope he plays Miami, as the quality of his tennis is just great to watch. The 1st set of the final was sublime. I think getting to No.4 is very important just to avoid Nadal and Djokovic at the QF stage.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome Bharata. When Roger plays well I am more inspired to make good posts. I agree with you about too many stupid losses to Djokovic, which is why I’m somewhat disappointed by the tie break. But Roger has made good progress of late. Lets give him some more time.

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  10. I think that Roger said it quite best when he mentioned that he lost the tie-breaker for the exact same reason he was able to break Djokovic at 5:4 – I believe that it was because Roger was playing with the wind while Djokovic was playing against it. That allowed Roger to be more aggressive and break Novak for 5:5 but then in the tie-break the first 6 points were played with him serving against the wind so there you go.

    I’d rather believe that than get into the fatigue/ stamina factor which I think Roger did avoid by actually losing the doubles semi.

    I hope that he’ll play Miami and agree that doubles should be put to bed for a while. Roger has been going deep into tournaments so that’s actually good for him. He’ll get his break anyway soon. Getting back to top 4 is important however and he shouldn’t pass this opportunity. I hope he won’t. He’s playing great right now so hopefully he’ll play in Key Biscayne. I hope that Stan gets it together. It’s important for Davis Cup. Plus, if they both win their matches, usually they let someone else play for the doubles.

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  11. Hi Ru-an, since Novak won at IW we are all analizing
    this match so much. But truth be told if Roger had
    won the tie break would we even be thinking of Fed being tired-by Roger’s standard he played a bad tie
    breaker! Roger breaking Djokovic to keep himself in the third set was immense!

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  12. I also don’t think that fatigue was the reason why he lost this match.Here is rogers interview transcript, where he mentioned the wind factor at the end. Seems plausible to me.
    http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/News/Tennis/2014/Interview-Transcripts/Roger-Federer-Final.aspx

    Another interesting point is, that Roger wants more best of five set matches back into other ATP events beside the slams. Although others would benefit more from this he brings it up. But that’s typical for Roger, he doesn’t put his own interests before those of the sport.

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  13. If that is true then it makes getting to a third set breaker against Djokovic on a slowish hard court all the more impressive!
    Really it was such a fun match to watch, I loved it. There was barely anything in it even when Roger’s level dropped against one of the world’s elite. Encouraging no?
    I never lost faith that he could win and when he broke back in the third I got pretty excited, but Djokovic was too good in the end.
    Did you see how he looked at the trophy presentation?! Man you can tell another baby Fed is on the way because he really is at peace with himself at the moment. So nice to see and it definitely encouraged me that more is on the way.
    If he does well in Miami, on a court less suited to his game than IW and really feeling the burn at this point after deep runs in Dubai and IW, then my hopes for the clay season are pretty strong. Just enjoy I say because we’ll have a long arse wait after until Madrid!
    My best wishes to you Ru-an.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Tom. I thought the TB was disappointing because Roger often seems to come up short mentally vs Nadal and Djokovic, and I thought he became mentally stronger of late. But we just gotta keep the faith and remember what a great week he had up until the final. I like to think that everything worked out the way it should have.

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    veronica Reply:

    Well put, Ru-an. I watched the match again and I must say the second time around, I do feel a slight disappointment. It was so close! Like someone commented earlier, it felt a bit like USO 10/11. He was the better player for the most part. Just too many ufe. Even in the 3rd set he was playing well although he struggled with his serve and when he broke back at 5/5, it was just incredible. The momentum was with him but alas, you never write off the Djoker until the last point. Maybe this final can be classified as one that got away; especially considering it was IW which is one of Roger’s better tournaments and that Djoko was still struggling for form. As for Miami, meh! Its clay to me; ha! and Roger, traditionally, doesn’t really do well there. Maybe just collect some points and get out of there without meeting Djoko and without risking his still positive h2h with Djoko!! Ha! Meanwhile it’s hard to fault this ageless player, at 32, who still, joyfully and willingly, go through all the ups and downs; just to perform some of the best magic the world will ever see. It is a privilege.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I don’t know Veronica he seemed to be so in control for the first set and a half and then he kind of let it slip. Who really knows what the reason is. It’s an opportunity gone for another big title but he will have some more chances to win big titles this year. I’m still excited. Maybe he can even surprise us in Miami..

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  14. Definitely the two go hand in hand. Djoko and Nadal never had to worry about their fitness whereas Roger often has to fight both mental and physical battles when he faces them. I been wondering a long time now when Roger will up his fitness like how Agassi’s improved fitness helped him win late in his career. Don’t think Roger has a choice given today’s dominant defensive players and slower surfaces; although Roger’s game is not one of muscle and grind.

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  15. Good points guys! I believe it is a combination of what you all have mentioned that contributed to the fatigue : Djoko running him; the doubles matches are not the same as work out/practice sessions as they involve mental effort so they are more “tiring”; and Roger couldn’t use the wind as he himself said. Don’t know whether playing the doubles was the right choice but maybe, as Joe said, he wanted to get himself match fit for the slams. Besides he is so pumped up about Davis Cup and Stan!! He’s like Stan’s biggest fan now!!

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Veronica, All along mho on the Roger/Stan doubles play was a “practice” sesseion for the upcoming Davis Cup. This will be a big event “fuer Schweiz”, for Switzerland.
    Good post from Ru-an and all of the above commentators.
    Best,
    Dolores
    PS. Grandma Dolores to Veronica et al

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    Veronica Reply:

    Hi Dolores! Definitely Roger has one eye on the tie in Switzerland that’s why he played doubles in IW. Nothing would have stopped him playing those doubles. It was the last real practice before the real contest in Switzerland. He and Stan are just raring to go and Switzerland has not experienced such excitement for Davis Cup in a long time. Heard all tickets are sold out! Are you from Switzerland, btw, Dolores?!

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Veronica, quickly to answer your question….No, am not from Switzerland but closeby…grew up in beloved Black Forest (Germany), very close to Basel, Schweiz. Switzerland is a very scenic beautiful country.
    Best,
    Dolores

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  16. Del Potro withdraws from Miami with wrist injury and
    Nadal is so sad.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Delpo always does this. I wish he would be more sure about himself and his condition and allow draws to be done properly without him withdrawing last minute and often run the risk of softening his part of the draw. Anyway all the best to him and hope he decides on the best solution and come back strong. We need him to challenge the machines!

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  17. After his nice article “In Roger Federer we trust”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/peter-bodo/post/_/id/622/in-roger-federer-we-trust

    I don’t understand why he thinks that Raonic, Ferrer, Cilic and Djokovic will be the 4 semi-finalists !

    http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/03/mens-miami-preview/50935/#.UyntZreKBD8

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    Veronica Reply:

    Bodo is a very provocative writer, has great way with words and makes some astute observations but he is a little eccentric, bit up and down. He can be playful, (tongue in cheek)and biting at the same time and sometimes downright silly and outrageous. But if you have followed his writings for sometime, he is actually a Fed admirer; especially in recent years. He has nothing but admiration for Roger’s endurance and love for the sport. He is provocative rather than accurate in his predictions.

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    rahan Reply:

    Veronica you are perfectly right on this one:

    “provocative rather than accurate” !

    ANd what I was afraid happened: Ivo K. wins after 21 aces!

    he will be a tricky opponent for Roger!

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    veronica Reply:

    Yeah,Rahan, Dr Ivo is always a nightmare that no one wants in their draw. But by the same token, I think these Ace Kings also fear Roger! Because Roger is master at returning and neutralising their bombs!!

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    rahan Reply:

    I hope that the commentator is right:
    see 0:40-0:50 in the following video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY3fBvASDrM

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  18. Hey guys, what’s up?? What’s up?? In a few hours Roger will play, so I am going to give my Miami prediction. If you like it, read on. If you don’t, ignore it. Afterall, what do I know about it :-)
    Our Roger will make atleast SF. After that it is 50%. Honestly on one hand I don’t think he will win Miami, because you all call it Slowami for a reason, but on the other hand I did say Roger was going to win a title no one would expect, so…. And maybe he only does it to gain points and just wants to see how far he will come.
    Rafa will NOT win it. Don’t know how far he will get, maybe final, but no title. He is older and the others are starting to believe he can be beaten. Novak will not win Miami either (eventhough he is more confidant now). Berdych or Stan or Ferrer won’t win it too. Jo Willy will lose in the beginning.

    I am calling for Andy as the winner (hopefully Roger, but oke). Andy has something to prove (that beeing without Lendl won’t make a difference) and he can play more freely. AND like I have already said, I don’t believe in that “injured much”. You cannot come from an injury and still play THAT good.
    So…. winner Miami, Roger or Andy.
    Oh and Dimi will be the surprise :-)

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  19. Ru-an, even Federer cannot simply dial up his percentage of winners at will. If he could he would never lose. When he pushes his game too far, he’ll start making UEs. There is no help for it. Unless he can execute his tactics and avoid having to go for too many low-margin winners from unfavorable court positions.

    I don’t want to blame the wind too much. He’s played dozens and dozens of wind matches against some of the best players in the world (his defeat of Nadal at IW being a prime example, also the QF against Agassi at USO ’04) and he’s found a way to come through. I don’t think the match was lost there, but in the choices he made during the whole of the last two sets. Djokovic upped his level and sank his teeth into the match and Federer wasn’t able to find the right tactics to consistently stay ahead of him. Just a little too much pressure on his serve and forehand.

    Federer too seemed to suggest this in his press conference:

    “…he made a crucial sort of 20 minutes, half and hour midway through the second set and third set where things could have gone either way. But credit to him for toughening it out and winning that second set and getting the breaker in the third.”

    This match showed encouraging signs of progress. Last year on fast indoor courts he lost to Djokovic 6-2 in the final set, and here on a much slower outdoor court he went all the way to the tiebreak in the third and was able to stay close with Djokovic until the very end. On another day he makes the right decisions and maybe those two or three key points go his way.

    In retrospect he didn’t play opponents who gave him a lot of baseline rhythm, either. Big servers, power players, and Dolgopolov, but no one who defended well and extended rallies and forced Federer to hit a lot of balls close to the lines. To go from those guys to Djokovic is a huge step up. Maybe it was a step too far, but on the other hand now he has more data on how to play against these tireless baseliners on slow courts with the new racket.

    Miami is very important because he needs more matches on slow courts to get more experience with the racket. Ferrer is an ideal opponent for this; he has crazy defense but not nearly the firepower that Djokovic or Nadal have. If he gets another shot at Djokovic or even Nadal, so much the better. If he can do well on this slow hard court in humid, soggy conditions, then it will prepare him to do well on clay too. I’m not writing off the clay season–if he continues playing this well or better, he can win clay court tournaments, even at RG and even against Nadal.

    He does have Davis Cup shortly after Miami but then he will skip MC so he should have enough rest for clay season–a full month to recuperate and train. So hopefully he’ll be well-rested and well-prepared to keep it up.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Steve, great comment. If this match, Roger vs Novak IW final was last year, it would not even have been exciting to watch for us, because we would know Roger 2013 would have lost the match anyway and big time.
    This year, it was so exciting because Roger was SO close. Couple of points here and there and he would have won.
    Unfortunately Roger lost, but Novak did need 3 sets and a TB.
    Roger did SO good. He can only do much and much better from now on.
    I mean come on, after USO 2013 only SF and more??? How many other players have achieved that??
    Anyone who is disappointed TOO much with Roger’s IW loss is NOT a real Roger fan (more of a gloryhunter if you ask me). He did not win, but we should be really proud of him.
    I read somewhere, the only sets Roger lost at IW were unfortunately in the final….

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    rahan Reply:

    AP news about Roger vs. Karlovic:

    Federer improved to 11-1 in their head-to-head — or, in this case, head-to-shoulder :-)

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    Katyani Reply:

    Haha Rahan, head-to-shoulder !!!
    Funny guy :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Excellent analysis as always, Steve! Can’t help but agree with you. Roger’s game is such that if he is pressured too much errors creep in. Maybe he needs to adjust his margins during crucial play. But it’s easier said than done. We talking about split second decisions under pressure and Roger often talks about when to be more aggressive, when to hold back and that he is always trying to find the right balance in every match. As for the wind, Roger is master wind player as I mentioned in an earlier comment and as such the wind wasn’t too much of a factor as you said, except Roger himself mentioned that the game where he broke Djoko was with the wind and the TB was Djoko playing most of the points with the wind. Just a little unlucky perhaps and at that particular time, he couldn’t work the wind to his advantage.

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  20. Tricky match vs. the always dangerous Karlovic. It was closer than it looked. It was Federer’s serving rather than the returning that made the big difference, although he returned well. Karlovic had no chances, with Federer putting on a serving clinic–only 3 points lost out of 52 points served!

    Now for the winner of De Bakker/Verdasco.

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