Where do I start? When I made my last post there were two more quarter final spots left so I will start there. Raonic defeated Nishikori in four sets which I was not necessarily happy about since I felt Nishikori had a better chance against Nadal. But little did I know teenage prodigy Kyrgios would come to the rescue. I had never seen Kyrgios play before, and knowing Nadal I predicted Nadal would win in straight sets in my last post. I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the start, Kyrgios impressed me. I loved his game. A big serve, big forehand, simple and effective backhand, and most importantly utterly fearless. When he won the first set on the tie-break I started getting my hopes up again, even though I knew Nadal had won his first three matches after dropping the first set. Then when Nadal won the second set 7-5 all hope was lost again.
Nadal’s ridiculous mental strength was winning the day again, and I expected things to go the same way it did in the last three rounds. But as the third set progressed I became more and more impressed with the new kid on the block. He kept playing the same game he did in the first two sets, oblivious to what happened in the second set. There was no mental letdown or momentum change. Amazingly this kid just kept drilling serves and ground strokes through Nadal. The third set tie-break was really the key. I was deeply impressed with how the kid held it together mentally and kept playing utterly fearless tennis. On set point in the breaker, he teed off on a forehand return to clinch it. No, fear. That seemed to finally break Nadal’s resolve as Kyrgios broke serve for the first time in the fourth set and served out the match to love with his 37th ace.
Epicness. The beast had finally been slain, and by someone I had never seen play before! I tell you what; this Kyrgios is going places. I mean is this guy the new GOAT or what? Anyone who can do that to Nadal in their teens with Nadal at his best has a massive future ahead of them. Kyrgios went on to lose to Raonic in the quarters, but he has made his breakthrough. If Roger ends up winning Wimbledon then he owes Kyrgios. Sorry(not sorry) to say but Kyrgios did something that Roger would not have been able to do. If Roger played Nadal in the semis the stakes would have been massive, and whenever that is the case Nadal comes out on top 100% of the time. So I am definitely grateful to Kyrgios and I hope Roger is too. He didn’t overstay his welcome either. He moved the immovable and then departed himself in the next round.
Not that he was disgraced by any means. Raonic lost the first set and needed a tie-break in the fourth set to progress to the semis. But it was Raonic’s time. He has been knocking for a while now and I was especially impressed with his form during the clay court season. I am overall impressed with him. I haven’t always been his biggest fan, but he has won my respect of late with his professionalism and persistence. In fact, I am impressed with the youngsters in general at this Wimbledon. They have made their move in a big way, because Dimitrov destroyed Murray in straight sets as well. Who would have thought? I was grateful to be able to watch all the tennis that I wanted to see yesterday and what a treat it was again. First Dimitrov made it look easy against Murray. The only nervy moment was in the second set after Murray broke back and forced the tiebreak.
Dimitrov played a poor game to allow Murray back into the match when he failed to consolidate at 4-3. The crowd was obviously firmly behind Murray and had Dimitrov lost the second set tie-break you just know the crowd would have irrupted and a momentum shift would have occurred. But Dimitrov won the tie-break fairly comfortably and took a two sets to love lead. He ended up winning 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2. Routine. It was nice to see not only because I am a Dimitrov fan, but also because of the constant annoying Murray hype by the BBC commentators and biased scheduling. I was also pleased because attractive attacking tennis had once again won the day over ugly pushing tennis. Far as I’m concerned Murray is over-hyped anyway and he falls back to #10 in the rankings now after failing to defend the title.
The next match I turned my attention to was Djokovic vs Cilic as I waited for Roger to come onto the court. Djokovic lost the second set to Cilic and then lost the third set on the breaker as well. This was bad news to me. The big four was falling too fast. If Djokovic got upset as well I felt it wouldn’t be a good omen for Roger, and I don’t want to see the end of the big four that quickly. The changing of the guard must not happen that fast. So I was pleased to see Djokovic fight back and convincingly win the last two sets. I like to see the young guns come through, but I don’t want them to take over so easily. I would still like to see a Djokerer final too. I like Dimitrov, but I think Djokovic is the slight favorite anyway. He has the experience on his side and Dimitrov has already announced his arrival with the routine defeat of Murray.
I like to see Dimitrov and Raonic in the semis, but they must make way for the big boys now. I don’t expect them to make it easy by any means. I think both Dimitrov and Raonic can seriously test Djokovic and Roger, and they will. But I think in the end the experience of the two multiple slams champions will win the day. The only slight bother about Djokovic making the final is that he is 1-5 in his last six slam finals and for how long can he keep losing in slam finals? But Dimitrov may be even more dangerous in the final if he defeats Djokovic. He could really start believing this is his time and the changing of the guard. Now that I certainly do not want to happen. Roger’s game matches up well with Djokovic as it is, especially on grass. I would like his chances if he plays Djokovic in the final.
Dimitrov would be more of an unpredictable situation. Well, I haven’t even gotten to the ‘main event’ of this post which was, of course, the Fedrinka quarter final. It was a bit of a nervy start but after the second set things settled down after Roger took it on the tie break. Stan came out looking very sharp and was hitting his backhand especially well. As well as he could in fact. He broke Roger early on to take a 3-1 lead and never looked back in the first set. Stan was looking dangerous, but I wasn’t worried yet. I would worry if Roger lost the second set, which didn’t happen. Roger started playing better after a nervy start and the tie-break was pretty routine. He got the mini break early on and then at 6-5 he serve-and-volleyed on a second serve and put away the chip return from Stan with a crisp forehand volley.
What a sweet way that was to close out the crucial second set. From there on it was routine, other than the game at 5-4 in the fourth set where Roger served for the match. It was another nervy game where Stan had a break back point, but I was convinced Roger would not allow him back into the match. This is not 2013 after all. I noticed how crazy people were going on twitter and afterwards on my blog, but I couldn’t really identify with that kind of drama. This was just the quarter finals. There was still a long way to go for Roger to win the title. It was too early to start getting nervous. I had full faith in my player anyway. Roger ended up triumphing 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. I thought it was another brilliant performance where Roger turned back the clock. The two things that impressed me most was the mental stability and the net play again.
Those two things are probably the key if Roger is to win Wimbledon this year, and they are the two things that Edberg has brought to Roger’s game. The serve was exceptional again but Roger has always had that. If there is an improvement in the serve I’d rather attribute it to the new racquet. The same thing goes for the backhand, returns, and volleys. The only area where the new racquet have hurt Roger I think is with his forehand, but it has paid off in all the other areas so it was still a positive change. The new coach and the new racquet seems to have Roger almost back to where he was in his prime. Of course the effect of the changes was not going to be immediate, but it has slowly but surely made the difference since the beginning of the year. There were still the losses to Djokovic in the Indian Wells final and to Stan in the Monte Carlo final.
But Roger has now gotten revenge over Stan for that heart breaking loss in Monte Carlo, and if he beats Djokovic in the final he would have gotten proper revenge for the loss in the Indian Wells final too. But before Roger can even have a shot at that he has to beat Raonic, and Djokovic has to beat Dimitrov. As far as the match stats go they were exceptional aside from the break point conversions, but I am not too worried about that. It will be important for Roger to take his break point chances against Raonic though. He won’t see many against Raonic probably and he needs to pounce when he does. There will be at least one or two tie breaks against Raonic again, and there Roger will have to be really sharp. The good news is that Roger has been very sharp and he is probably back to being the best tie break player in the world.
I am not overly concerned about Raonic. Roger has been looking very composed and the net game has been very solid. Those two things will be the key again. Obviously I like Roger’s chances to win #18 here but I don’t want to get ahead of myself or jinx Roger. It is one match at a time and Raonic will no doubt be another test. We have reached the business end of Wimbledon 2014 and I am very excited about the two semis tomorrow.
Lets go champ!