Federer Into 9th Wimbledon Semi After Avenging Monte Carlo Loss to Wawrinka

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!

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/interviews/2014-07-02/201407031404385030092.html

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

49 Comments

  1. I think a Raonic-Dimitrov final will be what all the neutrals want, similar to the ladies’ final, so the crowd will probably be on their side but their opponents are the overwhelming favorites in these encounters. Good thing the game isn’t played on paper… (Sidenote: I think I’m in love with Bouchard already! Looks like an angel, hits like a demon.)

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  2. Hey, Ru-an!

    Even though I am a fan of Dimitrov and I am Bulgarian, I am a loyal fan and greater fan of Roger Federer. So, in a way I agree with you about the part that if Grigor beats Djokovic, he may believe that it is his time.

    To be honest, I am not sure who I want in the final and what would be better. Probably the best case scenario would be a 5-setter between Djokovic and Dimitrov with really not knowing who should come out on top – probably Djokovic.

    There are couple of things to worry:

    1. If Djokovic wins, he’ll have beaten 3 tough opponents back to back – and he may be burned out by the final but then you did say that he is due to win. I just hope that if he does get burned out, it will affect him in the final.

    2. If “Showtime” Dimitrov wins – yes he may believe that it is his time and the changing of the guard, etc. – but can he really win back to back to back vs Murray, Djokovic and Federer??! It may be a VERY tall order for him. Plus, he admires RF so he may succumb to his glory, etc.

    So I don’t know.

    For the other semi, the GOOD thing is that it won’t be physical and it will only test Roger’s mental resolve. If he gets by Raonic, he’ll get a mental boost while at the same time be fresh physically for the final.

    So the key is to get to the Final and be ready because whomever he faces, he’ll need to jump in top of them in order to squeeze out the victory in the end!!!! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I applaud your loyalty Vily. I just feel like Dimitrov is too much of an unknown factor and I don’t want a changing of the guard situation. Djokovic is more of a known factor on grass for Roger, even though he is bound to come good in one of these slam finals. I don’t know. It’s a tough one because like you say Dimitrov is a Fedfan and may succumb to Roger’s glory too. It would also be an exciting and fresh final. But if push comes to shove I’d rather go with the known factor in this situation. Either way I hope they play a marathon because I agree that the match with Raonic won’t be physically tiring for Fed.

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    Vily Reply:

    The more and more I think about it, I think that Djokovic would be a better opponent for Roger. I do hope that he gets pushed to the brink by Grigor, though.

    That way Dimitrov even though he’ll have lost, he’ll hold his face high and proud, knowing that he is very close and that soon he’ll become a Wimbledon champion. Also, Novak will be tired and could be potentially picked apart by Roger.

    A lot of people are saying that Novak is not that good on grass and the tight affairs against Stepanek and Cilic and potentially Dimitrov would have proven this. Yes, he’s A mental beast but I’m the end of the day the prowess of Roger’s grass game would be too much to handle. Grigor is already proving that grass is his best surface so if he beats Novak, he may be very difficult to stop. I just hope that Novak doesn’t just walk over Grigor because then he’ll be very confident as well.

    And let’s not assume that Roger is winning his semi either. It will be very tough. In the Nishikori match, Raonic did fave 7 break points (was broken only once) but the fact that he did face break points is comforting. Roger HAS to take advantage however… :-)

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  3. “He didn’t overstay his welcome either.” LOLOL Oh man, that’s too much, lmao. Kyrgios is most definitely a force to be reckoned with. He was also very professional, didn’t take much time at all in between points, etc. (Did he even take the time to breathe in between serves?) It definitely felt like one of the fastest Nadal matches I’ve ever watched. Good to see the future of tennis in good hands.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of Dimitrov. His nickname shouldn’t be “Baby Federer”, but rather “Copycat Federer”, lol. I don’t mind Murray, but if the Brits thought he could win this Wimbledon, then he was overhyped by the British media, it’s been a few months since he last seemed like a threat…

    I hope you’re right about Raonic!

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    Joe Reply:

    That’s definitely another quotable quote from Ruan!
    :-)

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  4. Federer – only one double fault and 14 unforced errors in the quarter final. Probably his toughest ever quarter final and only time he’s ever played a top 3 player before the semi finals

    Federer has great disguise on the volley and drop shot, he’ll wait before committing and puts away overheads under pressure

    Federer is also good in the rally against the heavy hitters when there is less time as well

    And mentally he’s looking in good shape out there

    Federer will block 1st serve returns against Raonic – the balls going to be coming up on return at a higher angle because Raonic is 6’5” so that might take a set to get used to compared with Wawrinka who was the shortest quarter finalist at 6′ 0”…

    Overall court craft favours Federer against sheer power;
    The Wawrinka match was a good indicator of Federer’s chances

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  5. Roger usually does well against one-dimensional booming servers. The Maestro will often be aiming at the giant’s feet, exposing them as clay. Then he’ll make the Canadian run from corner to corner till his tongue hangs out. Add in the additional spice of numerous deflating drop shots, and Milos will soon think his name is Milose. Watch out! Here comes the Fed Express!

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    rahan Reply:

    “Roger usually does well against one-dimensional booming servers”

    Hope you are right !

    By the way, do you think that RF is able to repeat his 50 aces from the 2009 final ?

    This year he has “only” 63 Aces in 5 matches (comparing with 66=10+11+15+23+7 in 2009)

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    balthazar Reply:

    Wouldn’t that be sweet, Rahan, if Fed were to out-ace the Canadian! If he could do it against the American boomer in 2009, why not again? Of course that match went to 5 sets, and we don’t want to see that happen tomorrow. So let’s hope for 30 aces in three efficient sets from the Maestro.

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    rahan Reply:

    Yes, 5 sets is too much for my health.

    I hope and pray for score similar to 2013 Australia’s open .

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  6. Hi Ruan,

    Could you explain please the following data from RF vs. Stan match:

    1st serves in:

    Stan : 11 of 28 = 39 %
    Roger: 14 of 22 = 64 %

    and Fed cannot get a break point the whole set.

    Thanks !

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  7. I really want Dimi to have a long, grueling 5 setter with Nole and pull it out 12-10 in the fifth. Then he’d be exhausted and easy pickings for Fed in the final. Djoker is a lousy grass court player compared to Fed, but he’s still almost 6 years younger. If it was a Fed-Dimi final, I would not even be that tense, I feel certain Roger would beat him. Djoker I’m a little uneasy about!

    I am worried about Raonic and detest his boring servebot game. Roger will only get a few BP’s and it’s imperative he seize each and every one of them!

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  8. I think that if a player(man) is taller than 1.90m he can achieve only limited success in tennis, examples are numerous for active and former ATP players. The kid defeated Nadal,and it is a remarcable event, but it may not happen next time they meet,especially if the spaniard decides to hire some full time voodo pros in his team. Or maybe Nadal will start skipping Wimbledon in the future to avoid this kind of grassy smelling humiliations.

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  9. Guys, the best thing that we can do at this point is to just watch and try to enjoy this great day of tennis. Whatever happens will be for a reason so we should just try to enjoy it as much as we can. Whether it will be Djokovic, or Dimitrov or Federer, or Raonic – at the end of the day all 4 players are playing great and well enough to win. Tomorrow will bring 2 of them closer to the title. Hopefully, one of those two will be Roger. That’s all we should hope for anyway! ;-) If Grigor makes it, it will be a double bonus for me but if he doesn’t – that’s ok too.. :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Actually I’m ok if Dimitrov wins Vily. It would after all be his first slam final and Djokovic could be more dangerous given his recent record in slam finals.

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  10. It was a good thing Federer was pushed a bit, given that he had so far cruised through journeymen (the Robredo match was only “suspenseful” since he’d lost last time, but when Federer is playing well there can be only one outcome in that matchup). Facing such tough opposition forced him to dig deep and helped him assess the state of his game.

    Wawrinka has raised his grass-court game, and he was really impressive off the ground and also in coming to net. But in the end, he was just a little too reliant on his baseline game and couldn’t play grass-court tennis at a high enough level to match Federer.

    Federer was able to get the upper hand with his superior grass-court game: smart serving, net-rushing, and variety (including the slice) to control the speed of the rallies.

    After the first set, Wawrinka’s weakness on the return was exposed as Federer didn’t allow a break point on his serve until the end of the fourth. Federer served and volleyed consistently, taking each of the last three sets with an S&V play.

    This will be crucial against Raonic–serving well, using fast-court tactics like S&V to prevent Raonic from getting a bead on the return. Big-serving players like Raonic are often unused to being outserved, the pressure tends to increase their risk of mistakes and force them to serve too big. Then Federer will have to wait for his chance and seize it.

    For the rest, he needs to use his variety (especially the slice) to move Raonic around, and return intelligently, putting the ball in awkward places to make the big man uncomfortable. If he can do this, he will win.

    One good thing about the Wawrinka match is that even though Federer failed to break Wawrinka’s serve for two and a half sets, he was completely unfazed, and eventually he did break. This mental toughness will serve him well against Raonic.

    C’mon Roger!

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  11. Congrats to Novak! Grigor pushed him and got a bit unfortunate at the end but from what I saw – he’ll definitely win a Wimbledon at some point..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry about your player Vily. He did good. The experience of Djokovic just pulling him through in the end.

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  12. Tons of respect for my boy Grigor. He really did have his opportunities to get into a fifth set where anything can happen. Had he gotten first serves at 63 in the tiebreak, he actually might have won the match and made it into the finals. I’m even more excited about his future and as a serious fan of tennis artistry, I am utterly thrilled to know that there’s hope for the future of tennis beyond defensive base lining and banging big serves. Much to look forward to w this guy. That said, all props to Novak who showed his championship ability to stick with it and find the win. Great stuff, fantastic match. Now onto the main event!!,

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  13. Backhand down the mother f-ing line baby!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Those two were sweet Eric. Specially the one to break of course. Routine for Fed so far.

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  14. WOW WOW WOW!!!

    That was the most enjoyable and EASY-GOING semi-final in Roger’s career that I’ve see in a LONG time!!!

    Absolutely impressive! Mental strength, great movement, composure! Brilliant from Roger Federer!!!

    He’s got to be the favourite in the final if he plays like this! No stress whatsoever!!!

    BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO!!!!

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  15. A thing of beauty. Serving, returning, volleys, movement, BACKHAND, forehand, it was all working so damn well today. The final is going to be a whole different ball game and a tough battle, four or five sets for sure, but I really like Rogers chances to bring home the trophy if he can show up and play like he did today. Great day for us RF fans. Just wonderful.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah he was looking good Eric. Gotta like his chances vs Novak. The Djoker looked mentally very fragile today while Roger looked mentally very stable.

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    Vily Reply:

    The key for Roger will be if he jumps on Novak, to just keep the foot down and not let him breathe. Not at least until he gets a 2:0 set lead at least. Roger was so impressive today. Novak is fragile but then again, we should prepare for the battle. But Novak is definitely beatable. Roger is so great on grass?! Will he become the undisputed KING of GRASS??? We’ll find out on Sunday! Can’t wait!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ;-)

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  16. To use a football term that was quality showing through…
    One point stood out for me was when Federer was playing a high volley looked like going deep cross court and instead played a soft high drop shot volley, giving Raonic no read
    Federer overall court craft versus Djokovic next up…
    With Djokovic relying on good footing behind the baseline where the court area is the most worn…not a given that Djokovic can maintain from back there

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  17. Absolute masterclass on how to handle big servers! One break per set, no tiebreaks: a perfect game plan perfectly executed. No fuss, no muss. All aspects of his game working in unison today.

    At nearly 33 he’s still every bit as hungry and loves the game as much as he ever did. Fantastic to see him out there enjoying the challenge of overcoming one of the sport’s most promising young players.

    The reward is a ninth Wimbledon final, the first Federer-Djokovic Grand Slam final in nearly seven years (and only the second ever). C’mon Roger!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Was peRFect.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    Yes peRFect is so true, so controlled and played within himself…never looked like losing. C’MON Roger one more to go!!!!

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  18. Sweet sweet sweet!!! What more can we ask for!! Imperious performance. High marks everywhere. Whole game working like a peRFectly conducted orchestra!!! Leave it to the Master to teach these novice grass kids some REAL grass craft, eh?!! The Emperor is dead. Long live the King!!!! Haha!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol good one Veronica.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Good one, Veronica, Ru-an agrees wholeheartedly. Oh, and let the curls fly even more on Sunday to victory!
    Best,
    Dolores

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  19. Dream performance! Great gameplan and execution! I feel the win against Stan was cathartic for Roger and he’s now more confident than he has ever been in the last 2 years.
    Cant wait till Sunday. Roger in 4!

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  20. Ru-an, am so VERY happy for Roger…he is on a mission…may the stars align on Sunday for Roger to win his 8th Wimbledon and 18th GS. Make it happen, Roger…so, C’mon, Roger, do it!
    ‘Til next time, Ru-an….
    Best,
    Dolores

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  21. I told you to watch out for the Fed Express! He’s going all the way. I can feel it in my bones. And I can see it in his face—that calm, placidly ruthless look, with his eyes glinting like hard, unyielding adamant, polished to the finest hue…. The plodding Canadian never had a chance. Perhaps he’ll be more respectful now of this great champion, but I doubt it, since youth is wasted on the young. And come Sunday evening, it will be such a pleasure to see Mac the Mouth have to eat his words once again, along with all the other doubters and naysayers who can never give Roger his due simply because their minds are small and jealous of his great artistry and elegance. Well shine on, Maestro, you diamond King! Show them all your glittering jewels! Yes, make them quiver with envy and regret, for that’s exactly what they deserve.

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    Vily Reply:

    Beautifully put, Balthazar! Beautifully put! :-)

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  22. When the matches are happening, I always have much to say, but once they’re over, my mind goes blank.

    Roger’s last chance to win a major may be in two days. As someone previously said, Roger, God help you if you do not win.

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  23. Well, at this point, I am still very confident that Federer will prevail at Wimbledon.the way he handled the Canadian today was master class. His grass court game brings out total confidence in his playing abilities. As far as the whole Wimbledon experience goes, I hate to say it, but I enjoyed Nadal being be almost as much as Roger getting into the finals. I know if he wins this tournament, that will be the greatest satisfaction. In my opinion, I truly believe he is the greatest player of all time. The guy is almost 33 years old and still is at the top of his game. Just unbelievable. We are very fortunate to have him claim still today to witness his genius on the tennis court. Hope you all had a happy 4th of July, and all the best to Roger Federer this coming Sunday. Go Federer!!! G

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  24. I think Djokovic is far more dangerous than Dimitrov. Had the latter won, it would have been easier for Roger. It’s very difficult for a young player who is not in the top 10 coming into a major to beat 3 top 10 players, all of whom have won that major before. This is what Dimitrov would have accomplished had he managed to beat Djokovic today and Roger on Sunday. Djokovic, on the other hand, has beaten Roger many times in a major, he is also mentally strong and has come back against Roger before in a slam. Even though Roger has the edge here at SW19, I would have been more confident had Dimitrov won. Either way, Roger needs to play well all around and be there mentally on Sunday. Hope our man wins an 18th major. Allez Roger!

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  25. Despite all the optimism shown over the last few weeks on this site, I never really believed Federer would make it to the final. I was sure it would end in a miserable defeat at the hands of Nadal. But thankfully Kygrios took him out.

    Now we have all seen epic Slam matches between Djokovic and Fed. 2012 Wimbledon (indoors though) stands out, along with 2011 FO, but of course also the heartbreakers of US Open 2010, 2011. Djokvoic blew him out at 2 AO opens and 2012 French.

    It i’s always a good shotmaking match between these two. On grass at least Federer can rely on a low slice and slightly easier service games. If it goes to 5 the younger man will win, like he did the other times. So it’s got to be Federer in 4 and it’s imperative that he is always ahead – first set is key. Djokovic looked human today against Dimitrov – really Dimitrov should have won the 4th set 7-5, he had multiple break chances. Djokvoic still seemed shy to go to the net.

    On the other hand I think Federer looked better today simply because his opponent could not move with him, and so all the baseline rallies were stress free. But versus Djokovic all the rallies will probably have to be played at high risk. And Djokovic will not donate serve like Raonic did at key moments in each set.

    It promises to be a classic whatever happens…come on Federer…

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  26. From Stan’s presser.

    “Q. Did you sense that the crowd were very much with Roger, who is a favorite here? Does that bother you at all?

    STAN WAWRINKA: No. I think it’s quite normal. I think you don’t see one tournament when the crowd is not behind Roger. So that’s something quite classic.”

    :D

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