- Federer Routines Berdych
Hey, folks. Yesterday I missed a post and of course Roger won after a collapse in the second set against Anderson. So I wasn’t quite so sure about his chances against Berdych today. But there sure weren’t any concentration lapses against Berdych today as he schooled him 6-3, 6-3. There was a fair amount of tension in this match because Berdych has historically been a difficult opponent for Roger, and Roger seemed irritated out there. I guess that helped to keep him focused.
Berdych, on the other hand, stayed true to being a changed man, because where he usually plays his best tennis against Roger he was quite pathetic. From 3-2 in the first set onward anyway. Up til that point, things proceeded as they normally do between the two. Berdych playing out of his mind and breaking Roger to lead 3-2. But from there on he very uncharacteristically collapsed against Roger. Not to take anything away from Roger, but I expected much better from Berdych given his recent form.
It was good to see that Roger didn’t show any signs of worrying about a possible meeting with Nadal in the semis, but Nadal was not in the semis yet after all. And as it turns out, he won’t be…
- Wawrinka Stuns Nadal
Yesterday Nadal routined Isner 6-4, 6-4 while Stan defeated Thiem 7-6(3), 6-4. Nadal was looking threatening again and although Stan played well against Thiem, I wasn’t sure he was ready to beat Nadal. But as it turns out he was at his destructive best in a 7-6(7), 6-2 victory over Nadal. I didn’t think he would win when he was down 2-6 in the breaker though. He was playing well but was making errors at important moments. Fortunately, that ended at 2-6 in the breaker as he destroyed Nadal from there on.
It was one of those breathtaking performances of raw power overcoming the relentless pushing and retrieving by Nadal. As usual Nadal was making some ridiculous defensive plays and fist pumping whenever the moment presented itself to try and unnerve his opponent, but Stan smashed through it and let loose with some loud ‘Come ons!’ of his own. It was very much like that delicious Australian Open final where Stan just smashes winners from all over the place.
Nadal seems to bring out the ‘animal’ in the Stanimal
He really is enjoyable to watch when he plays like this, especially against Nadal. Nadal becomes extremely irritating with his relentless pushing and retrieving so it is always intensely satisfying when someone smashes their way through it. Nadal is now guaranteed to be guaranteed to be ranked outside the top four for the French Open which means he will have the Djoker, Roger, Murray, or Berdych in his quarter. His fall looks more and more imminent, but I’m not gonna write him off for the French Open just yet.
- No Fedal Meeting Yet Again
Roger and Nadal seem allergic to each other these days. They still haven’t met since the beginning of last year when Fed 4.0 only just started out. But probably it is for the better because their matches usually consist of Nadal moonballing Roger’s backhand into submission. Especially on clay. Instead of a Fedal meeting we will have a rematch of last year’s epic World Tour Finals semi-final, and neither player looks to be in the mood to lose. At least Roger will have a better chance than against a confident Nadal.
- Top Half
Murray ended up withdrawing due to ‘feeling flat’ during practice which I thought was quite ridiculous. Obviously he didn’t want to play Rome but didn’t want to pay the fine either. This means Ferrer is in the semis against the Djoker in the top half. The Djoker has not exactly been impressive himself, needing three three-setters so far to get to the semis. I think he is burned out. All the tennis so far this year has taken its toll it looks like to me. He did bread stick Nishikori in the third set today, so I guess we will see what’s going on.
But he didn’t impress me so far. His usual lethal returns lacked effectiveness against Nishikori’s relatively poor serve too, and I attribute that to the fact that he likes the server coming on to his racquet. I think Murray is a better attacking returner, and so was Agassi. Murray destroyed Nishikori’s serve in Madrid. It really is a big weakness in Nishikori’s game, but Djokovic didn’t really take advantage of it. It is tough to tell with the Djoker though. He could come out tomorrow and destroy Ferrer.
The set he lost to Bellucci was a set in which Bellucci was in the zone, and we all know Nishikori can play a bit. So it’s a bit early to write the Djoker off, but so far he hasn’t looked as confident as he has until before Rome. If he can destroy Ferrer tomorrow though he will be the firm favorite for the title again. Maybe now that Nadal lost it will take some pressure off him as well while Roger and Stan have to slug it out in the other semi. So actually I won’t be surprised if he wins a fourth Rome title.
The is in your court.