Federer Into Rome Semi-Finals While Wawrinka Upsets Nadal

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in Masters 1000, Rome.

44 Comments

  1. Hey, all!!

    A beautiful blog, Ru-an! Congrats!!

    I haven’t watched any of Roger’s matches this week – on purpose I might add. I didn’t want to get hyped up. However, with Nadal’s exit, can we begin to contemplate Roger winning the elusive Rome Masters.

    He’s definitely in it now and he’ll have to beat – in reverse order Wawrinka and Djokovic.

    Based on Djokovic’s play, maybe it can happen. Will see. Let’s hope Roger takes care of Wawrinka tomorrow. A pleasant surprise!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok Vily, you are back for now. But only because Veronica misses you. You are still on thin ice so be careful.

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    Vily :-) Reply:

    I promise to be good, Ru-an. Thank you! You have done very well. It has become a respectful and classy blog and I’ll keep my emotions in check…

    In any case, my gut tells me that Djokovic will win the French but Roger will win this. I might be wrong. I see Roger getting to the semis in Paris.

    I am not sure what to expect from Wimbledon. Too early.. But Rome would be awesome. Roger only has Monte-Carlo, Rome and The Singles Olympics Gold left to add to his trophy cabinet…

    LoL. Will see.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily, Veronica was not the only one missing you. More of us were, including me :-) I wondered about how you would think about how Dimitrov is doing…
    Anyway, tonight is the match. All Swiss. Lets see how Roger stops THIS Dynamite Stanimal. Because as we know…. Roger also brings out the best in Stan the Man :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Hi Vily!! Just your first comment back and you are predicting already!! :-) but you wouldn’t be Vily if you don’t, would you?! :-) Welcome back :-h “I promise to be good…..” Lol! Is this a marriage site?!! :-) Last I know it is just a blog and it’s just sports! Relax! 8->

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :))

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  2. What do you think of Fed’s chances against Stan tomorrow? I like it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Should be another cracker Evian. But yeah I’d probably give Fed the edge.

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  3. What version of Nadal are we seeing Ruan? Is it Nadal 2.0? Or 3.0?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    =)) Nadal -3.0?

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    Alex Reply:

    b-( This one

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol Alex.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Oops sorry, Ru-an! Can’t seem to get the emoji working! :)) :)) got it!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    [-X

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    Veronica Reply:

    Haha, Ru-an, thanks for deleting my empty contents, so embarrassing! Btw, my :)) is a response to your =))

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ;-)

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  4. I am liking the way your blog looks! I like that you are writing more posts about different topics in tennis even though I liked your focus on Federer previously. I think Roger has a good chance against Stan tomorrow. I would love to see him beat Wawrinka and Djokovic and take the title! We shall see.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Fran. It would be amazing if Roger won Rome at this point. But a long way to go.

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  5. It´s going to be a tough semifinal I almost would have preferred to see Nadal go through. I really don´t like it when Roger plays Stan.I feel tomorrow will be a fight like the brutal semifinal at the 02 last November.So go Roger and beat Stan! Forza!

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  6. When the lion fades the mice dare out in the open. Nadal is fading on clay, and his confidence isn’t helping the situation, last year he had the confidence even though his form was beginning to dip, but he somehow pulled through. I am still not going to write him off for the French Open, but I see a new era approaching on clay. This year many players can now genuinely bid for the French Open title. Players like Federer, Murray and Djokovic beeing the prime candidates as far as I am concerned, but you never know, even Nishikori and a inspired Wawrinka can become real threats. It was always a huge task for Nadal to try and win a mindblowing 10th French Open title and it might just never happen seeing how he has played in recent events.

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    Joe Reply:

    It sounds like you are saying when the lion-making juice runs out, the true and mousy Nadal surfaces so that everyone can see him as he really is. Right?

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey FeDaL, I like your comment. I know you don’t see it like this, but this is the best time for Rafa fans to be a Rafa fan. Like Roger said a while ago, it is very easy to win matches when you are confident, when everything is turning out in your favour, when everything works and when you end up being the one holding the trophy above your head. But when winning is not that easy, it takes all out of you, you don’t have the confident, your body is not working along with you, you are struggling to win even sets let alone matches… then you will know how much you love just to play tennis and not just winning.

    We all went through this with Roger in 2013. Now it is Rafa and his fans turn. And… in a while Andy and Novak and their fans will go through it too. And if you can come out of it then as the winner… now that would be impressive.

    I don’t like Rafa, but if he comes out of this “low confident stage and a body that is not working along”…. now that would be impressive. They all need to go through this stage. They can’t all keep winning matches till the day they retire. Somewhere down the line something will “break” (body or mental health).

    FeDaL, you are also a Rafa fan right?? To be honest…. If Rafa wins RG for the 10th time while losing all the clay tours before that…. impressive…… I don’t want him to win it, but if he wins RG on low confident and with a breaking body…. sigh…. will take my hat off for him :-)

    But my hope for RG is still Roger :-)

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  7. I have to agree with what you wrote about it being really satisfying to see a pure attacking player win over defense. The slower clay gives Wawrinka more time to take a backswing and especially that backhand. He might as well run around his backhand the way he is hitting it right now. It looked like Nadal had no idea whree Stan would go with some of those bachkhands, down the line, cross court, slice…

    My own feeling is that given Stan’s form Fed is the underdog here. He can’t beat Wawrinka on pure power and it’s not like Stan is a slow mover, he looks pretty quick to me despite being a big guy. So if Fed wants to win he can’t slip into trying to outhit Stan from the backcourt trading backhand-to backhand exchanges. I am not sure what others think…

    I was reading some other sites where the usual die hard Nadal fans were abandoning ship and wondering what is going on, perhaps mental issues, etc. But you can’t just keep on retrieving forever. Eventually bigger hitters like Wawrinka (or RAonic) are going to have a good day and just blast you off the court if you are standing 2m behind the baseline to return…

    6-2 up in the tiebreak though, I wonder if this match will be a psychological blow on Nadal in the long run.

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    Ben Chia Reply:

    True measure of Nadal fans would be to defend rafa with usual… “Only lost because injured ” theory. Jump ship? Sad. Sink or swim with your captain #dull-fans. Ps+ @ru-an, my jinx power is at its finest!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ^:)^

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  8. What a bully Stan is! Even more scary than Delpo! This match put to rest those who still argue that AO 14 was a fluke for Stan. I almost feel Roger has better chance against Nadal rather than Stan. The Stanimal was standing “ten” meters from the baseline and still hitting deep shots from such a defensive position! Incredible! Because he stays back, he will be able to take away the stink of Roger’s serve and put balls to play. There won’t be many cheap points for Roger. Roger’s drop shots have to be out and working. And there is no room for stubbornness. He must not slip into a hitting contest with Stan as Bharata said but uses his variety. Otherwise it’s gonna be a very short day at the office. As for Djoker, dropping a set in every round doesn’t mean much. The Djoker is just warming up after a long break. Notice how he always SWEEP the deciding set? If a match goes to 3/5 Djoker is guaranteed to win. He’s a deciding set specialist just as Nadal used to be. To win against Djoker you almost always have to get it done in straights.

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  9. Hey guys, I saw the Stan/Rafa match. WOW. And somehow… I thought Stan played better than he played during the Finals of AO 2014 and during MC 2014. How does THAT bode for Roger??

    Come on Roger. Stan dared you yesterday to come out and play. Lets show him why you are the Swiss nr 1 and not the nr 2 :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Yeah Kat, Stan’s timing is so perfect, right?! Hitting top form just when he needs to play Roger :-( I hope Roger uses his full variety and plays a smart match. Don’t wanna to see him bullied off the court. Stan’s message to Roger is both bromance and a dare. Hope Roger takes it up and show him who’s the 3:-O

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    Katyani Reply:

    Haha sweetiepie, love that cow :-)

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  10. Lol! Such great interpretative skills, Joe!! But I don’t think that’s what Fedal meant! :-)

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    Joe Reply:

    Hey Veronica!

    Interpretation is such a subtle skill, isn’t it?

    Darn, this had to happen just when I was starting to think I was catching on!

    I guess I’ll just have to keep working on it, (sigh).

    :\">

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  11. Like I expected Federer has made the semis and he is surely making the finals vs Novak as well. As for the finals itself I think Djokovic has the slight edge if he plays against Federer but if Federer can make short work of Stan and stay fresh he has a chance.

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  12. Jiten, are we going to “WIN” it? Chances are getting closer to do so…..will be tough to defeat Djoker….Steve will join me on having der Glueckstern shine on Roger tomorrow.
    Ru-an, are we getting your masterful blog today?
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Jiten Reply:

    We surely will. We need some more deadly slices from our hero. Variation will be the key. Let us wifi all our positive energy to our hero. :-bd I know all the members of Ru-an’s army will be biting their nails in front of the TV or their monitors at 4 pm Rome time. 8-}

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘Ru-an’s army’ haha that’s nice of you to say Jiten. More like Roger’s army!

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  13. Roger Federer into the final in Rome after an easy win today. Started off badly, but then Stan played a couple of poor games to let him back in. Then Roger hit form and Stan couldn’t really do anything to stop him.
    It’ll be a tough ask against Novak tomorrow – I won’t be too fussed if he doesn’t win, as he’s already had a pretty positive week here – best of luck to them both!

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  14. Ru-an, I just posted a comment, it is not showing, I may have forgotten to click on the “Post Comment”….is it lost?
    Dolores

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    Dolores Reply:

    Oh, I just discovered my comment, Ru-an, sorry for the oversight on my part.
    Dolores

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  15. Ru-an, did Stan throw the match intentionally? It seemed like he started tanking after Fed went up the break in the first set. Your thoughts would be appreciated. The second set was just terrible from Stan. He started double faulting and even trying to hit Roger at the net but it landed long.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m suspecting it was a tank job myself Evian. About to start on my post now.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Evian and Ru-an, tankjob sounds reasonable….. but…. what is Stan’s motive?? He is not afraid of facing Roger or Novak. So why tank the match??
    I think it was more mentally completely tired (and maybe physically) after the Dull win……

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  16. Wow what a match from Roger! The backhand was insane tonight, a BH return winner to break serve at 4-4 first set and then 2 helped him on his way to the double break in the second set! He did it once in that game and I was like: “great shot Roger”, and then he did it again on the next point and I was like: “come on Roger, you can’t do THAT!”. Then he hit a forehand winner to break. He also won 24 of the last 30 points in the match and at one stage was something like 18 out of 19.

    About the Fedovic match tomorrow I give Roger about a 35-40% chance given it is slow/medium pace clay but I think it will go to 3 either way. Mostly hoping for at least a good match. If he can win it, all the better!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Charlie, my mind says Roger will win the 1st or 2nd set, but Novak will win the 3rd set.

    My heart says, Roger will win :-) Go Goat… be the first to defeat Novak in the 3rd set. It can be done. Ofcourse you winning in straights would be more awesome :-)

    Ps Stanimal: forget todays match against Roger, you will be remembered for the AWESOME match against Dull :-)

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