Federer Maintains Winning Form in Indian Wells Against Mathieu

For some reason I had it in my head that Roger would play today, so I missed this match. I think I have a pretty good idea of what happened though after gathering information from different sources. But feel welcome to correct me or add anything that I missed. Roger played very well in the first set but in the second set his level dropped somewhat. He won the first set 6-2 after getting two breaks. In the second set he also went a break up and served for the match at 5-4, but then played a poor game to get broken. We saw this a lot from Roger last year, but I thought Roger was clutch in the breaker to come back from a break down and win it 7-5. That’s the big difference between Roger of last year and the current Roger. Of course you are not gonna be at your very best in every match.

The main thing is to win regardless, and Roger has been doing that well of late. Like I have said before the main difference is in the mental department. The motivation and will to win is there which allows him to get many wins, which in turn results in confidence. And confidence is probably the most important thing in tennis, or in life for that matter. So as far as I’m concerned nothing went ‘wrong’ in this match, even though I didn’t see it. The match stats are still good aside from the winner/unforced error ratio. Roger made quite a few errors on his backhand side, which is probably because of the different court surface in Indian Wells. It’s probably quite a bit slower than in Dubai and higher bouncing, and that of course is not ideal conditions for Roger’s backhand. The winner to unforced error ratio shows me that this was an ugly win.

Still good in the break point department…

And that is what we want to see from Roger when he is not at his best. The ability to get the job done no matter what. The only thing that is of minor concern is the fact that the courts are pretty slow and high bouncing, especially if Roger has to face Nadal again. It’s very disappointing to me that the courts have been slowed down so much these days. It gives a definite advantage to Nadal in the Fedal rivalry. But of course people don’t mention this when they talk about how lopsided the rivalry is. That said, Roger did beat Nadal here in 2012. So it surely can be done. Of course last year Nadal all of a sudden became a hard court monster, and I suppose if he reaches that form again it could be a problem. But Nadal has to get by Murray in the quarters first while Roger has to get by Stan.

Talking of Nadal, he scraped by Stepanek today in his usual never-say-die manner after losing the first set to win 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. It seems like Stepanek continued the good form he showed against Roger in Dubai, but the poor guy can’t get a win given the quality of the opposition. He did have a good win over Istomin in the first round it has to be said. As for Nadal you have to respect the way he always seems to find a way to win. He just does it time and time again, like that match against Andujar in Rio. If it happens that often it definitely does not come down to luck, as some extremist Fedfans would have you believe. Anyway Nadal doesn’t seem to be in great form which is to be expected after what happened in Melbourne. He also recently said that the loss against Stan hurt more than the marathon one against Djokovic in the 2012 final.

Roger stepped up his game in the outfits this year too. Loved it!

So it’s tough to know what will happen going forward in Indian Wells with him, but you know he can be dangerous when he scrapes through these close ones. That’s why I said I don’t know yet what to expect from Nadal for this year. Usually he would slump in this situation, but you can’t be sure. He now plays Dolgopolov who I thought actually played very well against Nadal in the Rio final, so who knows what he can do. On a good day he is definitely a dangerous player that can potentially upset Nadal if Nadal is not at his best on hard court. Stan also won 6-3, 7-5 against his tricky first round opponent Karlovic. From what I hear he played very well and no doubt he would be a very tough opponent for Roger in the quarters. The courts probably suit him better than it does Roger too because he likes slower conditions and long base line rallies.

Roger next plays Tursunov against whom he leads the head-to-head 3-0. Last but not least, Roger played doubles with Stan on Friday and beat the 6th seeds 6-2, 6-7(4,) 10-6. I watched that match and even though Roger started poorly in the final set super tie break he came up with some good stuff to help him and Stan progress to the next round where they will face Gulbis and Raonic. I thought they would play today but it looks like they will play tomorrow which would mean Roger has to play singles and doubles on the same day. I hope playing doubles won’t catch up with him physically at some point but I’m sure he knows what he is doing and it could help his singles game too. It will also help the Swiss Davis Cup chances that him and Stan is playing doubles together. I’ll talk to you again on Tuesday, hopefully with some more good news!

Highlights:

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37 Comments

  1. Set 2 was very close indeed:

    48 points RF vs. 47 points Mathieu.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting stat Rahan. As long as Roger won the last point I’m happy :-)

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  2. Hi everyone. Ru-an, did you get your rabies shots?

    Solid win, nothing to set the world on fire but then again this is only a second-round match. Some good serving to force the breaker and then some good defense to come back from the mini break down (this is where the new racket is very useful). Good close on match point, he created an opening with a strong return and then struck a forehand winner.

    Seemed he was reluctant to go DTL with the backhand, sticking to his crosscourt backhand nearly all the time. In my opinion, this allowed Mathieu to get into the match (he started hitting more to Federer’s forehand) and take more risks. But I’m sure Federer’s coaches will have seen that and pointed it out. It could take him another match to get used to the conditions.

    One thing about IW is the air is very dry and clear (usually–once, when I went there, it rained) so if Federer gets in good form he can really strike the ball cleanly, despite the high bounce. It’s not for nothing he’s won four titles here (more than at any Masters except Cincinnati), after all.

    Doubles shouldn’t be very taxing since each player covers only half the court and spends about half the time at net, anyhow. It’s more about quick hands and improvisation rather than foot speed and endurance.

    Hopefully he can take some confidence from Dubai and play well here. If he does, the sky’s the limit. He said he was looking forward to testing his racket out on a slower court and this provides a good opportunity to do so. Go Roger!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Funny you should ask that Steve as I got bitten by a stray dog this weekend. Luckily it was on my shorts and the bite didn’t draw blood.
    As for the dtl bh that tells me he wasn’t feeling very confident out there. I see the first match as adjustment anyway. We will be able to tell more from the next match.

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  3. A first tight set RF vs Tsurnov: 7-6 (and 44 points Rf vs 42 points Tsurnov)

    I hope that the second set will be easier for Roger . Allez !!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Fed broken. 1-2.

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  4. Hi Ru-an hope the dog survived! About Fed I think
    two good wins as Mathieu and Tursunov both good players. Everyone seems to be having problems is it just my imagination or is it because the courts are so slow.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Truth be told the dog is now on its death bed and I am feeling fantastic. Hahaha loved your comment. I think Fed played a good match but yes the courts are slow which isn’t helping things…

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    rahan Reply:

    dolgopolov striked 36 winners to 49 unforced errors, while Nadal responded with just 17 winners to 23 unforced errors.

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  5. The dog is very much alive and kicking Ru-an, Elizabeth!! Phew! What a match! The biggest obstacle removed for Roger. Thank god because in his form right now, I don’t see him beating Nadal. Btw, Stan is just ripping it and blowing opponents away. Makes such a big difference when there is belief, isn’t it? Stan hasn’t lost a match this year, is playing like a deserving champ and he’s gonna play like the Swiss no 1 against Roger. If Roger doesn’t buck up, I won’t be too surprised if Stan blows him away. Anyway my prediction is a Djoko/Stan final. Hope Roger proves me wrong! Yah, Elizabeth, players seem to be struggling. I think it’s the courts. Looks like clay at times!! Oh, Roger’s outfit is just too beautiful – the colour, the unique contrast of the orange shoes, the detailed sleeve and arm trimmings, etc. Candy for the eyes!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post Veronica. If you were consciously trying to make a shorter comment then it is working. I also think Stan beats Roger in his current form. Good to see Nadal lose anyway.

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    rahan Reply:

    I also think that most of players are struggling: Murray digs deep to beat Jiri Vesely , Berdych-out, DelPotro-out, Tsonga-out, Horacio Zeballos-out, Nadal-out.

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  6. Thanks! However, it’s short for now, Ru-an; giving you a bit of a break; Hehe!! but long may be back!! Forgot to mention; with this loss, Nadal has proven yet again that he can NEVER defend a hc title!!!! He’s only the Clay Goat, no?! Btw, I’m loving how Stan plays. Wouldn’t mind it too terribly if he beats Roger. He certainly deserves it and looks capable of it.

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    rahan Reply:

    “Nadal has proven yet again that he can NEVER defend a hc title!!!!”

    I think that Nadal simply tries to be the best in every possible way and now I finally understand why some consider Nadal the goat: RF will never be able to equal this achievement until the end of his carrer.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Haha Rahan! That was so witty! You got me there for a second. Couldn’t quite get what you mean. Haha!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Explain it to me too. I’m slow.

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    rahan Reply:

    I am sorry that I was unclear (english is not my mother tongue)

    When Veronica wrote
    “Nadal NEVER defend a hc title”
    I was laughing and I thought:

    Nadal is jealous of Roger: he “tries” in every possible way to establish a new “streak-record” such that Roger will not be able to compete.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well he has that on clay. And that’s where it stays.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    RF have defended many hc titles. Not sure what you are saying Rahan.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha right he never defended a title off of clay. Definitely a one-surface wonder. Agree about Stan. Won’t be the end of the world if he beats Roger, especially now that Nadal has lost. I just hope Roger can make it close and we see a good match if it happens.

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  7. R Federer/S Wawrinka defeats E Gulbis/M Raonic 76(3) 76(4)

    It seems that RF will begin another Streak:

    Five consecutive tie breaks winns and counting :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    That’s awesome Rahan! They are not showing doubles on our side. Ru-an, are you watching Kei and Haas? Look at Haas’ depth of shots as compared to Roger’s!! You think Roger has a chance against him?

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    rahan Reply:

    Yes, the old guard is alive and kicking.

    I also think that RF should improve:

    Although the road is long (Tommy, Stan, Andy and Novak) I believe that he is strong, strong enough to win.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I think Fed will beat Haas. Don’t underestimate Fed. He can beat Stan too.

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  8. Well folks every dog has it’s day and the tennis playing one just made mine! Thought Nadal looked a
    little heavier but maybe it was just his outfit. I know Stan is playing lights out but I have to believe that if Fed can get passed Haas then he is in the mix….fingers crossed.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Let’s hope so,Liz! I’m gonna be super nervous though. Usually Roger rises up to the occasion when opponent gets tougher. Just seem like Roger is struggling a bit with these “clay” courts. I’m sure Larry has slowed the courts down since 2012 where Roger last won it! After all Nadal is his God!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    True Elizabeth you can never count Fed out. He has a very good record vs Stan after all.

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  9. Looks like the Djoker and Stan the Man are going to be the major contenders this year by the early season form.
    Of course Roger is slowly building up possibly towards another encore who knows.Last time he had kids he won two GS.so fingers crossed for this year.
    Predictably or tactically or for whatever reason Nadal has again lost early after a bruising ego crushing final loss.
    And other top guns have made pretty bad starts to the season as well.
    And really Miami should resort to clay surface if they decide to slow it any further

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    V Reply:

    oops sorry its Indain Wells.
    But already miami is slow as hell anyway

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    rahan Reply:

    “Last time he had kids he won two GS.so fingers crossed for this year.”

    If for twins RF gets 2 GS, this year I would settle for just one GS.

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  10. Hi Ruan..,
    Roger isn’t playing well in indian wells compared to Dubai unforced error has been increased here Reason might be court speed.Roger serve has been broken few times in last two matches but Roger broke them in clutch situations played well in pressure situations, we can never count Roger out. Nadal been knocked out of tournament, which increases Roger’s chance. I was expecting Roger to play Nadal in semi’s if both progressed and see how Roger plays him in slower court anyway’s. Expecting Roger to play well in further rounds.Roger got good shot at Title.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post Inbakumar. Definitely Roger’s form compared to Dubai has to do with the court speed. But like you say can’t be underestimated and his bp conversion rate in both matches have been above 50% which is great. Also I agree that every time Nadal gets knocked out of an event it gives Roger that extra boost.

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  11. Ru-an, what happened to you was an omen. There is indeed a Dog, and he bites again!

    As Veronica said, it’s hard for Federer to adjust to this slow, high-bouncing surface after Dubai. He’s not playing his best yet but after beating Tursunov, he said he felt calm, a sense of Zen on the court. And he did find solutions despite being broken while serving for the first set and being down a break in the second. Plus he’s 3 for 3 in tiebreaks this tournament.

    Tursunov knew his only chance was to take it to Federer and go for his shots, and he executed well. I think Federer did well to blunt Tursunov’s power with his variety and to keep serving well. He won all the key points, which is a sign of confidence in his game.

    Wawrinka is playing phenomenal tennis and he’ll be hard to beat. But first, Federer has to come through Haas.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha good one Steve. The Dog almost gave it away but did well to hold on in the end. And we know what it means for Fed’s chances when Nadal is eliminated from the draw.

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    Harinarayan Mani Reply:

    If Federer comes through Haas, no need for us to not believe in Federer beating Stan. In my opinion, Federer holds a mental edge over Stan which neither Nadal or Djoker hold. If anyone can beat Stan now, its Roger Federer now. His all court game causes everybody problems except Nadal on slow courts. I believe Federer can win the whole thing if he beats Wawrinka. But one match at a time. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. :-)
    Take care Ruan. Hope u are fine now after that nasty dog bite on shots

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