Federer Off to Solid Start in Melbourne

We are live at the 2015 Australian Open and I hope you folks had some time to catch a glimpse of the GOAT in his first round match against Lu. I got the timing wrong which means I am able to make a post today after all. It was what was expected from Roger as he won 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. I fell asleep in the third set, but it seems Lu was playing quite well there and Roger did well not to go to a tie-break. It was another good serving performance from Roger with 69% first serves, 9 aces, and 3 double faults. The break point conversion rate was on the low side with 4/14 converted, but it is the first round so no problem there. It was good to see Roger continued to attack the net at every opportunity which he did 43 times of which he was successful 30 times. The winners also outnumbered the unforced errors 57-37, so in the end a very efficient start and I expect it to keep getting better.

I liked the outfit, but the shoes should have looked like in the pictures

Of course, it is important not to get complacent and bored and I’m sure Roger is very aware of that himself. Next for Roger is Bolelli who defeated Monaco in four sets. You will remember Roger last played Bolelli in the Davis Cup semis last year where he won pretty comfortably in straight sets. The two have met three times in total and Roger is yet to drop a set. I assume they will play again on Wednesday and you would expect another comfortable victory for Roger. The other big news from our standpoint was that Nadal destroyed Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and looks to be right back to his best. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The guy is completely unpredictable and will probably keep cutting down opponents like they are nothing on his way to the semis. Unless he doesn’t. You just don’t know with him. Maybe he will suffer a dip in form again soon and lose but I am not making any predictions.

The semis is a long way away anyway so there is not any reason to think about Nadal from Roger’s point of view, but I will keep a close watch on him. He plays Smyczek next which will no doubt be another destruction. The first test will probably be against Rosol if there will be any, who only just survived his first round match in five sets today. We will see if he makes it though as he plays Sela next. As far as upsets go #11 seed Gulbis lost to promising local youngster Kokkinakis after the Australian saved four match points. I haven’t seen much from him, but he looks promising. He plays another Australian Groth next so I will follow how that goes. Another promising Australian youngster Kyrgios also had a tough five setter against Delbonis before advancing. He now plays Karlovic which I will also keep an eye on, and not only because the winner could face Roger in the fourth round.

The GOAT marches on

The chances are good that the winner there will face Roger in the fourth round if Roger gets that far because Robredo was the other seeded casualty after he had to retire in his match against Roger-Vasselin. Kyrgios is an exciting player whose game I like and I wouldn’t mind seeing a fourth round encounter between him and Roger, even though he could potentially be a danger(remember what he did to Nadal at Wimbledon). In the top half of the bottom quarter, both Murray and Dimitrov had straight set wins. Dimitrov won particularly convincingly against talented, but erratic Brown and another slam meeting between Dimitrov and Murray would be interesting(remember Dimitrov destroying Murray last year at Wimbledon). Well, that’s a wrap from me. Tomorrow we will see what’s going on in the top half. Looking forward to seeing what’s gonna happen between Thiem and Bautista Agut.

 

Highlights:

Hot shots:

Amazing that Roger already pulled off the winner around the net post like it was nothing. Looking good..

Presser: http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2015-01-19/201501191421665854551.html

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.

42 Comments

  1. Roger is looking good but it’s too early to predict what will happen.

    Chardy might be tough so I am not going to look past him when we get to it.. We’ll see..

    For now, I’ll choose not to overly hyper Roger and just enjoy the tournament day by day and see where it takes us.

    :-) )

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Roger is not facing Chardy yet and Chardy may not even get there. Lets see if they can win their respective second round matches first.

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  2. Hi Ru-an, you’ve really been on a roll these past few days! Lots of good posts.

    Federer played very well, his serve was impeccable and he was excellent from the backcourt and at net. Lu raised his level in the third set and it became more of a tussle, but Federer played a phenomenal game at 5-all to break to love and served out the match without much trouble.

    I think he should be able to manage the QFs at least. It’s a medium-to-slowish hard court with a pretty high bounce, so the chance of a lower-ranked player getting hot and just blowing Federer away is lower than it would be at Wimbledon. The extreme heat also makes it unlikely that a lower-tier player will be able to physically go the distance with Federer over five sets. Federer’s fitness and conditioning are top-notch and you really have to be fit yourself to stand a chance.

    Federer was able to get out of a two-sets-to-love hole to Berdych several years ago, and also eke out a five-set win against Tipsarevic despite being compromised by mono, so it’s really tough to beat Federer in the early going on this court, given that he appears to be back to near-peak form after the racket switch. The top players are another matter, of course–he’s only 3-6 against Djokovic/Nadal/Murray in Melbourne and that trio is responsible for all his losses at AO dating back to 2008. Before that Safin was the last man to stop him, in ’05.

    As regards to Nadal: there’s no point in worrying about the encounter. It may not happen at this tournament, but at some point he’s going to run into Nadal again, it’s inevitable. He can’t go through life trying to run from his bugbear, that’s impossible, ridiculous, and craven to boot. You just can’t live like that.

    The new racket and tactics help counter the effects of age and give him half a chance; the rest is up to him. It matters not how mentally tough he is against other players or how easily he dispatches them; Nadal is a whole other kettle of fish. Either Federer is in top form, has total confidence in his game plan, and executes perfectly, in which case he wins. Otherwise, he loses. There is no third alternative. Nothing less than a perfect match will do. There’s no bluffing, no playing for time, no trading on his reputation, no improvising a makeshift solution to get through a bad day. That works against other opponents, but not Nadal.

    At any rate, the point may be moot. AO is the one major where Federer and Nadal have never managed back-to-back meetings in consecutive years. My feeling is that this trend will continue, and either one or the other–or possibly even both–will lose early.

    Federer is more depleted physically than he lets on, and as for Nadal, AO is a bit of a jinx tournament for him. Since 2010, if Nadal makes the quarters of a Slam, he almost always makes the final of that Slam. The only two exceptions have been AO ’10 and ’11, where he lost in the QFs despite a strong start to the tournament. Moreover, he has a losing record in AO finals. Despite playing one of his best-ever matches, he was edged out by Djokovic in ’12, and Wawrinka hammered him last year after he appeared to be hitting peak form in the semis.

    Of course, my feeling could be wrong and they might meet again…in which case, go Roger!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve. You make a good point about Nadal not having that great a record at the AO. But he doesn’t have a consistent record at any slam outside of the FO, although I guess you can argue he has been pretty consistent at the USO in the last few years. I would also think that Nadal would lose before the semis, but the problem is who will stop him? Even if he has an off day he can grind out a win over 5 sets. The other thing is Nadal’s unpredictability. People wrote Nadal of after his 7 month break, saying that he will have to limit his schedule to natural surfaces to protect his knees. What does he do? He not only plays a full hard court season but he dominates hard court. After that ridiculous occurrence I don’t take anything fro granted from this freak. I don’t even discount the possibility of a calender slam. But now that I said that he will probably lose before the QF(it’s very hard to see him losing to Birdshit).

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    Francis Reply:

    With Nadal there is no such thing as trends. In the carefully reactionary, controlled chaos that is his career, I see whats happened to him in Melbourne as errors in the matrix. Djoker’s reinvention and Stan’s once in a lifetime form are nothing but cheap Sunday’s paper crossword puzzles Nadal and camp have solved by now. Unless this draw has another such error with in it, I honestly can’t see anyone but a fully in form FedExpress stoping Super Nadull from hoisting the silverware.

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    Alex Reply:

    Thanks for your post Steve. Very informative and much appreciated.

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  3. Love to read all these posts if,if, if Nadal wins. How about IF Nadal wins tonight then has to face
    either Rosol/Sela and they still think it’s Wimbledon! Never mind I can dream haha…C’mon Roger x

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  4. Top stuff as always Ru-an. Solid play from the maestro as expected. On the other side, super Nadal has reared his ugly head and boy does he look fit. So much for that “I’m not the favorite” pander we’re so used to hearing from him. Just revolting. Its all been said so far by Ru-an and also by Steve in his thorough analysis. On we go.

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  5. THanks for the quick-fire pots and good comments all around. Bolelli is no joker actually, was just watching some clips of his davis cup match with Fed (on a quick indoor court). As you recall Fed took it in 3 but the first set was a tiebreaker and the other 2 one break each.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS2HiMaNmuE

    Bolelli has decent power and a strong forehand. It will be serious match for sure.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You made a good point Bharata. Fed down 3-6.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Hmm when I posted that a few hours I didn’t expect this first set. Also FEderer seems botehred by his right hand…ominous signs. Bolelli is really hitting the ball flat and hard right now.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Hmm when I posted that a few hours I didn’t expect this first set. Also FEderer seems botehred by his right hand…ominous signs. Bolelli is really hitting the ball flat and hard right now.

    Come on Fed, turn it around…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Fed steadied the ship and it’s a set all. Gotta go to work. Surely will take control now.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well he’s got the break in the opening game of the 3rd. Gotta run now.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Yes it’s quite late over here (or early) and I don’t think I can see all of it – would like to see him clinch the 3rd set. He nearly broke again at 2-0, but Bolelli served out of it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well easy enough in the end. Least we got to see the first two sets. After that Fed took over and it was routine.

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  6. Well. Roger is through.. It was a tricky encounter as Ru-an correctly predicted. The good news is … Seppi is leasing Chardy 2:1 so we’ll see. But I shouldn’t take anything for granted at this point. Kyrgyzstan is schooling Karlovic so the 4th round will be difficult also. Murray and Dimitrov are also through.

    Nadal to play next.. Just nuts…

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  7. The monster is back. Nadull looks unreal right now.

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    Vily Reply:

    He’s such a bullshitter, right. Doesn’t feel like a contender. Shut the F Up, will you, Rafa?

    That being said, I think that in the end of the day IF Roger makes it (which will EXTREMELY difficult – just considering what’s next after the 4th round – unless Kyrgios loses in the 3rd round – ) I think that he’ll have a shot.

    But assuming that Roger beats Seppi/ Kyrgios Murray / Dimitrov – he’ll be prepared. The issue will be

    1. How fatigued will he be going into the Nadal match.

    2. How MUCH he wants it – because the only way to beat Nadal will be to jump on him and never let go – winning the 1st two sets is the only way.

    But so much matches until then. I guess we’ll discuss it when and IF it happens..

    Let’s hope for the best!

    Allez, Roger!!!

    [Reply]

  8. Seppuku is through so that SHOULD mean an easier 3rd round for Roger, hopefully. Nadal is looking ominous. But I have a theory here (or at least I’d like to comfort myself).

    Sometimes players look great in the early rounds and then they struggle late. Roger has looked great in early rounds in previous Grand Slams and as soon as the 4th round comes, he would struggle. Vice versa, when Roger struggled early, he seems to play better and better as the tournament progresses. That certainly was the case in the French Open 2009, Australian Open 2010, Wimbledon 2012 and also most recently in Shanghai.

    So, I actually prefer struggles early. Obviously, not too many because fatigue will start to pile up and the draw is unforgiving.

    I am happy about Seppi today because Roger should have a much easier match against him than against Chardy but each match is tricky.

    As I write this, Sela is leading Rosol 2 sets to 1 so that’s just pathetic. Nadal will probably make semis now. But Roger has a much tougher road – Seppi – then potentially Kyrgios, then Murray/ Dimitrov so he’ll be pretty tired by the time he gets to the Nadal match but who knows.

    Roger may not even make it. It’s a ridiculous draw. Hopefully Roger will continue to improve as the tournament progresses.

    [Reply]

  9. Well, Rosol is out but WTF:

    Smyczek has tied Nadal at 1 set a piece and Nadal is looking really puzzled out there – broken 3 times in the 2nd..

    Wow!!! Still long way to go though…

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Wow indeed. Still, Nadal will pull through. I just know it.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Well, at least you can’t say that Smyczek didn’t have his chances. If he won that 3rd set, he was gonna beat Nadal. Now, it’s going to be tough. But Nadal has shown vulnerability here – but still think that he’ll play better… Sometimes you gotta beat the dog when it’s down… Ouch..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Smyczek up 6-5 in the 3rd..

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Wow!!!!! One more set! It’s 5:45 am in the morning in New York but I am staying up for this!!! Crazy!!! Still some work to do. Maybe Nadal will retire?!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And he wins the set. Another huge upset brewing here.

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    Katyani Reply:

    I don’t know who Smyczek is and to be honest I think he will lose from now on, because Rafa definitely will be in beast mode… but Smyczek already got my respect. Respect dude :-) Come on, one more set and you will be immortal :-)

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    That’s too bad. Nadal is pole position now to win this.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Ofcourse…. what else is new???
    Still… Mister Smyczek….take a bow Sir…. you have my respect :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Respect for taking a ball out of the air instead of letting it bounce, thereby handing the break to Nadal? Not from me!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Oh come on Ru-an, give him a break :-) He got to a place where almost no men can come or have been…. to a 5 setter with Rafa :-) I haven’t seen the match yet, but atleast for that… he gets my respect :-)

    Ps: How about that injured Rafa?? I think many players have something like: “may I also have your kind of injury?” :-)

    [Reply]

  10. Did you guys notice how pathetic Nadal was serving in the 2nd and 3rd sets and even parts of the 4th. And now he serves LIGHTS out in the 5th. Simply REDICULOUS….

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    elizabeth Reply:

    I really get angry with myself for watching Nadal, because I know when push comes to shove and Nadal is up against it he pulls the illness card! Can someone tell me what pill you can take for dizziness (so the commentators say) that works so quickly! I was beside myself listening to Mats Wilander saying Nadal is finshed, his legs have gone…meanwhile Nadal is pulverising the ball. Sorry for the rant but I agree Vily simply ridiculous.

    [Reply]

  11. Smyczek played as good as he could have played and even better. He moved like a Ferrer and hit the groundstrokes like a Djokovic…

    What can you say? Federer doesn’t have the double handed backhand so obviously IF Nadal and Federer play, Nadal will have the advantage.

    It’s really frustrating. To be honest, I don’t see who can stop Nadal from getting to the final now.

    He has played pretty much everyone left in the draw and my hopes were only for today simply because of the unknown factor.

    I mean yes Roger will have the mental strength, etc. but to be honest the match up is STILL the match up.

    I mean Smyczek played similarly to Djokovic – with the double handed etc. that is why this match was competitive. And obviously because Nadal was suffering early.

    Roger has forgotten what it is like to beat Nadal in a GS since 2007 and what it is like to beat him period since 2012.

    So I really don’t know. Roger has a REDICULOUS draw – after the 3rd round, things will only get tougher for him. You can never say never but even getting to the semis feels like a monumental task for Roger and you know with Nadal. After he narrowly escapee today, he’ll stream row.

    I almost wish that if Roger and Rafa play – it eould be in the 1st or 2nd round where Nadal is most vulnerable.

    I suppose we’ll take it day by day – That’s ALL we can do as fans and hope that maybe, just maybe there is something brighter waiting just around the corner..

    [Reply]

  12. The suicidal shot from Smyczek was in the 11th game of the deciding set when instead of waiting for the ball to land he hit the overhead shot just to fit the Spanish bull and that was the end of his fight. I am afraid this will give boost to Nadal similar to the one in the semifinal of AO back in 2009. Well let us hope for the best and that the beast is destroyed before it destroys others.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right mridul I just replied to Katyani about that shot before I looked at your comment. Great minds think alike they say.

    [Reply]

  13. He barely beats a qualifier in 5 sets and people assume he will now win the tournament? I don’t think so. It shows weakness, not strength. Everyone now senses they have a shot at him. He is simply not the player he was.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    For most players, that would be true. Unfortunately Nadal does not seem to conform to the normal rules of loss of confidence (and tiredness *wink wink*) and he will probably roll through. He has done it too many times for me to be surprised by anything he does.

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    jim Reply:

    I agree he has done it before, but each time is different. In my view, he is also now declining. The match in Doha, now this match. Even for him, several more five set matches like that and he will be deflated. There’s a limit to his medicine. I think its side effects are starting to show up too, just look at Barry Bonds or Rodriguez or Armstrong. It’s dangerous to push the human body past it’s natural, physiological limits for too long.

    [Reply]

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