Hey folks. If you read the comments you would have seen that I had laptop problems which is why I missed the last post about Roger beating Muller 6-2, 6-1. I couldn’t watch but from what I read and saw on the highlights it was a good performance from Roger. Fortunately last night I was able to watch Roger’s match against Istomin on a computer at work. It was quite a struggle for Roger who got broken in the sixth game to fall behind 2-4. He couldn’t recover and Istomin won the first set 6-3. Something seemed off to me and I was wondering whether Brennwald and Nadal had not gotten to Roger. He was hitting too many shanks and at the beginning of the third set he came awfully close to smashing his racquet after three shanks in a row. He was definitely struggling with himself and no doubt this whole Brenndull situation was affecting him.
It really is pathetic that Brennwald is treating the player who carried the Basel tournament for the last 10+ years so poorly. Not to mention Nadull who abandons his home tournament in Valencia for Brennwald’s appearance fees. And of course Brennwald knows Nadull is Roger’s big rival which makes the whole thing even more scandalous. And what is even more surprising is the way Nadull has been playing given that he has appendicitis(according to the Nadull camp that is). Nadal has only dropped six games in his first two matches. He also played his second match before Roger played his first match. That is very strange and poor scheduling and probably just another way Brennwald and Nadull is trying to ‘get’ to Roger. So no surprise that Roger seemed unsettled and out of sorts against Istomin.
But as we have seen from Roger 4.0 his main characteristic is probably mental strength and he battled through it to get the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Roger’s break point conversion rate was low as we have seen from him of late in early rounds. In Istomin’s first service game of the third set Roger wasted several break points to get the early break, which was also the point where he came very close to smashing his racquet I think. In Istomin’s next service game it was the same story as Roger missed several break point chances again, but finally got the break and won the decider. It’s good that Roger is going through this anyway because his mental strength needs to be tested once again if he is to meet Nadull in the final, and I think that will probably happen. Nadull is all of a sudden on top of his game again and only Raonic can pose a serious threat to him before the final.
He now plays promising 17-year old Borna Coric from Croatia who he will no doubt defeat. Then he plays the winner of Raonic and Goffin. Goffin has made some waves of late in the tennis world and could defeat Raonic, but I don’t see how he could pose a threat to Nadal. I don’t think he is mentally capable. Raonic is pretty good mentally and with his huge serve indoors could possibly make life hard for Nadull. But personally I want to see a Fedull final. Roger has lost his last five meetings with Nadull and that nonsense has to end here. Sure Brennwald is a douche bag and an annoyance, but Roger won’t get a much better opportunity to defeat Nadull than in front of his home crowd on an indoor court. And as I have said in the comment section beating Nadal would be as satisfying as anything he could still achieve this year.
Maybe even more so. I have said a couple of other important things in the comment section too. One of them is that it’s all about Basel now and that I have once again made the mistake of looking too far ahead. The title in Shanghai was very satisfactory from a fan standpoint but a Basel title would be even more satisfying for several reasons. First the fact that Roger lost in the final the last two years. Second the fact that Brennwald has been such a douche and the ultimate way to spite him would be to win the tourney. Finally the fact that it would be Roger’s fifth title of the year, the target he set for himself at the beginning of the season. For me if he achieves that goal I would be very satisfied about 2014 after the low that was 2013 and everything afterwards would be gravy. That includes winning Paris, London, Davis Cup and ending the year ranked #1.
Wow! What a season it must have been if that is all just gravy. And then of course if he beats Nadal in the final that would be the ultimate way to win the title. But yes there is still a long way to go. The focus should be on the next match which is against Dimitrov and it won’t be easy. This will be Roger’s toughest opponent before the final and can’t be taken lightly. Especially after Dimitrov destroyed Posipisil 6-2, 6-2 yesterday. It should be an entertaining match to watch anyway and I am looking forward to it. But let me get back to something I said in the comment section just quickly. Roger has made it clear that he intends to play Paris which I was very happy to hear of course, since that means he is very much going after the year end #1. I feel this is very important since Davis Cup is out of his hands.
Stan lost in the first round of Basel against Kukushkin and is now on a four match losing streak I think. So his form is definitely a concern and Roger can’t depend on him to win a match in the Davis Cup final. He has to look after himself first and try to win Basel, Paris, and London and end the year ranked #1. Then it doesn’t matter much what happens in Davis Cup and there will be less pressure on Roger. The way I see it the Davis Cup title is nice if it happens but since it is not under the control of the individual it means very little for their personal resume. Winning a seventh Masters Cup and reaching the pinnacle of the rankings again at age 33 would mean much more for his personal resume than Davis Cup. All those Davis Cups Nadull won means very little for Nadull personally as it was done with the help of a very strong Spanish team.
Well I am still very excited for what is left for the rest of the year especially after hearing that Roger intends to play Paris. Djokovic has also announced that he will be present after the birth of his son a couple of days ago. So congrats to him. This race to the year end #1 is now getting really interesting but for now all focus is on Basel where Roger must put Brennwald to bed by winning the title. Then he will also be only 490 points behind Djokovic in the race and can maybe catch up with him in Paris already. But for now it all comes down to Roger’s match against Dimitrov tonight. As expected Nadal was once again favored with the schedule as Roger will play the last match and Nadal before him. This means the match will be after 1 am my time but I won’t miss it. Anything for the GOAT!