Federer Overwhelming in Straight Set Victory Over Sock

If there were any doubts as to whether Roger was afraid of facing Nadal in the semis again then they were silenced when he defeated Sock 6-3, 6-2 yesterday in a very competent performance. He has finally found his rhythm after looking shaky in his first two matches. Sock came out looking like he would make it competitive with his big serve and forehand, but as soon as Roger got the first break in the eighth game he raced away. I was actually impressed by Sock at the beginning how big he was hitting and how he prevented Roger from breaking him. But it was just a question of time before Roger’s quality would be too much for him and Roger ended up making it look easy. The match stats were much better this time too.

They were nearly perfect other than the 3/12 break point conversions, but who is gonna care about those with a 6-3, 6-2 scoreline? I think Sock actually played quite well, which gives you an idea just of how good Roger still is. It is just amazing how at age 33 he still produces this kind of tennis. It’s like he hardly aged at all. Sock is basically America’s next big tennis hope and Roger made him look average. With his serve, attacking base line game, and sharp net play he just gives his opponent very little breathing room. The only guys who has an answer to it is Nadal and Djokovic, and we saw in Shanghai and Dubai that Djokovic doesn’t have an answer to it on faster surfaces either. But since Indian Wells is slower conditions he could have an answer.

As far as Nadal goes he was back to top form himself as he easily disposed of Simon 6-2, 6-4. I watched both Fedal’s matches and both were looking in superb form. I think they both look good for a semi-final sport, but they have Berdych and Raonic to deal with who are no push overs. Fedal are definitely the favorites to win given their form yesterday but in tennis you just never know. We know Berdych has been a tricky opponent for Roger in the past but Roger 4.0 should beat him just about every time. As for Raonic he also had a very competent 6-3, 6-2 victory over Robredo. I just think Nadal’s base line consistency and defensive skills will be too much for him. Nadal’s movement is looking ominous again.

Dat backhand

When he makes those impossible returns like clockwork you start worrying for Roger as well. But still some way to go before Fedal. And if it does happen then I still believe this is a good opportunity for Roger to get a much needed win over Nadal. Today of course the top half quarter finals will be played while Fedal will be in action tomorrow. In the top half Murray is still alive and will play Lopez for a place in the semis after Lopez had an impressive straight set win over Nishikori. Djokovic looked impressive in his win over Isner too and now plays Tomic who has been the surprise of the tournament. I expect both Djokovic and Murray to win and we may well have a big four semis. That would suit me just fine!

 

Highlights:

Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.

69 Comments

  1. I agree with you for the most part Ruan. Indian Wells is not in a good time zone for me, but I’ve had the chance to watch the highlights and enjoyed watching Roger play better today. Having said that, I don’t think he’s in top form yet, and neither is Nadal, who is continuing to push at some balls here and there.
    The Berdych match should be interesting, probably a 50/50 match-up nowadays, but if Fed makes a concerted effort to be aggressive (and not tentative), he should get the job done.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Just saw this on twitter…

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    Albert Reply:

    Haha, I love the comic. Although Roger has beaten Berdych on Australian, Chinese, Canadian, French, and Middle Eastern hard courts, and I think he’s looking to add American to that list soon.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Albert I’m pretty sure Roger will add America to that list too.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Hilarious, Ru-an!! Glad that you are still chirpy after your Thai experience. So sorry things hadnt worked out for you but the experience only adds to your already rich and varied history!! So, well done! It’s also good to hear that you have a greater appreciation of SA after being away. And yeah, it was a great turnaround for Roger against Sock and I think at last he’s getting a better grip of how the balls and courts play. But I think he’s got some ways to go to beat Big Berd and Nadal. Tomorrow’s match will be telling. These courts, as Bhrata commented suits Big Berd to the T. I’ve also noticed Big Berd attacks Roger’s second serve really well. Let’s hope Roger has a good serving day (and Berdych does not) and that he messes up Berdy’s one way traffic ball bashing game with his variety and net rushing. There is just something in Berdy’s game that gets to Roger and I do sense that Roger often seems uneasy playing Berdy whereas Berdy seems to relish playing Roger! It’s a brutal draw from now on; made worse by the messed up scheduling. If Roger wins IW, it is almost as good as winning a slam having to go through 3 top players in 3 days!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol, I didn’t really mean that as a joke Veronica, although it is kind of funny. I don’t think the streak has anything to do with the US anyway. It just happened that way for no reason and Roger will surely get his first win over Birdshit. As for Thailand it wasn’t exactly a great experience but like you say I have now been east and west so I think I can count myself as a true citizen of the world now. And yes I have a better appreciation for SA now. Whether I wana stay here is another question.

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    Krish Reply:

    Yes Ruan, I agree – they’ve only met on US soil since 2010 (and Rog had MP in Miami that year anyway), so clearly had they met in the US before 2010 this meme would be irrelevant.
    Great to hear that you’re well, and about your experiences in Thailand, by the way!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah before 2010 Fed was still schooling him on a regular basis. Glad to be back to safety in SA which feels like a very strange thing to say.

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  2. Ru-an, once again, no one but you created the “doubts” and dispelled them at a scenario of your choice. Federer has won the sportsmanship countless times so much so that his coach would not mind if they renamed the award after him. If Nadal was truly in his head Fed would quit or tank matches ahead of their meetings on clay and other venues without any scratch to his ego or ranking. But Fed is the epitome of what a sportsman should be like. I know his detractors always pull the Davydenko card, but overall in his career he would have a 99.7% score. Let’s just enjoy watching him play as long As he feels good.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No one but me created the “doubts”? Believe me, every Fedfan has those doubts including you. I just have the balls to say it and are not in denial like the rest of you. I never said Fed tanked anything. I said he may have sub-consciously tanked. There is a massive difference but why explain something that I have explained a million times already? If you don’t get it by now you never will!

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  3. Interesting observation there. Actually I remember watching in 2010 that Federer beat Berdych in Toronto in an tight one (after losing to him in Wimbeldon so it was a statement match). But I guess it does not count…I think he did lose to him in Indian Wells or Miami once in a tight one…and Cinncinatti, US Open 2012 of course.

    Yes the regular high bounce and slow court gives him lots of time to take big cuts – but the dry air lets his flat shots fly through quickly. It makes Berdych tough to deal with on that kind of surface.

    I have read peoplehere saying the danger is that Federer tries to beat him with pure power. It’s true. On the hand Berdych will pass him if he just tries to rush the net. Well we’ll see…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s right Bharata he has lost to Berdych in Miami, Cincy, and the USO. That shows you what a problem Berdych has been for him. And pure power will not get the job done vs Berdych but I think Fed 4.0 is smarter than that.

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  4. I do honestly believe that Federer wants to play Nadal again. Consciously! But playing Berdych provides him with the perfect opportunity to subconnciously tank this match and avoid Nadal. Again I have to emphasize subconsiously because there can be no doubt that Nadal is to some extent in his head. But like every great champion you relish the opportunities to play your biggest rivals. So yes, consciously federer will do everything he can to go through to the semis. I guess it may help that Federer plays his quarter final match before nadal for a change.

    I would however make a distinction when it comes to slams. I think that when it comes to slams, Federer is a lot more scarred by Nadal and probably prefers to avoid him. But definitely not in a masters 1000 event.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Careful when you use the term ‘subconsciously tank’. Some people are simply to thick to understand what it means and will accuse you of slandering Fed for tanking matches. But yes it will be interesting to see what happen vs Berdych. I also think he wants to play Nadal and that he believes he can win, but will the sub-conscious come into play again? Hopefully the damage is not that bad by now because I think he has a real shot here to beat Nadal and I have been wanting to see how Fed 4.0 measures up to Nadal for some time now.

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  5. Berdych never used to have this confidence against Federer – Rog used to be his master before 2010/2011. I think Berdych has noticed Fed’s slowing down and is able to strike the ball with more confidence and power against him. In their Miami 2010 meeting, I believe Rog had match point in the 3rd set tie-break after Berdych was upset by a line call, then he (Berdych, that is), just went insane and landed his next 2/3 shots perfectly in to take the match and get over that mental barrier.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Krish that’s a good observation about Berdych taking advantage of Roger’s drop in speed. In his prime Roger was too fast for Berdych’s power to bother him. Then when he slowed down he still thought he could match Berdych from the ground but got overpowered instead. I think he now realizes that tactic doesn’t work and he must take advantage of the fact that Berdych is such a one-dimensional player. He must mix things up and try to get him on the defense because that is where he is poor.

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  6. What a very gratifying result for Roger. He showed a lot of variety and finesse today, and I guess Berdych knows how to spell ‘Bakerer’ now!

    :-)

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  7. Hey Ruan, interesting to know your thoughts on this! Berdych back to being Fed’s pigeon possibly?
    Great stuff from Roger, he did just what we hoped for today. Lot of variety with the BH, really good slice, had the upper hand at the baseline, good serving + bad serving from Tomas
    6-4, 6-0.
    No doubt now – he’d love to have some of Nadal here. Even Raonic, tbh.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah master class Krish. Fed is improving every round and is ready for Nadal if he beats Raonic. I can see a 2012-like result if they meet.

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    Krish Reply:

    Yeah, and I was just listening to his post-match interview. He’s backing Rafa to come through against Raonic before he’s even played his match lol. I can sort of see the swagger in Roger which I haven’t really seen in him since 2007.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Nadal will win I’m sure.

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    Joe Reply:

    Yes, Roger seems to have figured Berdych out, and I think the strategy he followed to beat him at IW this year was different from his approach in past losses where he tried unnecessarily to match Berdych’s power.

    By the way, Roger’s new approach can probably be traced to the fact that Stefan Edberg is now a stealth reader of Ru-an’s blog! (j/k).

    Roger used a lot of finesse and variety against Berdych, and played beautifully. To say ‘this is the right approach’ after seeing near-perfection from Roger is to belabor the obvious.

    But I do think (getting back to your question Krish) that as long as Roger is healthy, e.g. his back is holding up, etc., that he will continue to play this way against Berdych, and will have good results against him.

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  8. I am thinking he very well might lose to Raonic. Maybe not on purpose but maybe not wanting to lose to an in-form Fed. He’s very carefully tried to manage their match-ups to, as often as possible, meet where he has the upper hand. He’s obviously not in form. I don’t know I have a feeling he’ll lose this match again Milos.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘He’s obviously not in form.’

    Didn’t look like that against Simon at all.

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  9. Ru-an, “Oh how sweet it is….” Saw the entire match today and Roger looked absolutely great….Birdpoo collapsed…Looking for your blog, Ru-an and other comments.
    Veronica, welcome back from your old grandma friend, Dolores. Hope Roger is making you more happy after today’s match with Birdpoo.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks my favourite grandma, Dolores! I REALLY enjoyed the victory. No birdpoo, ha! Must say it was like a miraculous turnover from Roger. He looked so out of it in his first few matches; like burnt out mentally. He looks fine now, more fresh and less tired. I heard he was suffering from a lingering headache that must have affected his mood in his first few matches, ha!

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  10. Hi all. Glad to see Veronica and Dolores are back and weighing in.

    I’ve been forced to rely mostly on highlights but have been following Federer’s progress through IW…judging from the match against Berdych, Federer is peaking. He seemed to have tons of time on every ball to make his decisions and pick the right shots, which means his footwork and timing and tactical sense are all in perfect shape. He was absolutely surgical and played a very varied, aggressive match to break down Berdych’s linear game. 13/14 on net points is a great stat. He seems to have adjusted to the pace of the courts. His serving has been great too.

    As I write, Nadal has taken the first set against Raonic. I would expect Raonic to take it to a third but ultimately to lose.

    Judging from the absolute clinic he put on against Berdych (who’s proven capable of giving him fits in the last few years), he hasn’t played this well in a while and now is as good a time as any to face his nemesis. Have faith in his game and his chances, because when he’s playing his best tennis he can beat even a top-form Nadal. He’s hungry for this title and he knows what a big opportunity it would be to make another final in Indian Wells. There is no reward without risk. C’mon Roger!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks Steve! Isn’t it such a joy to watch when Roger uses his full arsenal?! I always say Variety is the name of his game and he must stay true to it. Fingers crossing for a 5th title for Roger at IW!!

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  11. Nadal engaged in a battle with Raonic – into a 3rd set, with Milos having saved 2 match points in the 2nd set tie-break

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Very impressed with Raonic. Extremely clutch in the breaker.

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  12. Raonic somehow managed to face down I don’t know how many match points to steal the second-set tiebreak, 12-10. Nadal made a couple of weird UEs during the tiebreak, but credit to Raonic for his remarkable mental toughness in surviving it.

    I don’t think he’ll have enough left to win the third set, though. He’s used up too much of his energy and too many of his big serves just to level it. When errors creep into his game, Nadal will take advantage. Raonic will do well to win 3 games in the decider.

    But he did manage to push Nadal, and show his quality, which augurs well for his season.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Guess again Steve. Raonic won the final set 7-5. Still no Fedal.

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    steve Reply:

    Jim was right, Nadal isn’t quite up to snuff yet. That loss to Fognini really did keep him from gaining enough momentum to make a deep run at IW. Still he was one point away from the semis.

    Now Federer/Nadal can’t happen until clay season. So much the better–beating the Beast in his own lair is more satisfying than doing it on HC.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    And the chances of that happening is? Nadal almost back to his best already. By the clay season he will be a monster again. This would have been Roger’s best chance to get a much needed win over him. As usual Nadal escapes when the odds are against him.

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    steve Reply:

    Well, Federer is no slouch on clay either. Last year his clay season was poor, but then he was dealing with the birth of the twins. Before that, he made the Monte Carlo finals, defeating the defending champion along the way. That was the first time since ’08 that he’d been in the Monte Carlo final.

    His losses to Chardy and Gulbis were agonizingly close–he had match point and a point for a two-sets-to-love lead, respectively–and he’s probably desirous of overturning those results and winning some big clay titles this year.

    This year, he’s happy, he’s confident, he’s well-rested, there’s no pressure. He has the new tactics and the new racket. He’s putting in an extra clay tournament to get some more time on the red dirt. If he does well at IW–and he’s already in the final four without dropping a set–he’ll have the wind at his back.

    What’s the worst that could happen against Nadal? Federer (and we) have already endured the ’08 RG final, it can’t get any uglier than that. No one expects him to beat Nadal on clay, so if he wins it will be a pleasant surprise.

    Let Federer give it a shot and see what happens. You never know until you try.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I didn’t say he should give up, did I?

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    Joe Reply:

    *LIKE*

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    Veronica Reply:

    Hey Joe! Didn’t have chance to say thank you to your really sweet message in previous post as Ru-an was too quick posting the next posts! Has anyone ever told you what a gentleman you are?! Thanks so much for the “love”, hehe! I’ve been investing time on my other passions besides work so it’s taking a lot out of me but I’ll try to keep up with you guys as much as I can; I don’t have a choice, do I?! After such “declaration of love” from you guys can I??!! Hehe!

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    Joe Reply:

    Hey Veronica!

    Thank you too! But you are actually the first person, as far as I know, who’s ever mistaken me for a gentleman! :-)

    But I definitely want to send my best wishes on your pursuit of those other passions! I’m trying to work up some time and energy for a few of those too.

    And I loved your post above (just one of your many great posts, of course) where you said ‘Variety is the name of his game and he must stay true to it.’

    That is so spot on! I hope you’ll stay true to your own cherished passions as well, and let us know of any good news!

    Best,
    Joe

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    steve Reply:

    Wow, I didn’t give Raonic enough credit. He got his first-ever victory over the Not-So-Humble Bull! Congrats! Great mental toughness, he outground the ultimate grinder.

    Bad sign for Nadal, he should have been well-rested from losing early at AO and confident from winning on clay, but he fell short of the semis of his best HC tournament. He had three match points and he failed to clinch it, I can’t remember the last time that happened.

    He’ll have to play Miami now and if he can’t even make the semis in IW, it’s going to be hard for him in Miami where he doesn’t have the greatest record.

    As for Federer, he’ll take all comers. Raonic will present a tough challenge. He pushed Federer all the way in Brisbane and he’ll probably test our man again in sunny Southern California. C’mon Roger!

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  13. Raonic has completely won me over with that. Nadal was actually playing really great, Milos was a bit slow to start but had the mental fortitutde to stave off 3 match points (!) and play some fantastic tennis in the 3rd set. Phenomenal.

    Roger needs to be careful now. Milos is feeling good as well, and no doubt he would have been expecting to face Nadal so some mental adjustments are needed.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly Krish. Nadal was playing great. He won the first set 6-4 and had break points in the second set. Could have easily been a straight setter but Raonic just too clutch. Only other guy I have seen this clutch against Nadal is Djokovic. That was a completely legit win over a Nadal who was looking like his old self. Huge respect for Raonic.

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    Alex Reply:

    Actually Nadal was only playing well for a set and a half. After that his level dropped a couple of notches. He just could not hit that forehand down the line and Raonic picked up on it quickly and kept playing to his forehand side. It seems the problem with Nadal is Stamina. It’s like when football teams need to play a few games until the players reach full match fitness. Same with Nadal. He is not fit enough to go the distance. Yes this was a legit win but I felt Rao was making too many errors in the beginning and really Nadal capitalised by winning the first set. Rao still needs to improve a lot.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Fair enough maybe Nadal is not back to full fitness yet, but did that really matter in the second set tie break? Nadal is clutch as it gets and he plays on adrenaline. He would probably have won that TB against anyone else but Raonic was just too clutch. In the third set it looked like Nadal could pull away again, holding serve easily while Raonic was struggling. He certainly did not look tired to me. Nadal doesn’t deserve any excuses here as far as I’m concerned. He got beaten fair and square. I’m off to bed.

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    Alex Reply:

    Yes, you’re right. We have to credit Raonic as well because he also raised his own level. Basically at some point he calmed down and decided to not go for winners from impossible positions and was a bit more patient. That was key. Clutch serving in the tie break. And also, yes even though Nadal’s level did drop, it takes great composure if you haven’t beaten someone previously to keep calm and get the job done. So many other people would have still choked the match away.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I am immensely impressed by Raonic. I have never rated him that highly because he lacks variation, but I have also always thought that he is mentally solid. I think he has enough game that with his great attitude he can go very far. He has the huge serve and pretty huge forehand too. He’s got decent volleys. HE may not have the best backhand, movement, or returns, or hands, but he makes up for it with a big game and mental fortitude.

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  14. As I said, he’s not in form. He has not beaten a 10 ten opponent since last June. He was better, but his ability to grind it out and chase down everything is slightly diminished and that’s enough for people like Raonic, who did play very well, to beat him. He’s aging and unlike Federer cannot adjust his game.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Fair enough Jim but I’d rather give Raonic all the credit here than attribute it to Nadal’s lack of form. Nadal was playing damn well but Raonic was exceptional. Nadal doesn’t even have to feel bad about this loss. He will still feel he made a lot of progress. Raonic just incredibly clutch. He is the real deal now.

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  15. Great game from Federer loved it. Since Raonic has beaten Rafa do you think Roger is in Rafa’s head? Rafa’s friend (tournament owner) looked a little sick!

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  16. This is Bulls*%t. How many times is Nadal going to avoid federer. I guess it’s safe to generalize that if Nadal is playing well enough to make semis then that also means that he is playing well enough to beat federer. If he isn’t playing well enough to beat federer then he won’t reach the semis either. Fed has been robbed of many a win over Nadal because of this crap. For the second time in the last six months I can’t even celebrate a nadal loss because I am more dissappointed that he won’t face federer.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Alex I get your predicament. This pisses me off big time too. I think me and you are probably different from most Fedfans who just want Roger to avoid Nadal at all costs. To me that is just weak sauce. It’s not like Roger has much to lose anyway. He is already owned by Nadal. Everyone would expect him to lose, but if he wins he scored a great victory and proves many people wrong. I’m never gonna regret a Nadal loss but I’d much rather Fed beat him than Raonic. Now he escapes yet again when odds were favoring Roger. It was JesusFed vs Berdych and he was primed for a much needed win over Nadal. But I guess Raonic is also to blame because he simply refused to go down.

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  17. First two sets Raonic made tons of UEs. I don’t think it was a particularly compelling performance by Nadal. It was better, but better isn’t good enough, not even to beat Raonic, let alone Federer or Djokovic. Clay may be better for him, but I am not convinced. In my view he won so many matches just by projecting his relentlessness and this aura of invincibility. I think he’s lost that and everybody knows it. That’s why a lot of players get new coaches, partly for technical reasons and partly just to believe in themselves again. Unfortunately for him, he’s stuck with Uncle Toni. One day the sickness of that relationship will be revealed. Yes, I think it involves doping, but that’s not even the worst of it. Family members shouldn’t be coaches. Nadal is not his own man yet, he’s not really in control of his own career, and he’s almost 30. At times, I felt that it was Uncle Toni that wanted the GS record so badly, not Nadal. And a lot of his poor gamesmanship feels as though it’s been sanctioned by his Uncle, and that gives him permission to act like a jerk. Who knows though? But I don’t see him dominating, at least not right now, not even on clay. That’s his last redoubt, but he has little confidence. I mean he lost to Fognini. When he starts beating top 10 players I’ll believe he’s back until then I won’t. Raonic was not that good in the first two sets, he made a lot of errors. He was clutch in the tiebreak and 3rd set, but it’s not like he played out of his mind.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well you called that Nadal would lose but you made it seem that he somehow wanted to lose. This is totally wrong in my opinion. I think he desperately wanted to win.

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    jim Reply:

    Maybe, but he blew a couple of those match points. I’m not so sure if, at least at a subconscious level, he didn’t want to face Fed and lose. If he read his comments today he noted how well Federer was serving against Berdych. It was just revealing.

    Here’s what he said: “I saw Roger playing very well today,” Nadal said. “The difference on that match is even if I only lost one serve during the whole match and didn’t have a lot of opportunities to have, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to have break on my serve.

    “Bigger difference with Roger, especially in that surface, is he has a great serve, too. The opponent feels that. Milos felt that can attack sometimes with my serve. Against Roger, he probably will not have that chance, because Roger is serving well. The feeling, comparing the two players, is Roger probably will have the same chances of returning serve than Milos.”

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  18. I think Rafa was playing pretty fantastic, especially in the first set. He was incredibly fast around the court, chasing everything Down, and hitting some killer passing shots. He just got beat by a very tall, monster serving, very good number five in the world, who is really coming into his own. Raonic is a smart kid with a fantastic attitude who will accept nothing less from himself than eventually being number one in the world. I dig that. Sure beats dimitrov who seems happy as shit to get into the top ten. Roger played gorgeous tennis against Byrdman, gorgeous, but he better bring his A game tomorrow if you ask me. Psyched!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I am not an expert on Nadal but to me it looked like he was basically at his best. And I agree totally about Raonic. He has a superb attitude and I am as psyched as you about the match with Roger.

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  19. This comment is directed only at Ruan. What happened to the bullshit about Roger being scared about Nadal huh ?? In the Australian Open Roger was definitely a bit tired and coupled with Seppi playing well and him having a slightly off day, it led to him losing. What Katyani said was perfectly correct and now I think I have every right to do to you, what you did to her and call the stuff you said crap. If Roger was in anyway worried about Nadal right now, no way he bagels Berdych. And in Aus Open even if Nadal was in the kind of form he was in US Open 2013, I would agree Roger might have been scared of him. But no way Roger is scared of Nadal in the 3rd round when he is in top form and Nadal is playing like crap.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ah here you are trying to start trouble again. Roger destroying Birdshit does nothing whatsoever to prove that what happened in Australia had nothing to do with Nadal and that he was tired. If anything it makes that loss even more inexplicable. You know what I’m starting to get tired of your BS. You have been very aggressive since the beginning and I don’t appreciate that. One more miss step and you are gone.

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  20. I think many here have misread the “subconscious” issue first raised by Ru-an some time back. I had a tough time accepting this concept too at first. To clarify, I also think Nadull has beaten fed so many times, its stuck in Fed’s subconscious somewhere. But I don’t think fed is running away from a Nadull encounter. Fed’s h2h is so horrid, what’s the worst that can happen? With Fed’s new found confidence, it could jolly well go the opposite way instead. Fed needs every chance he can get to face Nadull regardless the situation. It’s only way to rid of the inner demons. Subconscious is a tricky thing to try explain. @ru-an, u opened a can of worms that’s tough for most fed fans to stomach.

    Anyway, lets end on a HAPPY note.
    Quiz time! “What’s more satisfying than a Nadull loss?”
    Answer: a Nadull loss coming from 3 match points in hand! Plus Nadull’s face at the net was priceless.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Ben Chia. I never thought it was something hard to understand. Do people not know what sub-conscious means? Or don’t they believe in it? I don’t know what is so hard about understanding that on the conscious level Roger may want to face Nadal but on the sub-conscious level he fears him deeply. It’s called denial. Again, what exactly is so hard to understand about that, and why do people keep misinterpreting me? There is nothing mysterious or mystical about the sub-conscious. It is an accepted scientific fact that it exits and affect our conscious life deeply. Please help me understand why people don’t get what I am saying.

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    Joe Reply:

    This is a good question I think.

    I think part of the difficulty is that our own unconscious can get in the way, via projection for example, when we try to interpret other people.

    The concept is straightforward, as you rightly say, Ru-an, but the application of the concept is not so clear, the more we bury ‘stuff’ in our own unconscious.

    And I also agree with you and others, Ru-an, when you say that Roger wants to play Nadal on a conscious level.

    But we could really get into a mess trying to interpret the rest, if we aren’t what some would call enlightened about the different layers of our being. Let me offer a few scenarios I think are amusing, and that I don’t believe, just by way of example:

    Was Berdych unconsciously afraid to put his new unbeaten streak on the line against Nadal again? Ha, I think this is a funny thought, and let me repeat that I don’t take it seriously (and I don’t think it would matter if he did – Roger totally had his number yesterday).

    Was Nadal unconsciously afraid to play Roger at this point, since he’s not at his best? I don’t think that explains his result against Raonic – but I wouldn’t give an unconditional no in answer to that suggestion either.

    Maybe Roger was trying to tank against Berdych, and Berdych was trying to tank against Roger, because both were afraid to play against Nadal, but Berdych was either more afraid, or a superior tanker. Let me repeat, please, that I don’t take this scenario seriously. But I mention it b/c it shows what a hall of mirrors we can get lost in when we try to explain unconscious psyche without ‘enlightenment.’

    Let me make one more observation about this hall of mirrors and move on: It seems to me that the more dualistic our thinking, the more trouble like these caricatures I just mentioned we can encounter, when we try to interpret our own deeper layers, and those of others.

    There are volumes of thought behind this principle, written by brilliant men and women, but that’s all I’m going to say about it! (Maybe I’m unconsciously afraid of looking foolish by trying – but failing – to summarize their brilliance). :-)

    Instead, let me try to find some ground that I hope will be common ground for many: I think that Roger, maybe on an unconscious level, thinks of FATIGUE when he contemplates playing Nadal.

    He’s played him even for four sets in a number of Grand Slams (notably AO ’09), but then his shoulder is exhausted. And the rest of him is pretty tired too! And then Nadal takes the fifth…

    So I’ve noticed that when Roger gets down a set, and a break in the second set, in a match wherein a win would set him up for a rematch with Nadal, that he starts sweating (I read an article somewhere that referred to Roger as the ‘perpetually arid Federer’), spraying balls, and in general playing poorly. I think the thought of playing Nadal after finishing a tough five-set match is very difficult for Roger to handle, so obviously this observation applies more to major events. But I do think Roger dreams of playing Nadal when he’s fresh, and beating him.

    Btw I don’t think Roger minds losing to Nadal on clay as he does elsewhere – which may explain one of Evian’s observations.

    Ok I’m busy working today, and I’m sure I could do a much better job on this. And I’m sorry if it’s too disjointed.

    I really enjoy this blog, the great analysis by Ru-an and many others, the mutual support offered ‘most of the time.’ I absolutely love it when sweet Dolores pours her pure lovingkindness on all of us, and I even cherish the disagreements as opportunities for me to become more honest with myself.

    But that’s it for now, gotta run.

    Chum Jetze (sp?) everyone!

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hi Joe, I think you did a pretty decent job there explaining the “complexity” involved with the subconscious tanking :-)
    Its a new touchy feely territory for most, so we should not dwell there too much. Like you, I love this blog. Ru-an’s writing pulls no punches. But at least he lets the extreme fans (like me) a place to let out steam and rub it in when players we dislike loses. Although stern, Ru-an is a lot more professional (with exception of his super tough treatment on birdy) than most of Nadull haters. You saw his Dull’s face at the net as he shook Milos’ hand? It was a face of disgust and at same time leaked “WTF just happened? I am playing so well too…”. Absolutely priceless moment. *sigh* will take solace in that even though Nadull miraculously escaped an inform fed yet again. No, I’m not going into the subconcious thingy again. Just saying :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol! Your comments are priceless Ben Chia.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ben Chia,

    After you mentioned it, I went back to some video just to see that priceless expression! :-)

    Definitely more than worth it and thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Wish I could see it too. Will try to find.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Ru-an, don’t sweat it so much. It’s just hard for people to accept that a hero of theirs, someone so incredibly extraordinary, could have such an ordinary and dibilitatiing psychological condition. I hate it also so I feel their pain but know that it’s true.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok got it. Thanks for clearing that up Eric. I should have known.

    [Reply]

  21. Flawless! And peaking peRFectly for Fedal! But where the hell is the dal??!! Just can’t keep his word on HC Fedal appointments, can he?! After such mediocre performances in the first few rounds, this match is an incredible turnaround for Roger. How damn good and how comfortable is he at the net nowadays, huh?! Did you guys see the net point at 2-0 in second set? And those beautiful bhdtl’s, Berdy was like, “eh, what??…where??..oh no!!” Those CC fh’s, gosh! poor Berdy could only scramble and look slow and clumsy! And what about the ROS on the bh?!! I think the bigger racket definitely helps him hit it through instead of just chipping all the time. Is it safe to say now that he has fully adjusted to the racket?! But what stood out for me was his panther-like movement – quick, silent, fluid, lethal! Maybe even better than in Shanghai/Dubai? I read somewhere that Roger has bagelled top 10 players 26 times in his career whereas Nadal,Djoker,Murray,Ferrer,Wawrinka,Berdych combined have bagelled 26!! Raonic is the mentally toughest of all the promising younger guys and his game has improved a lot. But I don’t think those legs will hold up against Roger.

    [Reply]

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