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.
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!