Well it’s official, Roger has qualified for London! Given the kind of year Roger had, qualifying for the Masters Cup has to viewed as a highlight. For me personally it was quite important that he qualified because indoor tennis is Roger’s best surface these days, or it may have been that always. With how few indoor events there are around these days it was crucial for me that he qualified. Not qualifying after the year he had would have been a disaster. He has a great record at the Masters Cup so there will be more opportunity for him to do damage and earn some much needed ranking points. Given the tennis he has been playing of late you would be a fool to bet against him doing well in London too. Roger’s latest victory came over my countryman Kevin Anderson who he defeated 6-4, 6-4. Someone asked me whether it’s difficult for me to decide who to support.
Not only is my loyalty to Roger whoever he plays against, but he is half South African anyway. I don’t care much for Anderson as a player anyway. He did well against Youzhny who was serving for the match in the 2nd set though. He came back to win the set on the tie break and Youzhny withdrew in the 3rd set. Roger has never played Anderson so this was something new for him. Anderson started poorly by dropping serve in the opening game. Immediately he put himself at a disadvantage. Things then went according to serve and Roger won the 1st set. Roger was looking pretty confident out there which was good to see. In the 2nd set Anderson’s poor play continued as Roger broke him twice to go ahead 5-1. At 5-2 I thought Anderson fought well to get one break back. Some people are calling it another concentration lapse from Roger but I think Anderson deserves some credit too.
Great stats for Roger
Anderson held serve and Roger would serve for the match at 5-4. All of a sudden Anderson started playing really well and was up 30-0 on Roger’s serve. Roger replied with an ace and Anderson then won the next point with a huge forehand to go up 2 break points at 40-15. Suddenly it looked like Anderson would break Roger again and that this could turn into another disaster for Roger, but he came up with two clutch unreturnable serves to save both break points and went on to serve out the match. I thought the way he saved those break points was once again very encouraging. I’m not sure why people focus so much on the fact that Roger dropped serve at 5-2. I’d rather focus on how clutch he was to save those break points, because if Anderson broke there anything could have happened. Yes ideally he holds serve at 5-2, but focusing on the negatives gets you nowhere.
The important thing is that Roger won with a pretty routine scoreline and qualified for London. So I thought it was another encouraging win. I want Roger to go as deep as possible in Paris so it’s good to see him continuing his good form. The conditions suit Roger well and he has to make the best of it. He won’t play Haas in the next round either, who got routined 6-2, 6-2 by Kohlschreiber. Kohlschreiber is a talented player that can trouble the top players so he will be another test. Del Potro beat Cilic and will now play Dimitrov who had another good win over Fognini, after beating Llodra from a set down in the 1st round. It’s nice to see Dimitrov having some consistency and his match with Del Potro I will be looking forward to. You’d expect Del Potro to win probably but we have already seen that Dimitrov can upset the best.
There are several good matches today. The ones I’ll be looking forward to the most are Roger vs Kohlschreiber, Nadal vs Janowicz, and Del Potro vs Dimitrov. I think Janowicz has a real chance against Nadal. Janowicz made the final here last year and of course Nadal is a pretty average indoor player. Janowicz has the big game that can trouble Nadal. He serves big and he can volley too. If Nadal loses 3rd round in Paris the race to year end #1 could get interesting. Talk to you soon.