Hi guys sorry I missed a post for the Istomin match but I have been able to watch Roger’s matches, which give me less time to blog. I have tomorrow off though so that gives me some time to catch up. It has been nice to see Roger play for a change. I thought he played really well against Istomin who he beat 6-2, 6-3. His forehand looked especially lethal as he ripped countless winners from that side. He had an amazing serving day as well, with a 72% first serve percentage, winning 25/26 first serve points, and only dropping a total of 4 points on his serve. JesusFed stuff. He also played some really sweet drop shots and no doubt he has one of the best drop shots in the history of the sport. I didn’t like the new attire much at first, but it is starting to grow on me a bit more. Roger was drawn to play Benneteau next but the the revenge match was spoiled by Dodig who routined Benneteau 6-4, 6-2.
So Roger was going to face Dodig who he never played before. Dodig was no slouch though as he had already beaten Nadal on hard court. But against Roger he did look like a slouch, serving double faults on 3 break points, including match point. Just terrible for a pro player. The first double fault came at 4-3 to hand Roger the break and give him the opportunity to serve for the set. Roger didn’t ask for second helpings as he claimed the first set. In the second set Roger upped his game and broke in the first game. Then at 2-0 Dodig again conceded the break with a double fault. With Roger serving at 4-1 there was some concern because he was clearly holding back on his serve, and he started teeing off on ground strokes too. It was obviously some back problem again and after the match he said he felt a tweak, but that he had it before and that he doesn’t expect it to be a big deal.
The attire I was referring to
I hope it’s not, because he has been looking good and I’d really like to see him make a deep run here. It is his last event before his two month break and after the last two events I really wana see him going to his break on a high. Anyway Dodig didn’t exactly make it hard for Roger to get off the court fast and get his back treated, because he served another double fault in the next game to gift Roger the match. It definitely was not as clinical a performance as the one against Istomin and the scoreline doesn’t tell the full story, mainly because Dodig served 3 double faults when facing break points. Poor stuff. Roger won’t mind however after he tweaked his back and hopefully it will be just fine for his next match against Wawrinka. It will be their 14th meeting and Roger currently leads the head-to-head 12-1.
So of course I expect Roger to win this. And if he does so he will play the winner of Nadal and Gulbis. I’m delighted that Gulbis made it to the 4th round and I am sure Nadal will have his hands full. The only problem for Gulbis could be tiredness after winning his last tournament and having to go through qualifying here. But no doubt he can beat Nadal given his new found form. He has the heavy artillery to do so. So I will be looking forward to watching that match as well on my off day tomorrow. Elsewhere in the draw my countryman Kevin Anderson had a great win over Ferrer in the first round and followed it up by destroying Niememin. He now plays Simon and hopefully can keep progressing. Berdych against Gasquet should be another interesting encounter with Gasquet being in fine form of late.
The orange is not my favorite either but not bad at all
Today Tommy Haas had another impressive win over Almagro after saving match points and I have really enjoyed seeing his revival at this late stage of his career. He plays Del Potro next and another upset is definitely not impossible there given Del Potro’s ability to lose matches he should win. Murray had a bad start to Indian Wells for a third year running as he dropped the first set against Donskoy, but as I expected got his act together and won his next round in routine fashion as well. Murray is no doubt one of the favorites for this event and a Djokoray semi if almost a certainty. It is nice for Roger that he doesn’t have to meet either of those two before the final and he has to take advantage of that fact, or he will soon drop down to #3 and have to meet either of those two before big finals. It won’t be easy though as he has to deal with two potential bogeymen before the final.
Then again both Nadal and Berdych could lose before meeting Roger, and Roger is not assured of a place in the next round either. I just think Roger likes this event and he now has a great chance to make up for his last two events. It kind of reminds me of that indoor stretch last year where he got better with every tournament and ended up with a loss to Djokovic in the Masters Cup final. If that happens again this week then I’d be fine with the Rotterdam/Dubai/Indian Wells stretch. He played better in Dubai than in Rotterdam and he was looking really sharp in his first match against Istomin here. I think he can go all the way!