Federer Serves His Way Into Indian Wells Last 16

This time I was able to watch and I was happy enough with what I saw, even though my stream is poor quality. Roger broke in the opening game and was looking good early on. I was almost surprised having heard that his backhand was poor in previous round, because he hit quite a few backhand down the line winners in the first set. It looked like smooth sailing, but at 5-4 when serving for the first set Roger got broken. Tursunov was playing well and it became clear that it won’t be just a routine win for Roger. The first set would be decided by a tie break where Tursunov choked twice to hand it to Roger. Once with a double fault and once with a regulation forehand I think. And I think on both occasions he was a break up. Then at the start of the second set Roger got broken at 1-1 after a surprisingly good passing shot from Tursunov.

That was surprising, but Roger hit back in the best way possible as he broke right back to love. The second set would be decided in a tie break as well and again Tursunov faltered with a double fault. In the end I wasn’t exactly impressed with Roger but again he got the job done which is the important thing. His serve basically saved him as it has done so often. With a high first serve percentage of 68% he kept enough pressure on Tursunov for the Russian to crack in the tie breaks. With the two tie break wins he improves his overall tie break record for 2014 to 3-4. The other stat that is important is again the break point conversions which is again over 50%. Also the winners outnumbered the unforced errors by 33-23, so overall very good stats for Roger. And as you can see his backhand was also much improved.

So like I told you the first match was adjustment and we would be able to tell more from the second match. It has to be said that his level has dropped since Dubai, and I attribute that to the court speed. There is no doubt in my mind about it. It is what it is and we just have to accept it, but the good news is Nadal lost to Dolgopolov so at least Roger won’t have to deal with high bouncing moon balls to his backhand. Roger said in his presser that the courts was actually playing quite fast because of the dry air, but that the ball also bounces high. He also said that he is fully adjusted to his new racquet and that it gives him extra power. So good to know that was a successful change for him. It was needed. I switched on the Nadal/Dolgopolov match when they were about to start the third set tie break.

By then Dolgopolov had already served for the match in the third set and choked, so it looked like Nadal would make yet another great escape. But it wouldn’t be third time lucky for him. He was even a break up in the breaker but couldn’t take advantage, and when Dolgopolov served for the match in the tie break he hit an ace that was challenged by Nadal and it turned out to be out by a millimeter. Very tense stuff, but thank God Dolgopolov held his nerve and won that point to send Nadal packing. Remember I told you I would be able to draw a better conclusion about Fedal after Indian Wells? Well I can now say with a lot more certainty that Nadal will probably slump again this year after the loss to Stan in Melbourne. I can also say that Roger will very likely keep peaking. This is the rhythm things have always followed and we are clearly going there again after Nadal’s loss to Dolgopolov.

Fiercerer

Nadal still has not defended a title off clay and I won’t be surprised if he can’t do it this year either. I’m not even sure he will win the French this year. He has never won it 5 times in a row and I think the loss to Stan in Melbourne scarred him deeply. This may just be the year Nadal goes without a slam for the first time in 10 years. As for Stan he is really on fire of late. Today again he destroyed Seppi 6-0, 6-2. It was pure devastation. If he keeps this up then he may just beat Roger for only the second time in 15 meetings. But first Roger has to get by Haas and Stan by Anderson. I’m pretty sure both of them will win but of course you never know. I just think Roger has the mental edge over Haas and the same goes for Stan over Anderson. Anderson may give Stan a bit more opposition than Seppi did though since he actually has a some weapons.

The big news is of course that Nadal lost, which means that Roger’s chances to win the event already improves. I think it gives him a little emotional boost every time Nadal loses in a tournament they both play. Roger will sense his chance to make the final here and possibly win another title, but this will be a lot harder than Dubai. Murray also won but only after dropping the first set against Vesely in one of the worst men’s matches I’ve seen in some time. I think Stan is Roger’s main problem here on his road to the final but like I said Haas is not a walk over. Roger also won his doubles match with Stan against Raonic and Gulbis in two tie breaks and they will now face Paes/Stepanek who will be tough. Today the interesting matches for me will be Gulbis vs Dimitrov and Thiem vs Benneteau.

There are two new stars with exciting games on the horizon…

Highlights:

Presser:

Posted in Uncategorized.

48 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an, great article. I agree with almost everything. I watched Roger’s match when he was first set 4-2 up. Then I went away thinking “easy peasy”. When I came back he had won the TB. I thought huh??? He was up right??? Anyway a win is a win. And like Dubai the early rounds he did not play great, but he did when it mattered.
    Like you I also said Rafa would not defend his IW title. And I don’t think Novak will make the final. I actually see Dimi in the final. Hopefully against our Roger. But this GS-Stan….. dangerous. Will not be a usual win for Roger. He may have to give it his all. Roger wanting to win and show the world that HE is the rightfully Suisse number one and of course Stan wanting to prove him beeing Suisse number one is not a fluke. That will be THE match of IW. I honestly believe the winner of the Roger/Stan-match will win IW. Of course Andy is still there, but Roger can defeat him.
    And… like I said and will be saying till RG:
    Rafa will not win RG. Roger or Novak will. Preferably Roger. This year I said Novak and Rafa will fall and Roger and Andy will rise, preferably Roger !!!
    Hope your health is well and hope playing singles and doubles won’t tire Roger out :-)

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  2. Katanyi,

    If Roger wins RG this year, I surely hope you’ll get a lot of credit on this site for being the first to say so! (as far as I know anyway) and for being so confident as to say it frequently. I think another RG win might turn out to be Roger’s favorite win of his great career.

    And with a little luck, he can do it!
    :-)

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Joe…. Roger that :-)

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  3. Hi Ruan,
    Great post! I too think this year Rafa will slide after great run of title’s last year. Never defended title’s outside clay if Rafa slumps in RG his confidence will get low, asusual he will wait for clay court swing. As far as Roger’s match is concerned Roger’s serve been broken again but BP conversion in gud compared to last yr and in this event Roger has won all tie breaker’s which show Roger playing well when it matters, unforced error’s still a concern. Next up is Hass probably stan ll be waiting in Quater’s considering his form both will testing Roger. This is different Roger than last yr Roger has game to beat any player fully deponds on his confidence. Serve will be key again!

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  4. Well….. there goes my Roger/Dimi-final :-)

    Now… I am calling a Roger/Gulbis-final where Roger will win :-) I still don’t think Novak will reach the final, although it does seem to help him that Vajda is back…..

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    rahan Reply:

    Murray out ! I hope for a semifinal Dolgopolov vs RF !

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Rahan, did you see that match??? Oh my God, Raonic…. 16 aces, making like 27 out of 33 netpoints…. if he has to play Roger…. all the big hitters, like him and Isner. Stan the Man is a set down, but is getting better and better. Unfortunately I cannot watch Roger’s match. It is almost one o’clock here and I have to get up in about 4 hours. Hope when I wake up Roger will have won.
    By the way, don’t know if Roger and Stan will play the doubles. Stan has backproblems and the trainer has already come twice for his back….

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    rahan Reply:

    Hi Katyani,

    “…don’t know if Roger and Stan will play the doubles”

    They played, they fought, they won agains no 4 seeds (Paes/Stepanek): 63 67(6) 10-4 .

    “…Oh my god Raonic…” ?!

    I would say oh my god Kevin ! I hope Ruan will give some advice for the next battle of RF.

    ALLEZ !

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  5. Well done Roger! Got broken after breaking but broke right back and never turned back after that. This tourney is turning into a pretty unpredictable affair! Love it! Stan lost largely due to lower back injury. Im glad though coz Its hard to choose between my two favourite Swiss. No Stan, no Murray, no Nadal! Looks like another Red Sea opening for Roger?! Gulbis looking good (but also seem to have injury) and The Dog just might win it all! Roger should get through Ru-an’s countryman. Seems like the big servers are all doing pretty well despite the sluggish courts and looks like they are lining up one by one to be massacred by Roger, haha! But NO expectations! I’m so enjoying Roger surprising me match by match! Allez!

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    rahan Reply:

    Hi, Veronica

    I hope that Roger will avenge his friend.

    At least they are in the semifinals against Peya & Soares (no.2 seeds for doubles) ALLEZ !

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    Veronica Reply:

    Rahan, you are all over the place! No one can get a ball past you!!! Do you watch EVERY tennis match and especially all Roger’s matches?! Do you ever sleep?!!! Haha! Things looking good for Roger. He’s playing better and peaking nicely. Let’s hope the back holds up. Djoko was outplayed by Marin in first set. So happy for Marin. Have always liked him and so glad he is having a bit of a resurgence after making headlines years ago knocking out Murray in USO and touted as a promising star. Djoko winning second set though. Hope Marin can regroup and cause another upset. If he does, all the big 4 are out EXCEPT our man. Common Roger!!

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    rahan Reply:

    Djoko is serving for the match :-(

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey guys I have a computer virus and can’t make a post. Can’t watch Fed’s match vs Anderson either. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow hopefully.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Aww, Ru-an, what a bummer! My desk top is busted too! Just to let you know, we WON’T be supporting SA! Hehe!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well my laptop is OK this morning. Maybe it was the connection or maybe the threats I removed last night. So at least I’ll be able to watch Fed! Waiting for the stupid doubles to finish now. Oh and I won’t be supporting SA either ;-)

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  6. Ru-an, I wouldn’t say his backhand was poor against Mathieu, just that he was hitting it almost exclusively crosscourt. The DTL backhand is a key shot for him these days, helps him open the court and get his opponents off-balance. I’m glad to see that he hit it a few times against Tursunov. When he won IW in 2012 he was hitting it very well. It’s a sign he’s confident in his game and his timing is on.

    This is why Nadal can’t play a full season: he burns out. Losing the AO final was a big blow to him–the difference between a finalist and winner is 800 points. Losing early at IW means dropping 955 points.

    If he’d won AO, he could have ignored Miami, where he’s never done well, and rested up for clay season. But now he has to try to at least make the semis.

    Nadal was a bit over 4000 points ahead of Djokovic but now that lead has been cut by nearly 25%, after only one loss! Tells you how tiny the margins are between the top guys.

    If Federer continues his good play, he can be back in the top four by the middle of clay season. He has only a QF showing to defend in IW and no points to defend in Miami, so now is a good time to start picking up some points.

    Now that Stan is out (unfortunate that he had physical issues), Federer will face another big-serving power baseliner in Anderson. In that regard, Tursunov was a good test. He played an excellent match against Haas, even when Haas broke back Federer broke again immediately to restore the lead and then never let it go.

    Far from suiting defensive players, the IW courts actually seem to favor aggressive/big-serving players this year; with the exception of Djokovic, the remaining guys in the tournament (Federer, Dolgopolov, Benneteau, Anderson, Isner, Gulbis, Raonic) are all more offense-minded and/or have powerful serves. The high bounce is probably the key factor here.

    Like Katyani I believe Federer can defeat Nadal at RG. I will continue to believe until the day one or the other of them retires. Federer has worked so hard and given himself so many chances that I have to believe he’ll be able to capitalize someday.

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    Katyani Reply:

    “Like Katyani I believe Federer can defeat Nadal at RG. I will continue to believe until the day one or the other of them retires. Federer has worked so hard and given himself so many chances that I have to believe he’ll be able to capitalize someday”.

    Roger that Steve and Joe :-) If we as his fans don’t and won’t believe that, than who will??? Because I know Roger believes it himself. We are all here THIS YEAR happy and excited because LAST YEAR Roger believed that his game was still there and it was just a matter of a healthy back.

    Seriously, I don’t think I have ever come across someone with such a high selfbelieve…

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Katyani,
    Liked what you said in your reply to Steve, nicely stated about Roger’s belief in his tennis. Steve’s comment is always nothing but encouragement.
    On the lighter side, did you not love Roger’s comment after his win over Haas, his girls were giving him praise about his match.
    Best,
    Dolores

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Dolores, I don’t know who I find cuter, Roger or you :-) You come very close :-) I also love Steve’s comments. He says exactly in the right way the things most of us want to say but don’t really know how to.
    Dolores, I find it so funny now to see tweets of critics and reporters (mostly on BR) about them praising Roger and all. These were the same people who tripped over each other last year to write Roger off. How they change so quickly. If they listened to Roger last year, they would not have been swallowing their words this year.
    But… we all believed in Roger. It got difficult, but we stood by “our man” and had faith in him and now we are getting the fruits of it (or however you say it correctly) :-)
    Ps: The comment about his girls was a “ahh-moment”. He has lovely girls. Mirka and he are raising them very good.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Don’t worry, Katayani! Let them eat crow! In fact I love it when they write Roger off and then they are forced to eat their words!

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    Veronica Reply:

    What comments from the twins, Dolores?! I haven’t read it yet! You are so updated than many of us! The twins are the loveliest girls alive. They seem so well behaved too. Roger and Mirka are such an exemplary couple. Are there any star couples who are more down to earth, sensible, classy, loving and supportive of each other than Roger and Mirka and even their parents, Robbie and Lynn and Luthi and Mary Joe, etc etc. I’ve never seen a more closer knit and more supportive group than Roger’s team. It’s all about bringing out the best in Roger for them and they all happily sacrifice their individual agenda for the common good, which is be there for Roger everyday in every way. You can’t help but be touched and inspired.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Veronica, Do I ever like your comment about the Roger Federer family, you said it right. Well, Dolores, goes to Swiss and German newspapers and finds out a lot of news and comments there–am billingual–especially reading Roger’s comments in his native tongue (German, Swiss-German) makes interesting reading. So, that is where I read about Roger’s darling daughters giving their Dad praise for his tennis match with Haas. I believe Chris (have not seen him come to Ru-an for quite some time) is from Switzerland, at least it is my guess. Well, all of Ru-an’s Fedfans come from all parts of the world which makes blogging so interesting. I would love to have visited your country, Veronica. Have followed the English Royalty in reading about their visits there. Well, enough said, I might go over my word count limit…am a dictionary, ha-ha-ha
    Our blogger, Ru-an, has added another country, Thailand, although it has been a difficult start for him with foodpoisining, dogbite, and now a computer virus crash….wish for a more calm turnaround, Ru-an.
    By for now,
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Veronica Reply:

    Bi lingual, Dolores! Wow! I understand Roger is more animated and lets his guard down more in French and Swiss German presses so to be able to understand his interviews in other languages is definitely a bonus! Lucky you! Did you see Mary joes children carrying the twins in the match? Such a lovely big and extended family, isn’t it?!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Well said, Steve! Not only Roger is the only one feeling zen, you are also one zen fan!! Haha! Roger’s bhdtl was lethal in Dubai and I thought he used it more there. As he warms up to the IW courts and his confidence progresses, I’m sure he’s gonna use it more. I totally agree that this is one shot he has to perfect and use on regular basis to up his chances against the top guys. Waiting for Roger’s match now! Common Roger!! What’s your opinion, Steve? Roger matches up better with Raonic or The Dog?

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    steve Reply:

    Raonic would be the more straightforward match, so naturally he gets Dolgopolov.

    Dolgopolov is playing some really great tennis right now, and he’s unpredictable–throws a lot of variety and off-pace stuff at his opponents. He’s improved considerably from a couple years ago when he was less consistent. Not only did he completely befuddle Nadal, but then he backed it up by rolling over Fognini and then totally picking apart Raonic. I’m sure he’ll be eager to get into his first Masters final.

    He’s an awkward opponent for Federer, even though they’ve played before (Dolgopolov retired from that one with Federer 6-4, 5-2 up). Federer can surely win, if he continues playing as well as he has been, but I think this might be his toughest obstacle yet.

    He’s had a very eclectic series of opponents: a baseliner followed by a power player followed by a great shotmaker followed by a big server and now perhaps the least categorizable player in the draw. The detractors will say the draw opened up without Nadal/Murray but it’s not been easy to get this far at all, and will get harder.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks Steve! Really enjoy your analysis! How do you know exactly what to say and then be able to put your thoughts in such a clear and concise manner?! Are you a tennis playing English Professor?! Ha! I’ve always been a bit awed by Dolgo even in his inconsistent and nonchalant days and I’ve always thought if this guy gets it together one day, watch out! And I was glad he took a long time maturing because I don’t need more great players right now blocking Rogers path in the twilight of his career!! This Dog is crazy talented and creative and unorthodox and unpredictable and free swinging and light and lean and fast! Phew!! If he has the discipline to put in the hard work and hone his talents, god knows what he can achieve. I feel the match maybe one way or another. Either Roger works him out pretty quickly and doesn’t let him settle into the match or Dolgo shocks Roger and leaves him fumbling. If Dolgo wins, his confidence will rocket thru space! And you are so right, Steve. The draws opening up does not mean at all that it gets easier for Roger. But it gets even tougher from now on. If Roger gets thru this, he’s winning the tourney. Im really curious how these two most creative and talented guys will match up!

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  7. The Dog just won! He’s gonna be a dangerous one…..

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    Katyani Reply:

    In the mean time Veronica, Novak has to play Benneteau…. Roger has a difficult hardhitter in Anderson, Gulbis and Isner have the most difficult match and Novak has Benneteau….

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    Veronica Reply:

    Don’t know about you, Katyani but I am just loving IW. So many surprises and nice to see young guns stepping up. Just wish I can see some of Fedrinka action though. I think Rogers gonna get thru Kevin although he may struggle to break his massive serve. Also Kevin is not the best mover and Roger is THE master in exploiting clumsy players. I’m more worried about The Dog. He has got this determined look in his eyes and his unorthodox/unpredictable play may give Roger some probs. Dont know how often Roger has played him, not many times I think and Roger has a good record against him but he’s a different Dog now……..Djoker is still struggling for motivation and focus but he should get thru julienne. Gulbis and Isner would be interesting. If Gulbis can get round some injury he seem to be having, he should win it; otherwise Isner takes it. Waiting for our man to play his quarter! Common Roger!

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  8. Hi folks, Benneteau can be really good when he is on his game (as Roger knows) he is such a good player at the net,so hope he makes Djokovic run.
    Loved the match with Fed and Haas, you could tell they were enjoying playing just such classy tennis no moaning. grunting or gamesmanship! Fingers crossed for Federer tonight.

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  9. Hey guys! Windy conditions in second quarter semi final! Favouring Roger?!! Remember IW 2012 Nadal blamed the wind for his loss against Roger?!!

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  10. Besides being a huge Tennis fan, I love music. This is the song they have been playing on Tennis Channel as their promo music. I have no idea how Roger is doing at this moment. Sometimes I let him play for a while, with me not watching, and I come in during the match at some time. Well, I’m off the computer now, and here is the song. Enjoy, G,,,oh, and GO ROGER!!!! I never lost faith my man.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nXV5UfHCtM

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    Veronica Reply:

    Gary, cool man, listening to the song now and watching Roger! He took first set with a mighty roar! Just love it! He’s cruising in all his service games but took him a bit of time to break Kevin although he had many looks.

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    rahan Reply:

    I wake up and I saw the result ! What a good morning ! 6-1 in the second set ! It seems that I have missed a very good performance of Roger.

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  11. Wow wow just wow. What a match Roger. Anderson had no chance in the second. Glad I stayed up to watch this masterclass. Stats are pretty good. Tomorrow doubles and Saturday dangerous match against a more dangerous player. But if you play like this, he too will have no chance.

    By the way, where are all those critics now who were writing you off last year??

    Got to go, now to hurry for work. Love you Roger. Always. :-)

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    rahan Reply:

    Good morning Katyani ! Did you see the whole match ? How it was ?

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    Veronica Reply:

    It was clinical, Rahan, CLINICAL! First set Roger had numerous bp but only converted at 6/5. Second set was Roger playing with his eyes closed!! Haha! Poor Anderson! Commiserations, Ru-an! Tho I don’t think you would be too sad for your countryman! Btw, if Roger can pull a double with a little help from Stan, wouldn’t that be so cool?! An active top singles player holding trophies for both singles and doubles at the same event! But one match at a time. The Dog and then maybe The Joker – one clinic at a time!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Well, Sis, there was no live telecast of this match in the Indian TV channels. I don’t know why, they showed the earlier rounds live, but not the quarterfinals. Hold on, I didn’t miss a single moment as I subscribed to tennistv.com for one month (I do that from time to time, don’t like the unstable streams from other sources). And, it was worth worth spending $20 for this match. What a clinic; towards the end of the first set, Ru-an’s fellow SA commentator could not help screaming “Circa 2005”. If Fed continues like this, we should get ourselves ready for absolute treats for the rest of the year. COME ON ROGER!

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    Veronica Reply:

    I totally agree, bro. It’s worth to spend a bit more and get some clarity. I love a Federer fix every now and then and this match was a great fix all right!! Haha! I’m still saying my mantra, ” no expectations” altho Roger has already shown me without a doubt that he is definitely back. I hope he continues to progress smoothly. We should be in for a VERY exciting summer! Yay! I’m cancelling all other plans for summer. I’m staying glued to my TV April through July. So sshh! Quiet! Fan at work!!!

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    rahan Reply:

    Hi Veronica, Thanks a lot for the report.
    At least I will try to see some highlights.

    I think that this is Roger seventh straight semifinal and consequently he moves past Andy Murray and up to No. 5 in next week’s rankings.

    A few posts ago, I wished for a semi-final vs. the Dog.

    Did you see the following article about Dolgopolov:

    http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/03/dog-days/50897/#.UyKh687ZcYJ

    I am wondering now: Is he really so dangerous ?

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    Veronica Reply:

    I’m no tennis expert but yeah, Rahan, if there is one player I call dangerous, it is Dolgo. The problem with him has always been inconsistency and sometimes he just throw matches away and as if not interested. But since Stan’s AO triumph, promising players are suddenly very inspired and has developed belief almost overnight. Dolgo is one of them. Stan’s AO breakthrough can never be underestimated. It’s like a whole cloud has been been lifted and serious breakthrough of promising players may finally be happening. May still take a bit of time and they may not always be consistent but definitely the breakthrough has started. It’s gonna be more open from now on, I believe. Often in the past Dolgo can win a great match and then fizzle out in the next. But this tourney, he seem unusually focused and consistent continuing his great form from his last tourney and things seem to be coming together for him. To have the mental toughness to fight back against Nadal in the 2nd round does show that he is no flash in the pan; although “flashy” maybe an appropriate name to call him, together with Fognini of course! He is free spirited, lean and fast and dangerous. Hard to read his pattern (ie if he has one!) and tell what he would do with the ball. I hope Roger stays sharp and able to work him out early. Im not sure how often they have played and how familiar Roger is with his game. But I’m sure it will be a cracker of a match.

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    rahan Reply:

    They played only once in 2010 in Basel abd Roger won : 6-4, 5-2 RET

    But I am convinced that now will be harder.

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  12. A Federer masterclass! Anderson did well to hang around in the first set but ultimately Federer’s tactics bore fruit.

    Smart play from Federer, a lot of slices, both deep and short, and off-pace shots to make Anderson run and dig for balls (not easy for such a tall guy). He served very well himself in the wind. His returning was really intelligent, bunting the return to neutralize the pace and put the ball in very awkward spots that Anderson couldn’t get to. Anderson won only 29% of his second serve points.

    But Anderson is a linear sort of player, big serve and heavy groundstrokes, bang-bang play. When Federer neutralized his main strengths, it was only a matter of time before he ran out of ideas. Dolgopolov is, shall we say, quite nonlinear. He has many different kinds of shots and puts them together in unorthodox ways. Federer will have to dig deeper to see him off. No single simple set of tactics will work.

    I have no idea how the match will go, but I expect it’ll be a lot of fun.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Great analysis, Steve! Anderson is a bit of a clumsy player but against the quick footed Maestro, he looked like a buffalo! Whenever these one dimensional players meet Roger, I feel a little sorry for them as Roger is such a master at exposing them. Anderson couldn’t get to the slices and dices and didn’t have many chances to get into his game. Didn’t help that he couldn’t put in enough first serves. I expect a less straightforward match against Dolgo. He’s quick around the court and possesses some easy power. Stay sharp, Roger! Allez!

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