Hi, folks. Reporting back to you after I was away for the weekend. Fortunately, there was rain on Saturday causing Wimbledon to fall behind in their schedule which meant that Roger would not play today. I say fortunately because it means I don’t miss a post. It does, however, mean that Roger will have to play two days in a row, tomorrow and on Wednesday. I don’t think that is necessarily unfortunate for him, but I do find it a little strange that Wimbledon does not use middle Sunday to catch up on matches if needed. It’s all about the tradition of course, but if the final isn’t played on Sunday they have to break tradition by scheduling a Monday final anyway. Either way Roger did finish his match against Giraldo because he was playing on center court as usual, and these days there is a very much needed roof that can close.
It is also something that may have helped Roger to win Wimbledon in 2012, and this year it could be a factor again. Roger is probably the greatest indoor player of all time, so it doesn’t hurt his chances when it rains and the roof closes. If Roger is to play Nadal in the semis he probably needs the roof to be closed to win, but there is no rain predicted for Friday. So at this point things are not looking too promising for Roger to make the final, but it’s too early to be thinking about that anyway. Both Roger and Nadal still has two tough matches to win before they are in the semis. I do think they both will make semis, but nothing is set in stone. I think Roger will destroy Robredo and get his revenge for the US Open, and then it depends on who he faces in the quarters. Isner is the most dangerous so he wants to avoid him if possible.
Stan already had a good straight set win today over Istomin. He must have been playing well to beat Istomin that handily on grass. He awaits the winner of Lopez and Isner now, who is locked up at a tie-break each and on serve in the third. The play was just interrupted by rain again, but the players are now back on the court. It looks like the Isner/Lopez match will be another marathon so maybe they can tire each other out too. It could even be Stan that faces Roger if he makes quarters. I guess Stan could be dangerous too. My first choice for Roger in the quarters would be Lopez, then Stan, then Isner. But of course, Roger has to get through Robredo first. I just think with the way Roger has played this year compared to last year and the fact that Nadal is not waiting in the next round, will cause Roger to reverse that shocker at the US Open.
The break point conversion rate was above 50% again…
Robredo had a pretty good five-set win over Janowicz in the last round, but he should really be no match for Roger on grass if Roger is playing anywhere near his best. And he has done that so far at Wimbledon. But let me get back to the Giraldo match for a second, which Roger won routinely again 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. I didn’t watch it as I was gone for the weekend and it wasn’t a match that captured my imagination anyway. What was more interesting to me was the Nadal/Kukushkin match, but only after Kukushkin won the first set on the tie-break. Then I quickly lost interest again after Nadal broke in the second set. I knew it was all over and Nadal went on to triple bread stick Kukushkin in the last three sets. Looking at the match stats they were not as good as against Muller, even though the score line was much more routine.
This is due to the fact that Muller has a pretty big serve while Giraldo is a much better mover than Muller. The match stats were still very good, however. The first serve percentage was very high again while the winners outnumbered the unforced errors by about 2:1. It is good to see that Roger approached the net 23 times as opposed to 9 times against Muller. That is something that Joe just brought up on my last post and I have noticed since the start that Roger have not had the same eagerness to approach the net as he did in Halle. He seemed very intent in Halle to dominate at the net, and I thought that was a very positive thing. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but Roger has not seemed so intent on dominating at the net at Wimbledon. He hasn’t looked as decisive and confident in the forecourt as in Halle.
I thought it was a positive and refreshing sign in Halle, and I have been a bit disappointed that he hasn’t quite showed the same urgency to approach the net where it really matters. I think it shows a lack of belief in his net game, something that could cost him. Definitely with the eye on facing Nadal in the semis and Murray/Djokovic in the final he should be working on his net game a lot. That is the one area where he has an advantage over them and he knows he can’t really compete with them from the baseline. Yes, his serve is an advantage too but it’s not enough given how well those guys return serve. It’s been seven years since Roger beat Nadal at a slam so he must know he needs to do something different if he is gonna stand a chance. It won’t help to hope for a closed roof on Friday because it probably won’t happen.
More of this, please
The other thing he can hope for is that Nadal loses before the semis, but I’m sure he won’t be stupid enough for that. I doubt Nadal is losing before the semis anyway. Fans should know better than to expect that, given Nadal’s history. Sure Kyrgios and Nishikori or Raonic will have a chance, but to bet on it would be madness. Even to hope for it may be a mistake. Nadal is relentless. He takes whatever he wants and he doesn’t get tired. End of story. Now, if Roger wants to beat him he has to take initiative and bring something new to the party. Playing like he did in the past won’t cut it. Roger can be stubborn like that. He may believe since Wimbledon is the only slam that he leads Nadal in the head-to-head that the match is on his racquet and he doesn’t have to change anything, but in my opinion that would be a mistake.
Anyway, it’s still a long way to go and way too early to talk about. I just have a feeling they will both make it this time which is why I talk about it at all. In the top half of the draw Murray routined Bautista-Agut which was a disappointment of a match. Bautista-Agut seriously lacks weapons and I’m not even sure how he won ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Murray also just took the court for his fourth round match against my countryman Kevin Anderson. I’m quite looking forward to this one as well and hopefully Kevin can put up a better fight than RBA. I’m sure he will because for one thing he has a much bigger game. He can actually beat anyone if he just keeps it together mentally. He has destroyed Murray before and the outcome of this match will have a lot to do with how well Anderson keeps it together mentally.
Then Djokovic is scheduled to play Tsonga afterwards on center court where I expect him to be triumphant, although Tsonga can possibly make it competitive. Dimitrov also just took the court against Mayer and hopefully he pulls off the win there as well so we can have him playing Murray or Anderson in the quarters. And just as I am about to finish my post Lopez has beaten Isner in four sets. Lopez has really hit a rich vein of form in the grass court season and the match with Stan should be another good one. It’s nice to see Lopez playing that well. He is the only Spaniard that I care for. Well I’m off to watch Murray vs Anderson and maybe some of Djokovic vs Tsonga later on. I see Murray has already broken. Seems like an obvious favorite for this match now. Looking forward to Roger vs Robredo tomorrow, as well as Nadal vs Kyrgios!