Howdy. By beating Haas 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 today Roger made his 8th final in Halle, and he has won 5 titles in Halle so far. Roger was in trouble early on though as he got broken in the 6th game. Roger saved 2 break points at 15-40, but Haas played a really good point to set up another break point and then took advantage. When Haas was serving for it at 5-3 and 15-40 Roger had 2 break back points but Haas played 2 good points and held serve to win the first set. How would Roger react? He reacted well because he got a break right away and took a 3-0 lead. Roger has a chance to break Haas again at 5-2 and 40-15 but Haas served his way out of trouble. Roger then held serve to love to square things up. At 1-1 in the 3rd set Haas disappointingly served 2 double faults in a row to drop serve. But we will take it any way we can get it.
From there on it was just a question of hanging on to serve, although easier said than done. I guess the 3rd set was a bit disappointing from Haas, but I like the way Roger came from a set down to win it. That reminds me of Roger 3.0. He wants it. The motivation is back. Again I couldn’t get the match stats on the ATP site but I am pretty happy with all facets of Roger’s game. He seemed to move well which is always key. Roger will face Youzhny in the final, who routined Gasquet 6-3, 6-2. Pretty surprising result that and Youzhny must be playing well. But either way I like Roger’s chances. The head-to-head with Youzhny is 14-0 and he has played him 4 times at Halle, dropping only one set. Halle has not necessarily historically been a good measuring stick for how Roger will fare at Wimbledon, but I’m not sure he has ever struggled this much at the start of a season either.
I just think he needs to win this title to have any shot at winning Wimby. I mean there are so many players who can be a danger to him these days that he needs to prepare well for Wimby. And by preparing well I mean playing enough matches and getting the winning feeling back. Since his break he hasn’t done much. He made the final of Rome where he suffered a confidence destroying loss to Nadal. That was as good as it got. The clay season was definitely not a confidence booster. It was just for Roger to get some matches after his break. I think Roger needs more than that if he is going to defend his title at Wimbledon. And making the final of Halle is a good start. Now he just has to win the title and he will go to Wimby as one of the favorites. If he loses to Younzhny it won’t help his confidence with Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Berdych, and Tsonga all a threat to him at Wimby.
This is not all just about Wimby either. A 6th title at Halle will be an achievement in itself. The only places where Roger has won more than 5 titles has been at Wimby itself and the Masters Cup. Other than that he has 5 titles at the US Open, Basel, Cincy, Dubai, and Halle itself. But more importantly than that Roger has to win his first title of the year and put the first half of the year behind him. No doubt today was a step in the right direction for Roger and he must continue this run now. Who knows, he could even use this as a springboard to bag #18 at the All England Club!