Not exactly the performance I was hoping for, even though the 6-3, 6-4 scoreline is pleasing. The match stats are too poor to be happy with this performance but the one good thing was that Roger raised his first serve percentage above 60 again. That is probably what saved him from going to three sets. Other than the first serve though there were too many double faults, unforced errors, and missed break point opportunities. I didn’t see any improvement from his performance against Seppi in Melbourne. What made the difference was that Seppi was his usual self which lost his first 10 meetings with Roger. He pretty much handed the breaks to Roger and didn’t play with any belief this time. So I can’t say I’m particularly pleased with Roger’s performance.
It feels like something is weird again, like in Australia. If Seppi played like he played there he might well have beaten Roger again. Going back to Dubai Roger looked comfortable from the start. Now he has already looked out of sorts in his first two matches. Is it because Nadal is back and in his draw again? Certainly it is a possibility. And if Roger loses early again this time I am definitely not buying the the exho excuse this time. Speaking of Nadal he was looking in dire form himself. It was only because Young was a complete mental wimp à la Seppi that it allowed Nadal to win 6-4, 6-2. It became clear that Nadal was still far from his best, which is only to be expected. He his not gonna be back to top form all of a sudden after winning an ATP 250 event.
Not after all the bad losses he suffered since Wimbledon last year. But in his interview he sounded very positive about it all like it is just a question of time before he hits top form. He now plays Simon and if he plays as badly as yesterday Simon could beat him. The same goes for Roger. I actually think Sock can beat him if he doesn’t shape up. That is why I said earlier they both have a lot of work to do before Fedal becomes a reality. If they both win their next rounds then they still have the likes of Berdych and Raonic to deal with. And unless they both keep improving they will both lose. Given the experienced veterans that they are you kind of expect them to find a way through, but it is far from a certainty.
I am actually more worried about Roger’s form. If Nadal is playing on his mind again he could lose to Sock or Berdych. Nadal on the other hand won’t be worried about Roger. He will just think about improving steadily with each match. I’d like to give Roger the benefit of the doubt. He did after all up his first serve percentage and defeated Seppi by a handy scoreline. But comparing his form to what it was like in Dubai I can’t help but wonder what’s up. Could it be just be the different conditions? I guess. But I would have thought he’d adjusted better by now given that he just came off another confidence boosting title. Something just appeared to be off again in his game, like was the case in Melbourne.
All is well that ends well…
He now plays Sock who he never played before and who had a very decent win over Bautista Agut. I watched that match and Sock’s forehand has a lot of topspin which kicks up high on these courts à la Nadal. Roger needs to be back on his game or Sock can surely become a problem. I see Berdych won the first set against Rosol and he will surely be waiting for Roger if he wins. So things are certainly not getting any easier for Roger. If he wants to have a chance at winning this title he needs to put in a clean and confident performance against Sock or he can forget about it. It wouldn’t get any more difficult than Berdych/Nadal/Djokovic to win the title. Well it’s almost time for Nadal vs Simon after which Roger plays so I’ll catch you later.
Oh and welcome back Veronica(aka Sunshine)!