Today Federer breezed through his second round match in 51 minutes against world nr. 67 Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-2. Nadal on the other hand needed three tough sets to get past world nr. 71 Denis Istomin, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4. I didn’t see much of Roger’s match, but he was obviously on fire, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation at the end.
“I played very cleverly and varied things well,”
“It is great to be able to entertain the spectators, especially when a game goes so well,”
It is nice to know that Roger put up such a strong performance while Nadal seemed to be struggling. He now faces Kohlschreiber who is a dangerous and talented player. Last year at Wimbledon he got a set off Federer with some brilliant play.
“We have met quite often on court and it will certainly be a tight match,”
“I have a score to settle,”
While I only caught the highlights of Roger’s match, I did see Nadal’s match. Although Istomin could not win the first set, he was playing really well, keeping Nadal under pressure with flat ground strokes. I expected him to go away after losing the first set closely, but surprisingly got the break and never lost it again. He got broken by Nadal in the eighth game of the third set after choking away break points in the seventh game. I thought it was surely all over at 5-3 and 40-15 on Nadal’s serve, but Istomin miraculously broke back. Unfortunately he got broken again, but it was an exciting match. And you have to respect Nadal’s killer instinct and physical abilities. He is simply mentally and physically the strongest player on tour. Having said that, this match shows us the big difference between clay and grass for Nadal. Istomin is the type of player who is pretty tall and hits flat.
Imagine what Nadal would have done with Istomin on clay. Grass gives players like Istomin a chance against Nadal. Whether they can beat him is another question. Two years ago Nadal had similar trouble with Karlovic, but he still won Wimbledon. But that year Federer was having problems and he has been looking pretty good on the grass so far this year. It’s still early in the grass court season, but what we can derive from today’s action is that Nadal clearly won’t have it as easy in the grass court season as he did during the clay court season, while Roger will clearly have it easier. Today there was also some big upsets, with Djokovic losing in three sets to Malisse and Roddick losing in straight sets to Sela at Queens. Murray’s match against Fish was halted due to darkness at 3-3 in the third, and if he goes out the draw will really open up for Nadal.
In Roger’s presser today he was asked about Roddick’s comments on the short grass court season.
Q: Andy Roddick, a couple of days ago, asked to have the grass court season looked at and made longer. Do you think it’s even possible? I don’t’ think it’s possible.
FEDERER: Why not?
Q: It just seems that the schedule is so tight. It’s got to be very difficult. There are only two weeks between the French and Wimbledon.
FEDERER: It wasn’t a complaint I think from Andy. It was just a wish and many players have many wishes. Then, we have many tournaments with many contracts. They bought a week, a particular one and if you start moving the French back or Wimbledon up, which is almost impossible I guess to do, if you reschedule the whole Tour, someone will be hurt, either way. Then Andy might be happy, I might be happy but you have other players on the other side, who won’t be happy. It’s a tough call. We try to look at the best scenario for the players the whole time at the Board level. We know the issues. I think at the end of the day Raffa says he wished he could play Barcelona, he wished he could play a long clay court season. It’s the same thing basically as what Andy is saying right now. That’s why I just prefer to play the Tour we have, make minor adjustments and get through it that way. Me, too, I have preferences, but you can’t have them all unfortunately.
This was very diplomatic from Roger I thought. Roddick obviously wants the grass court season made longer because he likes it so much more than clay, while Nadal wants the clay court season to be longer because it suits him the best. Nice try, Rafa. As far as I’m concerned the clay court season is the most boring part of the tennis calender and I was overjoyed when it was over. It’s selfish to want more clay court season when you are already playing three Masters Series events and a slam. WTF?! Roddick on the other hand has a valid point, because it’s just not right that you have three MS events on clay and none on grass. If there was three MS events on grass and none on clay, Roger would by now easily hold the record for the most MS titles and would be way ahead of Nadal. Yet Roger doesn’t complain one word. This is why I’m a fan of Federer and not of Nadal.
Match highlights: http://video.gerryweber-open.de/media.1110.0.106.html
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