Fedex Delivers Again While Djokovic Suffers Another Upset In Cincy

Hi, folks! Glad to be back with you. I’m done traveling and can now focus on what is left of Cincinnati. Not sure how much there is left for our man now since he is still having to grind out three setters and now faces a resurgent Murray. Murray also lost to Tsonga in Toronto and is looking to make his move here in Cincy. He has already beaten a very difficult opponent in Isner yesterday after saving two match points. He ended up prevailing in the third set breaker. Roger, on the other hand, beat another difficult opponent in Monfils 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The tennis is still at a difficult time for me and again I was unable to watch, so I had to rely on highlights, match stats, and some usually reliable sources again. But first let me get back to Roger’s first match for a second where he defeated Pospisil 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2.

I didn’t see that match either but I gathered Roger played very well in the third set. From what I can hear he also stepped it up in the third set against Monfils. This is a positive thing going into his match with Murray. I am also impressed with how Roger keeps grinding out there wins, despite not having it all going his way. Sure it’s not helping him to stay fresh but it shows me he is still finding his range and improving. He will have a week to rest before the US Open anyway. He is playing a lot of matches now which I think is a good thing. I am quite impressed with Roger’s fitness too. You’d think he would start running out of steam at his age, but he keeps playing better. Not sure which part of his game is better and which is worse at this point though. Against Tsonga, the net game was good while the baseline game was poor while against Monfils it was the opposite.

Roger seems hungry and motivated anyway. That is the most important thing for me. There were many ‘Come ons’ against Monfils or whatever he is saying, and I read in a comment that he got fired up at 3-3 in the third against Monfils after an argument with the umpire. It’s good to see the fire is still there, even though the game is not always there anymore. As long as the fire is still there Roger is talented enough to still get some very good results. Maybe that is the most improved part of Roger’s game; the mental part. It is tough to call what will happen against Murray. After taking everything into consideration, I think Murray is probably the favorite. I just think he is due. Things didn’t go very well for him at Wimby and Montreal, and I think the win against Isner would have done him a lot of good.

Good break point conversion rate!

Roger said himself that the win against Isner is the type of match that will give Murray a lot of confidence and that he expects a tough match. Also that he feels he can play freely because he had enough matches for the US Open now and that losing won’t be the worst thing given all the tennis he has played. It would give him some extra time to rest up and prepare for New York. If Roger beats Murray he will probably need another three-setter to do so and his draw is not getting an awful lot easier after that. To win Cincy Roger will probably need to keep playing three setters and two tough weeks back-to-back may just catch up with him in New York. So I take a similar stance to Roger about this match. I wouldn’t say it’s a win-win situation for Roger. More like a no-lose situation.

Of course, I would like to see Roger play more matches this week and win the tourney if I’m being selfish, especially now that I have some time to follow the tennis. But from a less selfish point of view whatever the result is will be the best result. The other big news was of course that Djokovic was upset again, this time 7-6(6), 7-5 by Robredo. How are all these Spaniards able to peak so late and to keep playing at the top level despite their taxing game styles? Either way Djokovic seems to really be struggling with his form and I don’t think he will win the US Open. He has only won it once so I don’t see why he will win it being in poor form. It looks like he is still on honeymoon which is good for Roger’s chances at the US Open. It is something I predicted might happen and Roger looks very motivated at the same time.

This bodes well for his chances in New York, even though it is the slam that he has gone the longest time without winning. Kind of hard to believe given how dominant he was there for five years. In a way, I feel like he has unfinished business in New York. He got pretty unlucky in 2009, 2010, and 2011. With Nadal and Djokovic both having problems, this may just be his chance. He would still need to save energy in the first week and have a friendly draw, but it could happen. I’m sure many people will feel his game hasn’t been good enough and that New York has not been the happiest of hunting grounds in recent years, but ever since Roger lost in the Wimby final I always felt like there was still unfinished business and that something really good could still happen. This is of course just a personal hunch and doesn’t guarantee anything.

Hello, I’m Dorkerer!

But so far things have been working out the way I thought they might. Djokovic looks like his head is not quite in the game right now, while the opposite seems to be the case for Roger. Roger may not be routining all his opponents in straight sets, but he looks hungry like he has unfinished business. I expect Roger to give it his all against Murray and that it will be a close match. If he loses it will be fine for reasons I already stated. I think he has gained a lot of information about his game now and feels good about it. If Murray wins he might go all the way and win the title, which would boost his confidence and probably make him joint favorite with Roger for the US Open. That is not necessarily good but may not be avoidable. If Roger beats Murray he probably needs to win the tourney or he spends more energy without getting the boost of a title.

And that in turn could catch up with him in New York. I think Roger is in a good position now anyway. I will be fine with whatever happens in Cincy from here on.

 

Highlights:

 

Update: Stan just lost to Benneteau. Should Roger really make a push to beat Murray now, given that this is Cincy and he will have Benneteau, Ferrer, or Robredo in the final? It could be worth it to lay it all on the line and go for that first Masters title of the year. Roger has a 5-0 record against Raonic too. Thoughts?

Posted in Cincinatti, Masters 1000.

41 Comments

  1. Hey, Ru-an! I agree with many of the points you made. Here is my take in it: If Roger wins today, it would show that he has enough in the tank and that he’s pretty much the “guy” to beat. Funnily enough, beating Murray doesn’t guarantee that he’ll win the title either. He may lose in the semis or run out of gas in the finals..

    That being said, if he loses today, I think that Murray will get confidence but I don’t automatically put him above Roger. Actually, I am curious as to how this match plays out because I would like to think that if Roger is fresh, he should be able to handle Murray in New York..

    Now, what I have noticed – and I am not sure if it’s a good thing – but oddly enough it’s working for Roger – is his stance way behind the baseline on second serves…

    Prior to the missed 6 match points against Cilic, on first and 2nd serves he would chip the ball back and go from there. Usually he would lose the point. On 2nd serves, sometimes, he would rip it but it would be successful about 20-30% of the time and the other 70% it would go into the net or long.

    Now, he is doing something different – on 2nd serves, he goes behind the baseline, rips the ball from there, and then immediately starts to slow move in again. I.e he wants to start the rally but it seems as a more effective way than just standing close to the baseline but chipping the return. It does look a bit awkward when you look at it at first but it seems highly effective. I am not sure if it’s a temporary thing or it will feature more prominently but he’s utilizing to the some degree at it’s working for him.

    Will see how it goes today. What I do agree is that Roger should play more freely – take it match by match and see where it takes him. I actually don’t expect him to win. It’s funny that the matches that I do expect him to win – he loses sometimes. And the matches I don’t expect him to win – he gets through sometimes.. :-)

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  2. Wow!!! This is one WHACkY tournament. Wawrinka just lost to Benneteau. But at the same time, I don’t want to make any assumptions or predictions going forward. If Roger wins today, maybe we can dream…

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  3. And now of all things. Raonic is playing like a monster again. 6:1 6:9 vs. Fognini. No breaks for Roger whatsoever.. But that’s ok! Whatever!

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  4. Hey Vily,

    You are one of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans on this site, so I want to check your opinion on something.

    I’ve not been able to see a single match! But I’ve read some comments about how some aspects of Roger’s game work better on some nights than others.

    And I wanted to ask (since you seem to have seen the matches) whether you think it’s possible that he’s just adapting his game a lot better to his opponent lately than he used to?

    Here are some remarks by Roger I read today, just thought I’d share:

    “I know I’m in for a tough one.” – speaking about the Murray match

    “I thought I returned pretty well tonight… much better than I have in my previous matches,” he said. “That’s really what kept me calm throughout the match. I tried to come forward because the conditions are quite fast here. I think that was a good tactic out here tonight.” – speaking about the Monfils match

    “I think I’m in a good spell right now. I have a lot of tennis in my legs right now. I go day by day. I have a great team behind me and a wonderful family. I’m very much at peace with how I need to play.” – just some stuff I was really glad to read, especially that his legs are good

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    Vily Reply:

    Hey, Joe!

    To me I think the biggest change since Toronto has been this little adjustment on the 2nd serve stance. Then again I think that he does it depending on the opponent. Now that I see Raonic through in straights, I think that Roger will have a tough time. But it’s crazy. I think that the fact the Roger has a chance of actually facing Ferrer in the final might be added stimulus but then again he’s been unpredictable – losing matches he should have won and winning matches that I am worried that he might lose.. It’s weird. Even if he loses today, it’s not the end of the day though. Will see how it goes… BTW I am able to watch the matches because in the Eastern Time Zone..

    Anyway, excited about tonight. :-) Let’s go Roger!

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  5. Hey Ruan! I love that picture of Monfils at the start of the highlight clips. The expression on his face is priceless!

    And I think it’s probably the same expression that was there when he found out he had to play Roger!

    :-)

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  6. Hello Fedfans, it’s a couple of hours before the big Murray match—talk about unfinished business, Ru-an! I’m sure that last Olympic rout by the dour Scott still grates at Roger’s nerves. Roger coveted that Gold medal badly, so he will want some sweet revenge today and give it his all. Besides, the last thing he needs is for Murray to gain confidence before New York. Furthermore, there’s a lot of seething, though barely conscious animosity Murray feels toward Roger. I well remember the Charley Rose interview he gave after he finally won his first Major in New York, the first for a Brit in three quarters of a century. Rose asked him to assess Roger’s career, and Murray literally hemmed and hawed for a full minute or two, before finally admitting, in a barely audible whisper, “he’s one of the greats.” But it was like pulling teeth. The Scott finds it extremely difficult to give the Maestro his due, much less compliment him. And this from a man who’s won just 2 Majors, exactly 11.76% of Roger’s total, a man who keeps being over-hyped by the media as part of the “The Big Four,” when in reality there is only The Big Three…. Stick it to him, Roger!

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  7. Here’s hoping that his next percentage will be 11.1 %

    !!

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    balthazar Reply:

    uh … checking my calculator … let’s see … 2 divided by 18 … yep, you nailed it, Joe!

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    Vily Reply:

    LOL!

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  8. Guys, I just have a feeling that Roger’s going to take Murray in straights.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You may just be right Joe. Fed proving me wrong so far, thankfully! Looking very sharp here and turning back the years :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good stuff Joe! You were spot on. It just had that feeling about it after the first few games, didn’t it? Murray blowing a double break in the 2nd set though? Fed’s first MS title of the year here finally?

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  9. Absolutely BRILLIANT performance from Roger today! Simply magnificent!!

    After missing on 6 break points early in the first, he was able to break Murray twice to win 6:3.

    But even more special than that was his majestic comeback from 4:1 down in the 2nd to win 4 straight games and eventually win it in STRAIGHTS 7:5 without the added drama if the tie-break. Simply brilliant!

    Roger will take a LOT of confidence from this win. I would be shocked if he doesn’t win the tournament now. Raonic will be a tough cookie tomorrow but I hope that Roger will win it and then really pour all his frustrations on the poor Ferrer or Benneteau in the final.

    It would be a well earned Masters 1000 – one that he truly deserves the way he has played this year. But if for some reason he loses tomorrow by a matter of a tie-break then it would be OK too. Roger is suing brilliantly and he’s got to be feeling awfully good for the US Open!!!

    Thank you Roger! You are awesome!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Looks like good old Cincy is till his best chance of a MS title, isn’t it?! Now he just has to negotiate Raonic and Ferrer which shouldn’t be too difficult on these courts. Has never lost to either player(15-0 vs Ferrer and 5-0 vs Raonic). Surely he finally wins a Masters here? Would be much deserved!

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  10. I just hope that tomorrow Roger comes our focused.. That’s all! It won’t be too taxing on the body and it will take just focus. He’s returning great this week so he should do well…

    But this time I will go back to the “one match at a time” strategy even though I can smell the trophy already.. :-) ))

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    eric Reply:

    He basically said playing these big guys is straight forward and all about his own serve. If he serves well and can protect his serve he can create a few chances to break. His serve is the key.

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  11. Great match. Great interview after. He is fatigued, you guys were right. He said he wished he wasn’t so tired from all these matches but that he’s playing better and better and is psyched for US open, gaining confidence. Katyani will also like that he said what she’s been saying… that the 6 break opportunities are a good sign, even though he couldn’t convert easily. He was happy to be applying the pressure on Murray.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You were right too though Eric about Roger having a good chance to win this. I think he took many people by surprise including myself!

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    Eric Reply:

    He finally got the topspin bhdtl going a little today and the volleys were weak. What fascinates me about these recent matches is that, while it is clearly frustrating to him that parts of his game are missing, instead of getting down and giving up, he’s able to adjust his game to go with what’s working on that day. And that’s different every day recently. It’s really incredible to see him probing, assessing, and making these adjustments to get the win. Very few guys could do that to such success. He’s working through this and getting better. When it all fires at the same time – look out!!!

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  12. Fantastic, when Murray went up in the second set I had to turn the sound off, Sky commentators full of ‘Murray Mania’. But they didn’t reckon on our ‘secret weapon’, Mr Federer you have just made my day! So C’mon Roger fingers crossed for tomorrow.

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  13. Well after last week’s disappointing finals, and even Wimbledon, this was the kind of match which shows you how great the guy is. Great 1st set, despite the missed break point chances. Then in the 2nd he disappears by the 3rd game for a while, gets broken twice and I expected a 6-2 2nd set. Instead you could visibly see his intensity go up. Instead of giving up or saving his energy for the 3rd he just went up a heat and Murray had no answer. The final game point at deuce to give him match point was brilliant, reminded me of the2012 wimbeldon final.

    Strangely overall though, Federer was not great at the net today. But his groundstrokes were really firing. Threw in some backhands down the line and a few laser backhand returns. If all facets of his game come together I think he can win this, despite the fatigue issue after 2 straight weeks of tennis.

    Murray was not at his best, and is not still at top form. But this really was a fantastic match. AFter what – 5 straight 3 setters, he straight sets the 1 Grand slam winner he faced.

    Raonic is playing well and is motivated. to get revenge on Federer. The courts are fast, night conditions might help Federer . But if Federer can play off the baseline like did tonight he can probably scrape a break per set.

    I fully expect Ferrer to come through tomorrow on the other side.

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  14. One of the sweetest victories he’s had this year! From 4-1 down in the second set, he won four games on the trot and then avoided the tiebreak by breaking for the match.

    Seems like he’s found his rhythm on these courts. It’s clear he’s seeking to employ a very aggressive game plan, with lots of net play. Even when he kept missing volleys, he didn’t back down and stuck to his determination to press the issue. I don’t think Murray could handle the relentless attack and constant changes of pace from Federer, he’s so used to having tons of time to grind from the backcourt. Federer would play a long rally and then rush in on the next point, denying Murray any rhythm.

    It was more Federer’s lapse that contributed to his falling behind in the second set, rather than Murray raising his game. When he refocused, he was once again able to pierce Murray’s defense.

    I think a big reason both Pospisil and Monfils did better against Federer than Murray was that they have better serves. Federer did a fantastic job of returning Murray’s second serve, getting it deep and close to the baseline, or putting a lot of slice on the return to make it very awkward for Murray to pick up. This caused Murray lots of problems.

    In retrospect, this was an important match for Federer to confirm that he’s on the right track with his new tactics. Straight-setting a player of Murray’s caliber (he’s a two-time champ, remember!) after being 4-1 down in the second, it’s hard to argue with a result like that.

    Next up is Raonic, who I’m sure will be wanting revenge for their Wimbledon tussle. But compared to Murray, he’s more one-dimensional and the tactics required are more straightforward for Federer, it’s more a matter of execution and taking care of his own serve.

    I think Benneteau will upset Ferrer and make it to the title match. He has a good record against Federer on indoor surfaces, so he might be a tough opponent on this fast court. It would be a very fun final if they both made it.

    Every time Federer has made it to the Cincinnati semis, he’s gone all the way so let’s hope he can do it this time!

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  15. Ruan doens’t often make predictions, but when he does he gets them right…he was dead right about Djokovic’s form slipping a bit post Wimbledon. I didn’t expect it. I still think he will be back to ‘almost’ normal by New York as he’ll have a few matches to come around.

    I saw the Robredo match and he was on fire, hitting winners, playing like he did when he beat Fed last year.

    Unfortunately though Nadal is waiting and resting at this very moment, nursing his ‘injured’ wrist. The injury came at quite a convenient time for him to fully rest up. If this was the first time it happened I would have no problem, but this is the guy who pulled out of the Austrlian Open when he had a stomach flu TWO weeks before the tournament started. Ridiculous. Regardless we will hear from the commentators how great a competitor he is, how he beat another career threatening injury, etc. I hate to do it but unless someone knocks him off in an early around when he’s a bit rusty, he is still the favourite for the US Open.

    So I just hope Federer can somehow maintain this form and energy level despite lousy scheduling, and give a good shot in Cincy. As for New York it’s best to not have too high expectations. But I’m glad Ruan thinks he has ‘unfinished business’…

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  16. The scheduling is crappy again though. Roger is playing at 9:00pm tomorrow instead of at 7:00pm and then he’ll play again at 2:00pm on Sunday. Simply rediculous.. But again – whatever…

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    eric Reply:

    rough.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t see a problem with the schedule this time. He has plenty of time to rest for Raonic who won’t be a physical match anyway. Then he plays Ferrer who hardly poses a threat to him, and in Cincy of all places. Lets not find too many reasons to complain. Fed is 20-0 vs Raonic and Ferrer combined.

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    eric Reply:

    Good to hear you say that. Roger didn’t seem to be too concerned about Raonic as long as his own serve is going well.

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    Vily Reply:

    Roger was clearly happy about the win today and it’s huge for his confidence. However, he should not underestimate neither Raonic tomorrow nor Ferrer or Benneteau. He’s had some close wins against Raonic and he should be ok there. However, potentially in the final, he shouldn’t assume that he’ll win. He’s has a terrible Finaks conversion rate and he needs to change that if he wins tomorrow. The last match against Ferrer was close do he should be very mindful. Also Ferrer has a very tight 5:4 record against Benneteau so if for some reason the Frenchman prevails, it will be another very tight nail-biting final. Roger has difficulty against all French men. So let’s not celebrate just yet. A great victory today and today’s win means a lot going into the US Open. But it has little relevance on the outcome of this tournament. Still 2 matches to go. If Ferrer wins tomorrow, I’ll breathe much easier.. ;-)

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  17. Great comeback for Roger. Gotta say, I didn’t expect him to come through at all in this match, especially not in such a stylish fashion. I can TENTATIVELY say he should win the tournament. Tentatively.

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    Vily Reply:

    If Roger wins Cincy, I think that it is safe to say that he is at least going to the final at the US Open and probably he’ll win it all.

    Djokovic is not near his best and I want him in Roger’s Section. He might lose prior to the semis or Roger will thump him. I hope Murray is in Nadal’s section. Nadal might not even play and if that’s the case, Roger is the guy to beat. But first, let Roger win Cincy.

    I always thought in order for Roger to win the US Open, he’ll need to win a Masters 1000 first.

    So far, he’s done extremely well on the American hard courts. Finals in Indian Wells and Toronto as well as the Finals in Brisbane, the semis in Australia to compliment his Wins in Halle and Dibai and the Finals at Wimbledon.

    Absolutely consistent and amazing… But he needs to win Cincy to really boost his confidence.. Then just relax for a week and get ready. We may get some very interesting news tomorrow as well. Nadal will announce whether he’s playing or not,, ;-)

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  18. Ru-an, I love to watch video of the player press conferences but it’s always such a pain in the butt to find them. Do you have any advice or do have to be a detective after every freaking match?

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    Gsurfer Reply:

    Hi,

    You could follow this site in any rss reader
    http://www.tennisplanet.me

    They post players interviews after every match and many interesting tennis tit-bits too

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    eric Reply:

    Hi and Thank you. I actually do follow that site very regularly and they have lots of highlights and sometimes pressers. Warning to Fed Fans though, the blogger is a bit of a strange sensationalist, like a shock jock kind of a guy and not very nice to Roger specifically.

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  19. I certainly don’t take any match at all for granted and hope Roger doesn’t either. That’s not the feeling that I got from him either. He was just saying it’s not as complicated as playing Djoko or Murray, etc. It’s gonna be hard to break but he’ll get his chances. So if he can protect his own serve and executes on his opportunities, he’ll break a couple of times and he wins. Not easy at all, but clear. Makes a lot of sense to me.

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    eric Reply:

    Sorry Vily, this was supposed to be a response to you.

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    Vily Reply:

    I get that too. Raonic talks a BIG game but so far he hasn’t been able to crack Roger. However, there have been couple TIGHT 3rd set tie-breaks between the two and one has to be mindful… I don’t want to overly get excited… But I really hope he pulls it off. It would be do awesome if Roger gets his hands on the trophy. Let’s hope for a Ferrer victory on the other side of the draw as well.. ;-)

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