French Open Day 9: The Big Four All Win

  • Federer Finishes Off Monfils

<):) Today was a unique day in grand slam tennis as all of the big four were in action, but less unique was the fact that they all won. Of course, Roger had to complete his match today against Monfils due to bad weather yesterday, and he did what the doctor ordered which was to finish Monfils off in straight sets for a final score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, and in the process shutting out the fanatical French crowd. Clownfils showed up right in the opening game when he was up 40-0 on his serve.

He played an absolute clownish point, after which Roger took advantage and broke serve. Immediately the crowd fell silent. So in fact it was Clownfils who shut out the crowd. Then all Roger had to do is to hold onto his serve to keep the crowd out of it, which to his credit he did competently. At 3-1, Roger had Clownfils at 0-40 on his serve, but couldn’t break. That seemed to rile up the crowd some, but it wasn’t enough as Roger hit a forehand winner at 5-4 and 40-30 after a weak return from Clownfils to win the third set.

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Job well done. In the fourth set, Monfils just seemed to tank as he got breadsticked. Pathetic. Like I said, Monfils is right at the top of the pile when it comes to talent, but mentally he is right at the bottom. He is a complete clown and I am not a fan at all. All he had to do was compete hard and the French crowd would carry him through, but he came out looking like someone who thought he was a clown in a circus. Whatever. I am glad Roger got the job done in four sets and will play Stan tomorrow.

That is the match I wanted to see and Roger didn’t waste much energy today. It was more like a nice practice session to get ready for tomorrow.

  • Sock Bothers Nadal

There were a fair amount of people who thought Sock could bother Nadal. I wasn’t one of them. And, in fact, had Nadal held serve at 5-4 in the third set Sock wouldn’t have bothered him, but he uncharacteristically dropped serve and dropped the third set 7-5. This is not something you often see from Nadal on clay if ever. So I thought that was a good sign for the upcoming match with the Djoker. In the fourth set, Nadal served a second serve ace on a crucial point and that swung the set in his favor to win 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

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Even though Nadal suffered a mini-collapse in the third set, I thought Sock played well and his backhand held up better than I thought it would. I have already said I thought Nadal showed signs of vulnerability and that I thought it is not a promising sign for him in his all-important match with the Djoker. However, some people see it as a good thing for Nadal that he was tested, and I have long ago given up making serious predictions about Nadal. I said earlier this year that I have him winning two slams this year.

I have also said that if he doesn’t win the French Open he may be stuck on 14 slams indefinitely. That is because I simply have no clue with this guy. He can take seven months off the tour and come back to dominate his worst surface. So yeah, I don’t know what to expect. I would like to think the Djoker will finally get it done this time, but I thought the same thing last year. Realistically, Nadal should actually be the favorite until he loses a match again in Paris, not before.

  • The Rest of Today’s Matches

Where Nadal was looking shaky again today, the Djoker was rock solid. But I suppose you could also say he slipped up in the third set when he dropped serve before he won 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. You could say the Djoker was rock solid and Nadal was looking shaky, the way he has done since the grass court season last year. You could also say that makes the Djoker the definite favorite for Djokodal 44.0, but before you know it Nadal beats the Djoker, wins a 10th French Open, and is right back in the hunt for Roger’s slam record.

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But I will preview that match some more tomorrow. Let me just get today out of the way. Murray also dropped a set today against Chardy before winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. As I thought Chardy won one set at best and he did well to do so. Murray is clearly feeling a lot more comfortable on the dirt these days and he is one of the favorites for the title. He plays Ferrer next who schooled Cilic 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. I got that one clearly wrong, but I don’t think many people were expecting that result.

  • Tomorrow’s Matches

So tomorrow Roger is back for a third day in a row to play his buddy Stan on Lenglen. They won’t be buddies on the court, however. I hope not anyway. I don’t want to see Stan donate another match to Roger like in Rome. Stan has looked very good so far and I find it hard to believe that he will collapse again like he did in Rome. Roger leads the head-to-head 16-2 and Stan has a good shot here for getting a much-needed win in the rivalry. I don’t care who wins. I just want to see what happens when they both play their best tennis.

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It would no doubt make for a great match and be good entertainment. Obviously Fedfans want to see Roger win, but Stan has lost so many big matches to Roger that I personally wouldn’t be too bothered if he wins one. I think he deserves one by now. But it’s not even about deserve. I just want to see them both play their best tennis and find out who is the best on clay right now. I don’t want to see any donations from Stan like in the past. I want to see him come out and blast those groundstrokes without mercy.

And then I want to see if Roger can find a way to mix things up to come out on top. In the other quarterfinal tomorrow, Nishikori will take on Tsonga in the Chatrier cauldron where the crowd will be 100% behind Tsonga. Nishikori holds a 4-1 lead in the head-to-head and he is the better player these days, but Tsonga has obviously found some form and with the French crowd behind him he could easily win. That’s a wrap from me. Looking very much forward to Fedrinka tomorrow!

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

56 Comments

  1. I do agree that Stan should not donate the match to Roger. However, I still hope for a sound beating by Federer. Obviously, if Roger settles to just exchange from the baseline, he’ll be in trouble.

    Two very interesting stats:

    In his win against Monfils, Roger served at 61% and had 41 Winners to 35 Unforced Errors. That’s in 4 sets. He’s had a positive winners to unforced errors ratio in all of his matches so far.

    Stan on the other hand, in his win against Simon served at 42.5% and had 34 Winners to 42 Unforced Errors. That’s in 3 sets.

    So, if his 1st serve percentage is similar to 43%, that’s simply not good enough.

    So we’ll see. It will definitely be tough, but Roger stated that he’ll pull all the stops in order to win. I think that with the 2 day break looming and Nishikori and Tsonga battling as well, it will be crucial for Roger to take advantage of this.

    We’ll see. Like I said, Roger needs to play smarter, not harder than Stan. That’s the key to victory. ;-)

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  2. Howdy Ru-an, this FO is brilliant I am loving it! Enjoying reading your stuff too, better coverage than their website that’s for sure, Stan’s still reeling after that OK mag worthy gossip article.
    Roger will win in straights IMO. I’m liking what I’m seeing with him.
    His forehand, apart from the odd shank, looked the best I’ve seen it on clay since the racquet change, promising signs. He’s said he’s feeling fresh too and yeah I know he’s come out with BS in press cons before but I think he means it, he’s feeling good and is surely thinking about making the final and going for the holy grail.
    I’d love to see Stan play well too but his inferiority complex is too huge bless him, those mental match point chokes in London when Roger had pulled his back… Ouch. Then again maybe the drubbing he took in Rome will make him swing freely tomorrow.
    Tsonga oh boy oh boy am I happy to see him playing well again! Love the guy. He’s like a parallel universe Monfils if that makes sense ha, he’s an entertainer too, but he goes for it all the time for the fans rather than whether he feels like it or not. Tsonga plays for them while Monfils plays for his ego. He came out with some crap about being ill and that he didn’t think Roger played well?! Lol. I’ll be cheering Jo on for sure. But I like Kei too so it’s hard haha but he’ll have many more days in the sun, time is running out for Jo and hopefully he’ll get it done in 4.
    Murray I’ve watched a lot of due to British coverage being heavily biased as usual ha.
    He’s been excellent in patches, awful in others, chucking sets to Chardy and Sousa playing poorly and then regrouping well… patchy isn’t enough against Ferrer on clay though. I back the awesome Spanish terrier in 4.
    As for the big cheese? It’s a must win match for Rafa, it could be the end of him if he loses it’s that big… so he’ll find a way to win. He may not win the tournament though I just think Djoker is more must win than any match he’s ever played. Let the games begin!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Tom! Thank you ;-) You’re right Stan does have an inferiority complex.

    Maybe I can represent both of us tomorrow @rogerfederer ?! #WhereIsRoger

    I’m getting ready for another gift.

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    Jiten Reply:

    =D> =D> This is a gem of a find Ru-an. Could not have been more appropriate. Your blog is simply a class apart. :-bd

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Jiten. Fortunately, Stan did not gift anything.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Nah, Ru-an, Stan has gifted 16 too many to Roger. Stan The Bully will be unleashed today…..and he will provoke Roger to bully him back. Of course Roger is hardly a Bully and he would lose if he takes up the bait…..Roger should use his velvet hammer instead… :-t :-)

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    Vily Reply:

    ;-) Yep. How do you feel about this match, Veronica? And what about Nishikori and Tsonga?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Velvet hammer? =)) I bet Stan is hoping for that! =))

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    Veronica Reply:

    Nah, Ru-an! Didn’t I say Stan The Bully will be unleashed today??!! The velvet hammer is not allowed to work so far….. :-bd match if you are neutral. :-O if you are supporting Roger!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :-bd

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    Vily Reply:

    I have little doubt that Novak will beat Rafa, No one lives forever and it’s time for him to lose. The conditions will be damp on Wednesday so that will play right into Djokovic’s hands. Tomorrow will also be slightly overcast so I hope that it benefits Roger.

    Friday is supposed to be the hottest day and I don’t like it. Balls will fly and if you are Roger, you prefer these slower, colder conditions. So we’ll see. Let’s hope for a good win tomorrow. But it won’t be easy.

    BTW I have no clue how the Tsonga – Nishikori match will play out. Nishikori is fresh but his opposition has been pedestrian at best. The crowd will go bonanza for Jo Willie Tsonga so you just never know. I don’t even want to pick a player – who will be better for Roger. Be my guess. If both are firing, it’s danger time. Maybe I would slightly pick Nishikori because at least his serve is suspect and can be attacked. Jo Willie, if in the zone is lights out and it will frustrate Roger. Plus, he is a very decent net player so it would be more difficult. I don’t know. Nishikori can be outsmarted I think.

    But let’s see how it goes tomorrow and also on Wednesday. If Nadal wins, it would be pointless to continue, don’t you guys think. A lot is riding on Novak to take care off for the rest of the vultures, waiting, LOL!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Tom, I like the refreshing and delightful way you express yourself!

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  3. Stan definitely has the best jammies of any player on the men’s tour, but I’ll be cheering for Roger to win…
    :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Joe, you are so witty, love it :)) ppl would actually pay to see that kinda wit you know! At least you have an option….just in case whatever you are doing ain’t paying the bills ;-)

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    Joe Reply:

    Thanks Veronica! You are very charitable about my highly miniscule witticism, but I’m glad if it can bring a smile. :-)

    How have you been these days? Are you ever the mysterious international traveler? I hope it’s all good in Australia, or wherever you find yourself these days…
    :-)

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    veronica Reply:

    You so understate, Joe! but that is part of your wit :-) I need laughter everyday to cut through the madness of everyday life! So thanks for providing it, together with other wonderful commentators here who have their own brand of humor. I’m still in Australia but I’ll be in Asia in couple of months! And I wanna catch Roger in Wimby next year before he retires! I love travelling; soaking in cultures, history and especially the food!! :-) It helps that I come from a large family. Got relatives all over the world :-)

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    Jiten Reply:

    :)) :)) I heard the jammies will be up for auction soon. :-t Stan has already got the assurance from Roger that if there are no takers, he will buy the whole bunch. \\:D/

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    Veronica Reply:

    Haha Jiten! Wit on wit! Your work not payin’ the bills as well?!! ;-) :))

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  4. I’m very happy about Roger getting through to the quarters. I feared that Monfils would be very hard to beat, considering some of their latest encounters, but he won quiet comfortably. The match situation was clearly an advantage for Roger, though. It could have been different had the match not been suspended. Obviously I’m hoping for Roger to win against Stan, but I won’t be too upset if he loses, as I quiet like Stan too. I’m really hoping Stan can get another slam.

    From what I’ve seen of Djokovic it’s very hard to imagine him losing a match here. He’s like a machine. As long as it’s not Chokovic who shows up in the quarter, I expect him to win against Nadal, especially if the weather conditions are in his favour. If it is hot and dry like it was in the final last year, I think Nadal’s chances will increase drastically, as he can spam his opponent with top spin and make Djokovic return balls at shoulder height.

    On the womens side, I’m happy that Screamapova is out. Now my ears can get some rest. :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I like Stan too, Bjorn Erik, but not the Stan who tanks and chokes against Roger. If he doesn’t play to win it is better he stays home.

    As for Nadal, I am starting to think he will win again. I’ve seen him do it too many times. But maybe Djokovic can get some luck with the weather for a change or something.

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    FeDaL Reply:

    Its impossible to predict how Nadal will fair at Roland Garros, due to his history in the tournament. I would be easy to dismiss him due to his questionable form as of late, but he is still the king of Roland Garros, and in a best of 5 set game, it remains to be seen if he can be stopped.

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    Joe Reply:

    There’s a fair chance that the king will fare fairly well.

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    Veronica Reply:

    :-bd

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  5. Great post, Ru-an. I am amazed at your speed.

    Federer just did what he needed to do: win in double-quick time. He stayed focused, served well, and took advantage of any openings, then piled on the scoreboard pressure. He was on court for just over one hour today, not exactly taxing. He played well, but I think he has an extra gear. It wouldn’t be very good to peak in the fourth round, after all.

    IMO, you’re being a bit unfair to Wawrinka. Federer’s variety disrupts Wawrinka’s rhythm and he has to be more conservative with his shots, he can’t just belt the ball like he loves to do. Maybe in Rome he did have a mini-meltdown but these things happen–not every match can be a nail-biter like in London last year. Federer had a third-set meltdown in MC last year, and it cost him the title.

    These days Wawrinka’s forehand is no longer a weakness so it’s harder for Federer to break him down from the baseline. Federer has to stay closer to the baseline and mix it up and really seek to move Wawrinka around. Hopefully he’s up to the task.

    Tsonga can beat anyone when he’s on. They don’t call him the Tsonga Tsunami for nothing. He had a lousy record against Berdych as well (he was trailing 2-6 in the H2H before yesterday) so his poor results against Nishikori don’t count for much. Like you said, he has the home crowd behind him. He’s blitzed better players than Nishikori at Grand Slam level–recall his annihilation of Nadal at AO ’08, and his defeat of Federer in RG a couple years ago. Nishikori is one of those players who relies on consistency and is very crafty in taking advantage of his opponents’ errors. If his opponent doesn’t make errors, however, he doesn’t have the firepower to respond.

    A Federer-Tsonga semi in Paris would have a great atmosphere, lots of attacking flair and great shotmaking from both players, but if Nishikori came through, it would be a historic victory as he would be the first Japanese man to make the semis of this tournament.

    Think Ferrer has a decent chance of victory over the newly married Scot. At the least, Ferrer will take a set.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Steve, Great comments and observations as usual! I think Roger also said what you commented, about not wanting to peak now but to get through the rounds and that he has an extra gear. If he can beat Wawrinka tonight, then I would dare to think he may get to the finals…..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Steve.

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  6. I got all my predictions right till now!!

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    Nice! who do you have in qfinals?

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    Ajay Reply:

    Well I was going with Djokovic-Murray and Fed-Nishi from the beginning and I am going to stick with it.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Respect, Ajay! I hope you get it right all the way!! I think Murray is due too and he gets it against Ferrer. But Tsonga and Kei is too close to call. One has the crowd and can blast the Other off the court. But the other little one is so crafty and can rush and move the big man around…. 8->

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    Joe Reply:

    In that case, please predict that Roger will win in the final!

    :-bd

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good stuff AJ. So you predicted Stan would defeat Fed?

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  7. Man, Ru-an, you are manic, these days!! :-) I’m frantic trying to catch up! :-P Just wanna say I have been really enjoying reading your posts. I love your light hearted sarcastic humor! So many thoughts I wanna share but no time and Roger’s playing soon……. :!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are slow! :!! Glad you like my posts! ;-)

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    Joe Reply:

    Yeah, I thought Veronica was never going to say anything about your great posts Ru-an!

    :-)

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    Dolores Reply:

    Decided to join you all with my comment to Ru-an, your many recent posts have been not only speedy coming on board but great coverage of all matches going on. Tip my hat off to you, Ru-an!
    Roger will win ’cause Stan’s jammies need to retire ….ooops, this is not a prediction but hoping it will end in Roger’s favor. Do have a soft spot for Stan the Man!
    Veronica’s wit makes me smile!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Veronica Reply:

    Tbh I have a soft spot for Stan the Bully too, Dolores. I like his game. If he wins this, he better go all the way…

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    Veronica Reply:

    :-P :-P

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    Veronica Reply:

    Oops! Those are not for you dear Dolores! They are for Ru-an!!

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    Joe Reply:

    Too darned funny! Veronica you make us all smile dear, even when you’re not trying to!

    :-bd

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :!! :-P

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  8. PJs win. *sigh*. So much for fed’s cake walk draw… its just not meant to be.

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    FeDaL Reply:

    You really thought that Federer would reach the final at Roland Garros this year? On paper his Draw looked great, but that would only count if he was 3-4 years younger. The stamina and power is just not there anymore. Old Fed ain’t winning any more GrandSlams thats for sure.

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    Krish Reply:

    I agree, Fedal – the final was always a long shot for Federer. He might have a better chance at making another Wimbledon Final, and with a bit of luck eke out one final win there. On clay, as we saw today, there are too many big hitters who will disrupt his rhythm – Stan played the perfect match and Fed never really got settled.

    What are your thoughts on the Nadal-Djoko match tomorrow?

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    FeDaL Reply:

    His Krish!

    For tomorrow, I cannot say… I wish Nadal was a 100% but even when he is not even close to his best form, I am reluctant to give it to Djokovic just because it’s Nadal, the Roland Garros overlord. If conditions favour him he can still edge out Djokovic even while he is in somewhat of a slump. Best of 5 sets means allot for this matchup on the red clay in Paris. It is going to be interesting that is for sure!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yep, very hard to call.

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    Vily Reply:

    Yep, an embarrassing and pathetic straight set loss for Roger Federer. He was weak and couldn’t do anything today. All predictions go out the window. Cakewalk draws, everything. It doesn’t mean squat if you can’t play great in a best of 5 for seven straight matches. Roger couldn’t even do it for 5 straight matches. But it is what it is. Roger probably will never win a major. Cake draws or not. It’s a simple fact. No point to think or analyze.

    I doubt he’ll repeat last year’s performance at Wimbledon either.. Whatever… Peace out everyone..

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    Krish Reply:

    Vily, with due respect, I think you’re too hard on Roger. You’ve neglected to mention Stan’s game plan and perfect execution: first-strike, all-out tennis, take charge of the point and hit through the slow court, get Federer off the baseline and offer him no rhythm whatsoever. And unlike in previous meetings, Stan just fired on all cylinders for a long period of time. In my view, Federer did not play badly in the first 2 sets – in fact, he wasn’t really allowed to play, and credit should go 100% to Stan.
    I also don’t think this affects his Wimbledon chances a great deal.

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    Ben Chia Reply:

    Agreed. Stan’s power game completely engulfed fed. Only real fight back was 3rd set tie break. Should fed have won that 3rd set, it could be a totally different outcome. Stan could “break” when you had it so close in the bag and totally fold over next 2 sets. Stranger things have happened. Fed4.0 could have made an appearance. So, while I am disappointed, I won’t beat up on fed so much. He’s done what he could against an inspired opponent. Wow, there is blood in the water, the sharks really do come…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Krish. But in what way does this affect his Wimby chances?

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    Ben Chia Reply:

    Honestly, seeing how he beat Monfis and this “cakewalk” of a draw, its his bloody best chance in donkey years to reach the finals of FO. Was hoping that his 4.0 carries him to the final and only God-mode can save him against who is on the other side of the net.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah you’d think last year was his last chance at Wimby, but I guess he has improved this year and there is still an outside chance at Wimby.

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  9. Hmm, yes I did think this was a possibility. Stan Wawrinka was absolutely on FIRE in the first 2 sets and outhit Roger from start to finish. By the 3rd set, he focused on his own service games and played well enough to seal the win. Perfect game plan, perfect execution – well done Stan, great win and best of luck to him for the semis! :-)
    The main positive for Roger is that he gains points from last year and he has time to really try and make one final great run at Wimbledon, where he can emphasise his serving game and cover up his baseline weaknesses.

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  10. Federer very average, Wawrinka just had to stick to one game plan and never really pushed out of his comfort zone. It’s not like he played outrageous, world-beating tennis, just very good tennis, and managed to keep his shit together rather than falling apart at the moment of truth. Federer barely managed to get a return into play–he didn’t manage to break serve even once, which hasn’t happened in a slam match for over thirteen years. I can’t count the number of holds to love and to 15 that Wawrinka had. A mediocre performance is far harder to accept than one where he’s blown off the court by someone at the absolute peak of their game.

    The return game again! It cost him Wimbledon last year, IW and Rome this year, and it cost him again here, each time he said afterwards that his return game let him down, it’s really the very last thing I want to hear in his press conference this time, that he felt he didn’t return well. I really hope he’s working on it, and that he’s not just playing every time thinking he can win by being neutral on the return. He can’t beat guys anymore just by putting the serve back into play, he has to be proactive and do something.

    Sportsman to the end, though. He (rightly) gave the point on the disputed call to Stan, even though it cost him the match. Glad to see he didn’t want to win unfairly.

    Well, on to Wimbledon. Hopefully he can do something there.

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    Vily Reply:

    I agree with you a 100%. There used to be a time when Roger would adapt and figure out a way to win no matter what the circumstances. A hot player or bad conditions. Roger always figured out a way to win. Not this time and not for a long time. Granted, clay exposes Roger in the worst possible way. It is what it is. Roger is not the same anymore. He used to school the likes of Wawrinka, Monfils and pretty much everyone except Nadal and Djokovic with his eyes closed. Now, it’s always a battle, always a struggle. We sometimes look at the draw and see what’s possible but to be honest – Roger had small to no chance. If he won today, he probably would have lost in the semis. And if he won there, he would have definitely lost in the finals. I suppose losing here better than losing in the finals. In the end, draws mean very little. Early matches mean even less. I am sure that Roger wanted to play better but the fact is that more often than not he’ll have bad days. And they are starting to pile up. Wimbledon is still possible but with Roger who knows. The one great asset that Roger possessed – his CONSISTENCY in Slams is gone. You don’t know if he’ll make the finals or exit in the 2nd round. Or 4th round. Or in the Quarters again. But there is hope. And as long he plays, there will always be that flicker..

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  11. I personally think that on a better day Fed in 4 was likely. In the first set he had a few chances to get back on serve and so he probably would have won that. Second set was going to Stan no matter what, but Roger would have taken the opportunity at 5-5 30-30 in the third on a better day. So it was just one of those matches. Instead of 2-1 up, he lost the match. Honestly though, I don’t think this really affects his Wimbledon chances. I still have him as second favourite after Djokovic. If Murray performs well I may move him into second, but I would still have Fed at least third. Anyway I hope the Djoker wipes Rafa in straight sets, he is way overdue to lose here and has got lucky too many times, what with Fed at RG 2011 beating Novak, the rain in 2012, the net incident in 2013, and Novak’s apparent illness last year. Surely it is his year, but I am still not convinced. I’ll go with Novak in 5 after another epic.

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