French Open QF: Federer def Monfils 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(3) in Windy Conditions

I’m afraid we can’t tell much from this match since it was windy and Monfils is an unpredictable opponent. Personally I would have preferred to see Roger play against Ferrer to make things a bit more clear. But the main problem was the wind. It didn’t allow for a clean match. I think overall Roger dealt well with the conditions though. The start was bad as Roger got broken early on. Monfils didn’t have the mental fortitude to keep up the pressure though. If he kept the break and won the first set it could have been a different story altogether. But he is not a very smart player. He just plays way too defensive for a player who has a huge forehand. It gave Roger the chance to get the break back and then break again to win the first set. There was a lot of breaks in this match. Roger broke in the second set and then got broken back, only to break again to win the set.

In the third set Roger got the break early on again, and again he was broken back. Then it came down to the tie break where Roger took a 6-1 lead, and was never gonna lose it from there. Roger was 5/16 on break point conversions, while Monfils was 3/4. This is not a good sign for Roger. In the last couple of matches it was encouraging to see Roger up his break point conversion rate, but today he faltered again in that department. This is probably the most telling stat of the match. You can blame the wind or whatever, but if Monfils could break 3 out of 4 times then Roger could have done something similar. So although a straight set win is good, he didn’t convince me that he can beat Djokovic in the next round. Monfils just isn’t smart enough to expose Roger’s backhand either. We know Djokovic will do that.

Roger needs to be supremely confident to have a chance against Djokovic. He needs to have total self belief. And I can’t say after this performance that he does. Fortunately I am happy that Roger made the semi-finals again, his 28th in grand slams. This is what I wanted after last year. To beat Djokovic was always gonna be a tough ask. I know you all want me to believe that Roger can end Djokovic’s streak, but I am just being realistic as well. If Roger does pull it off I will be happy. But the problem is it would make Nadal happy as well. Nadal has beaten Roger four times at the French Open, three of them in the final. I know you all want a fairytale story where Roger goes and beat Nadal in the final, but it is just highly unlikely. First of all Roger has to get by Djokovic, and then he probably runs into someone who owns him at the French.

If we are honest then Djokovic is really the one who deserves to face Nadal in the final. He is responsible for beating Nadal in four straight finals, mentally owning him in the process. Roger could never do that. In fact it is more other way around. Nadal owns Roger mentally. And Roger had his chances against Nadal, but he blew it. First Nadal got into his head on clay, then on grass, and finally on hard court too. I think Fedfans have to cut their losses and be grateful that there is now someone who is bringing Nadal down. It is better in the long run for Roger if Nadal is brought down anyway. There is no shame in allowing someone else to do what he could never do himself. Tennis is about match ups and Nadal was never a good match up for Roger. We know Djokovic can bring down Nadal because he has finally exposed him for the one-dimensional player that he is.

A major strength of Nadal is the fact that he is left handed, which has nothing to do with court intelligence. Left handers have an advantage simply because there are more right handers then left handers out there. The fact that he is left handed means that his cross court forehand goes to the right hander’s backhand. This is what his game is primarily based upon. And for the first time there is someone against whom this tactic is not effective, simply because Djokovic has a very good backhand. Now Nadal has nowhere else to go, because he is too one-dimensional. Do you want to watch another French Open final where Nadal pounds Roger’s backhand to death? I don’t. Therefor it doesn’t bother me that Djokovic is the favorite to make the final. If Roger can somehow pull off the win I will be happy for him.

At least we know that Djokovic will test his backhand too, and if he passes that test he will be in better shape to face Nadal in the final. But there isn’t really any need to look towards the final now. If Roger makes the final it will mean he deserves to be there and he will have a chance. But to be there he has to overcome a monster. So lets just leave it at that for now. Nadal isn’t sure to make the final either. He next faces Soderling. This is a match I’m very much looking forward to. Soderling looked good in his straight set win over Simon, while Nadal once again did not impress against Ljubicic. On the other hand Nadal is the proven commodity and remains a tough nut to crack in Paris. I will give Soderling about a 50/50 chance to upset Nadal here, given how fragile Nadal has been. Lets see what happens.

Presserhttp://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/multimedia/2011-05-31/0130479925c80000021e.html

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58 Comments

  1. Top post mate. I think in the tournament so far Federers backhand has been holding up pretty well. Faster balls that don’t seem to carry as much spin and fly through the court more definitely work in his favour so maybe it wont be exposed as much as before.

    PS. You’ve also got me on the blogging bandwagon!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good point Mossy, that could help Roger. Enjoy the blogging!

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  2. ok I agree with ur thoughts Ru-an….. But….. IF Roger did win this tournament and Nadal loses to Soderling….. What will be the ranking situation?!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal would still be number one and i assume Djokovic still number two.

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    IROCK Reply:

    nah even if novak had lost before the 4th round and nadal did’nt defend his title Novak would have been no 1

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Correct.

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  3. Very nice blog! I enjoy reading it.

    Ok, about todays match: Roger made 42 unforced errors against Monfils, which is way too much. Djoko made 15 UE against Gasquet. Well, you might say that Roger also hit 41 winners, which is great. The problem is: Monfils` balls were so short all the time enabling Roger to take his chances. Nole will not give him these kind of short balls. Also, there is a serious problem for Monfils in the matchup with Fed: he tries to avoid hitting his backhand. That leaves him with one option only: trying to win forehand exchanges with Roger.

    Djoko doesn’t have that handicap. He loves backhand to backhand exchanges with Fed. To avoid that scenario, Roger hits to Novak`s forehand, hoping to prevail in a crosscourt forehand exchange. But the Djoker forehand has improved considerably, so that Roger often gets canon balls that he cant keep in play. That was the pattern of play I noticed the last couple of times they met.

    I am very curious to see what tactics Roger will be trying to implement in the SF.

    There is one weakness in Djokos game though, that hasnt really been mentioned so much: he doesnt have a DTL forehand. This has hurt him big time against Del Potro, often leaving him in a crosscourt forehand battle without a way out. A lot of these points have been won by the Argentine.

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  4. with good rhythm, mental toughness and lots of luck, Roger will win against anybody not excluding Novak & Rafa! I believe and I wish all of us who adore Roger and his game! let us not emit negative vibes! having said that win or lose, RF forever and ever!

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  5. I think Federer played o.k. He had a lot of unforced errors and a lower break point conversion than the previous matches. This concerns me a little bit but Federer was having a slightly off day. One thing I can say is that he had a lot of winners and was at 77% on first serve wins and 61% against a sometimes formidable opponent. I can only hope that Federer does not allow Djokovic to constantly hit to his backhand and mix it up a lot. Roger needs to serve the best he can, lots of Aces and serve out wide to establish quick short ball points. Win or lose, I still hope JesusFed comes to play on Friday. I have to say that I am proud to be Fedfan even if he loses this match. Federer has been playing better and better the more he plays. Best of luck.

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    Gary Reply:

    Remember, the wind was horrible. G

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  6. Good match analysis, Ru-an.

    Monfils was tricky and the conditions were tricky too; it was so windy that the clay was blowing off the court and blinding the players at one point. It doesn’t alarm me that Federer played less than perfect tennis under the circumstances. But he did what he had to do to get the win.

    Monfils definitely adjusted his game plan and was more aggressive than usual; he was playing lights-out in the third and towards the tail end there was a real danger that Monfils would break for the set, but Federer played a couple of very tough service games to reach the ‘breaker and then rolled.

    BP conversion I’m not worried about. If he is really ready to win, he will take all his chances. If not, then we won’t be seeing him in the final. That is all.

    I don’t think we need to worry about Nadal. The odds are good that Soderling will be on the receiving end of a clay masterclass tomorrow, with Murray or Chela (probably Murray) to follow shortly thereafter.

    I do appreciate that Djokovic has put the fear of God into Nadal, after so many years of reigning unchallenged on the red dirt.

    But that doesn’t entitle him to be in the final. Whoever wins the semi is the one who deserves to be there.

    Beating the so-far-undefeated man of 2011 is a tall task, but it is one that Federer is capable of, and I am rooting for him all the way.

    C’mon Roger!

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  7. Telling signs, BPs and exposed BH. Roger got help from Monfils who did not expose his BH. He won’t get that free pass against Djoker. Its difficult to play considering wind factor. A win is a win, how he match up against Djoker is depending tacticall how he execute his serves, shorten rallies. Perhaps doing more slice instead of top spin forehand?

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    Dippy Reply:

    Sorry i meant slice BH

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  8. Nothing much to read from this match. Tough conditions and unstable opponent. Federer said once that these kind of matches (against these kind of players) can be sometime tricky as he has too many options. He added that against top players he has less options so it’s easier for him to decide how to play and he just has to play good. That’s what is waiting for him in the semis. He usually raises his game to the needed level (though it’s harder for him lately), he will have to do it on Friday.

    You are realistic Ruan and you are right. Currently Djokovic is more fit, more quick, more powerful and more confident. On the bright side he is also under more pressure. Federer must win the 1st set, that’s the key.

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    TD Reply:

    Found the accurate quote. I love his answer. It is from Wimbledon2010 during FIFA world cup:

    Q. As someone who has won many career‑defining matches, what advice can you give to the England football team for Sunday?

    ROGER FEDERER: The better the opponent is, the better you play yourself. It’s very simple sometimes. There’s nothing much you have to do. Against weaker players or weaker teams, respectful obviously, you tend to have options. You tend to pick the wrong ones.

    Against the better players, you only have one option and then you play better. I think that’s what’s gonna happen with the England‑Germany match, as well.

    http://2010.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/interviews/2010-06-25/201006251277499412979.html

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  9. to defeat Djoko will not be easy at all but im sure Roger has the ability to do it. It will be a test of all his skills, guts and legendary talents to derail the Joker. to do that he will have to use the Federer drop shot as well be prepared for the next shot as Djoker can run down his shot(we all know why). Next, he must use his forehand smartly. That Roger’s backhand is a fallibilty is well known to Novak. Hence he must either augment it(a bit unlikely) or revert to his slice backhand. His serve has been good throughout the tournamnet, therefore i expect and hope it will not let him down. Good points for Roger are
    1) His last match with Djoko in California was a close one.
    2) Djoko has more pressure than Federer.
    3) Roger has already won FO.
    4) Djoko’s streak has to end
    5) His serve has held well.
    6) Federer’s talents exceeds Djoko’s talents multiple times.

    However, the part I shall not discuss about will be Fed’s phlegm to tough it out. He did it against Wawa but will he do it ‘gainst Djoko? Only time will tell.

    Come on Roger, he a doper, you’re a legend!!

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  10. Having overcome such tough opponents and such a tough draw without losing a set, Roger deserves this more than Rafa or Nole. He can do it. Faith, people.

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  11. Ruan, I actually enjoyed this match. For a start, Roger played like he really wanted it. It even meant he was forcing his shots a little too much early on, and with the wind factor he made a few too many errors at first. But he stuck to his intention of playing attacking all-court tennis – and some of it was quite brilliant. His defence was also exceptional. Monfils tried to play more inside the court, which is not his preference, but Roger really jerked him around. In fact, if it wasn’t for his service woes (because of the wind) I think Monfils played pretty much as well as he could and even better than he did against Ferrer. But it wasn’t good enough.
    Sure Roger’s break point conversion rate was not ideal, but much of that came in the 3rd set, when he still frequently had Monfils struggling. I can only think of two points where Roger should have converted – and one of them was that atrocious drop shot played at 5-5 in the 3rd – the only really dumb shot that Roger played in the match. Otherwise, Monfils raised his game on the breakpoints in the 3rd, playing exceptionally well off his serve when under pressure that set. Perhaps the only quibble I would have about Roger’s playing some of the breakpoints was that he reverted too quickly to the defensive slice. I think he has to maintain an attacking momentum.
    So, what of the next match? Well, if it is windy again then Djokovic will also struggle with his consistency. I think it will come down to the serve and the backhand. If Roger is playing well in these two departments then be prepared to see a fascinating and titanic contest out there.

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  12. solid post…infact, totally apt….i can’t c roger lose to nadal again if they clash in the final….hope rafa loses to soderling today so we can full on support roger..
    if nadal loses tday, roger has a realistic chance for his slam #17…djokovic is jst too gud…infact he hardly makes ne errors esp wid tht backhand, his control is jst too good…nadal shud lose tday n roger better get his first serve percentage up against djoker..

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  13. Ruan, I hope Roger plays a great match in his semi but frankly I would only really like him to win if Nadal is put out before the final. I don’t think I could bear to watch another FO final like their previous meetings. Like you, I think the best hope for ending Nadal’s run is Djokovic – Nadal is such a bad matchup for Roger. However, if Nadal somehow loses before the final (I guess it could only be Soderling) then I would definitely like to see Roger get through – against anyone else (bar Djokovic of course) the tournament could be his. Looking ahead to Wimbledon, I think Roger is showing he is regaining form and I like his aggressive attacking attitude out there, which would really be favoured on a faster surface like grass.

    Another point of interest in the French Open this year is that it has been playing faster than usual, probably because of the quick and lively Babolat balls and dry weather; it’s suiting a more aggressive game, which is partly why I think Nadal has struggled. Still, the grinders are very much present at the French, as we saw with the ‘running backboard’ Simon, and the unbelievable grunting roaring 140 year-old Italian woman player Schiavone.

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  14. Well, two sets into the Nadal-Soderling match, seems to me that Neil and I are vindicated in our sense that arch-pusher Simon turned Soderling’s confidence then arm to mush. Nadal is definitely playing better than I’ve seen from him thus far this tournament, but Soderling is an unforced error nightmare out there.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Soderling is a joke but its not because of Simon. He is just way too one dimensional. As always i get my predictions wrong whne it comes to Nadal. All of a sudden he can play tennis.

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    neil Reply:

    Yes, but you wonder what his game would be like without the EPO’s and God-knows-what-else he uses to fuel his second week run at the slams. He might be two steps slower, with a capacity for fatigue, and 25kph slower on his groundstrokes. Why, he would be like he was at the end of 2009 – simply unable to beat a top player.

    But, incredibly, Nadal is once again winning this match – like so many of his matches – by playing ten feet behind the baseline, frequently shanking his way back into the point and driving his opponent crazy because there is no gap in the court.

    It’s a weird experience watching Nadal play: he’s like a computer-generated figure who is everywhere at once, flinging enormous forehands into court with nothing but a wild whirl of his Pop-eye-like left arm. Ruan, I don’t think anyone – even Djokovic – can beat this kind of player. Be prepared to see Nadal’s game get stronger and stronger through the week.

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    steve Reply:

    Neil, as I suggested, one round made the difference. It was almost surely crucial that Soderling played Nadal in the fourth round in 2009, rather than the quarters or later. That year Nadal bulldozed his previous opponents (despite his “chronic knee tendinitis”), but like a submerged log hidden in shallow water, Soderling was lying in wait in the fourth round, a top-ten level player who was not seeded.

    And because he was playing normal Nadal and not Super Nadal, he won.

    Now that Soderling is seeded according to his ability, he can’t meet Nadal in the early rounds. Had he played Nadal in the third or fourth round, he’d have won. But he will only run into Super Nadal from now on.

    As a side note, Pat McEnroe wondered why the French fans are so hostile towards Nadal.

    Well, maybe they know something you don’t, PMac. Maybe they know something you don’t.

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    neil Reply:

    Back in ’05 the French Davis Cup captain Guy Forget said of Nadal when he appeared in Paris, that ‘our sport doesn’t need players with construction worker arms’. I didn’t get it then – I thought it was prejudice – but now I think I understand what he was telling us.

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    Bal Reply:

    A Spanish journeyman player ranked 48 in the world could push Nadal harder (in the first week) than Soderling, one of the biggest hitters in the top ten? (in the 2nd week).
    Steve, your earlier prediction / words of wisdom is spot on.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well i dont know if all that doping is true. Anyway i still believe Djokovic is the heavy favorite to beat him.

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    Bal Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,
    I remember Steve telling earlier in some of his blogs that Nadal would get better and better during 2nd week of Slam play. I think he is proved right. The Nadal in the Soderling match was just like 2008. Soderling, I think had to hit 3 or 4 winners just to win a point on hos serve. I think all the Nadal camp were putting sorry faces in the earlier rounds of play may be to just take players off-guard. We all know, come 2nd week of slam, he is a different player. I will stand corrected only if Nadal loses to Murray, while playing like in the 1st or 2nd round. This level of play is just unimaginable and seems inhuman. I think Soderling got frustrated more than anything else. Sure winners against anybody else, were getting continuously returned with interest. He was playing good during the later half of the 1st set and also broke Nadal. I still cannot comprehend how Nadal can hit winners with so much power from so far back in the court. So, now what can we conclude about his earlier round performances?

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    Aravind Reply:

    The wind played a big factor in the Nadal Soderling match. For the first set, Soda had absolutely no feel for the ball. He started very poorly in both sets, spraying the ball around and paid the price. Contrary to what the score says, Nadal actually played a very poor match. He was pushing for majority of the match. It is a different case that he did not have to do anything more. He started playing aggressively only late in the 3rd set when the result was a formality. In short, this was a bad match by Nadal, but on this day only one person turned up for the match and it was not Soderling!

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  15. Ru-an, as I predicted, Soderling got schooled. And Nadal is mysteriously back to full power, scurrying to retrieve every ball and nailing topspin forehands even from way back where the fans are sitting.

    Apparently, one round does indeed make the difference between mortal Nadal and Super Nadal.

    As I said: don’t be fooled by his malingering, don’t fall into the trap that he suckers everyone into. That he looks vulnerable is completely meaningless. Only if he loses three sets in the same match is the result meaningful.

    Nadal is a cold winning machine who plays at being vulnerable in order to fool people that he’s human. This description of the Terminator is entirely apt.

    Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

    He ain’t gonna stop, unless he’s beaten by superior force or guile. Whatever his fans may burble about his being an endearing, goofy naif, I see only a machine.

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    neil Reply:

    I would agree his game isn’t ‘natural’.

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    jim Reply:

    agreed. Still, with the djoker now juiced as well, he’s met his match. Nole is a better tennis player than Nadal and sans gluten (chortle) he can get to every ball just as well.

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    neil Reply:

    The stats say Nadal hit 3(!!) unforced errors in the last set. The set was 74 minutes long. Whew. Think about it. I gotta agree with Steve – that’s inhuman. I hope Djoko’s new ‘diet’ is working – he’s gonna need something. (Sorry, Rog – your diet obviously doesn’t work so well as these guys.)

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    Bal Reply:

    Ha ha! Nice comments neil.
    God save Federer and tennis

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well done. I always fail in predicting Nadal, because he like you say he isnt human. More than ever i want Djokovic to destroy him. Even machines break down, and when they do its normally all over for them.

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    Babel Reply:

    I second that. Nadal was at his pushing best today and Soderling, though he hit him off the court on quite a few occasions in that last set, wasn’t able to mount a sustained challenge. It seems only Djokovic can get the job done against him. Now I wanna see Rafa BURN!
    Ruan, maybe if you don’t make a prediction for his semi-final, we could have a different result. At this stage I’m ready to try anything! ;-)

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    neil Reply:

    Ruan, the reason you ‘always fail in predicting Nadal’ is because you base your predictions, quite reasonably, on how well he seems to be playing. But unlike most other top players, Nadal’s form has little to do with timing, technique, feel, or even confidence – all of which can help in predicting performance. Nadal’s form is very much based on his strength. And that’s about it. His game, as such, doesn’t really change. But when his strength is up, so is the rest of his game. And he can seemingly ‘up’ that at will as a tournament progresses into its latter stages. Did you know that he increased his groundstroke power by 10kph in 2 days in Rome, despite coming off a ‘virus’. You can’t predict that. Some of the winners he hit today, from out of the court and falling back off the shot, were nothing short of ridiculous.

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    Babel Reply:

    Spot on! If you look at videos of his matches from late 2009 (when he was supposed to be out of sorts), you’ll notice that he played just like he always does – only with a little less power and a step or two slower.

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    Bal Reply:

    Well Ru-an,
    I hope your wish comes true.
    I think it would not be incorrect to say that yesterday’s match was Nadal’s best in the 2011 clay season. The level of play yesterday was ridiculous and at time inhuman (reasons I hear being similar across many forums). So, without going into the modalites of his “DIET” even as an ardent fan of Fed, for the firts time, I might think of rooting for Djoko to win against Fed, so that Nadal’s streak at No.1 ends (albeit for a short period of time) and also as you said he is the best bet for beat Nadal at his own game. Also, Djoko is a shrewd player in that de goes not pull the trigger too early, like Soderling tried to do yesterday (and many times Fed too in the earlier years). He waits patiently for Nadal and with his BH in the shape it is, he is best equipped to handle anything thrown at him. I also give chances for Murray in that his stamina is very good, if not equal to Nadal and God, he does have a wonderful powerful DH BH, but other parts of his game may not be as consistent as Djoko. We dont know how long Djoko can sustain his level of play in the coming matches.
    Nadal will have to either find his best form or hope for a dip in Djokovic’s level if he wants to avoid a third straight loss on clay.
    It has been a while since we saw a great RG final.

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    Bal Reply:

    Very aptly put. Great comments.

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  16. Anyone see the Murray match? How’s his form?

    Now I know that as long as we’re in Steve and Neil’s “Nadal’s now in (juiced) second-week form” space, we won’t give Murray much of a chance.
    But recall that he did somehow miraculously give Djokovic his toughest test in the Rome semis.

    (To be clear, I’m not mocking the Steve/Neil line – I think that is exactly the Nadal we saw in Wimby 2010 and the USO 2010: vulnerable, sluggish, shallow-hitting, etc. for the first week (of Wimby) or leading up to the tournament (USO), then all of a sudden bouncing around hitting everything hard, high and deep.)

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    neil Reply:

    Nelson, I think it will be incredibly hard for anyone to here on in even get a set off Nadal. It’s looking more and more like 2010 again, or even ’08. Opponents could well be measuring their success in games.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lets not go overboard cos Nadal had one good match. Djokovic still straight setted him into clay finals and won the last four finals against him. Djokovic is the clear favorite to destroy Nadal and send him into retirement.

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    Babel Reply:

    Second-week-Nadal is a completely different beast over five sets, as we’ve come to discover over the years. I hope you’re right.

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  17. Agree, with Ruan. Let’s not go overboard. Soderling had an absurd number of UEs. Djokovic won’t. Nadal played well, but it certainly wasn’t anything amazing. Soderling self-destructed as much as Nadal beat him. That third set was easily winnable for him. He double faults in the tie-break, giving his mini-break right back. Mentally he doesn’t have it. Yes, Nadal retrieved every shot. So will Djokovic and he doesn’t miss. I actually think Fed has a much better chance of beating Nole than Nadal does at the same time Fed has less likely chance of beating Nadal than Nole does. Each of the top three match up differently against each other. Still Nole is probably the fave to beat Fed, but I think it will be much closer than people expect and am always pulling for RF. Federer is much tougher to beat in Grand Slams than other tournaments, even at 29 years old and even against juiced opponents.

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    Nelson Goodman Reply:

    I’ve gotta admit that I feel the exact opposite as Jim and Ru-an now – namely, I am going overboard in the other direction, beginning to think that second-week Rafa is truly a different beast again. Anyone see his post-match presser? He looked to me very much the old Rafa, exuding confidence with the aw-shucks humble approach like in the past, as opposed to earlier in the tournament where he was keen to assert his accomplishments to compensate for a lack of confidence.

    All of which makes me pause a little about the posture I’ve been taking: rooting unabashedly for Fed against Djokovic. Of course, I can’t not root for Fed but it feels a little more mixed than before.

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    Dippy Reply:

    Its going to be a hard semis to watch trow. Heart roots for Roger but mind think Djoker will have a higher % to beat Nadal on Sunday. IMHO its critical to see who starts Semis first, I suspect Nadal/Mugray will be 2nd match though I prefer that they start first.

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    Babel Reply:

    Well, Murray only has a chance if:
    1) he mercilessly attacks Nadal’s serve. Against Soderling, Nadal sent down 77% of his first serves, but he won only 64% of those points, meaning that his serve at the moment has none of its USO ’10 potency. Roger demonstrated to good effect in the World Tour Finals last year that if you attack Nadal’s second serve, he gets more and more conservative on his first serve, which in turn allows you to put greater pressure on him in his service games. Roger made a few errors initially, but his belligerence paid off in the end.

    2) his forehand and first serve work.

    3) he plays aggressively over long periods in the match. Fortunately, because of his injury, he’s been doing just that.

    4) he pounds Nadal’s backhand. It’s been looking vulnerable all tournament – reason enough to have a go at it.

    5) he keeps his head (obviously) and plays a clean match. If he’s going to make as many errors as he’s made in the previous two rounds, he might as well not show up.

    Basically JesusAndy would have to show up if Nadal is to be beaten before the final. I now feel really stupid having written this! :-)

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    Aravind Reply:

    The wind totally Sc@#$@ up things for Robin. He served very very poorly. When Big RObin can’t serve, the rest of his game falls apart. Conditions did not favor his game(he is quite limited when his big weapons are neutralized)

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    Babel Reply:

    Absolutely. Even for Federer, albeit to a lesser degree, the serve is crucial these days. If he serves well, he’s almost certain to pull through. If he doesn’t, it’s always a struggle.

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  18. This doping thing is becoming a joke which is no longer tolerable. I bet everyone knows the Toxic Twins dope, yet they keep shut because they feel such accusations can destroy their reputation.

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  19. Some interesting figures from yesterday’s semis:

    Over 3 sets, Murray hit 59 winners to Chela’s 27. Clearly Murray was playing more aggressive tennis than his opponent. Also over 3 sets, in his semi Nadal hit 24 winners (that’s less than half of Murray’s total) against Soderling’s 32 – the Swede might have hit more winners against anyone else but he couldn’t find a way through Nadal. The Spaniard also hit only 13 unforced errors. Over 3 sets that’s incredible. But it also tends to show what pro tennis has come to: the world’s ‘best’ player is ultimately little more than a running retrieving ‘ball machine’, who frustrates his opponents into error, while hitting fewer winners than they do. How this formula can be successful in an era of big hitters using modern racquets and strings is the 64 million dollar question.

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    Aravind Reply:

    It was a painful match for the viewers to see. Nadal was pushing for a majority of the match. Soderling could not keep the ball in court for majority of the match. If this is the state of tennis, people will stop following the game

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  20. Sample this:
    Nadal hit 13 of his 24 winners in the final set, meaning that in over 80 minutes of tennis in the first two sets (where he was ‘dominating’), he hit only 11.

    Murray didn’t exactly play a clean match (exactly what you need to do against Nadal), which doesn’t say much about his chances. I only hope that he manages to play his best tennis on Saturday, so that he can at least run Toxic Twin # 1 close.

    And Ruan, is a semi-final preview coming up?

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  21. Hi Ru-an,
    Interesting fact in case Djoko beats Fed in the S/F.
    He would be the first player to rack up 10 wins against both Fed and Nadal. Wow. What a neat stat? A guy having 10 wins against the mighty Fed and Rafa.

    [Reply]

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