Ok guys this might be my last post before I leave for the US, so I will try to fit in as much as possible. Again I didn’t see all of this match due to my sports channel. I think they started broadcasting in the second set. I thought this would be a straight set win but Mahut was playing well out there for a serve-and-volley player. He broke Roger at 5-4 in the second set to win the set. Roger broke twice in the third set to go a set up once more. Roger then went a break up in the fourth set as well but Mahut broke back. It was getting pretty close, but I never had the feeling that Roger would lose the fourth set. He then broke serve at 5-5 and held on to move into the fourth round. Fedfans got nervous when things got close in the fourth set, but like I said I never had the feeling that it was close.
This was the second time that Roger lost a set now, against an opponent that wasn’t expected to take a set off him. And of course several Fedfans are now convinced that Roger is either injured or that he is back to 2.0 level. I mean if you are Roger you just can’t win with your fans. They expect him to win every match he ever plays and comfortably so, or it is all doom and gloom. I feel sorry for Roger in that sense. I mean he has the easiest first four rounds of the top four players, and it must be hard to stay motivated. But other than that Ungur and Mahut actually played very well by their own standards. The match stats for Roger was actually not bad at all. His winners easily outnumbered his unforced errors by 54-25.
His first serve percentage was also good at 58%. This is why I say he can’t win with his fans. I mean it’s only the third round and he is playing a guy he is supposed to beat easily. Does people want him to peak in the third round already? Surely he has to pace himself. I’m actually glad Ungur and Mahut played so well, or else Roger would go into a possible quarterfinal with Berdych without having been tested at all. And that can really cause a quarterfinal exit. We don’t want that. It is already a difficult situation with Berdych as he had a fifth set scare against Anderson in his last round, just like he had in the third round against Istomin at Wimbledon 2010. And we all know what happened in the quarter finals that year.
So a quarter final with Berdych won’t be an easy match for Roger. Berdych has to get through Del Potro first however, while Roger now faces a 21-year old lucky loser called Goffin. The difference in strength of opponents between Roger and Berdych are immense. Roger needs to beat Goffin as easily as possible, and hope that Del Potro and Berdych plays a long match. Berdych has played a lot of tennis of late. He played the World Team Cup the week before the French and now he had a long five setter. Another five setter against Del Potro will surely tire him. But Del Potro could win too, which would be a slightly better opponent for Roger. Berdych is just so dangerous, especially when he plays against Roger. He always seems to be in the zone against Roger.
The claims that Roger is not at 3.0 level anymore is of course ludicrous. It never ceases to amaze me how easily Fedfans lose faith. I feel sometimes that Roger deserves better fans. I mean he couldn’t have had a better year so far at age 30. It has been a revelation. Yet when he loses one match against a Roddick who was on fire, on a surface that doesn’t suit him, together with a semi-final loss in Rome when he would have been even more tired, and the a couple of matches at the French where he loses a set against players who are playing above themselves, he is suddenly a failure. It’s pathetic to see this attitude from fans. This is not the definition of a fan. They have a name for it. It’s called glory hunting and it ain’t pretty.
There is absolutely no reason at this point to believe Roger is back to 2.o level. I think I’ve said before the tournament even started that the French Open are the least important of all the big tournament coming up. After it there is still Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the US Open, which are all more favorable conditions for Roger to win in. There is even more tennis to be played than usual with the Olympics this year. Is it really a smart move to go all out on the most brutal surface of all with all those events coming up? Isn’t that what he did last year? And what happened then? He had to skip Halle and he lost in the quarters of Wimbledon. When Roger plays a tournament he wants to win it. Knowing that Nadal will probably be waiting in the final again, how motivated would he be for the French Open again?
Lat year he was in JesusFed mode throughout the tournament and still could not beat Nadal. He gave it it his very best shot and it wasn’t enough. Do you really think he should put in all that mental and physical effort again when he has already completed the career slam? I don’t. I think he should keep winning and try to make the semis. If Nadal somehow miraculously loses before the semis, he still has a good shot at the title. But if he knows he is facing Nadal in the final again I am not saying he should tank, but I think he will be slightly less motivated. Yes, beating Djokovic would give him confidence and he would defend his final points from last year. Beating Djokovic is not a bad thing at all. Roger should definitely try to win. I’m just saying if he does not then it’s not the end of the world.
Getting past the quarterfinals will already give him some confidence. Losing in the semis would ensure that he can play Halle, which he had to skip last year due to making the French Open final. No matter what happens at the French, Roger can’t be seeded second at Wimbledon anyway, since they do their own seedings. After Wimbledon he will have a great chance of being #2, since he has lots of points to gain at Halle, Wimbledon, Toronto, and Cincy. He could easily be second seed going into the US Open, which could mean that Nadal and Djokovic have to play in the semis. Nadal is less of a factor on hard courts anyway. So the US Open may just be his best chance for a slam this year. Winning Wimbledon is obviously the ideal, but if Nadal wins the French he will have huge confidence there as usual.
A final at Wimbledon would already gain Roger a lot of points. I am looking far ahead now but I am trying to put the French Open in perspective. I’m not writing it off, but you just can’t ignore the Nadal factor on clay. For Roger to know that he has lost five times to Nadal in Paris without ever taking him to five sets, must play on his mind. This is possibly why you haven’t been very impressed with Roger so far. He doesn’t really look into this. I think he is basically just hanging around to see what happens. You never know if Nadal might get upset, even though the chances are 0.000001%. Come semi-final time he will have a better idea of what is going on. I don’t think losing in the semis is a disaster like many Fedfans do, for the reasons I outlined above.
And no, it doesn’t mean he is back to 2.0 level if he does. Well I have said about all I wanted to say. We will just have to see how it plays out. I will try to fit in another post tomorrow after Roger’s match, but I can’t promise anything as I leave Monday morning. If I don’t speak to you again I will do so from the US, but it could take a while as I have to buy a new laptop first and will be very busy.