Hi there. This may have been the fist full match of Roger I’ve watched in a year. It’s been a busy time for me to say the least. Roger was ok in this match, and it is too early too draw any serious conclusions. He comes off the back of a straight set loss to Tsonga, who lost in straight sets to Ferrer, who lost in straight sets to Nadal. It’s tough to have a lot of confidence after that, but like I said Roger is not targeting the French any more, and this is a new surface and a new beginning. This was the first time I saw Stebe play and he looks like a pretty talented player. He is a 22-year old lefty ranked 166 in the world. He seems to be pretty good in all areas of the game but doesn’t have any huge weapon like a big serve. Roger got the the early break and a second break to take a 5-1 lead. Stebe then held serve and at 5-2 Roger failed to serve out the set.
This showed a lack of confidence. But we have seen Roger fail to serve out sets for some time now. At least he broke Stebe in the next game to win the first set, so we will give him the benefit of the doubt. In the second set Roger got the break early on again but Stebe was playing better. At 4-1 Roger had a break point and I was hoping for a bread stick, but Stebe came up with an ace. Roger then set up another break point with a nice forehand winner, and this time Stebe saved the break point after a big serve and an attacking forehand. At 5-2 and 30-15 on Stebe’s serve Roger had another chance to put pressure on the Stebe serve, but he missed his favorite inside out forehand. Then on match point at 5-3 and 40-30 Roger served a double fault. On the next point Roger missed a regulation forehand down the line and Stebe had a break back point.
Don’t be mad at me, but I was almost hoping Stebe would break so that I could see more tennis. However Roger came up with a first serve which Stebe missed into the chair next to the net, almost decapitating the ball boy in the process. Two points later Roger finally took advantage of his match point. So in the end there was much room for improvement, but at least Roger got it done without any drama. It was anything but a sharp performance. Had he served out the first set at 5-2 and made the forehand at 5-2 in the second set the score would have been 6-2, 6-2. But like I said at least there was no drama and a win is a win. Roger will now play against Zverev who he played once before in Rome in 2009 and defeated 7-6(3), 6-2. The draw has worked out well for Roger because Janowicz could have been a dangerous opponent.
Roger has some more time now to build his confidence against a player that doesn’t hold a serious threat to him. Zverev is a decent serve-and-volley player but doesn’t have a big game like Janowicz. It should be another nice match for Roger to get some court time and work on all his shots. I’d like to see an improvement from his first round. He needs to be sharper and win the match as easily as he can. No more donations and freebies. I have already said that winning Halle is important for Roger’s chances at Wimbledon and the rest of the season. It will just take some pressure off him to win that first title of the season and give him that winning feeling back. Monfils also won his second round match today and tomorrow we will find out whether Gulbis or Haas joins him in the quarters. Youzhny beat Nishikori today and I won’t be surprised if he makes the final.
Finally Gasquet will be in action tomorrow as well against Melzer. Roger will be in action again Friday. Looking forward!