Indian Wells Draw – Federer/Seppi Rematch Possible in Third Round




http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2015/404/mds.pdf

Hi folks. It’s good to be back in South Africa after a stressful time in Thailand. And of course it is time for one of the big tournaments of the year in Indian Wells. The draw is out and the first thing I was looking for was in whose half Nadal is, and he is in Roger’s half as I hoped for. But there is a long way to go before a Fedal semi-final becomes possible. Both Roger and Nadal have some very difficult opponents to deal with before the semis. Roger’s road to the title is Janowicz, Seppi, Mayer/Bautista Agut, Wawrinka/Berdych, Nadal/Raonic, Djokovic. The first three matches are OK but then it gets tough. Janowicz can potentially be a tricky first round with his big game as well. Then Roger is likely to meet Seppi who of course he lost to in Melbourne.

So there will be a good chance for revenge. If Roger passes that test then he will play Mayer or Bautista Agut who are good players in their own right. There are really no easy matches in these Masters events which is why I said I would get excited if Roger wins it. Last year Roger lost to Djokovic in a third set tie break and came ever so close to winning a fifth Indian Wells title. But judging from Dubai at least Roger is in better form this year. He defeated Djokovic in straight sets in the final there as opposed to needing three sets to do so last year, and he just looked slightly sharper overall. So judging from Dubai Roger could well go a step further this year and win Indian Wells. A fifth Indian Wells title would be another terrific achievement by this phenomenal player, but of course there is a long way to go.

Even if Roger makes it to the final and faces Djokovic there again then the courts are more favorable for Djokovic in Indian Wells and he will be very hungry to avenge the Dubai loss. But for that to happen Roger have two more very difficult matches to get through against Wawrinka or Berdych and Nadal or Raonic, or even Dimitrov. Speaking of Dimitrov Roger played an exho against him yesterday in New York which again I’m not so sure if it was a good idea. Roger loves tennis and to do trick shots so I’m sure he enjoys these matches, but it is quite a way to travel from the Californian desert and he also lost to Dimitrov. It is just an exho but it gives Dimitrov his first win over Roger so he gets a taste of what it is like.

Now he will feel more confident about his chances the next time they meet. There was also the excuse after Roger lost in the third round in Melbourne that he was tired, and if that is true then all the exhos he played would not have helped in that regard. I don’t think Roger was tired but personally I couldn’t care less about exhos. I have never watched them and I’m not sure why Roger is playing so many of them. Maybe he is just following Edberg’s advice and trying to stay match fit, but then I don’t see what good it would do to lose to Dimitrov. Anyway it’s his business and I doubt it will affect his performance in Indian Wells negatively. We will see. To get back to quarters and semis, if Roger gets that far we all know the danger Stan or Berdych can pose.

Raonic probably won’t be too much of a threat on these courts but Nadal certainly could be. Nadal comes off the title in Buenos Aires but this is hard court and he still has some way to go before he hits top form, if he ever will again. His draw looks pretty favorable to make quarters at least but Dimitrov or Raonic won’t be an easy opponent for him. I hope he makes semis though because you’d like Roger’s chances at this point. And it’s been too long since we’ve had a Fedal match.  But mostly I am just looking forward to see Roger back in action and to watch the most important Masters event of the year on a stable stream and in a relaxed atmosphere.

How about you?

 

Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.

49 Comments

  1. Statistically 3 things favor Roger at IW this year. Since 2005-06(when Fed won), nobody has defended their IW title. Apparently in the last 3 years the player who won IW had played an exho before that(2012-Federer, 2013-Nadal, 2014-Djokovic). Also in 2012 Fed has lost the exho to Roddick in straights, but won IW title. So the result of the exho shouldn’t imply much I feel. It’s basically for the crowd to witness some trick shots and get their money’s worth. So choosing Fed vs Dimitrov was the best crowd puller.
    We have been waiting so long for a Fedal match to happen when Roger is in good form, and this maybe the best opportunity for this season for that to happen. So I really hope it does happen this time.

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  2. Hey Ruan, are you back in SA for holiday or have you finished your teaching course in Thailand? Seems like you had to suffer with the atrocious internet in Thailand, having missed many matches.

    Really looking forward to a Fedal rematch, hopefully a masterclass repeat like it was in 2012 and another blockbuster with Djokovic in the final! Will be interesting how he plays here considering the contrast in court speeds. Will he continue to attack and rush to the net? Or try and dominate at the baseline rallies?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I have finished teaching in Thailand but I may teach somewhere else next Conal. Yeah the internet wasn’t very stable in Thailand, like everything else. Yeah a repeat of 2012 would be just peRFect. And yes Roger will continue to rush the net. That is now his game style and I don’t see him changing it again. The courts may not be as helpful to that style of play in IW as it is in Shanghai or Dubai but it is not like IW is as slow as Miami either. I guess it is kind of medium speed and Roger will continue to serve big, play attacking tennis from the base line, and try to finish the point at the net as often as possible.

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  3. Hi Ru-an, I hope you resolved the problems that were stressing you out. Are you going to stay in SA or try to go abroad again?

    Whenever Federer plays Seppi, he ends up losing the tournament so statistically it wouldn’t be good for him to run into the guy. Although trends are made to be broken, who knows.

    I think the most important takeaway from Dubai was that Federer rebounded in a big way from his early loss to Seppi and recovered his form very quickly. He glided through the draw, dispatching seasoned veterans (and one young hotshot who’d beaten a top five player) with ease, and then putting on a clinic against Djokovic. Djokovic had been unbeaten in four finals so it was huge for Federer to break that streak. It was also important to dent Djokovic’s confidence, which must have been sky-high after pulverizing Murray for his fifth AO title. Had he won Dubai he would have been in pole position to go on another monstrous tear through the spring HC season and do the IW-Miami double again. Now Federer’s halted his momentum somewhat.

    Last year, Federer was still finding his feet with the new racket and it took him until June to win his second title of the year. This year he won his second title before March, he’s won four of the last seven events he played, and hasn’t lost a final since Toronto last year, so he is riding a wave of confidence.

    This tournament is a big one, not just because of the points but also because it sets the tone for the rest of the year. Whenever he plays well at IW, he always has a great season. Even last year when he lost in the final he had an excellent season.

    Looking at the draw, I wouldn’t count out Karlovic if he’s in good form. Big servers can do really well at this tournament, since that the clear desert air and high bounce give them an extra edge. Remember that Karlovic pushed Nadal to a third-set tiebreak here in ’11, and Isner’s brilliant defeat of Djokovic in ’12, also in a third-set tiebreak.

    Starting in 2007, Nadal has made the final of IW in every odd-numbered year, losing only in 2011. If Federer can break that streak, it augurs well for their rivalry going forward. I don’t buy that Nadal is in poor form. This is his favorite hard court, if such a thing exists. He made the semis of IW for eight years in a row before last year, and now he has a tournament win under his belt at last to give him confidence. If he grinds his way to the last four again, watch out. He always plays his best against Federer and Federer has to play his best to stop him.

    Also, Mardy Fish is returning to competitive tennis after taking time off to deal with an anxiety disorder. Like Tommy Haas (also making a comeback), he’s a fun player to watch and a nice guy, so it’s good to see him back.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Steve. Good comment. Yes the win in Dubai was indeed very good in the sense that it helped him to shake the AO loss right off. So as far as I’m concerned he is now right back to where he was pre AO. And like you said breaking the momentum of Djokovic was important before IW too. If they meet again in the final I would like Roger’s chances. And yes you make a good point about Karlovic in the thin desert air. As for Nadal yes it is always a dangerous strategy to write him off. He could go all the way to the semis and I hope he does. As for going abroad again I may but for now I am just happy to be back in SA in one piece.

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  4. Fed says Nadal will beat his slam record-
    http://www.tennisworldusa.org/Roger-Federer-Thinks-Rafael-Nadal-Will-Break-His-Grand-Slam-Record-articolo22863.html.1

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    Ru-an Reply:

    “If he wins two more French Open titles and I don’t manage to win again, Rafael Nadal can easily beat my Grand Slam titles record”

    But two more FO’s in not enough to beat his record? Lol.

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    Nakul Reply:

    Even if he wins 2 more FOs where will the other 2 come from(to reach 18)? I think it’s realistically very difficult at this point. Anyway I feel all these are just mind games. Fed might have started to change his attitude towards Nadal, which is the right thing to do.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think so Nakul Roger is just saying what he thinks here. He probably figures that Nadal can win two more FO’s but like you say where will the rest come from?

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    Joe Reply:

    I’ll bet you’ve seen this article already Nakul, but just in case:

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/happy-birthday-nadal-youre-probably-too-old-to-pass-federer/

    I think it’s an interesting study. But Nadal won another French title after this analysis was published, so it looks very close right now according to the author’s numbers – except that Nadal may be burning out, whereas Roger looks about as strong as ever.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well we know how quickly things can change too Joe. We have seen it many times in the past. Nadal comes from nowhere to dominate the sport and Roger fades into the background. Hopefully that does not happen but Nadal is already on his way back again.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    How about the cover photo though:

    Nadal looks like he feels bad that he schooled Fed at the AO in 2013, but it looks like he’s acting lol.

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    Joe Reply:

    I just hope that Roger will soon get a chance to return the favor! (Sorry Rafa, I just don’t know what happened there….)

    :-)

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    Nakul Reply:

    That’s the exact expression on both their faces after most of their matches Ru-an. Even if Nadal feels bad for Fed, it’s just for a second or two when they shake hands.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah but Nadal’s expression doesn’t look sincere lol. It looks like he’s laughing a little inside, while Roger doesn’t seem to pick up on it.

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    Nakul Reply:

    Actually I hadn’t read that article Joe. Thanks for sharing. Going by those stats one must agree that it’s highly unlikely that Nadal breaks Fed’s record. I feel he’s done winning all slams except maybe FO. This year may be his last chance.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Since when is odds relevant to Nadal lol?

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    Nakul Reply:

    Well let’s just hope that Nadal defies his odds by making the odds relevant to him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I for one am not betting on it. If Roger is not betting on it then no one should.

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    Nakul Reply:

    Yeah not betting on it, just hoping

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  5. I think those words of Roger’s are good words … but I’m not sure he quite said that Nadal would beat his slam record.
    :-)
    To me it sounded like he was saying he would sweat blood to win one more major!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah he didn’t say Nadal will beat his slam record that’s for sure. He said IF Nadal wins two more FO’s he CAN easily beat his slam record. Massive difference right there.

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  6. Nadal last beat a top 10 opponent in June 2014 almost a year ago.

    To me Fed’s comments were a bit of subtle (and good) psyche out for the Nadal team, putting pressure on them to deliver. Nadal is flailing and winning a 250 by beating a 59th ranked player ain’t going to change that. Too early to write him off, for sure, but this time feels different. We shall see. I still think he could benefit from a new coach, just psychologically, but Uncle Toni will not permit it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t see how it is a psyche job Jim. I think you are reading too much into it. It seems more like the opposite, a boost to Nadal to chase him down.

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  7. For your entertainment if you haven’t seen already:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYfnYIKab6s

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I saw it but thanks for posting it again here Joe. Incredible skill and athleticism by these guys. They make it look easy but believe me it is not.

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    Joe Reply:

    Ha! I’ve played enough tennis to know I’d hurt myself trying to do anything like that!

    I’d have to be carried off the tennis court in a stretcher – which I’m sure is extremely embarrassing!

    :-)

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    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    I missed your highlights link until just now! I didn’t see you’d already included the ‘double-tweener’ point, or of course I wouldn’t have done so myself.

    From what I saw (i.e. all your highlights!) I gathered the impression that Roger was feeling really, really good out there. He was practically prancing around the court, flexing his tennis muscles, and making all kinds of great shots. He ‘let’ Dimitrov make some great shots too, in part b/c he wasn’t fully intense and focused (IMHO).

    I think having this exho might have been a mistake, but I really liked what I saw from Roger, who never put the pedal all the way down and still took the second set with ease – and could have done the same in the third, I think.

    He looked really strong physically, and if he can continue to play like that (with an adjustment of intensity when it counts, of course) then I think he will have another great year.

    Thanks very much for sharing these highlights!

    Cheers,
    Joe

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Joe I’m glad you posted the tweener point because then you don’t have to go through the highlights for it. I myself didn’t see the tweener point in the highlights. I saw it on twitter. Personally I didn’t watch the highlights because like I said exhos don’t interest me. I just posted it for other who might be interested. I find it boring and pointless. But that’s just me. So I don’t know much about his game from the exho but I figured that is not a good way to gauge his game anyway. I already know his game is as good as it can be from Dubai. I don’t care about the exho and like I said I don’t think it will affect him negatively.

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    Eric Reply:

    I watched it. For the most part they were just goofing around and showboating but in the last two games Roger was pissed that he lost control and lost the match. He started to get serious but Dimitrov was playing better at that moment. I think nothing much to be taken away from this but a silly thing for Roger to do with an important tournament around the corner. Let’s see how he does as he gets closer to having to play Nadal. That will tell us so much more!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Eric thanks for the summery. Yeah will be interesting to see what happens in IW. Given that it is not a slam I don’t see Fed losing again with the prospect of facing Nadal. At least he has beaten Nadal at IW. They are 1-1 there unlike the AO where he is 0-3 vs Nadal with the beatings getting worse continually. I desperately want them to meet but long way to go. Fed needs a win over Nadal and IW is a good place for it.

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    Eric Reply:

    fyi, it is 90 degrees in Los Angeles today, must be hot as hell in the desert. Dimitrov match today should be fun.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah maybe he can do better than Thiem who has been a big disappointment of late. They are about to begin now.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Your man is a set up and looking good. I think Dimitrov has a great build for tennis btw. Low body fat % and light for his height. Light around the court but still strong.

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    Eric Reply:

    Yeah, he’s perfect. I think he’s 6’3, light, and building muscle. So he can serve and hit hard and still move fast around the court. He played w nice and mature tie break.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    With tennis you don’t need to be big anyway. There is a difference between being big and just strong. You must be strong but not big in tennis, which Dimitrov is. It’s a lot to do with timing and footwork and being big does not help with that. Dimitrov is quite tall too, but he doesn’t have a huge serve like Kyrgios. Again it is about technique and timing.

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    Eric Reply:

    Dimitrov’s serving 70 percent and most of his firsts are in the 130’s mph. That’s big serving in my book.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I didn’t see the stats but I don’t think his serve is huge. There is a difference between big and huge. Kyrgios has a bigger serve.

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    Eric Reply:

    Absolutely. Just saying, pretty damn good server. He seems to just make unforced errors at bad moments. If he can somehow clean that up, he can be so much better. Not sure if it’s nerves or what.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah he is missing something for sure. He is good but not great. Kyrgios is going to be great. You can just sense it. Anyone who can beat Nadal in a slam at age 18 is going to be great anyway.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well what an unfortunate match that turned out to be. Kyrgios injuring himself just as he was about to serve for the match and collapsing afterwards.

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    Eric Reply:

    Yes very unfortunate. What do you mean collapsing after. My network didn’t show that. Scary.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I meant his game collapsed but he also physically collapsed after hitting a fh and twisting his ankle quite badly. Couldn’t move after that. I hate to see a match end like that especially if the guy who got injured had the upper hand.

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  8. http://www.theroar.com.au/2015/03/14/myth-or-man-why-is-rafael-nadal-a-protected-species/

    Hey guys, I saw this article on Roger’s site. Any thoughts?? I think it is a true and fair and honest article. I agree with everything. Maybe not with Rafa being a “one surface wonder”, because he obviously is not that.
    But… honestly… I did not know that Rafa hasn’t beaten a top 10 player since last June. And I DID know that when Roger and Andy were going through that too…

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  9. Thanks for sharing Katanyi,

    This is a very interesting article, and find it hard to disagree with anything in it too.

    On another note, we have someone who’s really smart post a prediction on Ru-an’s web site that Nadal wouldn’t win a slam this year.

    You know what? I agree with that too!
    :-)

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  10. Hey Smart Katanyi,

    Sorry, I mangled up the grammar pretty badly in my last post – too excited, trying to type while watching the end of the Dimitrov-Krygios match, I guess.

    But was that really a double bagel Berdych put on Nadal at AO ’15? I thought he bageled him only once…

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  11. A so-so performance. He served less than 50%, more errors than winners (15 off the backhand I think). On the other hand he was playing well within himself and only showed mild annoyance when he made a mistake. There were moments when he upped the itensity.

    Seppi next though: that cuold be tricky. Over the years Federer tends to get back at people who beat him recently.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah can’t conclude anything from it. We will see what the deal is vs Seppi.

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