Indian Wells Rd 3: Federer def Raonic 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4

Unfortunately I couldn’t watch this match. The times are really awkward for me where I live in South Africa. But I was pleased with the result upon awakening. The highlights looked good too. It went pretty much as expected. If Roger lost a set it was always gonna be in a tie break. Since it was their first meeting Roger needed a set to get a read on the Raonic serve. I guess at this point it looked like an upset was in the making, but Roger quickly nullified such notions as he broke Raonic twice to win the second set. From there on he had to be the favorite to win, and proceeded to break Raonic in the seventh game after a short slice return off a Raonic first serve and a decisive backhand pass up the line. Roger let rip with a loud ‘COME OOOON!!’ while he pumped his fist and never looked back thereafter.

This was pretty much a serving contest. Raonic has a huge serve, one of the best I’ve ever seen, but Roger’s placement and variation is incredible as well. Raonic only served two more aces than Roger and surprisingly both served six double faults. That is a lot for Roger especially. Other than that his stats were pretty much spotless. The first serve points won was much higher than Raonic and the 3/4 break point conversions is a sign of Roger’s confidence and clutchness at the moment.Apparently there were some calls which Raonic should have challenged during the last game, although I doubt it would have made a difference. As far as the illness goes Roger still sounded under the weather in his interview after the match, but obviously it had no effect on his play.

He now plays Bellucci who had a walkover against Davydenko. They have never played before either. Bellucci is a pretty solid left-handed base liner, but I can’t see him bothering Roger much. It looks like Roger is on course for yet another meeting with Del Potro in the quarters. Why does Roger keep playing the same players? First it was Tsonga, now Del Potro. Either way I am still very happy with Roger’s form in 2012. It really looks like a different Roger. The last two years haven’t been that great by his own high standards and it looks like he has found another gear. If he makes the semis and faces Nadal it is not a given that Nadal will once again be the winner either. The fact that Roger criticized Nadal for time wasting doesn’t mean he will now beat Nadal, but at least it makes things a bit more interesting.

It seems Roger is feeling confident and that he is hungry for a win over Nadal. Still a long way to go though.

Highlights:

Interview: 

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17 Comments

  1. You are totally right about that ‘another gear’. It’s quite amazing. A year ago he just gave up matches and seemed to have lost his fire. He looks so different now. He doesn’t give up, he fights, he puts extra effort in defense… He’s all business. Where does he find the motivation???

    However, he played a lot of matches lately (+exhibition) and I would be surprised if he gets by DelPo this time. He seems tired and still sick to me. It won’t be that bad to rest a bit before Miami.

    I like Raonic. Very mature, very composed. No theatrical fist pumps, grunting and shirt tearing.

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    TD Reply:

    *I meant: I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get by DelPo this time.

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  2. Hello!

    I do agree that Roger is playing with that extra motivation. Nevertheless, if you think about it, he’ll need to push even more to give himself a chance. He has like SF in IW, Miami and Madrid to defend… If he can somehow make it one better or even win here, then I’m gonna start believing really that he can get back to number 1. He is a very solid number 3 right now but he needs to get past Nadal and Djokovic. I know he is aching right now. But today should be relatively easy and then he’ll have the QFs either tomorrow or on Friday. Either way, he’ll have a day of rest either before the QF or after it. He needs to push it now. He knows what’s at stake and doing good in these tournaments is what will let him carry the momentum into May and beyond. He’s played a lot of matches. But all he needs to just give it all now. He’ll have a month off – even 5 weeks off after Miami until Madrid. So right now he needs to push… then the rest will be well deserved. Go Roger!!

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  3. Wow!!!!! Another gutsy victory today! Roger has balls Ru-an! Please don’t question that!!! These last two matches remind me of French Open 09. Roger is sick and physically clearly not 100% but he is fighting against these youngsters!!! He’ll rest tomorrow and then push to beat DelPo, Nadal and Joker!!! Go Roger!!! Two straight wins from behind!!! Wow!

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    veronica Reply:

    Yes, wow, wow, wow, Vily! Fed is a different animal this year. In all his matches this year (maybe excepting AO semi), there was so much more common’s/fist pumps, clutch serving (9th game in 3rd set, 4 in a row first serves to blow away Belucci’s chance of breaking him), break point conversion rates have gone, healthy ratio of winners/ue, plus he is thinking again, playing intelligently with no lapses of concentration; stays calm in the face of adversity (as opposed to passive) AND to top it all off, in IW, he is definitely sick but kept pushing himself and willing himself to win. He’s got balls afterall!! Ha! Ha! He is ALL about winning again – the old Roger is back, folks!! Coming from a set down for both the Raonic and Belucci’s matches says a lot. And breaking straightaway in 2nd set – WOW! I really thought both times it was over for him when he lost the first set. With this new attitude and form, for the first time since many years, I can confidently say he can beat both Nadal and Djoko. The only concern and the most unfortunate thing now is he is still sick and every match is sapping his energy. Add to this, he’s got such a tough draw (Nadal’s and Djoko’s are a joke. Plus Murray and Tsonga, the 2 most likely to beat the top two have lost. Sigh! Tennis Gods, when does Fed get a break?!! And I can already see Nadal and Djoko gleefuly preparing themselves to take full advantage of Roger’s sickness to make it an all physical game. I’m very frustrated with this sickness because form-wise and mental-wise, Fed is in the best position to give Nadal and Djoko a run for their money. Let’s all pray and hope that Fed recovers very quickly. And I hope the virus makes its trip successfully to Nadal’s and Djoko’s stomachs.

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    Jiten Reply:

    And what about Fed2012’s defense? The point which actually won him in the second set at set point was just amazing. It was indeed unFedererlike. Earlier he would not have even cared to dive for reaching such balls; it would have been back to dues, game Mr. Bellucci and then he would have to serve out the set giving the opponent the chance to serve first in the deciding third set. But post AO 2012, one could see a totally different Fed. He seems to have now understood the importance of giving that 5% extra during those clutch moments which can win him matches from losing position.

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    veronica Reply:

    Jiten, yes, how could I not mention the defence! Thanks for bringing it up! I was literally jumping and screaming from my seat when he lobbed that winner in the 2nd set. As you said, so “unfedererlike”. In the past, he would have not run after it, not even given it a second look. Yes, he finally understood that extra 5%! Sure took him a long time, eh?!! Ha! Boy! I don’t remember ever being this excited about tennis before in my life! It’s like witnessing the resurrection of Roger Federer from the dead! Everything which I could only dream he would do/overcome is happening right before my eyes and I still can’t believe it’s happening! When he won AO2010 and when he came back with a vengeance at the end of 2010, I wasn’t totally convinced that he has really confronted himself but this year, I am convinced. Roger says this kind of win where he has to fight when he is not at his best feels better than easy wins. Well said, Roger, well said! NOW, go and kick the bull’s ass and let us know how GOOD that will feel, eh?!!!

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    Vily Reply:

    Veronica, you are so right about how gleeful Djokovic and Nadal are about the prospects of Fed going out! They are scared!! Especially Djokovic! He knows that ReVenge is On the plate! And Fed will not stop until he meets him and gives he a good beating for what he did to him at the US Open. So far he’s been saved by Nadal…. Will see what happens here!!! Btw very tight match between Istomin and Delpo!

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  4. I was lucky enough to be at his 1st 2 matches & even though not 100% and fighting that flu, he played very well. So much more impressive in person! Raonic’s 140+ serves were barely seen and Roger took a set to figure it out, I think it was more about him not feeling well & somewhat weaker as we have seen him return these power serves this year. Bravo for giving it all on both days as well as today. Clearly his interview with Justin G. after today’s match showed how thrilled he was to get through, admitted he’s been sick and sounded it but had a genuine smile on his face about moving on! His coming back from losing a set yesterday and today and w/o his usual boundless energy says a lot for his tenacity to stay with it and win. Bravo Roger; we are all here sending positive energy to keep going and win this tournament again!

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  5. Ru-an and everyone, I want to say also that my admiration and R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Roger have just multiplied a hundredfold. Seeing how he plays through his sickness, how he handles himself, the press, his family and everything on and off court not being 100% fit is just pure class and unprecendented by any sports player past or present. And through the slump years how he comes back from defeat after defeat, disappointment after disappointment, without bitterness, and always looking fresh, relaxed and thoroughly enjoying his game. I am truly touched, humbled and inspired. What a privilege to be a Fed fan and what an honour to witness this era in tennis history. Sheesh! I’m almost in tears! Love the man.

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  6. Wasn’t able to see the Raonic match (I was optimistic in thinking it would be straight sets and no tiebreaks) but I saw the Bellucci encounter in its entirety and was nervous the whole way through. He clearly wasn’t at his best in the first set but pulled it together for the second and third. Bellucci reminds me a bit of a young Davydenko the way he was pummeling the ball, very aggressive.

    Federer came up with the quality serves when he needed them and that got him through the third set until he could put Bellucci under pressure during the last game.

    It’s fantastic to see him showing the fight and heart to scrape out the W when he’s not playing his top tennis. The desire is back, not only desire to win the title but to get another shot at Nadal and Djokovic. He’s worked so hard over the last six months to put himself in this position and I hope he can break through this time.

    Thankfully he has a day to rest before the QFs. I hope he can shake off the bug and find inspiration against Del Potro/Nadal/the world #1. Nothing less than God-mode Federer will do for these opponents. Fortunately he’s familiar with their games and what he has to do against them, the question is execution.

    C’mon Roger!!!!!

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    Vily Reply:

    I couldn’t agree more. With the day of rest he can reset and get ready! Plus at the end interview he looked really happy and confident to at least make the semis. We’ll go match by match to push him over the finish line! I can’t believe the redicilous joke draws of Nadal and Djokovic. Plus Nadal thinks he is do cool with those easy wins. But you know what. Federer is coming. With each tough win he is getting stronger mentally and he won’t let this opportunity pass up. Everyone knows the importance of Indian Wells. It’s the turning point. Federer has to win here! Let’s double down on him! Lol! Go Roger!!!!!!!!! :-) )))

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  7. Don`t get too excited folks Rogers form has not been an indicator he can beet Nadal besides for WTF where he`s clearly better and Nadal was tired this year (not the he would have had better chance :-)
    Still amazes me how Nadal manages to escape encounters with the players he is could struggle with like Del Potro (now all healthy), Davidenko, Raonic,Isner (since last RG)to name a few?he always gets all unknown top10000 players, Spanish davis cup mates and his pigeons Murray (many times beaten in early rounds), Soderling (never been the same since 2009RG)..he struggles even with Berdych and rarely get him in the draw.
    As we said earlier nothing counts until he meets Nadal not Jokovic. Up until know is still well spread that h2h is skewed because of the number of clay court matches but very soon will be on wikipedia and encyclopedias as a player who couldn`t figure out how to beat his main rival for 4+ years ahead and every analyses will state he was mentally too weak for a GOAT.
    He shows no doubt all signs he has a fighter spirit but he needs to prove it against Nadal no one else – no Djokovich to whom he donates US titles 2 years in a row.
    Lets stay just positive and that`s it.
    Go FED!!!

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    veronica Reply:

    I get what you mean, Stoyan, about not being overly excited because it still doesn’t mean much until he meets Nadal and Djoko. But he is doing all the right things in the process before he meets them. I’m absolutely thrilled with the great changes/progress that look to be concretely happening with Fed lately and I can’t help it but feel great excitement. It’s more about being excited about the changes rather than winning per se. In all honesty, I don’t think he would be able to beat Nadal/Djoko, maybe not even Delpo in this tournament with his health right now; but I am very excited that he is playing like he has had enough of losing (finally!)and is seriously getting back into winning ways again. In this kind of mood, I believe he is finally on the right track to figuring out his nemesis. This deserves nothing less than thrilling excitement. As Steve said, he’s worked so hard to put himself in this position, I can’t help but feel excitement for him and hopes he can break through this time. Anyway, as Vily said, let’s double down for him!! Common Fed!!!

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  8. Well,today Roger was not able to keep his intensity like the raonic match and it cost him the first set.BUt credit for him for hanging out and winning the match.Earlier he would probably not have bothered too much about running from sided to side like that point on 2nd set set point.But this shows that even under the weather,Roger knows the importance of staying there in these kind of rallies.For me,form is very much there with him,but its the illness that is misleading us into believing that he may not be able to get past Delpo/Nadal/Djokovic in the upcoming matches.I think he was very happy with himself for having won in such a manner and confidence is what you need when you play Nadal,etc.So I think playing a lefty before Nadal and that too coming back from behind to win will boost Roger’s confidence sky high and and I hope he will recover fully tomorrow and give Delpo a sound beating.Hoping for title #73 this week Maestro.

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  9. im lost for words and its not often when that happens – @veronica’s “And I hope the virus makes its trip successfully to Nadal’s and Djoko’s stomachs”. serious??

    @Ruan, so u r writing from SA? now i understand your royalty to Roger. makes sense i quess.

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    veronica Reply:

    Very sorry, Emy. It’s meant to be light-hearted. Still, I take it back. It’s uncalled for and certainly not in good taste at all. Hope you are not lost for words anymore!

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