JesusFed Owns Berdych, Raonic Upsets Nadal in Indian Wells

Wow. What a day of tennis yesterday was. First an absolute masterclass from JesusFed and and then an epic three setter where Raonic outclutched Nadal. Just fantastic stuff. This is what Masters Series tennis at the highest level is all about. Roger continued on where he left off against Sock in the last round but lifted his level and brushed Birdshit off like he was just nothing, bageling him 6-4, 6-0. It was delicious to see and just showed that any decent version of Roger flat out owns Berdych. Up until 2010 Roger owned Berdych 8-1 after all. It was only when he started losing some speed and his level dropped that Berdych was able to take advantage. But even now at age 33 when Roger is on his game Berdych stands no chance.

Roger came out hitting with just a beautiful rhythm and dropped only one point on his first three service games, while Berdych was struggling to hold serve. So it was with the run of play when Roger broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. When Roger served for the set at 5-4 he went down 0-30 on his serve but then played another one of those exceptional low volleys that left Berdych unable to make the pass, as Roger cut off his backhand at the net with a crisp forehand volley. He then won the next three points to wrap up the first set. But that point at 0-30 pretty much summed up for me what Fed 4.0 is about: a much improved net- and mental game. In the second set the flood gates just opened as Roger continued the master class to bagel Berdych.

Overall Roger just looked very calm out there and completely in the moment, hitting with superb rhythm and basically just doing everything right. The match stats reflect that too. The only thing lacking is a few aces but that is hardly a flaw. Of course Nadal was scheduled to play after Roger so I was feeling very good about Roger’s form before a possible meeting with Nadal. This was the chance he had been waiting for. Now Nadal just had to fulfill his end of the bargain and we would finally have our first Fedal meeting in two years. But as is almost always the case Nadal managed to avoid Roger when he was in as good form as he has ever been. This time however I don’t think Nadal tried to avoid Roger in any way.

I think Raonic was simply to good. Nadal was well on his way to winning the match after all after winning the first set 6-4, and having break points in the second set. But somehow Raonic just managed to hang in there, force the tie break, and outclutched Nadal to take it 12-10. What terrific entertainment that was and I gained a huge amount of respect for Raonic there already. The entire second set Nadal looked like the winner and yet Raonic just refused to accept defeat until he was the won who squared the match at a set all. Just terrific fighting and mental attitude. And he didn’t stop in the third set, even though Nadal was threatening to break again. He just hung tough until he was the one who got the break in the eleventh game and then he held serve for a 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 win.

JesusFed 

It was a terrific scrap and I’m sure will make the top five list or something at the end of the year. Really I gained immense respect for Raonic here and even if Nadal was not in top form(which is debatable), I think Raonic deserves all the credit here. We have seen Nadal in this situation a million times and he comes out the winner 99% of the time. And I don’t believe any talk that he was tired or not moving well. He seemed damn fine to me when he was threatening in the second set to make short work of Raonic, as well as in the beginning of the third set when he was looking like the one who would once again take control. Raonic deserves every bit of credit he can get here. In fact to a large extent Nadal will be happy with his form in this match.

He has improved in leaps and bounds himself since Rio and I can see him being a serious threat in Miami and the clay season again, if not flat out dominant. In the end I am pissed that Nadal once again came up short when there was a chance for Roger to get a much needed win over him, but it is hard to regret a Nadal loss at the same time. And yes Raonic is a slightly easier opponent for Roger given his history with Nadal. So I am not gonna lose sleep over Nadal losing and I am very much looking forward to Raonic playing Roger. I think Roger is in immense form and I clearly like his chances. I like his chances to win the tournament in fact. But first things first. Raonic have shown that he is the real deal…

 

Highlights:

Hot shots:

Above hot shot is clear proof that Nadal was making his usual unreal winners at crucial times. That unbelievable pass gave him the mini break to take a 5-4 lead in the breaker. Two serves for the match and yet Raonic refused to accept defeat. Respect!

Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.

23 Comments

  1. ok, Ruan, let’s revisit your theory about being in someone’s head. Why is it that every time Roger’s game is on his arch rival ( I meant his so-called-“owner”) Nadal loses the match prior to meeting Federer? Was The in form Fed on Nadal’s mind and was Nadal scared?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I thought I already made it clear that Nadal did not try to avoid Roger in any way and that Raonic was just too good? What about that did you not comprehend?

    [Reply]

  2. Right now Nadal seems to be the weaker link in the big 4. But he’s definitely getting back to top form and clay season is not far away. It has also been quite a long the big 4 reached the semis of a same tournament.
    I hope Murray wins his SF against Djokovic. Their rivalry has become similar to Fedal rivalry since the past year or so, with Djokovic dominating most of their matches. But this time Djokovic has spent lesser time on court, and the Tomic withdrawal might affect him. Last year in Dubai SF he has 2 walkovers before SF against Fed which might have also affected his play. So something similar might happen this time against Murray.

    [Reply]

  3. why did Nadal blow those match points then, if he was playing so well and there was no mental issue there? The first and third ones were definitely blown by Nadal, especially the third one. Raonic, had TONS of UEs in the first two sets. The Nadal of old would have swept him aside no problem. Yes Raonic played clutch, but it Murray, Djokovic or Fed would have won that match pretty comfortably I think.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Jim,

    I’ve enjoyed your posts and found a lot in them to agree with.

    Regarding this post though – Are we at the point where we are willing to ascribe every missed ball to an unconscious fear of an opponent we might have to face in the next round?

    Surely we deal with imperfection on the physical level as well as the mental level…

    [Reply]

    jim Reply:

    Yeah truthfully I have no idea, but I do find it odd that he missed 3 match points. Can’t recall him doing that in his prime, but I am sure he probably did somewhere. He was just always so clutch before in those cases and he seems more fragile mentally. Maybe had nothing to do with Fed and maybe it was just fluky but to me it points to a general weakening of his “Superman” aura of invincibility and mental toughness that he built his career around.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I have to agree on all points Jim. It definitely made me wonder when he couldn’t close it out. It may have bothered him a little to come up against a player who had the same resilience he has (or used to have).

    [Reply]

  4. “…but it is hard to regret a Nadal loss at the same time.” AMEN to that!

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    No I’m still pissed that Nadal is not playing Federer today

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hi Alex,
    Don’t be. We shd not be disappointed in the situation just bec’ some other player FAILED to make the mark. By now, the whole world should get used to the “Fact” that Nadull only loses because of Injury, nadah, nadah… (omg, it rhymes with Nadull?!).

    When Fed lifts this trophy in a few days time, I’m going to enjoy it all the same, regardless of Nadull. Loving the form and confidence that Fed is playing with right now. I’m slightly older than Fed, so feels kinda good when I see Fed continue winning despite his age.

    Side dish, I mentioned late last year that Nadull’s fall from grace will be spectacular. I predicted no masters 1000 or GS for him in 2015. Long shot, yeah I know… So far, Nadull looks to gaining back his superhuman form. But I’m still in contention with his zero GS and masters 1000 series. That should make your day too huh, Alex? :-) #Vamos!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol.

    [Reply]

  5. ruan, my gripe is just this. Nadal lucked out in the h2h with fed getting Fed in his weakest surface or bad health while Fed was unlucky in the regard that Nadal never made those SF or F encounters when he was game ready at favorable surfaces.

    [Reply]

  6. Milos has come out playing about as well as he did near the end of yesterday’s match, but playing Federer is a different type of challenger. Really really good stuff from both guys so far.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    JesusFed took the first set and break in the second. Easy win.

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    JesusFed for real! Those BH passing shots, the slices, everything on (so far). No one could live with this.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Good job getting in done in two. Novak will not be easy tomorrow, especially on this court.

    [Reply]

  7. Two masterclasses in a row. No real rhythm in this match because of Raonic’s big serve, but Federer was more than equal to the task. If Raonic had any kind of letdown after outgrinding Nadal in that epic three-setter, I didn’t see it. He played very well and it was still straight sets, one break per set and that’s all she wrote.

    Federer’s variety and court craft were on full display. Great serving, smart use of angles and slices, great volleying, and some remarkable defense, all to take Raonic out of his comfort zone.

    Federer made it to the final without dropping a set, just as he did last year. But this year his draw was considerably tougher; last year he had Anderson and Dolgopolov in the QF/SF, this year he had two top-ten players in Berdych and Raonic and still he dismissed them handily.

    Last year the final went down to the wire and it was a difference of maybe one or two points that decided it–and that was with Federer playing his B+ game. This year, Federer’s playing much better.

    Djokovic is in imperious form, brushing Murray aside with ease, but Federer is playing the kind of tennis that made him famous over a decade ago. As Ru-an says, he’s totally in the moment. He seems to have infinite time on every ball, he’s playing totally fluid, free-flowing tennis without any fixed pattern. His mind is totally clear, at the crucial junctures he conjures exactly the right shot out of the ether. I don’t think Djokovic can stand against that, despite the slow court and his own so-far-dominant performance. If Federer maintains this level (and he might even be able to raise his game a notch), he’s going to win this final in straight sets.

    C’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘at the crucial junctures he conjures exactly the right shot out of the ether.’

    That made me chuckle. You said it well. He seems to be right in the flow and playing on auto-pilot almost. The force is strong with him right now. And yeah I agree with you that he’s going to win. Three sets at most.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Just noticed the really threatening, sinister looking picture of Fed at the top of the blog. I like it, good job Ru-an! That picture should be shown to his opponents repeatedly in the locker-room and their hotel the day they have to play him, to really scare them.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Love all these posts, I think at the moment the brand of tennis that we are seeing from Fed is so good, and not just for Fedfans but for all tennis fans. Will he win against Djokovic I think he will because Roger seems to take Novak out of his comfort zone. But the No 1 is a great player and as we have seen before can do the business, I think last year(if I remember correctly) Novak had a med t/o so hope for a straightforward match. But don’t you just love it when you can almost see Roger thinking on his feet as he plays fluid tennis….C’MON ROGER X

    [Reply]

  8. great assessment, ruan. what i loved about watching fed these past few days is the way he’s been fired up to win. he’s annoyed when he misses and seems committed to playing aggressively and looks like he expects himself to win. that’s the fed that i’ve been missing. nadal is toast. he looks tired, and his endless twitches are getting old and more annoying than ever. let be the first one to say here that i wager nadal will NOT win the french open this year. he might still win, but i feel as if he is suffering from a crisis in confidence that his beloved clay may not resolve as usual. but again, as ruan reminds us, we fed fans are always underestimating nadal.
    looking forward to a great match tomorrow and may the more aggressive player win.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I think Katanyi may have been the first..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Sakhi. I think Nadal will be back to dominate the clay court season. His form is already looking ominous. I’m interested to see how he does in Miami.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *