Madrid Open Draw Out – Federer Gets a Difficult One

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Hello, friends. I hope you like the new look of my blog. I am trying to take my blogging to the next level and you will see all kinds of changes. Some more subtle than others, and I hope you recognize them. It takes a lot of work so there will be more changes coming as times passes. I am also in the process of updating and improving old posts so keep a lookout.

  • Federer’s Tough Draw

The Madrid Open draw was released today and Roger could probably not have received a more difficult draw. Here it is:

  • R1: Bye
  • R2: Kyrgios/Qualifier
  • R3: Isner/Chardy
  • QF: Berdych/Tsonga
  • SF: Nadal/Dimitrov/Stan
  • F: Nishikori/Ferrer/Raonic

In the altitude of Madrid, he gets a string of players whose game is favored by faster conditions. But at least it favors his own game too. If Nadal got this draw there was almost no way he would have gone far unless his form drastically improved from Barcelona. Kyrgios won again today in Estoril and could win the tournament. Isner with his huge serve and especially his kicking second serve will be a real handful in Madrid. Berdych is currently second in the race and will also be a handful in the altitude.

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Serverer to the rescue

Then Roger gets Nadal in his half instead of Nishikori. Nishikori is playing very well right now himself, but even with Nadal playing the way he is Nishikori may have been a better opponent for Roger. And going by what I saw today from Roger I don’t hold out much hope for him in Madrid. Sure he can improve and his draw in Madrid could improve too, but my first impression is that he is up against it. His form during the clay court season so far has been anything but impressive and now he gets a monster draw.

  • Nadal’s Favorable Draw

Well, whaddya know? Nadal got a favorable draw in Madrid. No real surprises there. Let’s take a look:

  • R1: Bye
  • R2: Johnson/Qualifier
  • R3: Anderson/Tomic
  • QF: Stan/Dimitrov
  • SF: Federer/Berdych
  • F: Nishikori/Ferrer/Raonic

A nice first match for Nadal just to ease into things after losing his last match to Fognini. Then he gets Anderson or Tomic. Anderson has a big game and Tomic has improved of late. I guess either of them can test Nadal, but they are not a huge threat. Then in the quarter final Nadal gets the worst of the players seeded 5-8 in Stan. Stan’s form has been atrocious. Raonic, Ferrer, or Berdych are all a lock for the quarters basically and would have been a serious threat to Nadal.

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I doubt Stan will even make the quarters, which leaves Dimitrov, a very unreliable player. Once Nadal gets to the quarters he should have sufficient confidence to take care of Dimitrov. I already said I don’t trust Roger to defeat Nadal if he makes semis, but I doubt he will make it. Berdych is playing well, but semi-final stage could be too late for him to defeat Nadal again. I won’t be surprised at all if Nadal takes advantage of this draw and makes the final. I wouldn’t mind that so bad if Nishikori is there.

At least that gives Nishikori the chance to set right what went wrong last year when he got injured against Nadal in the final after he won the first set and looked in control. But there is no guarantee Nishikori will make the final…

  • The Bottom Half

I see Murray as a non-factor on clay. At this point anyway. But Nadal wouldn’t care much that he is in Roger’s half. A semi-final win over the world number two is probably just what he needs to boost his confidence before an important final. If Nadal wins this event it could just be the boost he needs to win a tenth French Open this year. And now he has been given a half chance by the organizers. Knowing him he will probably take that chance, which makes it all the more important that Nishikori makes the final.

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I think Nishikori would beat Nadal, but if he doesn’t make the final Nadal will probably win the title and we could well have a repeat of what happened last year at the French Open. It is very important that Nadal does not win Madrid if he is going to be stopped from winning the French Open yet again. We have already seen if he wins Madrid it doesn’t even matter if the Djoker beats him in Rome. He just needs this title to get that winning feeling back. So Nishikori needs to go all the way, but he has the likes of Ferrer and Raonic in his way.

  • Today’s Action

And finally I can get to today’s action. First of all Roger defeated Gimeno-Traver 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-3 in a very underwhelming performance. That was just terrible, but a win is a win I guess. As long as he keeps winning and goes home with the title he would have done his job. But he needs to raise his level if he is going to get anywhere and reach his goal of making the semis at the French again this year(an unconfirmed goal which seemed logical). Right now, he is not playing tennis which is going to get anywhere near that.

But he does have some time and tomorrow there is a chance for another win when he plays Schwartzman. His goal should be to put in a much more convincing performance than the lackluster performance of today and win in straight sets. The serve saved him against Gimeno-Traver, but the break point conversion rate was atrocious again. So far during the clay court season Roger just hasn’t impressed at all. When I saw that match against Gasquet in the Davis Cup last year I thought he had a lot of clay court tennis left in him.

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This kid just keeps impressing

But having seen him so far this clay court season he looks like a spent force on clay. He doesn’t look into the thing at all and seems to have more fun spending time on twitter posting selfies. But we will see. Maybe he can somehow still pull himself together. Dimitrov also won today and plays Cuevas in the other semi. Munich rained out today so I couldn’t find out if Thiem would progress, but like I said Kyrgios kept impressing in Estoril while Coric lost to Garcia-Lopez who is playing very well right now.

Highlights:

Stats: 

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The  is in your court.

Posted in Madrid, Masters 1000.

26 Comments

  1. I think Roger is going to take Madrid very seriously so I won’t be surprised to see him make the semis. Beating Nadal.. doubt it.

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  2. Roger has Schwartzman tomorrow and he needs to try and win as efficiently as he can. But these recent clay performances just confirm the decline I had suspected already. I’m not sure if you would agree with me Ruan, but my personal feeling is that Roger’s level on clay has dropped off since the 2012 French Open as a whole. He was playing quite badly by his standards that year, yet still made the semifinal. Even in the semifinal he was leading in the first 2 sets, before throwing it all away and since then he hasn’t looked consistently threatening on the surface. I’m convinced it’s related to his loss of foot speed and the extra effort he’s having to put in to rally on the surface. Even Nadal is starting to play visibly worse on it, by his own astronomical standards.
    A tough draw at Madrid, so I’ll keep my expectations very low. If he plays Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros, I’ll be happy with R3, QF and R4 showings respectively – anything more than that is great as far as points go. If he manages to win one of them – amazing! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi, Krish. Yes, Roger’s level has dropped on clay but what’s with the lack of enthusiasm? As always I feel like the game is still there and that the problem is mental. Why was he so into it in Dubai and IW and now so lackluster? Surely it is not because he can’t play on clay. Just go look at the DC match vs Gasquet last year. A very efficient clay court performance indeed. I don’t buy that he can’t play well on clay anymore. Where is his enthusiasm? That is my question. But feel free to completely disagree with me.

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    veronica Reply:

    Krish, I’m no tennis expert but I agree with you. I do think it is slight loss of foot speed and the extra effort he has to put in to rally on clay. Maybe because of this, it affects his mindset as well. Thus the lack of enthusiasm, as pointed out by Ru-an. He doesn’t seem that interested anymore after 2012 although he always makes comments to the contrary. I think he is just saying it to please his fans but deep down inside I think he finds it hard to find that extra motivation on clay. Of course the slams will always be the most important to him but it does look to me, judging from his results and his attitude on court, he doesn’t seem to be able to pump himself up as much for AO and FO as he does for Wimby and USO. He clearly has favourites. His actions don’t lie. I hope he ups his enthusiasm in the semi. There is no guarantee he can beat his Clone in the final if he continues to be lakadaisical. I’m curious to see his motivation in Madrid, Rome and Paris. They will be telling where his “heart” is with the dirt.

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    Krish Reply:

    I agree about the lack of enthusiasm part, Ru-an and Veronica. The good thing is he’s still winning. And now of course Dimitrov lost so he’ll be up against Cuevas, a clay specialist, in the final for title number 85 potentially.
    Who knows, maybe he’s saving himself for RG? There is a lot of speculation on Federer’s clay game (and Nadal’s too for that matter) and how much the French Open means to him. Some argue that he’s lost speed, and so the motivation to keep grinding out points is starting to fade. The more positive fans argue that he’s bulked up the clay schedule in an effort to rediscover his ground game and senses a chance at RG or Wimbledon. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think he is saving himself for RG or that he has any chance whatsoever of winning it, judging by current form. Another poor performance today even though he won. The second FO ship sailed back in 2011 when he failed for a 4th time vs Nadal in the final. I don’t think he is making SF either on current form, but he has some time to improve. At least if he wins tomorrow he would have achieved something on clay, even though it’s almost a challenger level event. That will boost his confidence going to Madrid, something he desperately needs.

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  3. Well i LOVED the new look so much that i didn’t read the post yet, but to appreciate this new look.. its refreshing and good to see that i hope you will get new readers too now, cos blpg looks superb now

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha thanks Wajii I thought of you when I made the changes, because if I remember correctly you wanted to have Nadal on display. Glad you like it.

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  4. Wow! Ru-an! Working overtime, eh?! Wonderful. The new looks, the improvements, the surprises!! Than you!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Still a lot of work left Veronica but I am delighted with the changes so far. Thanks.

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  5. You got me there, Ru-an, I got teary-eyed too rewatching that old video! Those light dancing feet, the elegance of the forehand hitting it with such calm elegant focused attention.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah it was quite nostalgic to watch. I loved the music, the camera work, the beauty, just everything. One of my favorites for sure.

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  6. Brutal draw, just BRUTAL!! This might be the most brutal draw Roger has ever received in a Masters or a Slam, you think??!! I’m not holding my breath; especially with his shaky form right now. Yeah, Ru-an, he’s too distracted; selfies and all. He’s really enjoying visiting new countries and experiencing new cultures; especially as he knows he wouldn’t be too long on the tour now, he has a new appreciation for these kind of things and they can be distracting to his tennis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I suppose Veronica. I guess you can’t expect him to be 100% focused on tennis these days. But then again Connors was 100% focused on tennis until 38. Different personalities I guess.

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  7. Just a thought. I think Roger may need more time to translate his new aggressive mindset onto clay. Some of the decision making was poor; to be or not to be. He’s like,”since I’ve adopted this offensive net rushing game, im not going back now but clay plays like shit, what should I do??…..” and the ball whizzes past him! Haha! In that sense I think the tough long match is good as it provided him with more information and some real solid practice.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, good observation Veronica. That could be a part of it. If he can get his attacking game going in clay it could bode well for Madrid. Who knows maybe even a win over Nadal?

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  8. Hi Ru-an, Like your new look….cool!
    Just a quick note…would like to give Roger a good spanking for his tennis he is playing right now…too much sightseeing is one of the reasons, I think. He clearly likes travelling seeing new places, etc.
    It’s mind over matter.
    Greetings to all Fedfans… get on with it, Roger!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Lol!! I love Your tough love, Grandma!! Yes, get on with it, Roger! Listen to grandma!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Dolores! Yes, Roger seems to like enjoying the scenery on his travels. But maybe that helps him to relax and not burn out after all this time. As long as he wins I think it’s ok.

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  9. I also think that Dimitrov losing doesn’t really matter to Roger. IMO, Cuevas could give him a much sterner test. He’s on a good run on clay, and I believe he took a set off Nadal somewhere this year.

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  10. Ru-an, did make a comment about Roger’s Final today, but do not see it.
    Got lost?
    Dolores

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I guess so Dolores. Sorry. I’m the last person who understands how these things happen. On one of my most popular posts 288 comments just disappeared and I have no idea why.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Ru-an, guess we should not be so surprised for these disappearances to happen….anyway, thank you for your reply. My comment was mainly about Roger’s win today looking for your analysis of the match. Did not see the match at all, just watched the scoreboard.
    He goes home with a trophy….may more come to follow! Madrid will be a different story for sure.
    Best to you, Ru-an,
    Dolores

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    Dolores Reply:

    Ru-an, I have no idea why my comment comes double????
    Help…..what am I doing wrong?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Again, you are asking the wrong person Dolores. But you are doing nothing wrong.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, I did not say you should not be surprised. I am surprised myself, but I am no expert in the computer field to say the least. I am trying my best to get the issue sorted out, and at the same time I am working on a post.

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