Madrid R2: Federer def Lopez 7-6(13), 6-7(1), 7-6(7)

What an epic match that was. I personally thought this would be an easy win for Roger, but Lopez had other plans. As we have gotten used to of late, players often play above their usual level against Roger. That doesn’t mean that Roger didn’t play his little part in this struggle. Roger wasted several game points when he was serving for the first set, as well as several break points during the match to make things harder on himself. He ended with 1/6 break points converted, something we have seen all too often from him these days. It comes back to his lack of mental fortitude. At least he managed to pull this one out of the bag, which should give him some confidence. The turning point really came when Lopez was up 5-2 in the final set tie break and was in total control of the point. Roger was desperately scraping and threw up a lob from a defensive position.

It was a sitter of a smash for Lopez but he he messed it up badly. That was match point right there. If Lopez made that smash, as he should have, it would have been over. So in the end Roger didn’t win this match, but Lopez lost it. It is not the way you want to win, but Roger will take some confidence away from this, knowing he came through a very close and crucial match. If he had lost it it would have once again been a new low. Now at least he lives to fight another day. A lot of credit have to go to Lopez who served huge and even hit backhand winners off his usually unreliable backhand. He really should have won the match. I guess having a choker like Verdasco on the side line cheering him on didn’t do his confidence much good, because that was a pretty major choke by him in the final set tie break.

Roger now comes up against Malisse, who he has an 8-1 record against. The Lopez match should have given Roger some confidence and he should not have too many problems with Malisse. Roger’s draw is actually not as bad as I thought. If he wins he will face the winner of Tsonga and Soderling, so he should really make semi’s here. But I guess with Roger these days you just don’t know. A match I’m very much looking forward to is Del Potro against Nadal. I don’t know if Del Potro is back to his best yet, but he is playing some great tennis nonetheless. He won Estoril and now beat Cilic 6-3, 6-0. I am really hoping for the upset. Del Potro has the depth and penetration of shot to trouble Nadal. The faster conditions will be in his favor too. I think it would be great for the clay court season if Del Potro can pull off the upset. Vamos!

Highlightshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VdfG7J4I8A

OOP: http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2011/1536/op.pdf

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31 Comments

  1. So when Federer loses a close match it’s because of mental weakness, but when Federer wins a close match (saving MP), it’s still mental weakness?
    tough crowd!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I never said he won because of mental weakness. We all know hes been struggling mentally of late. No need to get dramatic.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    What Ruan was probably referring to was:
    1) 8 set points blown in the first set (failing to serve it out at 5-3);and
    2) 4 break points squandered at 3-2 in the third set.

    PS – Andrew did you even watch the whole match?

    [Reply]

    Andrew Reply:

    Well, it’s your blog and you can do what you wish, but I don’t understand how evidence of mental strength gets ignored, even when it’s in the same match as the signs of alleged mental weakness.
    (I’ve seen plenty of Federer matches when he does quite well on break point conversions by the way)
    Maybe I’m misunderstanding

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The fact that you think Roger is good on break point conversions says that you are probably misunderstanding.

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    Andrew Reply:

    Actually, I didn’t say that. I said that I’ve seen plenty of matches where he does very well on break point conversions.
    Just for fun, I’ve looked up break point conversion % this year, and Federer is 38th on tour at 40%. http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx

    [Reply]

    Andrew 1 Reply:

    Hello Andrew. You have stolen my name! Give it back!! I am slightly joking- but it’s annoying because now it looks to other people like I am a moron. being 38th for BP conversion when you’re the number 3 player in the world is TERRIBLE!!! It’s not something to celebrate.

    Roger is weak mentally these days. Ru-an is right. Roger should have walked through this match but he bottled it at 5-3 when serving for it similar to how he did against DJ when he was right in the match and then lost a ton of points in a row in the 3rd set. Roger didn’t win this match- Lopez lost it. Roger was lucky. He needs to toughen up mentally and fast. Grand Slam tournaments are coming.

    Maybe this win will give him confidence like the Toronto one against DJ/ Berdych. If you all remember he shouldn’t really have won against Berdych as Berdych served for the match in the final set. he was lucky. But after that he rode the wave all the way to the WTFs in London.

    Having 16 hours to recover before his next match will not be good. God knows which Roger will come out at 4pm today.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    Well Federer’s through but his performance today wasn’t particularly impressive – quite similar to how he played against Malisse himself in the AO in January. I’m trying not to draw any parallels here.

    And he still seems to be making too many UFs.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    ….especially on the run on the forehand side. Possibly the result of the half-step or so that he has lost with age.

    [Reply]

    Andrew v.2 Reply:

    Dear Original Andrew:

    I did not make a commentary about how good 38th was. I just provided the information without further comment.

    Since you have reading comprehension problems and a penchant for personal insults, I will gladly give the name back to you and leave this blog to small minds such as yours.

    Regards

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No, you are the one with reading comprehension, claiming that i said Roger won because of mental weakness. Next.

    [Reply]

  2. As to Roger’s 8-1 record over Malisse, we all know he had a 7-0 record against Lopez. I think you said all that really needs to be said, Ru-an. After a while, for me, when I saw that Roger had turned it into a nail-biter, somewhere in the 3rd set, I just watched because I had to: it was not a matter of who made the better shots (though Lopez’s serving was great and Roger’s improved toward the end–which is what, in terms of his game, saved him)but who made the fewer errors. It was a painful match to watch. I thought sure that, having squeaked out the first set, I’d see Roger in the second. I didn’t. Nor in the third. It was, alas, another bad day in the office. Talk about squeaking through!

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  3. Everybody is being a bit too critical. Roger hasn’t played in over two weeks. Lopez just got done in Estoril after battling Djokovic. I thought Rogers’ serving was very good(25 Aces,most ever in a non slam). I see that he is struggling with himself mentally, not converting break points or succeeding on match points. I hope Annacone brings more to the table and starts helping Federer out with his confidence and reeling thru pressure situations. When Roger is super confident, he plays great. Bottom line, A win is a win, we all want to see Roger dominate like he used to but I think it’s time to let play him at his comfort level and not at ours. Moya said something nice about Roger today, He said he thinks Roger is capable of winning another slam but is kind of going through the same thing Sampras was going thru before he won the U.S. Open.

    [Reply]

  4. I didn’t see Roger’s match, so I am relying on reports about it, but the score-line says, once again, that Roger is struggling against players he once owned. Yes, it does appear to have been a narrow escape; against a mentally tougher opponent Roger may not have been so fortunate. Still, a win is a win – he lives to fight another day.
    The upcoming match between Nadal and Del Potro will be very interesting, and a measure where both players are at this point of the clay-court season. Conservatively, I think DP could take a set; however a win against the toughest clay-court player in history would still be an outside chance, for the moment anyway. It’s hard to see DP playing two sets where he is largely error-free and still hits forcefully and deep; I have no doubt he will acomplish the latter, it is the former that I question at this stage. Sure, he has done it – several times – to Nadal on hard-court but clay is another proposition, against an opponent who won’t tire and hardly misses. But if he runs Nadal close then that should augur well for further improvement as we head towards the French Open. Incidentally, where has Cilic gone? 3 and love!

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    I think if Del Potro doesn’t manage to run Nadal close, we can be sure that Nadal will not get beaten on clay this year.

    [Reply]

    Andrew 1 Reply:

    This is an excellent point. If a fully tooled up Del Potro can’t beat Rafa on clay then i’m not sure anyone will

    [Reply]

  5. Though it was 7-0 against Lopez before the match (8-0 now) for Federer, one should remember that they never met on clay before; besides, Lopez is the local Madrid kid who had all the vociferous support from the crowd. I don’t think Fed played a horrible match. If I remember correctly, the winner-UFO stat for Fed was something like 64-41 and he was 22/26 at the net, which is actually great in my opinion. And no shanks! It was just a case of “As we have gotten used to of late, players often play above their usual level against Roger.” as Ru-an puts it. I don’t think Lopez has ever hit 23 aces even in a five setter. Who knows, this match may turn out to be the turning point for Fed for the rest of the season as was the match against Berdych in Toronto last year. Besides, Fed needs some luck, doesn’t he? Who can forget those matches against Berdych and Baghdatis last year when Fed lost despite holding match points?

    PS: Ru-an, I may be wrong, do you think Fed used a slightly bigger racket head yesterday?

    [Reply]

  6. .We fans at times are being too harsh to Roger. Nothing less than champion trophy would do. We all know that how tough he is mentally ?

    i think this match was much needed confidence booster. Hope Roger does it again…n win madrid.

    [Reply]

  7. “He ended with 1/6 break points converted, something we have seen all too often from him these days.”

    Ru-an, This is not something new. Federer has always been that way in the BP conversion department even during his best days. The difference is that he wouldn’t get broken as often as he does now.
    The Verdasco comment was funny :-)

    [Reply]

  8. Nice work Rog – giving your fans a heart workout. The good – clutch serve from Rog, well almost if he didnt throw away first set at 5-3 (idiot). The Bad – still mentally fragile, shot selections a suspect. The Worse bit – where is the uber offensive player we all come to love. Waiting for opponent to make mistakes aint going to happen now that everyone think they can scalp him.

    [Reply]

  9. Dear All (people who know me on this blog)
    ..
    Please note that there is now another Andrew on here who is commenting. That’s cool and fair play to the guy for having a cool name :-)
    ..
    I will therefore now revert to being Andrew 1. LOL! this is the Andrew who has been commenting for a while now and who likes to wind up Marron. Although Marron is probably in hiding until Rafa has played his match with Del Potro as it’s possible that Rafa is gonna get given a beat-down US Open 2010 style from the big Argentinian. Go Delboy!! Vamos!

    [Reply]

    marron Reply:

    Whew… so relieved!!!! Definitely was in hiding, so afraid Delpo was going to demolish Rafa here at Madrid. Man, how ‘lucky’ was Nadal that Delpo is injured?

    (wipes sweat off brow…. )

    ;-)

    [Reply]

  10. maybe its time to stop compalaing about nadals “easy” draws. Pretty much any draw on clay is “easy” for him. It isnt Nadals fault either that Del Potro withdrew, nor is del potro as good of a clay courter that everyone is trying to make him out to be. If he couldnt take a set of nadal on a hardcourt 2 months ago, its very unlikely that he would have actually won here. Nadal would have won this match, most likely in straights.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Nadal has more easy draws than any other player, any surface. I have looked at all his opponents and none of them up to this point has done diddly squat, except for Dickjerker. I find it funny that Delpo withdraws after he got hurt in his first game of Madrid but then continues to play again and wins and then withdraws on the day of his match against” the Raging Bull”. These masters event are becoming more and more predictable. Everybody knows Nadal is very frightened of Delpo. Federer was much more effective against DelPotro then Nadal ever has been, check out the stats of all their games and compare.

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    Nadal is afraid of del potro? Then why did he straight set him the last time they played? And since when is del potro such an amazing clay player?

    I dont care how many times del potro beats him on a hardcourt. He has never beaten him on clay and doesnt have much of a chance of doing so. Del Potro simply hasnt proven himself to be an amazing claycourter that many claim he is

    I may be wrong but has del potro beaten a top 5 player in the past few months? I dont think he has, i dont see any reason why he would have beaten nadal today, especially on clay

    [Reply]

  11. Nadal was given an easy walkover into the quarters of the Madrid Masters.. Del Potro let me down :-( We could have seen Nadal’s long winning streak on clay coming to an end today. I’m just disappointed in how things turned out :-(

    [Reply]

    marron Reply:

    with the injury history, more likely you would have seen one more match added to nadal’s winning streak, no?

    [Reply]

    George Reply:

    The answer is simply NO.

    [Reply]

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