Sorry for the late post guys but I’m currently very busy getting my things ready to go to the US. You are just gonna have to be patient with me. I was very happy with Roger’s performance against Raonic, even though there were three power outages at my house during the match. Very frustrating but I liked what I saw, and it was great to see Roger back on a tennis court after such a long wait. Raonic won his first round against Nalbandian 6-4, 6-4 and was continuing his good form from Barcelona. I was slightly on the edge before this match. I knew it was going to be a tough match. There wouldn’t be much time to shake off any rust. As expected Roger started slowly. He looked rusty in the first set and I wasn’t very surprised when he dropped it.
Raonic got the break at 4-4 and then had no problem serving out the first set with his massive serve. At the start of the second set there was a key game where Raonic had several break points and had the chance to take the match away from Roger. But we know how clutch the Roger of 2012 is and he held on. It kept going with serve until 5-5 where Roger raced ahead to a 40-0 lead, only for Raonic to come back and have break point which was a virtual match point. Roger missed his first serve but again he came through that tough moment. He then played a brilliant return game to break Raonic and even things up at a set all. The third set was the closest one of the three as it went right down to the wire with a tie-break. In the breaker Roger got the mini break early on.
He then lost the mini-break when serving at 5-3, but fortunately got it right back again to take a 6-4 lead. He didn’t waste any more time as he won the next point on the Raonic serve with a sweet forehand return winner. It was great to see that Roger 3.0 was still very clutch, and that after a long break he could come back and grind out such a tough match. In the end the difference was only in the mental department and one or two points decided the match. This was the kind of performance we have gotten used to from Roger since the US Open last year, or what I refer to as Roger 3.0. He is able to grind out the close ones, whereas Roger 2.0 often let matches get away from him that he was in control of. The importance of this win can’t be underestimated.
Raonic is a very dangerous opponent indeed and is gonna be at the very top of the men’s game. I am surprised at all the current hype as I always said this kid was going to be good. It was always clear to me that he was good in the mental department which is the most important thing in tennis. This win by Roger may not have been his cleanest, but it was as good as any. I’m serious. Under the circumstances, he could not have played any better. He will take a lot of confidence from this match. Or at least we know Roger is still riding the wave of confidence he did since the US Open last year. He now faces Gasquet which will probably be his easiest match of the tournament. Not because Gasquet is bad, but because his draw is so tough.
If he beats Gasquet he will probably play Ferrer who is very tough to beat on clay. But I think Roger will make semis here at least. Then it will be Djokovic who looked rather shaky in his first match. He also had some time off but I think Roger has a good shot at beating him here. Anyway, we are not there yet. Roger lost to Gasquet in Rome last year and he will want some more revenge, even though he beat him in Paris in the mean time. Elsewhere in the draw Isner lost his first match against Cilic. I never bought into the Isner hype on clay either. He beat Roger when he was playing out of his mind in Davis Cup and took Nadal to five at Roland Garros when Nadal was playing awful. Not saying he is terrible on clay, but he has a lot left to prove.
The other tall guy that I rate much higher on the surface is Del Potro. He won Estoril last week and won his first two matches in Madrid in straight sets. He will now play Cilic and win that too most probably. I like his chances to make semis and face Nadal. That could be an interesting encounter should it happen. Roger is playing tonight at 18h45 local time. Bonne chance!
Ps. I forgot to bring up the match stats. Very interesting to say the least. Raonic almost outplaying Roger in every department yet still ending up at the losing end. Just goes to show what I said earlier about winning the important points.