Madrid Rd 2: Federer def Raonic in Epic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4)

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.

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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.

Highlights:

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19 Comments

  1. Sorry to be Off Topic, but I have been watching Nadal Vs Verdaco match. Nadal is clearly out of sorts and Verdasco clearly has and demonstrated so far that he go toe to toe with Rafa in rallies and better yet he has weapons to trouble Rafa (albeit very inconsistent as he typically is) and thus he took 1st set and he was close to taling 2nd set as well, but Rafa IMHO is very, very Lucky because –

    For the Love of God can’t Verdasco just Serve? Is it too much to ask of a top 20 player to just Serve? We are not asking for Raonic Serve or even roger or Murray or anyone in top 10, just serve decent. Is that too much to Ask?

    But this guy, as much as capable of going toe-toe with Rafa just cannot Serve!! Well, he serves, but I am sure you get my drift.

    It seems to me he is better off in crucial stages to just try cheeky Serve meaning – literally Baby Serve (the one that crosses the Net but falls within 2 feet off the Net and this is perfectly Legal albeit not considered Macho enough).

    The Bottom Line is I am just shocked that a Top 20 Guy just cannot really Serve! Nadal – Lucky YOU!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Well, he could finally manage to serve. So we have a double bonus. Verdasco in his 14th attempt finally did it. I strongly believe this is going to set the tune for the down slide of Rafa as other players now could believe that Rafa could be beaten in his very backyard. I have never seen Rafa choke like this.

    VAMOS ROGER. MADRID IS YOURS TO TAKE.

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    sraman Reply:

    Jiten:

    I am a bit embarassed having posted too soon before the end of the match. Nevertheless, I am THRIILLEEDD! Sure, I would have loved to see Roger vanquish Rafa in these fast Madrid Courts. But I take it happily as well. Remember the pain of Wimbledon – Berdych & Tsonga’s one of a lifetime fluke play that hurt Roger at Wimbledon? I wish more of these to come for Rafa.

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  2. Finally, the (ob)noxious Spaniard is OUT!!! I’m just shocked, can’t really realize the fact that Nadal lost in the 3rd round of a Masters CLAY-court tournament! I’m sooo happy, come on Roger please take advantage of it and start dominating the whole clay and grass court season for the first time in your career! Okay, I’m probably exaggerating here, I’m just so excited! :-)

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  3. Wow! What do you know! wrote Off Verdasco too soon in the mdidle of 3rd set and switched off my TV. Power on my TV 20 mins later to find Verdasco Won. I thus spoke too soon. I concede & REST MY CASE!

    Great to see Nadal get a taste of what it is t be ousted early on and thus increasing Roger’s chances. Go Roger! Novak has never been in you head and never will!

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  4. No one beats Fernando Verdasco 14 times in a row! 5-2 down in the third set and somehow he won five straight games to finish off Nadal.

    Del Potro now looks good to come through his half after dispatching Cilic. The surface favors his big serve and he’ll be mighty tough to stop.

    Meanwhile, Federer still has a long way before the final. Gasquet is tough, especially if he serves well and he beat Federer in their last meeting on clay. It won’t be easy.

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  5. This is it folks. We have been waiting for this for the last few months now. Rafa falls early. He will get only 90 points(I believe). If Fed goes on to win Madrid(Tough draw and all, i know. I still think he can) he gains 910 points over Rafa. Current gap is 1095(This if after last year’s Madrid’s points have been dropped) and Nadal defends 510 points more in Rome. Rome point will drop early because of the calender shift, so Roger WILL be ranked number 2 next week if he wins Madrid. To stay there for RG, he need to be within 185 points of Nadal in Rome. So, basically he needs to reach the same round( of higher) that Nadal reaches, and Voila, Federer will be number 2 for RG. A long way to go for this, but i can already smell it.
    I am suddenly enjoying the blue clay a lot more than i expected :-)

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  6. This is very good folks. The actual point difference, if Federer wins Madrid, will be 325 points in favor of Roger. It smeels very good for the second spot before RG.
    This loss for Nadal is also very strange, looks like the whell of fortune is turning again but this time in the right direction.

    [Reply]

    Pratik Reply:

    I think you are wrong about that. Madrid points have already been dropped because it was a week earlier last year

    [Reply]

    amine Reply:

    Yes Patrik I took it into considration :
    Federer : he stands this week at 8520 points (After dropping 2011 Madrid points). If we add 1000 points for a win and take out last yaers points from Rome (90 points) : the total is 9430 points.
    Nadal : he stands this week at 9615 points. If we add 90 points from todays loss and take out 600 points from last year Rome s final the total is 9105. So they will enter Rome with 325 points in favor of Federer.

    [Reply]

    Pratik Reply:

    Oh ya. My bad.
    I even said in my earlier post that Roger would be ranked number 2 next week.
    Didn’t realize that you were taking Rome into consideration too.

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    amine Reply:

    I just hope he wins Madrid because otherwise it will still very difficult to take the n°2 spot

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    Vily Reply:

    This is JUST BRILLIANT. Not even I thought of that. Roger becoming number 2 after winning Madrid – with chances to improve upon that in Rome…. that would be sweet.

    Roger is master player and a master tactician. Things are opening up perfectly for him now. If he takes it seriously, he is going to win this title!!!!

    That’s just beautiful to see!!!

    [Reply]

    amine Reply:

    Nadal lost, Ferrer is loosing why not Djokovitch also. Federer is looking better than ever.

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  7. Ok. Roger Gasquet match just started and I am going to watch it thru even though late night. I do not take this lightly – Of the 2 times Roger lost to Gasquest it has been both on Clay. Roger has never beaten Gasquest on Clay.

    Plus, the previlege of watching just elegant one handed backhand from both sides of the Net – Yummy! (sick of that two handed ugly stuff – Yuck!).

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  8. Hello everyone! It’s so good to be back!!! I totally agree with Ru-an. Excellent Post! I also think that Roger is playing with that determination to win… He gutted it out yesterday, and it was beautiful to watch. Those are memorable ones. I also know that should Roger beat Raonic, he’s making semis or even the final.

    And now with Nadal out (so sweet), Roger is in PRIME mode to win this title for the first time on Blue clay. Should he do it, it would prove what a BRILLIANT move it was for him to take that 5-6 weeks off.

    He’s looking fresh. He’s destroying Gasquet right now… And it’s only gonna get better after this.

    Allez Roger!!! I am getting ready for Saturday against Djokovich already!!

    :-) ))

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  9. Nadal is out. How sweet is that! Roger was in god mode against Gasquet. Next Ferrer after 3h of battle.

    Nadal said whiningly at the press: “It is so blue here I will not come back next year.”

    WE LIKE THAT. F… off :-)

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  10. Hello RU-AN, have been traveling for weeks and am too tired to say anything but, Welcome To The States, hope all goes great for you.

    [Reply]

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