Roger went into the match against James Blake having only lost once before to the American which was crucially at the Beijing Olympics last year. So I’m sure he wanted to prove a point. He broke in the very first game and again at 4-2 and after served out the first set. Only at 3-2 he faced one break point on his serve, other then that the first set was very much one way traffic. In the second set Roger got the break again early on and that was pretty much the end of it. Not a very entertaining match to say the least, but I’m glad Roger got through this one without any hiccups. The first serve percentage was once again just about fair enough at 57% and the winners outnumbered the unforced errors by 20-19. There is not much else to say here, accept that Blake was at his mindless ball bashing best.
Just so you don’t think I am anti-American or anything I will say that I was quite impressed with the way Andy Roddick fought back yesterday after being completely dominated in the first set by Tommy Haas to win the following two sets 7-6(9), 6-4 and saving two match points in the process. It’s nice to see Americans grinding it out on clay, you often get the feeling these days that Americans aren’t willing to get down and dirty on the European clay. Murray had quite an impressive win of 7-5, 6-1 over Tommy Robredo as well and now faces Juan-Martin Del Potro who surprisingly beat Roger’s countryman Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. I say surprisingly because Wawrinka has been looking good of late and after he won the first set he surely must have been the favorite.
Nice fightback from Del Potro though and he will be a tougher test for Murray then Robredo was I’m sure. I was hoping Wawrinka would beat Del Potro as I like him more and feel he would have made Murray deserve his semi-final spot more, but I wouldn’t mind a Roger/Murray semi-final either. I just heard the news that Nicolay Davydenko has withdrawn from his third round match against Andy Roddick due to injury which means that Roger will in fact be facing Roddick next. Good for Roger! Davydenko would almost certainly have beaten Roddick which would have meant a tough quarter final match for Roger, but now he faces Roddick who he has virtually no chance of losing to. With the ATP site being down of late I can’t see if they have ever met on clay but I don’t think so.
Roger leads Roddick something like 16-2 in head-to-head meetings and when it comes to clay Roddick’s chances get even slimmer. Rafa is also through to the quarter finals following another withdrawal from Philip Kohlschreiber and he next faces the winner of Verdasco and Juan Monaco, which promises to be the best match of the day. As if Rafa didn’t have it easy enough! Either way he should have a pretty tough match in the quarter finals.
Prediction: Roger beats Roddick easily in the first set with a tougher second set possibly going into a tie break but hopefully not.