Madrid Rd 3: JesusFed Eases Past Gasquet 6-3, 6-2

As expected Roger was feeling confident after his win over Raonic, and Gasquet just had no chance today. Having said that, Gasquet is just a disappointing player overall. Like the other Frenchman he has no heart. He also stands way too far behind the baseline. Roger got the break at 2-1 with a sweet forehand return winner up the line and that proved to be decisive in the first set. In the second set there were two more breaks and that was that. It was a pretty boring match with no drama whatsoever. Roger’s first serve percentage was high at 70% and the 3/6 break points converted was decent as well. So in the end another very satisfactory performance even though it was a very one-sided match. Roger will now play against Ferrer who beat Almagro 7-6(8) in a the third set.

Ferrer showed his usual amazing fight after it looked like Almagro would escape his turkey status against Ferrer. It will be a tough match for Roger but the way he is playing now you better believe he will get the win. Roger leads the head-to-head 12-0 and I don’t see any reason why Ferrer will get his first win tomorrow. Speaking of first wins, Verdasco got his first win in 14 meetings with Nadal today. The score was 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. It was a bizarre performance from Nadal, losing from two breaks up in the third set. I highly doubt that has ever happened to Nadal. I mean I was expecting him to probably lose this week after all the tennis he played but I didn’t expect he would lose this early to someone like Verdasco.

After the match he was complaining about the blue clay and threatening not to come back next year, which was sour grapes. Why he even plays four clay events before the French Open blows my mind. He knows he he going to lose in one of those events so why play it? Isn’t it better to try and remain unbeaten before going to Paris and get some much needed rest in the process? Only Nadal will even understand his scheduling. Losing this early means he loses quite a bit of points as well, and as far as I know Roger will surpass him in the rankings if he makes the final.  But of course there is a long way to go. The semis will be the key match if it is Djokovic, which it will probably be. Djokovic currently leads Wawrinka by a set and a break and then he just has to beat Simon or Tipsarevic.

If Roger beats Djokovic then he will most probably win the tournament, given that Nadal it out. That would mean that he will surely go into Paris as the number two seed, given that he has more points to gain in Rome. So the semis of Madrid could be crucial for Roger’s French Open chances. If Djokovic and Nadal is drawn in the same half there then Roger could face Djokovic in the final and possibly win the title. It’s an exciting prospect but we are very far from there and many things still have to fall into place. I am just happy that Roger has continued his great form of 2012 here in Madrid and that he will have a good shot at the title. I am very excited for the weekend. We may just witness something special but at the very least we will see some good matches!

Highlights:

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22 Comments

  1. Well, the match was one-sided but it was nice to see Roger hitting some solid groundstrokes to shake of the rust; yesterday it was terrible, especially during the first set.
    The early exit of Nadal opens great prospects for Roger, lets see:

    – If he wins Madrid he becomes number 2;
    – Even if he doés not win it he will shorten the distance and even more so if he goes deep in Rome;
    – Even if Rafa wins RG he will not add points, he only won’t lose them;
    – Roger has a lot of points to win during the grass court period: he didn’t play Halle (which he will this year) and he only made the quaters at Wimbledon; Nadal has a lot to defend;

    So in my view, the worst case scenario would be Roger becoming number 2 after Wimbledon. Still at the present state of things it seems almost unavoidable that he’ll get the number 2 spot. Then my friends it will be a new chapter in Tennis history…

    All best

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  2. After Nadal’s early exit and Fed playing great tennis, we do have a very real chance of Fed-Djoko final in Paris. Wow, what a change it would be, for Rafa to go into RG as #3 seed, and Djoko #1 seed. If that indeed happens, and they are matched in SF, that would change the entire dynamic of the tournament, which is a good thing, for a change! In any case, we have a couple of very exciting matches in the next 3 days, and I hope to see some beautiful tennis from Roger!

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  3. Took a shower after the first set, thinking I’d catch the last five minutes afterwards. When I got out of the shower it was over!

    Next the tenacious Ferrer. He’ll have to be very solid and aggressive to beat him. They had a very close encounter in London (at least in the first set).

    I have a nagging feeling this will be Del Potro’s tournament come Sunday. The ball flies and it’s hard to control and big servers have an advantage, that’s precisely the kind of conditions Del Potro loves. He is playing well, undefeated on clay this year.

    Here Federer just needs some matches to shake off the rust. It’s in Rome, where the conditions are more like RG, where he can get a better idea of where his game is at. He won’t get a shot at Nadal here, he may not even get a shot at Djokovic here.

    So I’m taking it one match at a time. Just hope he can get past Ferrer.

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  4. Ferrer has played tons of tennis of late, he has a 0-12 h2h record against Roger, the courts are fast : I think the odds are largely in Federer’s side on this one.

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  5. I was so happy for Verdasco today. What a feeling that must have been. I read somewhere that the Rafa fans think he lost on purpose to rest for Rome and RG. I don’t know about that. Hard to explain that loss.
    One thing about Raonic, he said he entered the court believing he could win and after the loss, he said he now knows he can win. Pretty strong mentally.
    This is turning out to be a very entertaining tournament!

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  6. There was one other thing that the Federer/Gasquet encounter offered and that was the match-up between two of the best one-handed backhands in tennis today. It was a change from the usual two-handed clubbed backhands we have become used to seeing. Sure the court appears slippery but Fed seems to have adjusted to it as well as anyone. I think he would tie Del Potro in knots if they were to meet. But that’s for later. Now to remind Ferrer who’s boss.

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  7. check atp.com the points from madrid have already been dropped and nadal has a 1095 point kead over federer add 90 points to that which nadalbgot from the 3rd round so even if federer wins the gap narrow downs to 185 points wgich gives him a chance to become no 2 after rome he cant get to no. 2 after madrid

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    amine Reply:

    The 2011 points from Rome will be dropped this Monday, so you have also to take 600 points from Nadal and 90 points from Roger, which means he will become n°2 by Monday if and only if he wins Madrid

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  8. __

    “The tournament here cannot be better, it’s fantastic. It’s one of the best for the public and followers of tennis. If I lose here it’s because I’m not as good as I should be, not because of the courts.”

    — Rafael Nadal, speaking about the Madrid tournament after defeating Davydenko in the 1st round, May 9, 2012

    __

    ”Being able to move is very important for me and if I can’t move well, I can’t hit the ball well either. If things don’t change, this will be one less tournament on the calendar for me. This surface destabilizes the game. It is a completely different game and I don’t want to take risks.’

    — Rafael Nadal, speaking about the Madrid tournament after losing to Verdasco in the 2nd round, May 10, 2012.

    __

    So, finally, is blue clay the kryptonite for the clay Superman, Nadal?

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  9. Hey Ru-an.Gr8 match and Roger was simply playing his best and I thought he wasn’t even going on to the 3rd gear the whole match but still looked in Jesusfed mode.Such was his play yesterday and it was a much needed win after that shaky first match and hope the early exit of Nadal will make Roger even more focussed and I hope he wins this thing.Well,Roger has been doing a lot of serve and volleying this week and i think that is a deliberate tactic if he is to face Nadal or Djokovic this year.

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  10. I think this was a puzzling defeat to say the least. This reminds me of the time that Roger lost to Tsonga in Toronto after being up 5-1 in the final set. That was in a fast hard court. This is all the more baffling. Whichever way you look at it, it took a epic choke on Nadal’s part to not be able to serve out the match TWICE!! This will not affect his chances in RG, but this creates some sudden loss of momentum for Rafa. In this scenario, Rome becomes very important. I think Nadal is going to go all out trying to win it. A loss to Djokovic at RG will be really bad for him.

    All the same, some credit is due to Verdasco. In the past he has been guilty of conceding defeats with poor body language, but here he stayed strong. He hit some astonishing returns of the Nadal serve that gave him the chances to win. He has always had the power to hit off Nadal but has never had the will to close the deal. Same with someone like Berdych. It is astonishing at the lopsided records of Nadal and Federer(Federer Vs Soderling/Davydenko/Roddick) and Nadal Vs Berdych/Ferrer/Verdasco etc. These are all very good players and it is only normal that they will win one match at some point.

    What a God given gift to Roger Federer here. He seems to be concentrating on wining and not whining, which is the right way to go. After a 5 week break, he played a very good match to win against Raonic(in retrospect, Rafa or Djokovic might have not got out of that one). The court is slippery yes, but the players that are doing well are the ones that are getting on with the job, like Delpo or Ferrer, who relies on his movement as much as Nadal or Djokovic do. I think Federer has a great opportunity here to go up to number two and have the possibility of Nadal facing Djokovic in RG SF(the draw will be fixed of course to allow this not to happen).. But Federer has to try hard to win Madrid and go deep in Rome. He is then more or less assured of getting a second seed in RG. It will help of course if Nadal does not win Rome.

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    Vasco Reply:

    Good analysis. However, I don’t buy that conspiracy theory thing of rigged draws.

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  11. Now the so called KING Of clay has a new reason to blame. Normally he’l say he’s injured while losing now he’s blaming the courts. Its bad attitude for a player in his calibre. rather accepting the defeat graciously he’s doing crap.. Rafa – Sore loser…

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  12. Nadal is really a terrible loser! If he can’t move as he claimed how the hell he was able to beat Davydenko easily!!! Davy is no push over, why can’t he just accept that losing to Verdasco was just one of those days! Aaaargh!

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    V Reply:

    Well anewor.
    I think both NAdal and Djokovic have no business talking about the courts because adaptation is a key to the success of any sportsmen and this clearly shows that what they both have achieved is more due to the homogenization of courts rather than their genuine adaptation to overcome their weak points and win them.the courts have become terribly slow everywhere and we still find only these two complaining all the time.They do not realize that it is not the courts fault but their own that they are losing.I am glad that this is a blue clay court so that the world knows the one dimensional of Nadal come to the light.How can one be considered King of Clay if that person cannot adapt to any type of clay??I am sure that Borg and Laver would surely have taken this in their stride and tried to win it rather than taking the easier route of complaining and whining which the Machine has resorted to.Nadal has no right to blame the court especially after the way he “BLEW” up that 5-2 lead in the decider.He just does not accept he was beaten and is definitely a sore looser and I think people will have by now at least got to know about his so called humility(FAKE FAKE FAKE).

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  13. What is going on here?!!! Everything seems to be falling just in place JUST in the right time for ROGER.

    Nadal out, and now Djokovic – OMG!

    If Roger wins this, which he is now the absolute favourite to do, he will be the first to win a Masters 1000 on Blue clay. He will again tie Nadal for 20 Masters 1000 titles.

    And most importantly, come monday, the new ranking will be:

    1. Djokovic – 11,200
    2. Federer – 9,430
    3. Nadal – 9,105

    I mean that is even better than my wildest dreams. I never expected both Nadal and Djokovic to lose early, but here it is folks.

    Now, let’s take of business however. Ferrer today. Tipsarevic tomorrow, and most likely Del Potro on Sunday.

    :-) ))) Allez Roger!

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  14. I don’t believe this. First Dasco beats Nadal, now Tipsi beats Nole. We can’t have scripted it better. Ferrer,Tipsi,Berdych/DelP. Very do-able. Another clay Masters. 20th Master’s to tie Nadal again, and most importantly no 2. Great week after not seeing Roger for 5 weeks!

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  15. Ru-an.I truly think this is the best place for commentators like us because even commentators on atpworldtour.com are whining about the blue clay courts and I thought it was below my dignity after commenting in this wonderful blog to reply to their atrocious comments there.Anyways,lets get back to Madrid and of course Federer.He was hardly troubled by Ferrer and he served very well and did not face a break point which is great for a person who is coming off a big layoff and is playing on almost alienistic new courts which so called top 2 players are whining about.I think now he is the favourite for winning this thing.Tipsarevic should be no push over but although I think Federer will come through in straights.And next it will probably be Delpotro.And that will arguably be the match of the tournament now given that Federer wont face Djokovic.So hoping for your post soon and welcoming the new world no 2 ‘ROGER FEDERER”

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  16. Now only two opponents left. Tipsarevic is a dangerous player, very crafty from the baseline, so Federer will have to mix it up a lot to keep him from getting rhythm. But if he serves well on top of that he should be able to get through.

    After his first match his footwork on the tricky surface has been superb so far. Here’s hoping he can go all the way and make history as the first man to win a title on blue clay!

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  17. You were very right, Ruan, about Rafael Nadal playing to many tournaments before going to Paris. He should have tried to remain unbeaten and get some rest before defending his title in Paris. Even uncle Tony dissuaded his nephew Rafael from playing the Madrid tournament albeit maybe for other reasons. But Rafa thought apparently differently about it, and as a result of this stubborness he took a shocking 3d round defeat in Madrid inflicted on him by his fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco. To go fishing in Mallorca will hopefully bring back some peace in Nadal’s mind. He’ll need it badly because he can’t afford to have another sub par performance before going to Paris.
    Djokovic doens’t seem to find his groove either and lost surprisingly to his fellow countryman Tipsarovic. I don’t know what to think of this loss. Is Novak ready for an assault in Paris ? I have my doubts about it.
    Roger Federer is quietly moving on and performing already better than i expected him to do. He doens’t make much a noise but continues silently winning all his matches and piling up rankings points. If this trend continues, he will get back at some point to the top spot.
    Finally a few words reagrding Juan Martin Del Potro. He’s playing very well in my opinion and should be considered as a dangerous outsider for the Roland Garros title. We’ll have to keep an eye on him.

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  18. Nadal just simly handed in the match to Verdasco….there was no single shot he made right the 4-5 games and was all on purpose. Don`t be silly i think he choked…there was no pressure, no underestimation ..no nothing he just had planned to leave earlier the tournament to have some rest and to increse the pressure on organizers and ATP that he lost because of the court and respectively won`t play there anymore if they keep the new surface.
    Shame on him and djoko. They don`t wanna play attacking tennis for 1 week not to destroy the preparation for Paris.That`s a myth too since there is almost no preparation for Wimbledon and doesnt affect both nadal and Djoko.Problem is they cannot run like headless chickens and wait for the opponent to error.Notice they complain the surface benefits the big servers like Isner, Berdich, Fed? WTF then improve ur serve and please Fed is not a big server. Interesting when they slowed down all courts the last decade to suit their game fed didn`t say anything now they change one surface is a big deal.And how come Tony Nadal could say that the owner of the tournament must go cause put in disadvantage the spanish clay courters?I never new that surfaces must satisfy the taste of local players…I don`t think red clay is not slippery too, the problem is the speed of the court not the color or if its slippery or not.They basically state “we don`t wanna play on faster courts cause it doesn`t suit our games”.Who are u guys to say that even in an indirect way?Tennis is bigger than anyone including u!Now fed has to stop playing on clay and grass next year since they slowed the surface and he cannot take it anymore.Threatening tournament organizers when they get bunch of money to participate and no one complains but those too.did u see any problem when nadal demolished davydenko…any problems with movement or ball striking…he was so good that i thought can beat everyone till the final and then he loses on purpose and plays drama queen plays again. Djoko is the same – since they revealed he uses the space egg for running for hours without getting tired and then stopped using it so often or at all and u see he cannot make even 1 match looking at least 80% of what he showed last year. its normal not be so dominant but all of a sudden being the same old player before using the egg speaks a lot.

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