Madrid Rd3: Federer def Malisse 6-4, 6-3

I didn’t see much of this match, but it is pretty much the score line that I expected. I don’t think it was anything special from Roger. He probably played similar to the match against Lopez, only Lopez played better than Malisse. Roger now plays against Soderling who defeated Tsonga, and I’m not sure his form will be good enough to beat Soderling. We all know Soderling can play on clay, and he would have gained confidence from his last two wins. I’m not sure Roger wants to play against Nadal either. How many times have we seen him lose the round before he is supposed to face Nadal? The last time he played Nadal was in Miami where he got a 6-3, 6-2 beat down. How much worse will it be on clay? And would you believe it, Nadal is in the quarter finals due to the withdrawal of Del Potro. Obviously I was highly disappointed to hear this news.

It was the first match of this clay court season I was actually looking forward to. It was the first time Nadal was going to be challenged. But I should have known with Nadal’s never ending luck in draws that this match was never going to happen. Also, Del Potro is so injury ridden that he isn’t certain to play any match. It is now not certain whether he will even be back in time for Roland Garros. He is the one guy other than Roger that I enjoy following, but how much fun is it to follow an injury ridden player? You just set yourself up for disappointment. Anyway Nadal has past the hurdle without touching a racquet, never mind being tested. It is now up to Djokovic to test him, but I am already so sick and tired of those two that I am not even interested in the rest of Madrid. I will now watch Roger and hope he can at least make semi’s, only to get slaughtered by Nadal.

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17 Comments

  1. @ Ruan, Don’t give up on Roger. I think Roger will give Soderling at least a fight. I know we all expect less but I think something might turn around for Roger. I thought he played good today,he was a little agitated and probably wanted to get this match out of his way. We all still have to believe that Roger is still a top contender. I have watched Roger play Soderling earlier this year and he did pretty well. I believe that if Roger plays great against Robin and defeats him, that there is a good chance with that confidence and upping his performance he will perform better against Nadal ,especially if Nadal doesn’t take him seriously. I think Roger is going to surprise us all. Come on eveyone lets believe in he can do it. I have one question and it is, would you watch Federer play if you didn’t have a glimmer of hope that he could win? Remember Nadal and Djokovic are human and make mistakes too.

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  2. Federer’s play so far has hardly been inspired. Opponents of the caliber of Lopez and Malisse aren’t usually able to get him on the run as much as they did. He’s doing a lot of scrambling, not controlling the points the way he ideally would. His serve has been key to his wins, especially against Lopez.

    But he gritted it out against Lopez, surviving two match points. That’s a positive development, given that he lost a few matches last year after having match point himself. After taking so much crap over his supposed lack of mental toughness, it’s good to scrap his way through a match.

    But tomorrow he could come out and demolish Soderling.

    A meeting with Nadal isn’t certain yet, either. The Spaniard could always spring a surprise injury and withdraw, as he did in Rome in 2008. An upset is by far the more unlikely possibility, but it could happen.

    I’m taking the long view. The more clay matches Federer gets, the better for him in the long run.

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  3. Ru-an said: ‘…only to get slaughtered by Nadal…’

    Gee, you don’t have much faith in your man, do you. He beat Nadal just two years ago in the Magic Box, remember? And made the final to play him only last year… This court, with altitude, is better for Roger than any other claycourt, or at least, that is my understanding of the situation. I like to remember that Roger grew up on clay, and is pretty proficient on the red stuff too.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha like two years ago make any difference to the present. Have you seen Roger play of late? Did you forget what happened in Miami? Please dont insult my intelligence.

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  4. I find it curious that so many of these top guys are pulling out of matches because of injuries, and taking time off. You would think they would be made of stronger stuff. Del Potro is like a high performance car that keeps needng to go back into the garage: you want to swap it for a more reliable – if less spectacular – model.
    The irony is that the current world no.1 is supposed to suffer more injuries than anyone yet mostly plays through them – unless he is losing. I find it fascinating how his injuries are generally pronounced fine after 8 days, and that he knows in advance just how long they will take to get better. The perfect injury.
    Ruan, I know how frustrating it is for you that the contest is now really narrowed down to Djokovic and Nadal – especially since luck once again plays a part in Nadal’s draw – but at least Djokovic will render the outcome uncertain, which few if any other players can do at present – even Roger, I suspect. Personally, I would enjoy seeing Djokovic beat Nadal, not least because it would confirm some of my suspicions about the Serb’s dramatic improvement in form ths year.

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  5. i pretty much agree with your post ruan. federer’s game has inexplicably declined to the point that i can’t expect him to win any match now, and it’s gotten to the point that i sometimes have to view him as the underdog even when he’s playing players not named nadal or djokovic.

    also, it’s not really a matter of faith that some fedfans like us have lowered our expectation of federer’s results. it’s just being realistic. how can we expect wins and titles out of roger when even he doesn’t expect them himself? i was hoping that his confidence and title aspirations would have been revitalized after getting out of that jam with lopez, but it seems that i was hoping for too much there. obviously i want federer to win as many matches as possible here but realistically i see soderling take this in 2, if not 3 sets, and it should look something like the match against melzer. their h2h of 15-1 probably won’t matter as almost no one, much less soderling, is afraid of playing federer anymore.

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    Dave Reply:

    Come on guys, there must some hope and inspiration left on this blog. I think everyone should not watch the match tomorrow, Fed surely will be beaten.

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  6. Totally agree with Ruan! I love watching Federer play and see your frustration watching Nadal and Djokovic. They (and few other players) have figured out Federer’s weak point – The famous one handed backhand. Though one has to be extremely good to get Fed vulnerable and then attack.

    Now, if people would have seen his form against Lopez, you could tell that Federer’s game has NOT declined. Though I did notice some lazy shots today against Malisse and his body language didn’t seem like he was too charged up either, his game overall seemed decent.

    Here’s the deal, you have got to take risks and when Federer does about 40% of the time, you’ll see unforced errors and Fedfans will remember these errors. This has ALWAYS been the case so I don’t see anything different there.

    Nadal has always been a gladiator and Djokovic’s game has improved tremendously. That’s the problem. It’s like we need someone else to get these two out of the way to make Federer’s life easier.

    I’m not sure what it is – Djokovic’s hunger that charges him up or Nadal’s strong mental will that intimidates his opponents, but in order to beat these two Fed will need the confidence, more 1st serve in percentages and fewer unforced errors. His game, his movement, his forehands, backhands, drops etc. are still those of a champion.

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  7. Dave, I am hopeful that he will win a clay-court title this year–perhaps even win the French Open–but I’m taking it one step at a time.

    Like I said he could walk out on court against Soderling and produce a masterclass of surgical clay-court tennis. Or he could play a nervy, error-prone match. Or anything in between, really. Federer’s hard to predict these days.

    Soderling is the current challenge, and I am not looking any further than that.

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  8. I agree with…. Dave! Everyone is being too hard on Roger. I share Ru-an’s concerns about playing Nadal on clay right now but I actually fancy Roger’s chances more on a fast clay court than I do on a super slow, humid hard court (at night!) Like in Miami. Roger has always pushed Nadal hard at this event. He was very close last year too and yet he came into the tournament with no form at all.
    As for Soderling- I can’t see how he can beat Roger at this moment. At all. I think you’re all forgetting the 15-1 H2H. The H2H against Meltzer wasn’t really definitive because they’d hardly played each other really. But 15-1 is OWNERSHIP!! Roger’s game matches up well against Le Sod. And with that record it also becomes a mental thing- Soderling will look over the net and think ‘oh god, I’m gonna lose today’
    Also- Soderling has hardly won a match since the Aussie Open. He’s been playing terrible tennis and he’s also just split up with his coach. So…. All in all I give Soderling a 10% chance of winning this match. I see a victory for Roger- how easy that victory is depends on which Roger turns up. But even if Federror makes a brief appearance I can still see Roger scraping though. Vamos Roger!!

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  9. I just watched Nadal butcher the Frenchman Llodra. It was painful to watch. Nadal’s shots seemed to strike the court like physical blows. I think that only another pumped-up player could stand a chance against him in this form. Maybe that’s Djokovic. But it’s not Federer.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I couldnt watch Neil. It was disgusting.

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  10. Yes, the doping is painfully obvious. Looking at Nadal’s body and thinking he is clean is absurd. So many of the top players appear to be doping. Their physiques are impossible, even if one was pumping iron constantly. And Djoko’s newfound stamina is highly suspect. Sudden changes in performance are such an obvious giveaway. You’d think he’d throw a match just to dampen suspicion, but with the lax testing in tennis why bother.

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  11. Nadals’ match was utterly disgusting, why did Llodra even show up. Tennis is being ruined by these super-athletes. I don’t car what anyone says, Djokovic and Nadal need to be checked out. Bellucci came out of nowwhere and ousted Berdych today. Something is really screwed up with the big differences in the level of play among certain athletes.

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  12. Yes! Congrats, Roger on your straight sets win. I believe we will see a much closer match against Nadal than people think. Hopefully an upset!

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  13. Dear All
    Please note my earlier post on this wonderful blog. Tonight Federror showed up for long periods but as I predicted he still was too good for Robin Soderling! Another semi final! Whilst it is highly likely he’ll lose we have to appreciate that even tho everyone says that Roger is ‘going through the same thing as Sampras’ he is still going deep in most tournaments. Pete was losing in the first round by this stage!!

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  14. I saw a much more aggressive Roger Federer and he made some beautiful shots today. Good solid game. 8 Aces, 77% first points saved, 66% on 2nd. I thought his return of serve, his backhand, forhand and drop shots were very pretty consistent. Congrats. to Fed. Nadal,now to face to puny,pigeon- toed gypsy.

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