The moment we’ve all been waiting for a year now is finally here, the much anticipated Fedal final is upon us. Federer assured that will be the case by securing another impressive win over David Ferrer today. He now leads Ferrer 10-0 in head-to-heads. And this may have been Ferrer’s best chance to beat Federer yet. Ferrer has won the most matches on clay so far this year and has been most impressive. But Federer was most impressive in the first set himself, especially on serve. His first serve percentage was something ridiculous, while he won most of his service games to love. Ferrer on the other hand was under pressure on his serve, doing well do fend off several break points. The break was thus somewhat expected in the 11th game. At the beginning of the match I predicted a score of 7-5, 6-3, and after Roger won the first set, it looked like a very real possibility.
However, in an unexpected turn of events, Roger lost concentration in the fourth game of the second set and lost serve to go down 3-1. This caused a momentum shift in favor of Ferrer which lasted until the end of the second set. In the third set Federer steadied the ship and eventually broke in the eighth game, after which he clinched the win with a service hold. So I ended up getting the score right of the sets Roger won, but in the second set Roger just took a dip. Does that mean he is not in top form yet? It’s possible. It is after all not a grand slam, and I think Roger can step it up a notch still. He will probably need to to beat Nadal as well. He cannot afford to have any lapses of concentration against Nadal, that is sure. He needs to do what he did last year, when he was completely focused throughout the match.
Once he gives Nadal a sniff, the crowd will start rallying behind Nadal and it will become harder to slay him. The crowd will rally behind Nadal anyway, like they did last year. Remember ‘RAFA, RAFA!!‘? Expect some more. Not only is this the first Fedal encounter in a year, but there is much riding on this match. First of all, by defeating Ferrer, Roger only needs to make the semi’s in Paris to break Sampras record amount of weeks at number one. If he had lost, he would have had to make the final in Paris. I’m not sure what the scenario is exactly if he beats Nadal, but you can think for yourself that it will only have good consequences. The fact that Nadal won today, also means that he will go into Paris as the second seed, and not the third. This means there is no possibility of Federer and Nadal meeting in the semi-finals of the French.
Also, if Nadal wins tomorrow, he will have 18 Masters Series titles under his belt, beating Andre Agassi’s record of 17, and Roger will still be on 16. We Fedfanatics don’t want that, and neither does the GOAT. But I haven’t gotten to the most significant part of tomorrow’s final, which is that Roger needs to plant the seed of doubt in Nadal’s mind before the French Open. So far he has dominated the clay season, and if he goes unbeaten into the French, he will be very difficult to stop. Therefor I feel it’s crucial that Roger strikes a decisive blow tomorrow. Nadal is not invincible on clay anymore, especially not in Madrid. Today Almagro showed once again that Nadal can lose sets. The reason Almagro could not beat him, was because he could not keep up his high level of play of the first set up. Nadal’s consistency won the day in the end.
But we all know that Roger can keep that kind of level up throughout a match, so I think Nadal is in trouble. That is my feeling anyway. I have watched Nadal throughout this week, and I know Roger will beat him again tomorrow if he keeps up a high level of play throughout. There will be no room for losing concentration the way he did against Ferrer if he is to prevail. If he serves the way he did today through most of the match, he will be very difficult to beat. I don’t have to go on about what he needs to do, because he already did that last year. All he needs to do is repeat. Nadal has no answer to that kind of play. A high percentage of first serves, an attacking game plan that keeps the points short and Nadal away from his backhand, and variation, should do the job once more. It’s not easy to so though, lets be honest.
When you face Nadal on clay you are always treading a very thin line. Roger pretty much has to play the peRFect match again, and I think he is up for the challenge. Everything points to it. He has gotten better with every match and beaten some of the best clay court players of the season so far. Incidentally I saw a tweet from Greg Rusedski on twitter today, saying that Roger needs this more than Nadal. I don’t necessarily agree. That statement basically puts all the pressure on Roger, but that’s rubbish. Roger has been the one who have done it all since last year in Madrid. Nadal is the one who desperately needs to resurrect his career with a win tomorrow and in the French Open. Nadal needs this win much more than Federer. If he loses tomorrow and fails to regain his French Open crown, his career will be near to over. He will be written off.
If Federer fails to defend his crown nothing happens. He has won the French Open now and won the most grand slams. He has absolutely nothing left to prove. I’m not surprised that Rusedski doesn’t get this. He has never struck me as a particularly intelligent guy. Well I’m gonna leave you here. Lets go do it one more time champ.
May the Fedforce be with you.
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