Masters Cup RR: Del Potro def Federer 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3

Well it’s my off weekend which means I can make an earlier post than normal. Like I said in my last post, the result of this match will be interesting. We can now tell a lot more about the direction Roger is heading in. In the match against Ferrer he did just the necessary. He got the one break in the first set and in the second set he served well in the tie break when it really mattered. It seems he did something similar against Del Potro. He needed to win only a set to qualify for the semis which he did. The difference this time was that the match stats were much better. For one thing his first serve percentage improved by 10% from 53% to 63%.

That is a significant improvement and an important one. His winner to unforced error ratio was a positive one this time too(43-42), whereas last time it was negative(28-39). So even though Roger lost this match there were some significant improvements. When I first saw this result I was pretty negative, but after I analyzed the match I felt more optimistic. I don’t all of a sudden believe Roger will win the Masters Cup, but at least there is some hope. He is clearly still burned out to me. But maybe that is the reason he is not trying to exert himself too much and doing just the necessary. It doesn’t matter whether he finishes first or second in the group.

Playing Murray or Djokovic in the semis is about the same. Playing Djokovic may be even better since he has lost to Murray the last two times and doesn’t want to make the head-to-head any worse. On the other hand if he beats Djokovic in the semis he will gain a lot of confidence from it, and will like his chances in the final against Murray or Del Potro. So actually I hope Tipsarevic beats Ferrer, in which case Roger will play Djokovic in the semis. He has beaten Djokovic the last two times and is far enough ahead in the head-to-head to afford a loss, whereas against Murray he trails the head-to-head 8-10 at this point.

So there is one more match left in the round robin stage which will decide the semi-final line up. Of course with today’s win Del Potro has qualified for the semis and Ferrer will go home. The semi-finals is about right now, with the four best players in the world having qualified. The important thing about Roger’s match today is that he raised his game, even though he lost. If he can do that again in the semis he may have a chance. I’ve said I don’t think Roger will win the Masters Cup but I will try to stay optimistic. Being burned out, he can’t play his best tennis every match. He has to conserve his best form for when it matters the most.

Lets see if he left his best for last.

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8 Comments

  1. Ru-an, so nice to have you back in full swing! As usual, I miss you, however, am thankful you find time to blog. Agree with you about Roger being burned out! He needs a long and good rest, recharge batteries so to speak! He looks tired! Well, Ferrer won, so Roger will play Murray, that listless/boring tennis player! Sorry, he is not my favorite to watch. Don’t know if Roger can beat him, I shall send my best vibes.
    Always a lot of good comments on your blog, Ru-an.
    My best to you,
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  2. I think the best way to sum up Fed’s game right now is inconsistent. He puts it together for stretches and then just collapse. He is certainly burned out and wants this season to end, but the frustration with his play means that he really wants this title and won’t give up in his pursuit of it. He didn’t really play a bad match against Delpo, but the Argentine was better in the big points. The only real Federror moments was the first set tiebreak.

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  3. With such a poor event scheduling (potentially 3 back-to-back-matches at the end for Roger against slam champions) and giving him one day less rest in comparison with his younger rivals, it is very doubtful that Roger poured all his energy into winning his last RR match. I think if Roger had played J.M. Del Potro first instead of J. Tipsarovic it might have been a whole different story, and Roger wouldn’t have handed him the break so easily in the third set.
    As for the semifinals Roger knows very well what kind of match is awaiting him today. Most probably another slugfest. I don’t know if Roger will be able to crack those Murray-nuts and pull off a win against him. It will be very hard, that’s for sure.
    Come on Roger! Don’t look back and go for it!

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  4. It’s so good to read a little optimistic tone about Roger’s chance in semis againts Murray, from a Roger’s true fan. I kind a disagree with Jonathan (Perfect Tennis) that stated that he is very certain that it would be Djoker vs Murray in the final, since Roger has nothing left in the tank. He’s burn out, no chance at all.

    I kind a put it in my perspective this way. Look, this man is 31 years old. If Murray or Djokovic or even Delpo face him, they should have win. Come on, they are not even 26 years old, and at their prime time also. So if they lose to Roger, they should be ashamed, beaten by 31 years old with two kids.

    So, if someone who never watch tennis but understand the effect of age in sports ask, who plays? It 31 years old Roger vs 24-25 years old Murray-Del Po-Djoker. Wow, 31 years old. He should be retired already. Ashamed on the younger ones to even lost a set.

    For Roger fans, just enjoy the game. Even when he lost, he always cheer us from time to time with genius shot and jaw dropping moments. It’s normal that he lose, it’s only the genius inside him that prevail when he win. Go Roger!

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  5. commentators said during this match ‘it’s difficult even for the most technically sound player to half-volley points after point’. del-potro tried to do just that – hitting pacy and deep ground-strokes after ground-stroke to wear roger down. murray again will be trying in the same way. so i’ll hope federer to be on the top of his game not being overly tired, which may not be the case so murray is slightly favourite. also, del-potro did some damage with some of his ‘backhand down the line’ shots which he didn’t use against ferrer, he opted to use this time and paid dividends, murray can do this a lot better with his backhand. talking of the other sf, i don’t fancy del-po’s chances against djokovic, because with his one-dimensional power hitting, he struggles against good returners and defensively solid players.

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  6. Nothing more satisfying than waking up 4 am in the morning and watching roger win in style!In to the finals against nole for a gripping contest and h2h against murray is almost squared up(with roger ofcourse stealing the show on every big stage).Can’t ask for more!
    Rogerrrrr!!!

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  7. Ru-an, your prediction was dead-on. Federer came back from a break down in the first set, and then completely overwhelmed Murray in the second.

    Seemed like the indoor conditions helped Federer to implement a slightly more aggressive gameplan to compensate for whatever difficulties he’s been having with his game.

    He’s in the title match for the third straight year, and since this was straight sets he will hopefully have enough energy to produce his best stuff against Djokovic.

    Goooooooo Roger!

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  8. Great match from Federer, can’t stand Mugly! I thought Roger was going to lose before the match started and I am glad that he still has one last push in him. Off to the finals, I hope for the very best from Federer and I think ending this year on a high note will help him going into the 2013 season.

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