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.