It doesn’t get much better than this, not for me anyway. Roger beating that arrogant Scot is always a good day, especially in a key tournament like this. And on top of that, Roger secured the year end number one ranking with this win. Congrats on a fifth year at the top of the tennis world champ! Roger got off to the peRFect start when he broke Murray in the opening game of the match, and it looked like my prediction of Roger breezing through the opening set would come true. But tennis is more unpredictable than that, as Murray broke straight back, and broke once more to win the first set. Roger was looking out of sorts once more, as he did in the first set against Verdasco. There were just way too many forehand errors in the first set, and because of it Roger could not impose his game on Murray.
It was also clear that there was no love lost between these two, and Murray was desperate to impose himself on Roger with his childish ‘mon’s’ once more. I can’t say that I wasn’t slightly worried at this point, but I also knew that Roger was well capable of still winning this match, and that he couldn’t stand losing against Murray. It was only a question of finding his rhythm and making things ‘click’, which is exactly what he did in the second set. The first serve started hitting the spot, and Roger cleaned up the unforced errors he was making from the back of the court. Because Roger was cleaning up on the unforced errors, he could also afford to play more aggressively, which payed off when he finally broke Murray in the second set. When that happened I pretty much felt that Roger would win the match.
The only way I felt that Murray could win this match was if he did so in straight sets, because once Roger found his rhythm, there would be nothing that Murray could do. It’s like Roger said before the match, the match is on his racquet, and if he plays his attacking game there can only be one winner. Roger went on to serve out the second set, and in the third set Jesusfed was starting to make his appearance. Unfortunately the picture got cut off there, and it only came back on again in the second last game where Murray was desperately trying to avoid the bread stick. He managed to avoid the bagel, but Roger still Fed him the bread stick as he broke serve. It was quite similar to the way Roger’s match with Verdasco played out, with Roger looking out of sorts in the first set, fighting back in the second, and going in for the kill in the third.
The quality of tennis against Murray was higher though, so Roger is still improving. I hope to catch some highlights of the third set some time, but I’m pretty sure Jesusfed was in the house. As you can see from the match stats, Roger was most impressive at the net, while Murray was at his choking best with eight double faults. The first serve percentage from Roger was good after a mediocre first set, and he managed to recover his winners to unforced errors so that it was a positive ratio in the end. There is no doubt that Roger knows how to beat Murray now. The second and third set from Roger was a almost a carbon copy of the way he played against Murray in Cincinnati. The bottom line is, get a high percentage of first serves in, cut out the unforced errors, play aggressively with approaches to the net, and Murray will be a spectator.
Roger really had no business going down 6-2 to Murray in head-to-head meetings. But sometimes that happens. You play a few bad matches against a certain player, after which your career goes into a slump, and suddenly you find yourself down to a player which isn’t even in your league. When Roger plays against Murray the match will always be on his racquet. He simply has too many weapons and variation for Murray. From here on I predict that Roger will keep improving his head-to-head record with Murray, and eventually make it positive. As for Murray, I don’t think the guy has much of a grand slam future in tennis. Today I heard again that he said after his match with Roger that “I served so poorly that, you know, anyone would have looked good against me tonight.”
This is the kind of arrogance and immaturity that makes Murray fail in the big moments. If you can’t acknowledge the fact that you have been beaten by the better player on the day and give credit where it’s due, the same thing will keep happening. Simple as that. This Murray is truly a child and I hope Delpo pass him soon in the rankings. He even left a comment on my blog today, or so the name says anyway. You will find the link to his comment on the chat box on my blog. I seriously doubt it’s him, but it sound like him anyway. Lol. The other match that was played in group A yesterday was of course Delpo against Verdasco. It was yet another three set match, and so far the only match that did not go the distance was when Rafa lost to Soderling in straight sets. Rafa hardly looks like a top ten player these days.
Anyway Delpo ended up winning the match 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1). It was an exciting match, but the tie break in the third set was a bit of an anti-climax, and predictably so. Verdasco is not a man for the big occasion, that should be clear by now. After the second round of matches in group A has been concluded, it happens to be the case that all four players still have a chance to qualify for the semi-finals. I’m not going to bother writing out the different scenarios here, I’ll just refer you to the appropriate thread at Mens Tennis Forum: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=154604. You will see that if Verdasco beats Murray and Roger loses to Delpo, then Roger and Delpo qualifies for the semi’s.
I would like to see Roger and Delpo qualify, but I don’t want to see Roger lose to Delpo, so it’s kind of a tough one. It seems Murray and Verdasco will play first tomorrow, and if Murray beats Verdasco, then Roger has to beat Delpo at all costs. If Murray loses to Verdasco, then it wont be the worst thing if Roger lost to Delpo. The US Open loss to Delpo will still be fresh in Roger’s mind though, so I doubt he will be looking to make any compromises. I suspect Roger will be very confident comes his match against Delpo, and he will be out for revenge. As I predicted before the tournament, Roger will win the Masters Cup, and the fact that the pressure of the number one ranking is off his shoulders now, will make him an even bigger favorite.
As for group B, Djokovic edged out Davydenko 7-5 in the third set on Tuesday in a slugfest from the base line. So today Djokovic will play against Soderling, while Davydenko will come up against Rafa. That should be two more very interesting matches. This must be the most exciting Masters Cup event I have ever witnessed. Also, by reclaiming the year end number one, Roger has now become the only player together with Ivan Lendl to reclaim the year end number one, after having lost it. Congrats again champ!