Yesterday I said that Tsonga could still qualify first in group B. That was a mistake. Because head-to-head come into play first if two players have the same amount of wins, and Roger beat both Nadal and Tsonga, he was already assured of qualifying first in the group. So really there was not much to play for here, aside from pride, 200 ranking points, and $120 000. Relatively speaking of course. There wasn’t a reason for JesusFed to come out is what I mean. These days JesusFed shows up much more seldom than in Roger’s prime, and he needs to use that alter ego more sparingly these days. Having said that, he is so comfortable indoors that JesusFed is around quite often on this surface. This was a dead rubber though so it must have been hard for him to get very motivated. In the end he did the necessary.
In the first set he broke Fish’s first service game, only to get broken back. That was the only game Fish would win in the first set. It was decent tennis from Roger but not spectacular. In the second set Roger fell asleep and got broken in the fourth game. In the final set Roger got his act together and got the one break needed to take the set. I’m not gonna say more about this match because it was a dead rubber and Roger did what needed to be done. No conclusion can be drawn from this match. It was more like a practice session. This means Roger has now had two matches where JesusFed didn’t make an appearance, which makes me think that JesusFed will show up for semis and finals. The match that actually meant something today was the one between Nadal and Tsonga. In the end Tsonga made the semis when he beat Nadal 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3.
Tsonga had too much firepower for Nadal in the end and also used a lot of drop volleys. Nadal gave it his all but he just isn’t a very good indoor player. The scoreline also shows what devastating form Roger was in when he beat Nadal. I seriously doubt Nadal will ever win the Masters Cup. Indoor courts just shows Nadal up for the one dimensional player that he is. It is a similar situation to Sampras that was not able to win the French Open. Sampras was too much of an attacking player to win the French Open, while Nadal is too defensive to win the Masters Cup. If surfaces have not been slowed down as much as they have, I seriously doubt Nadal would have been able to complete the career slam. He would have struggled to win either Wimbledon or the US Open of old. Point is both Sampras and Nadal have limitations to their game, while Roger is the complete player.
Nadal has now also failed to win a title off clay for the first time since 2004. Surely not a good sign for him, as decline looks to be near. Tomorrow we will find out who joins Roger and Tsonga in the semis. If Djokovic loses to Tipsarevic, and Berdych loses to Ferrer, then it goes to sets and games for who goes through between Djokovic and Berdych, while Ferrer qualifies first. If Djokovic beats Tipsarevic and Berdych loses to Ferrer, then Ferrer qualifies first and Djokovic qualifies second. If both Berdych and Djokovic wins, then it will go to sets and games to decide who goes through between Ferrer, Djokovic, and Berdych. Ferrer is already through, and the only way that he does not qualify first is if he loses to Berdych and Djokovic loses as well. So there are a lot of scenarios possible but it looks like Ferrer will qualify first in group A.
We are probably looking at a Ferrer vs Tsonga semi and then it will be between Djokovic and Berdych as to who plays against Roger. I hope Djokovic qualifies, since Roger can do with a win over Djokovic and it would make for a more exciting match. With Nadal and Murray gone I would like at least one more of the top four in the semis. I think if it’s Djokovic against Roger it will also bring the best out of Roger again. But another win against Berdych won’t hurt either I guess, given that he has lost to him quite a bit of late. If it’s Tsonga and Ferrer in the other semi then Tsonga could well win and we would have a repeat of the Paris final. Whatever happens I think Roger is still the clear favorite to win this title. He has only been at his best in one match so far, and I expect JesusFed to be there for semis and finals, in which case this title belongs to him.