To say that Roger was not at his best today is a bit of an understatement. Yet he still won in straight sets against a competent opponent. In doing so he first of all took back the number three spot from Murray in the rankings, after Murray overtook him during the Asian swing. As always he justifies his words in the press when he said that Murray only did well in Asia because him and Djokovic was absent, consequently making anyone who calls him arrogant look like a hater. The bottom line is that Roger is right most of the time. That is all that matters. As soon as the big boys were back Murray folded like a cheap tent. Taking back the number three spot from Murray was like taking candy from a baby. Murray just isn’t a member of the big three, and therefor haven’t been able to stay in the top three for an extended period of time.
There never was a big four in my book, and there never will be. By winning today Roger also made his 100th final. That is a lot of finals. If he wins tomorrow he will have his 70th title in the bag, and a record 6 Masters Cup titles. That is a strike rate of 70% in finals. I don’t know the strike rates of previous all time greats in finals, but that is a very good strike rate nonetheless. Most of those final losses has been to the clay GOAT on clay anyway, which makes it even more impressive. Like I said, Roger struggled a bit today. I thought he would raise his level from the Fish match, but that wasn’t the case. He had to really work for this win. He just wasn’t timing it out there quite as well, and therefor had to rely on his will. At 4-5 and serving he went down 0-15 on his serve. On the following point he approached the net after which Ferrer hit an awkward return to his feet.
If he went down 0-30 on his serve he would have been in trouble of dropping the first set, but came up with a gutsy drop volley winner. It was a difficult service game where the score went to deuce several times, and it turned out to be the pivotal game of the match. Ferrer had his chances but he twice dumped regulation shots into the net. I guess when you have lost 11 straight times to someone you kind of lose belief. Roger eventually held serve and broke in the next game. After holding serve to win the first set he also broke in the opening game of the second set. The second set was a bit more comfortable as Roger broke Ferrer again when he was serving at 3-5 to stay in the match. Looking at the match stats Roger made 63% first serves which is good, but his winner to unforced error ratio was 24/29, while his break point conversion ratio was 3/8.
The stats pretty much sums it up. It was a struggle, but the served once again saved Roger. In the other semi Tsonga beat Berdych 6-3, 7-5. I think it’s pretty obvious that Tsonga has been the better player this year and deserved to be in the final. This means that Roger will play Tsonga for a third consecutive Sunday. I wonder when was the last time that happened. There seems to be quite a few Fedfans who are nervous about this final. It is understandable as Roger’s form has not been what I expected in this tournament. I have struggled with this fact because I expected Roger to be in JesusFed mode throughout this event like he was last year. He had the best possible preparation after all. But I think I found my answer from someone on twitter. The person told me that Roger has been ‘relaxed’ since he beat Nadal.
I think the win over Nadal was such an emotional high that Roger have not quite come down from it yet. Lets face it, that was a massive win. It has been a long time coming and had all Fedfans across the world in ecstasy. Roger did not show much emotion when he won the final point, but that was just out of respect for Nadal. Believe me that was a big weight of his shoulders. He badly needed a convincing win over Nadal. So for me that match is the explanation for Roger’s lack of JesusFed form throughout this event. Even the match against Tsonga may have lacked a certain intensity because Roger knew Nadal was in his group. After today I was a bit disappointed with Roger’s form, and I was tempted to fall into the trap of negativity that some Fedfans fell into. There are some Fedfans who think Roger will lose tomorrow.
At first I was also tempted to believe that we are being reminded of the fact that Roger is just not in his prime anymore, and that these kind of matches are inevitable, even when he is going through a good phase. But I am not going to submit to that kind of negativity. I still want to believe that Roger’s recent form bodes well for next year and that he can win a slam. Therefor I am choosing to believe that his lack of form has been because of the emotional high of the Nadal match, and that he will bring his best again in the final. As long as he wins this event his form throughout it doesn’t matter to me, since he already destroyed his main rival in the process. If he goes on to win the title tomorrow in would cap off the peRFect week as far as I’m concerned. Sure he beat Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic last year. But the way he beat Nadal this year is almost better than all those wins put together.
It was just a very special feeling. I think if Roger was on an emotional high after manhandling his so-called nemesis, then it is about time that he comes down tomorrow. Yes, Tsonga is dangerous. I just believe that Roger will raise his level tomorrow. His level would have to be better than any of his matches in this tournament so far aside from the Nadal match, or else he will lose. The way he played against Tsonga in the first match will not get the job done. Tsonga will be more confident now and he will not gift Roger the break at 4-5 in the third set again. But this is Roger Federer we are talking about. I believe he has one more very good match in him left for this season. Lets face it, it is a big match too. This latest run of form from Roger has all come down to this match. It has been an impressive run, but if he loses tomorrow it will leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
We have reached the crescendo of Roger’s indoor run, and to fail here would be a big anti-climax. Not only does Roger have a chance of breaking another impressive record here if he wins a sixth Masters Cup, but it is also about the future. The fact that he destroyed Nadal gives one a lot of hope for the future, but if he loses tomorrow it will spoil things somewhat. If Roger wins tomorrow he will reinforce the fact that he is still very much at the top of the men’s game and that he will be a big threat at slams next year. It would also be the best possible way to prepare for the Australian Open next year. OK I think I have built this up enough. Let me just say that Roger have shown he can beat Tsonga with relative ease in the Paris final. And there he wasn’t even playing as well as he was in the semis against Berdych. So as far as I’m concerned Tsonga has zero chance if JesusFed shows up.
This is it Fedfans. One last push!