Well not much to see here as Roger destroyed the local favorite 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour. But it looked like it would be anything but a destruction after Roger went down 0-40 in the opening game on his serve. For a moment there I thought the 2013 version of Roger was back, and that the new player we were seeing was just an illusion. But after Roger saved that game it was a pretty flawless performance from there on. Roger broke right away in the next game after a double fault from Matosevic. Definitely Matosevic’s serve is nothing special. It looks manufactured and awkward and he served 5 double faults as opposed to 3 aces, with a first serve percentage of 56. Roger on the other hand has a natural, fluent service motion and like in his previous match he served 9 doubles and made 61% first serves.
This time he served one double fault, but still very good serving from him. At 0-5 Matosevic served an ace to avoid the bagel, as he raised his hands sarcastically for finally getting on the board. Roger then held serve with an ace in the next game to wrap up the 1st set. Matosevic then held serve in the opening game of the 2nd set, but that was as far as he got. Roger reeled of the next 6 games for the double breadstick. It was a vintage performance from Roger and I dare say JesusFed is back. The serve was as dominating as I said and so was the forehand which he stroke with a very nice rhythm for winner after winner. There were some very nice passing shots and Roger did the fake where he lines up for the drop shot and goes deep as well. He just looked utterly in control out there and made Matosevic look like a futures level player.
Roger even converted more than 50% of his break points(5/9), and he saved all 3 break points against him. I guess Matosevic’s first two rounds took quite a bit out of him, but was he fully rested I doubt things would have been very different. He was just dominated by the far superior player. I can see that Roger means business. The first match of the season is always going to be difficult to draw many conclusions from, but seeing how he has gone about the doubles and now the second singles I can’t help but feel there may be something special in store again this season. Remember what I said: A great high is preceded by a great low. That is just how nature works. From this perspective failure is a blessing, because it leads to success. 2013 was a wretched old season but if it leads to Fed 4.0 it would have been worth it.
That new racquet is starting to look very comfortable in his hand…
Roger will now play Chardy who defeated Groth in straight sets today. As was the case with Matosevic, these two have never met before. I find this quite surprising. Roger did play him in the doubles though and he will have an idea of what he is up against. Chardy is a guy with a pretty big serve and ground strokes. Your typical French shot maker who can be quite destructive, but he is pretty inconsistent as well. Given how Roger has been playing I can’t see him troubling Roger much. There is always the possibility of a drop in form from Roger but he has just looked on a different mission this year so far. In fact I’d be surprised if Roger doesn’t win the title. If he wins he will play the winner of Hewitt and Nishikori in the final. Nice to see the 32-year old Hewitt still going strong and it would be pretty special if we have a Federer/Hewitt final.
I think Nishikori is a slight favorite in that match though. Nishikori would probably be a better test for Roger at this point too. It does indeed look like these courts are pretty fast and you can see what difference it makes to Roger’s game and success. Now if only they would speed up more courts, and hopefully Rod Laver arena will be faster as well. There have been many rumors that the courts at Melbourne will be faster, but if all the courts are faster except Rod Laver arena it doesn’t help Roger. In Doha today Nadal was pushed to 3 sets for a second time this week by a German called Gojowczyk. I was pretty impressed with the German. I think he could make a breakthrough this year. He has a nice game. Nadal will play Monfils in the final whose only two wins over Nadal came in Doha.
So who knows, there may even be another upset tomorrow. I have predicted that Nadal will slump this season and although he is in the final and could well win the title, he has looked slightly vulnerable already. If the courts in Melbourne are sped up and especially if the bounce is lower it will be very hard for Nadal to win the title. Remember how Djokovic manhandled Nadal in Beijing with the low bounce? But it’s always dangerous to write Nadal off. Besides he can still have a good time of it in Melbourne and slump during the remainder of the year. I just think the past has shown that Roger and Nadal peak at different times and it does look like Roger is starting to peak again, in which case it would make sense for Nadal to slump again. It’s ridiculous how much physical effort goes into his tennis anyway.
Fed 4.0 says hello
It therefor only makes sense that he must go through slumps so that his body can recover. I mean no human being can keep playing like that and peak all the time. As for Roger I like what I am seeing a lot but I will just take it one match at a time. If the courts are faster in Melbourne he could do very well there but there is still Djokovic and Nadal to deal with. Tomorrow Hewitt and Nishikori will play first followed by Roger and Chardy. Then Roger will play doubles following his singles. Roger’s match is a bit earlier this time but I will definitely get up for it. I will probably catch the doubles afterwards as well. It is weekend after all and if you can’t get up to watch Roger I feel sorry for you. Well lets hope Roger can win both his matches tomorrow and give us two more matches to watch on Sunday!