Miami 1/4 Finals: Federer scrapes through against Roddick 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Roger you’re killing me!!! Really this is not fun anymore. It seems these days Roger likes to torture his fans, whether it is his intention or not. The first set and a half was business as usual for Roger. But midway through the second set it all went pear shaped for him. He went up 40-0 on Andy Roddick’s serve and looked to be cruising to another routine win against Roddick. But he seemed to become complacent and squandered all three break points. And as I mentioned in my last post when a player does not take their opportunity to go ahead there often occurs a momentum change. The momentum change was completed after Roger was up 40-0 in his next service game and allowed Roddick to break him.

By allowing this Roger made things awfully complicated for himself. Up till that point in the match Roger was cruising to another easy victory and Roddick wasn’t playing with any belief. But as soon as Roddick broke he was right back in the match and of course the American crowd got right behind their man. And who can blame them? This just made the momentum swing all the more telling. After Roddick closed out the second set the crowd was now starting to chant “ANDY ANDY ANDY!!!” between points and Roger was getting more and more agitated as the match dragged on. Roddick was responding to the crowd and played some inspired tennis, while things were getting desperate for Roger.

At 3-3 and 15-40 in the deciding set Roddick held two break points on Roger’s serve and Roger looked all but down and out. But by the skin of his teeth he pulled through that game with his serve in tact. This is where I thought another momentum change occurred, all be it a more subtle then the one in the second set. Both players held serve one more time after that and at 5-4 and Roddick serving I felt Roger had a slight window of opportunity since Roddick was serving to stay in the match and he would have felt the pressure. Credit to Roger for piling on the pressure in this game where he played some nice tennis. In the end a win is a win, but I can’t believe Roger would be happy with the way he let that second set slip.

He just put himself under and awful lot of pressure and gave Roddick hope when he shouldn’t have had any. Maybe this comes back to the same problem Roger has with Rafa concerning killer instinct. When you have an opportunity to put a player away there must be no hesitation, you must kick your opponent while they are down and not allow them to get back up again. Roger played some good tennis in the last game to break Roddick, but he should never even have been in that game. I guess as long as Roger keeps winning these close matches it’s not such a big deal, but it’s not much fun for me to watch and it’s the principal that counts. Roger needs more of a killer instinct I’m afraid. In this regard he can learn a lot from Pete Sampras who was a mental giant.

Just a word of recognition for Roddick’s performance as well. Credit to him for not going away and seizing the moment to get back in the match. He would be bitterly disappointed to have lost this match as it was one of the few he had a chance in. And it has to be said Roddick is a much improved player this year and he has my respect for that. But I’m also very glad to see Roger did not repeat the same result of last year, that would have been extremely damaging to his confidence. Having used one of his nine lives to get through this match I feel like Roger will take care of the Djoker in the next round, who finally got one back over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga after having lost four matches in a row against Tsonga. The score of was 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic looked more like his old self today with powerful and consistent ground strokes. This makes me happy because I like his game and this win would give him a lot of confidence after all the stick he’s been taking from critics of late. One thing that I must bring up though is that the Djoker’s fitness and mental toughness is definitely a question mark. During the last three games or so of the match he started looking like he did in the Australian Open again when he withdrew. He said after the match that he has been having stomach problems but seriously we are hearing to much of that from Djokovic. You never see Roger having any problems on court ever and he never complains. Nole needs to really work hard at his fitness and that would make him mentally stronger as well.

I mean imagine how good this guy can be if he is as fit as the other members of the top four! His fitness is a bit of an embarrassment at the level he is playing at to be honest. Lets hope he can fix that for the sake of tennis. Roger takes a 7-2 head-to-head record into his semi-final match against the Djoker. I have a feeling the match against Roddick would have woken up Roger a bit and he will be sharper against Nole. Nole is dangerous when playing well though so I’m not gonna go with straight sets again, I’ll guess Roger in three this time. But of course I hope he can get it done in two. As I said since the start I want Roger to at least make the final here to have a shot at the title. A Master’s Series title after a drought of about a year and a half could do his confidence wonders.

In the top half of the draw Rafa wasn’t at his best when beating an inspired Stanislas Warinka 7-6, 7-6. In the end not the favor from Roger’s countryman that I hoped for, but hopefully Roger will have seen that match and learned a few things from Wawrinka. There is quite a few things Wawrinka did that Roger could use also but I will get to that in another post. Rafa should win again against Del Potro even though Del Potro have been playing well. Del Porto doesn’t have the variety to bother Rafa. The match I’m really looking forward to is the one between Verdasco and Murray. I think Verdasco is once again in with a good chance to beat Murray, even though Murray will be in better health this time. Verdasco is the real deal and he might just do Roger a favor, or two…

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One Comment

  1. Ruan, I feel the same way. Federer kills me whenever he plays like this. He’s playing really well (like he was in the first set); he’s serving effectively, his forehand is clicking. And then, somehow, he loses his concentration and finds himself in a hole.

    Which is exactly what we saw yesterday against Roddick. Overall, Federer’s match wasn’t all that impressive. He played well obviously on the big points, particularly in the third set. The thing that worried me in this match was his inconsistency with the forehand side at times. It was brilliant in the first set, as well as in the beginning stages of the second set. After he lost those three break points, it just appeared that he couldn’t find his timing on that side. It became apparent in his later service games, where he had 40-0, then was broken (double faulting on break point?! It’s like the Australian Open final third set tiebreak again!) I was glad though when he began to find the range on his forehand in the latter stages of the third set. That was definitely key to his break of service in the 10th game against Roddick.

    What I found interesting was that Federer himself was nervous in this match. I found that a little bit surprising as Federer had just beaten Roddick rather comfortably in AO in straight sets. There were times when you could see his nerves coming out in his game, particularly when he rushed his shots, resulting in the error.

    He’ll have to play a little bit better though against Djokovic. Forty unforced errors really will not cut it against Djokovic, even if he does not play up to his potential. However, Djokovic played rather well against Tsonga; though I credit some of that win to poor serving from Tsonga’s side, particularly in the first set.

    And I completely agree about the level of Djokovic’s fitness. My word, it’s abominable. If this match goes the distance to three sets, I would put a lot of money on Federer to pull the win out, purely based on Djokovic’s obviously lacking endurance.

    But, on a more interesting note :-P , did you see the Del Potro/ Nadal match?! My God, it was such a high quality match. Though neither player was playing well consistently, there was just fantastic tennis being played. When Del Potro was down a double break in the third, I literally thought there was no way he was going to pull it out. Nadal rarely loses serve. Boy, was I wrong! He rallied back to win four straight games, and ended up having three match points at 6-5, before pulling out the win in the tiebreak. After the beatdown he suffered in IW last week, I thought this match would be no contest on Del Potro’s part. I am so glad he could pull out the win. Now, all we need is Verdasco to beat Murray :D . What a perfect scenario for Feds!

    I am intrigued by the Federer/Djokovic semifinal. I always find that Federer plays some of his best tennis against him, merely because he hates the thought of losing to Djokovic. Though I firmly believe that Federer has great sportsmanship, he does not fool around when it comes to Djokovic. One can definitely sense some animosity towards Djokovic on Federer’s side, and such emotion, I feel, always brings out the best in Federer’s game. I really do think that Federer hates the idea of losing to Djokovic, and, as a result, plays super aggressive tennis and really plays his best (remember the USO semifinal in 08?)

    Good luck to Feds in semis against Novak; I’m pulling for a straight set win!


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