Well it’s not exactly how you want to win but we will take it. It seems Simon’s neck was stiff and he withdrew after being two breaks down. I thought Roger looked good in the first three games but it’s hard to draw any conclusions with the opponent carrying an injury. This was the 16th time an opponent of Roger have retired, while Roger have never retired. That says a lot. Roger will now face his old nemesis Nadal, after Nadal beat Berdych in three sets. It will be the first time they meet in North America since the 2005 Miami final and the first time they meet in a semi-final since the 2007 Masters Cup. I watched Nadal’s match against Berdych and Nadal wasn’t that impressive. He seems to have been suffering from some sort of injury because he was getting treatment during the match. But there always seems to be an injury problem with Nadal if he is not performing at his peak.
Could it be something else? I don’t know. What I do know is that it won’t be an easy match for Roger, whether Nadal is at his best or not. But at least he is showing some signs of vulnerability. If Nadal plays like he did against Berdych then Roger will have a decent chance of beating him. This will be the 23rd meeting in the rivalry which Nadal leads 14-8. Every meeting in the rivalry carries significant importance. If you look at the conditions it probably favors Nadal. It is slow and allows him to play his retrieving game from the base line. The bounce is also pretty high which will give him the opportunity to hit his high spinning forehands to Roger’s backhand. It won’t be like the Masters Cup last year where Roger can hit backhand winners cross court. Roger won’t be able to play the attacking kind of game he did that day. Or it will be much harder anyway.
He is certainly gonna have to serve well and be at his offensive best. To beat Nadal Roger must play a clean, clinical match. There is just no other way to beat him basically. I thought the matches against Stepanek and Rochus was pretty clinical. It’s a shame Roger could not measure his game against Simon. A clinical win against Simon could have given him a nice confidence boost going into the semis. But at least he is in yet another semi, his 13th consecutive since Toronto last year. Like one of my readers said, he probably needs to win tomorrow to feel like his hard court exploits since the beginning of the year has been a true success. It’s been consistent going but he hasn’t beaten a player inside the top 10 and has lost three times to a main rival. If he still wants to get the number one spot back, a win against Nadal tomorrow ill be an important mental and ranking boost.
So I really feel like Roger must make his move tomorrow. If he serves and hits his ground strokes like he did against Stepanek and Rochus he will have his chances. If he plays like he did against Monaco however he won’t have much chances. There won’t be room for a low first serve percentage and many shanks from the base line. I just think he must serve big, hit his forehand big, and come to the net pretty often to finish the point off. And he musn’t waste a lot of break point opportunities. The drop shot may be effective too if he can push Nadal behind the base line from the ground. As with all Fedal matches this will be another close, intense encounter, but should JesusFed or at least a version of it come out tomorrow, I feel like Roger may just get a much needed win in the rivalry. All the best champ!