It was nice to see Roger back with a crew shirt today like in the old days. I don’t know so much about the pink coloring but after all he can’t keep using the same colors. Roger looked great in his game today as well after I was a little bit worried about the slow conditions. He held serve confidently from the start and the pressure told on Stepanek as Roger broke to love in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. He ended the first set with and 80% first serve percentage, 5 aces, and 1 double fault. An impressive service display. Stepanek held a break point in the second game of the second set but could not convert. He paid for that as Roger broke in the next game. In the ninth game Roger had three more break points at 40-0 on the Stepanek serve and took his first match point. In the end Roger finished with 70% first serves, 7/10 net points won and 3/3 on break points.
I’d day that is a pretty sharp start to this event. As we have already established, his draw looks good until the semis as well, and if he keeps playing like this his chances looks great to make semis again. He next faces Monaco who he only played once before on clay and beat in three pretty tough sets. I think this will probably be another routine win for Roger though. Yesterday at Miami there was a lot of upsets with Verdasco, Wawrinka, and Murray all falling. Murray lost to another qualifier and is really down in the dumps right now. He lost four matches in a row now and is in an even bigger slump than he was last year after losing in the Oz Open final. One wonders if he will fall in the rankings now and ever get his act together again. You therefor have to give Roger a lot of credit for his consistency even at this late stage of his career.