You were probably wondering why I didn’t make a blog post after Roger’s second round match against Kevin Kim. This is because the match wasn’t televised :roll: So I couldn’t watch it and didn’t have much info from it. All I heard in the forums is that it wasn’t his best performance but if you win 6-3, 6-2 who cares right? He was probably just getting used to the conditions and almost using it as a practice match. So knowing Roger I didn’t share the concern of other Roger fans. The one thing that I did not know was what his confidence level would be like against a decent opponent like Nicolas Kiefer after losing for the sixth time against Andy Murray at Indian Wells. So I was pleased to see him put in a clinical performance to send Kiefer packing. Here is the match stats:
It reminded me of his third round match against Karlovic in Indian Wells. In windy conditions the first serve percentage was up at an impressive 80%. This was the key to the match. When Roger makes that many first serves he is pretty much unbeatable. His winner/unforced error differential was 7, which once again indicate a quality match from him. And as always the percentage of points won at the net was high, yet no indication from Roger to increase the frequency of journeys to the net. The next opponent for Roger is Taylor Dent, who overcame Tommy Robredo 7-5, 6-3. Roger have never played against Dent, but I think it’s a pretty good match up for him. Dent is a big server with pretty good volleys.
Roger doesn’t mind playing against big servers too much, his returns and passing shots are some of the best in the game. It’s more the counter puncher with good backhands these days that give him problems, guys like Rafa, Murray and Simon. In Rafa’s case it is of course the forehand that does the damage since he is left handed. Speaking of Rafa he looked in impressive form again against Teimuraz Gabashvili, winning easily 6-2, 6-2. Andy Murray on the other hand struggled against Juan Monaco, barely making it through in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. In the first game of the second set Monaco had a golden opportunity to go a set and a break up when Murray was down 0-40 on his serve. But he played some points suggesting he didn’t believe he could beat Murray and he let him back in the match.
Some other results of note was David Nalbandian who lost 6-1, 6-3 to Viktor Troicki. With Nalbandian you just never know, he can beat anyone but he can lose to anyone as well. He is also one of the biggest underachievers on tour. Also Ivo Karlovic lost to Frederico Gil 6-4, 6-4. So two less danger men in the top half of the draw for Murray and Rafa to worry about. The other two danger men, Fernando Gonzalez and Fernando Verdasco is in the same 16th of the draw. So only one can go through to meet Murray. My pic to go through to the quarter final is Verdasco, and should he go through to meet Murray it will be a rematch of the Australian Open earlier this year where Verdasco upset Murray in five tough sets.
The perfect scenario for me would be if Verdasco upsets both Murray and Rafa and makes the final to meet Roger. That would not only give Roger his best chance at the title but it would also mean my two favorite players are in the final. If there is anyone who could upset Murray and Rafa it is probably Verdasco, as he has shown at the Australian Open he can compete very well with both. The other member of the top four in action yesterday was Novak Djokovic who won easily against Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic who has been struggling for confidence of late is on track for a possible collision with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. It’s early days but one of these two players is a possible semi-final opponent for Roger. :wink: