Miami Rd 3: Federer schools Kiefer 6-4, 6-1

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:


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2 Comments

  1. Hey Ruan! Nice post as per usual. :-)

    You were right about Federer’s previous match against Kim. It was more of a practice match than anything. I watched it online, and it wasn’t all that impressive. He didn’t play amazing tennis, but played well enough to win.

    I was rather impressed by Federer’s match today (you are right, very similar to his match against Karlovic). Overall, a high quality match (from Federer’s end at least), given the conditions. He hit quite a few good crosscourt passing shots towards the end of that second set.

    I was really rather shocked by Federer’s first serve percentage. Eighty percent? Federer hasn’t had a percentage like that in a long time. Perhaps since 2007(?) when he played against Rafa in the Shanghai semifinals. Not only did he hit a lot of first serves in, but he used a lot of variation. I feel that, sometimes, he hasn’t used as much variation with his serve this year. What was particularly effective today was the kick serve, both down the middle and out wide. He utilized such a serve much more on first serve, rather than his customary second serve, where he kicks it down the middle. Kiefer really couldn’t put a ball back in play when Federer did this, due to the amount of spin he put on the ball.

    The next match against Dent should be interesting. I don’t really see Dent’s serve-and-volley game really hurting Federer. I honestly cannot see him losing his match. But I’ve been wrong before. :-P

    I do like your scenario Ruan, about how the other half of the draw should work out: Verdasco beating both Nadal and Murray. Yet, I have a sneaking suspicion that won’t be coming true. Though Murray was far from his best against Monaco, I cannot see him losing to Verdasco again.

    It would be such an ideal situation however if that were to occur. I feel that Federer’s road to the final is really rather easy (Dent, Roddick, Djokovic/Tsonga) and when (if) he faces Murray/Nadal next Sunday, they will both have such a mental advantage over him. So much that I think Roger really could have used a more challenging draw, in order to prepare and acclimatize himself for such hard competition in the final.

    I’ll cheer for Rog no matter what though. Good luck to Federer in the next round!

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  2. Hi Jennifer. I cant watch tennis online, in my country the bandwith is too low :roll: I agree Murray’s last match doesnt mean much. But i have a feeling Verdasco can beat him again. As for Rafa thats a different story. I wouldnt worry too much about Roger’s easy draw, he had enough match practice in Indian Wells. If anything it should help him to build some confidence. I think Tsonga has a good chance to make the semi’s and should already be a confidence builder for Roger should he win. I just want Roger to go into a Rafa/Murray match with a different mindset. Its always easy for me to say that but its about showing intent. He must show intent to be more agressive and shorten the points, and get the fear of losing out of his head. I mean he is now expected to lose against these guys so he can afford to play with more abandon. ;-)

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