Miami Rd 4: Federer puts a Dent in Taylor 6-3, 6-2

:-) OK I was just having some fun with the title. In all honesty Taylor Dent played a good match, it’s just that Roger likes to play against that style of tennis. Dent was all over the net and like I said before Roger likes a target. His returns and passing shots was of a high quality. Seeing this match I can’t help wondering how long Roger might have dominated at Wimbledon still had the courts not slowed down considerably there. He loves this kind of attacking tennis and short points. I remember the epic match against Sampras at Wimbledon when the courts were still fast. He looked very much at home in the conditions and beating an all time great like Sampras was of course testament to that.

But lets stop reminiscing about yesteryear and focus on the now for a while. The key to the match was the fifth game of the third set where Dent threatened hard to break Roger’s serve. I don’t know the exact amount of break points Dent had but it was about five in that game. You always knew that game was going to be a pivotal game in context of the match. When a player gets opportunities to go ahead in a match and they don’t take advantage of it you will often find that the other player breaks right thereafter, which is exactly what Roger did. He broke Dent to go up 4-2 and then held serve for 5-2. Then both held serve one more time before the first set was history.

In the second set Roger started playing with more confidence, after looking a little shaky at the beginning of the match. Once he got through the fifth game it was one way traffic and he broke Dent two more times with some exquisite tennis in the second set. The first serve percentage for Roger was 56%, which is fair enough. The winners to unforced errors differential was positive as in his previous match which once again suggest a quality match from him. Even though Roger is having problems with Rafa and Murray I like the clinical way with which he deals with other opponents. It shows that his lack of confidence against those two opponents is not affecting his game too much against other players, which is a good sign.

Next opponent for Roger is Andy Roddick who beat Gael Monfils 7-6, 6-4 earlier. He will now face Roddick for the nineteenth time, having lost only two of their meetings. One of those losses came last year in the same tournament and in the same round. That was when Roger was having the bad run and he will want to keep proving that 2009 is a new beginning for him. He already beat Roddick easily in the Australian Open earlier in the year if you can remember. Roddick is also a different player in 2009 but is simply no match for Roger when he is playing anything close to his best. So this should be another straight set victory for Roger, all be it a closer one then against Dent.

In other matches in the bottom half of the draw the Djoker easily disposed of Thomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2, while Jo-Wilfred Tsonga had a harder time against fellow countryman Giles Simon winning 6-7(4), 6-3 6-2. Tsonga now plays the Djoker and have won their last four matches since losing to the Djoker in the Australian Open final. The Djoker has also been struggling with confidence of late so I wouldn’t be surprised if Tsonga wins for a fifth straight time. Therefor I am expecting a Roger/Tsonga semi-final, but more on that later. In the top half of the draw Verdasco beat Radek Stepanek 6-2, 6-2, after the commentator Robbie Koenig said Stepanek was the favorite :roll:

Bad commentary aside I’m happy to see one of my favorite players who is a threat for Murray and Rafa is still alive and well in the tournament. He now faces Murray who sent Viktor Troicki packing 6-1, 6-0. So much for Nalbandian’s performence in this tournament! I hope Verdasco can repeat his performance against Murray at the Austrailian Open where he beat him of course. Not only would that give Roger one less bogeyman to worry about in the draw but it would also most likely give us a rematch of the sensational match between Verdasco and Rafa at the Australian Open. Rafa is currently playing against Stanislas Wawrinka. Should he win he will face Juan-Martin Del Potro again who beat David Ferrer surprisingly easily 6-3, 6-2.

Match highlights(the backhand at 0:39 was something special):


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7 Comments

  1. Hey Ruan, (good post as usual)

    Yeah that was a good match from Roger (aside from that one service game, where he saved eight break points; that’s some crazy tennis there). You are right, the passing shots were incredible today.

    I’m watching the Wawrinka-Nadal match as we speak, and boy, is it a good one. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen someone frustrate Nadal like how I see Wawrinka is right now. I hope it goes to a third set; this match really deserves it.

    I would love it Wawrinka could pull off the win. But I doubt. As, right now, it looks like Wawrinka is about to lose serve. Oh well. :-P I’ll put my money on Rafa for this one.

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  2. Yea,it was always certain that Nadal was going to win this one. But Wawrinka did put up a good fight though. Talking about his compatriot, it still doesnt make sense as to why Federer allows his opponents (esp Nadal and Murray) to exploit his backhand. I know that his backhand is one of the best (if not the best) in the world, but lately its been letting him down during crucial points. It is really frustrating to see him hitting backhands into the net. I think a one-handed backhand is not the right shot when there’s heavy top-spin and the ball bounces up high(like when Nadal plays Fed). Why can’t he just go around the ball and fire in that incredible forehand. He doesnt seem to do it,even when he can. He should be more aggressive and come to the net more often like you mentioned, Ruan. He badly has to beat Murray or Nadal (whoever makes it to the final) and win Miami

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    ruanz3 Reply:

    Hi vivekanium, thanks for the comment. Yes its frustrating indeed that Roger doesnt play more agressive, running around the backhand more like you said and looking for opportunities to approach the net. His backhand isnt as good as Wawrinka’s but his forehand is much better so he needs to use it more to shorten points. Another thing which Wawarinka did and which i did myself when playing against left handers is the short angled serve to the deuce court. Rafa stands so far back on the return that you cant afford not to take advantage of that play. Wawrinka did it time after tiem yet Roger doesnt seem to utilize it much. We can only hope that he sees the light some day my friend.

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  3. I’m from Canada; Ontario to be more specific. (A good ol’ Canuck :-P lol) Where are you based Ruan? (If you don’t mind me asking)

    But yeah, what a match! Such high quality tennis. So many people thought that this match was going to be a bagel beatdown by Nadal. Far from it actually :-P

    A straight sets win from Rafa (which took almost three hours :-O ). This really could have gone a third set, and I really wish it had. I enjoyed this match a lot. Both players were playing aggressively all the time- which made for some pretty entertaining tennis :D

    But looking forward, Federer’s next match against Roddick should prove interesting. Federer’s game level hasn’t been at its best; not like it was in Australian Open (he’s not quite at that level of play yet, in my opinion anyway). Despite this, I think that Roger will win against Roddick. He has such a mental advantage over Roddick, similar to what Nadal has over Federer. Though Roddick can cling to that one win he has over Federer here last year, Federer has beat him, quite comfortably too, this year at the Australian Open, despite Roddick’s improved movement and shot placement.

    I’m looking forward to the match however. (And Verdasco vs. Murray! Go Verdasco! :D )

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    ruanz3 Reply:

    Cool now i can see when you visited my blog :-) Im from South Africa. I never thought it would be a bagel beatdown actually. Rafa was looking vulnerable against Gil and i knew Stan could play, so i thought it might be a tight one. In the end Rafa just to good when it matters again, you gotta admire the guy. I think Roger will be to good for Roddick again and win in straight sets probably. Either way i cant see him losing again. Murray vs Verdasco will be intersting yes :D

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