- Murray Defeats Anderson for 4th Queen’s Title
Today Murray had to come out twice on the court, first to finish his semi-final with Troicki after it rained out yesterday and then to play the final against Anderson. The match with Troicki was suspended at 3-3 in the first set and when they came back Murray won 6-3, 7-6(4). Troicki was a break up in the second set but gave it back in a very lame way. He played a poor tiebreak too. It made me wonder how he had gotten that far. Mentally it was just a poor performance.
All Murray basically did was play solid and Troicki imploded. The same can be said for the final which Murray won 6-3, 6-4. Almost like clockwork Anderson dropped serve at 3-4 in the opening set, hitting a disaster of a forehand volley to give Murray the break. After the first set, I left the match because I knew there was only one outcome possible. Not to take anything away from Murray. He was quite impressive all week. He seems to be more aggressive with his backhand which is important for him.
I’ve always thought he needs to go after that shot more, especially the cross court one. Murray is at least a smart player, whereas Troicki and Anderson seemed brainless. He plays the important points tough. He has great anticipation and court awareness too. He was expected to win the title, and he did well to live up to that expectation. I just get frustrated when I watch other players, wondering to myself why they can’t have the same anticipation and commitment as Murray on the big points.
But that’s what makes the difference between winners and losers. Murray is for sure one of the favorites for Wimbledon. He’s had an extremely solid year so far. Clay is his worst surface and he almost beat Djokovic in the French semis. I think as long as he stays aggressive he is one of the big favorites for Wimbledon, if not the favorite. At the French he was already outplaying Djokovic from the baseline in the fourth and fifth sets, and on grass it will be a much easier task.
- Federer Wins 8th Title in Halle
So yesterday Federer defeated Karlovic 7-6(3), 7-6(4) in a match which I found quite boring, mainly due to Karlovic’s poor returning. He is probably the worst returner of serve in the sport. For one thing he slices all backhand returns, and then he makes the criminal mistake of missing them off of second serves on break points. It’s bad enough to chip the backhand off of second serves. The very least you can do is get it over the net and into the court. That said, Federer just did what was needed.
He held his serve and won the tiebreaks. It was expected that he would win anyway, given his 12-1 record against Karlovic before the match. Then today he played Seppi in the final who had a second consecutive withdrawal against him when Nishikori withdrew at 1-4 yesterday. This gave Federer a second chance to get revenge for the Australian Open loss which he did 7-6(1), 6-4, after beating Seppi in Indian Wells earlier this year. Seppi was playing well like he did in Australia but this time Federer actually played normal and won.
Seppi had two break points at 40-15 late in the first set, but Federer served two aces and then got a lucky net cord. But at least he was quite clutch on a few baseline points too. His forehand was weak in the first set from where he made several unforced errors. His forehand started improving in the tie-break which proved to be no contest as Seppi conceded the first set with a double fault. Federer upped his level in the second set and at 5-4 you could smell the break coming after a couple of long games on the Seppi serve.
The match point was a nice conclusion as Federer hit an overhead winner from the baseline after a long rally. This is now the tournament at which Federer has won the most titles as opposed to Wimbledon and Dubai where he has seven titles at each. It’s also his fourth title of the year after winning Brisbane, Dubai, and Istanbul. Not bad considering this is his second ATP 500 title of the year. It was also his 86th title overall. Still creeping up to that 100 mark but it will be tough to get there.
- What Does This Mean for Wimbledon?
With the two biggest grass courts events before Wimbledon out of the way, what can we say if anything about the favorites for Wimbledon? I already said what I think about Murray’s chances. As for Federer winning Halle again it’s obviously an encouraging sign. But if I was a Fedfan I wouldn’t get overly excited because this doesn’t mean he is going to win Wimbledon. He won Halle in 2013 too and lost in the second round of Wimbledon. You’d think he will surely do better than second round though.
2013 was overall a bad year with only one title for Federer. Now he has already won four titles and he has been playing well. The biggest problem for him is still his forehand which lacks penetration and accuracy. Last year when he lost to Djokovic at Wimbledon that was probably the big difference. Against the likes of Seppi he can get away with his serve alone, but against returners and defenders like Djokovic or Murray he needs that something extra to end points with.
Last year Federer hardly had a right to force a fifth set. Had it not been Wimbledon which means everything to Federer it would have been over in four. Back in 2012 when he won his last major at Wimbledon he was still playing with his old racquet and his forehand was still good. That time he was the one who defeated Djokovic in four sets, although admittedly the indoor court may have helped. Either way he decided to change his racquet and to improve his backhand and volleys at the expense of his forehand.
I’m not sure how much his serve improved. It was always good. Maybe it improved marginally. I think the way in which he beat Seppi today will help his confidence anyway. It was mentally tough and he had to be clutch, and like I said his forehand improved as the match went along. So this is the best possible preparation for Wimbledon. I don’t know if he is as big a favorite as Djokovic and Murray, but he is certainly among the favorites. And, of course, the draw will also play a role.
It would be tough for him if he has to beat Murray and Djokovic in succession to win the title. So he’d want Murray in Djokovic’s half. Stan could pose a danger too if he catches fire, but Murray is a bigger danger. And then there is the Nadal factor who you never know about. His serve could suddenly ignite again out of nowhere and could make him a threat. As the world #10 he could end up in Federer’s quarter so that Federer could potentially have to play Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic to win the title.
But that is unlikely. I like Federer’s chances to make semis at least and then we will see from there. As for Djokovic I kind of like that he is not playing any warm-up events. It’s like he is saying I’m the best and I don’t need to play warm-up events to win Wimbledon. I think after the French Open final loss this break is good for him anyway. Just to spend some time away from it all with his family for moral support. No doubt he will have a little extra motivation now to set right what happened in Paris…
The is in your court.
The is in your court.