It was great to see Roger proving me wrong. I take being wrong and Roger winning over being right and Roger losing any day. In fact, I may just try the jinxing thing in the future, even though I don’t believe in it. Should I say Roger will lose to Raonic?! I was especially thrilled with the fact that Roger got this done in straight sets without even entering a tie-break. I mean I couldn’t have been more wrong, but I couldn’t have been happier about it at the same time! Roger looked the part right out of the starting blocks, and for once I can deliver a full report as I was able to watch the full match. I had to get up at 6 am on Saturday morning, but it was more than worth the effort. Roger was threatening the Murray serve right from the start, and even though he was 0/6 in break point conversions early on I had a feeling he would just keep pushing for the break.
He looked to be in that kind of form. He got the break in the fifth game after Murray dragged a forehand crosscourt wide. Roger then had to save break points on his own serve in his next two service games, mostly with the help of his ever reliable serve. At 5-3, Roger broke Murray to 15 for good measure and won the first set in doing so. It was an impressive start, but here was a lot of work left to do. Murray broke in the third game of the second set and all of a sudden he looked to be back in the match while Roger was having a familiar slump at the beginning of the second set. The situation became worse when Murray broke Roger for a second time to take a 4-1 lead, but this time Murray could not consolidate. Roger set up break point at 30-15 with a divine little chip pass cross court. Murray saved the first break point with an ace, but Roger forced the issue on the next point to get one break back.
I still didn’t think it would be enough to come back in the second set. Then at 2-4 and 0-15 came the point of the match which may have played a big role in turning things around. A long rally ensued where Roger did some terrific defensive work, after which he capped it off with a blistering forehand down the like winner on the run. GOATing. Then at 3-4 Roger set up two more break points and Murray double-faulted on the first. Now Roger was right back in the second set. Roger then set up game point in the next game with a delicious forehand winner that he took on the rise off an attacking return from Murray. He held serve to win four games on the trot and took a 5-4 lead. Murray was finally able to hold serve and even things up at 5-5. Roger responded in kind and at 5-6 Murray would serve to force the breaker.
You would think that would be the minimum he will be able to achieve after wasting a double break, but GOAT had other plans. Murray even had a game point at 40-30, but Roger played two more terrific points to set up match point. The point to set up match point was particularly well crafted. By then Murray’s will was broken. Roger simply chipped a return back deep after which Murray dumped a forehand into the net. Game, set, and match! It was a masterful display that reminded of JesusFed. I mean the stats weren’t that impressive but the fact that Roger shut out a very dangerous opponent in straight sets without needing a tie break is an impressive enough stat. This was supposed to be Murray’s match where he gets a win over a top ten opponent and announces that he is a strong favorite for the US Open.
Yet Roger made him look like the opposite. I guess Roger is damn serious about winning his first Masters of the year and being the outright favorite for the US Open. With Stan losing to Benneteau, Roger is now definitely the favorite to win Cincy. No doubt Raonic poses a threat but Roger is 5-0 against him and looks in no mood to let another Masters slip from his grasp. This is the Masters Roger has won no less than five times and the fast conditions provide the ideal opportunity to finally get his first Masters title of the year. Roger doesn’t look tired either. Good call from Eric again. He looked more motivated and energetic against Murray than I have seen him for a long time. He just looked the part. Of course, this is Cincy and we shouldn’t get too excited because the US Open will be slower.
But I am just excited about the prospect of Roger winning his first Masters of the year. Never mind the US Open. And if he can do that then you would like his chances in New York too. Unless Nadal plays and his serve suddenly speeds up by 15 mph(which is highly likely given his history) then who is a serious contender for the title other than Roger? Nadal postponed his announcement as to whether he will play in New York, probably waiting to see the draw. Why is that even allowed? Who says Nadal is not just waiting to see what kind of draw he gets? That wouldn’t be fair. Anyway, I am not sure about the rules here so I am just speculating. But knowing Nadal he will probably show up in New York playing like he never left the sport and win the title. It’s sickening, but that’s what he does.
Roger played some Edberg-like volleys in this match
Only God knows how, although I have a very plausible explanation. But let’s just focus on Roger. I like what I am seeing in the American hard court season and I don’t want to blow my own horn, but I did say right after the Wimbledon final that I am excited about North-America and that it could just be where Roger’s fortunes change. I mean there was always the chance that Djokovic was not gonna be highly motivated after the big relief and release that Wimbledon was for him. He had broken the slam final curse and he had his own wedding coming up. It wasn’t very hard to call that he could be there for the taking. Roger means business. It is clear. He senses there can be a great opportunity for him here and I love how he is seizing the moment. I think the Murray match was always gonna be key for him and I can’t help but like his chances to win the title now.
Sure Raonic is an obstacle with his big serve and attacking game on the fast courts, but Roger is a great returner of big serves and there is a reason he has a 5-0 record against Raonic. The last time he beat Raonic was in the Wimbledon semis after Raonic was on a hot run. Yet Roger made him look average. I mean he didn’t even need a breaker to straight set arguably the biggest server in tennis today. So you can’t help but like his chances again. If he wins he has probably Ferrer in the final who plays Benneteau. Either one would be almost a gimme for Roger in the final given the surface and the opponent. You’d think if he beats Raonic this title is all but in the bag. I am excited now and grateful that Roger beat Murray because now I am finally able to watch some tennis. Monday is even a holiday here so I’d be able to watch the final too and make a post the same day.
It’s been a bit of a rough time with the blogging given my health was not optimal and the time difference with the US, so I am looking forward to watch more tennis and keep you up to date. As far as Roger’s game itself against Murray goes I loved how he mixed things up with his slices and the beautifully constructed points. There was nothing in particular that stood out other than maybe the ever reliable serve, but Roger’s break point conversion rate was solid again after a poor start and he just played a great match in general. Murray is good himself at mixing things up and constructing points so it was an entertaining match with some great points. It will be entirely different story against Raonic where it will just be a question again of being good on return and taking his chances when they present themselves.
Come on champ, get it done!