I know I said I would make a post about this match last night, but it got so late that I had to go to bed and I had to work today. So I apologize if I disappointed anyone. I suggest you follow me on twitter if you want to stay up to date with my blog. I know there will be many disappointed readers of my blog because of Roger’s loss, but we must try to remain calm. It’s never fun when Roger loses, and as always people want explanations. I can’t always explain why Roger loses, but I can tell you that losing is part of tennis and that there doesn’t always have to be a reason for it. Benneteau was playing in the zone, while Roger was just slightly off form. It happens. It has happened before and it will happen again. Roger never plays his best in his first match, and the fact that he ran into a French player who was playing inspired tennis in front of his home crowd did not help.
In the first set everything was going according to plan, with Roger breaking once and serving out the set. In the second set things were getting closer as Benneteau started finding his form. Both players held serve until the tie break, where Benneteau got the early break and held on to win it. Even though Roger won the first set, he never looked entirely convincing, and he continued to mistime the ball the way he did in the Basel final. Once again it was the ever reliable serve that was doing most of the damage. In the third set Benneteau increased in confidence and got the break early on. It was quite a roller coaster set, with Roger coming back from 0-40 on his serve to avoid being broken a second time. Roger also had break points on Benneteau’s serve to get the break back, but sadly could not convert.
At one point Roger had a pretty easy backhand pass to go up another break point, but he predictable went cross court with his passing shot and Benneteau was there to cover it. That was something he did throughout the match. Whenever Benneteau came to the net he went for the cross court pass, and Beneteau started reading it after a while. Roger just looked too predictable, and there wasn’t many moments of the usual Federer genius. I don’t think there is really an excuse for him losing. Sometimes you will run into a player that is hot, but you would expect someone of Roger’s capabilities to find a way to win nonetheless. Having said that, this loss shouldn’t be made a big deal of. Roger has never fared particularly well in Paris, and he seems to be tired at this point in the season.
He has also not hit his stride really after his break. It’s a bit of a shame that he didn’t have an easier first round, but like I said there isn’t really an excuse for losing. In the end the most important thing for me personally is that Roger ends the year ranked number one. As long as he does that I don’t care much about his results until year end. I think Rafa is now still 1300 points behind Roger. So Rafa would have to do really well in Paris, and he would have to hope that Roger does not pass the round robin stage in London. Judging by Rafa’s play against Almagro yesterday, Rafa’s chances to steal Roger’s ranking looks unlikely. He will probably beat another useless Spaniard in the next round, but after that I think he will lose to Tsonga.
Rafa’s match against Almagro was one of the worst matches I have seen this year. Rafa won 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, after Almagro was serving for the match at 6-3, 6-5 and 40-0. Almagro was not going to be denied though as he found a way to choke away all three match points, and two more in the same game. In the third set he was surprisingly a break up, but again managed to squander the lead. In the end he faked an injury just so he had an excuse to lose, as he basically tanked the last two games. It a shame that this has to happen in professional tennis. It’s ugly to watch and it’s not good for the game. By bowing down to Rafa, Almagro assured that his compatriot stayed alive in his hunt for the year end number one spot. But again I can’t help but feel that this Rafa won’t go far in Paris.
It’s funny that the number one and two in the world are neither finding much form while they are the only two that is in the hunt for the number one spot. For now the number three and four, Djokovic and Murray, is looking in much better form. Anyway we are not quite at the end of the season yet and we will see what happens in London. It’s a shame Roger lost his first match here and that we won’t be seeing any more of him this week. I was particularly disappointed because yesterday I had the day off work and it was the first whole match I have seen of Roger since the US Open final, only to see him losing to a journeyman. I was hoping I could catch up on my blogging this week, but Roger is not exactly helping me. At least Rafa is still in, which makes the tournament kind of interesting from Roger’s perspective.