There was always going to be some good shot making in this match between two very talented players. But as expected it was a pretty straight forward win for the GOAT. Gasquet has a superb one-handed backhand and an underrated serve. He is big talent, but mentally he is too fragile. He made errors at crucial points in the match which allowed Roger to get the breaks he needed. One break per set was all it took. This was yet another confident performance from Roger which makes me believe he is going to win this title too. He has never been past the quarter finals here which is actually very surprising. But it has to do with the fact that it is towards the end of the year and Roger would have been either tired or injured, and missed the event from 2004-06. There is no reason he should not do well here though.
The fact that he has had a very passive year compared to other years means he is playing some of his best tennis right now. He has also won two events in a row now, a 250 and a 500. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he now wins a Masters Series and the Masters Cup as well. Everything just seems to be working out very nicely, almost as if it’s meant to be. Roger seems to be getting better with every match and tournament he plays. If he just continues on his current path he will end the year with four straight titles and a whole lot of ranking points. That would also be a huge boost to his confidence for his title defense next year at the Australian Open. But whatever happens until the end of the year, Roger has already made up for his disappointing summer with his results since Wimbledon.
Today Andy Murray was also in action against David Nalbandian. That was always going to be an interesting match up, and Murray came back from a set down to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Murray got outplayed in the first set by the talented Nalbandian, but changed up his tactics in the second while Nalbandian’s level dropped. I love Nalbadian’s game, but he doesn’t have the mental strength to get through a match like that. All credit to Murray though for making the comeback. In a way I am glad Murray won, because I want to see him face Roger in the semi’s. If they meet here I think Roger will be extra motivated to beat Murray. He also has the form to do just that. But first Roger has to beat Stepanek, and then probably either Melzer or Ferrer. I don’t see how any of these player can currently trouble him.
A win here over Murray would be just what the doctor ordered before the Masters Cup and the Australian Open. Murray must not beat Roger too many times outside of majors, or he will eventually believe he can beat him at the majors as well. Murray has now beaten Roger in two Masters Series finals in Toronto and Shanghai, so I’d say it is about time to put him back in his place. The faster courts in Paris will also be in his favor. The slower courts of Toronto and Shanghai would have played into Murray’s favor, who likes to run a lot of balls down and frustrate his opponents. Speaking of the court speed, Roger have said in a press conference two days ago that these are the fastest courts that a Masters Series event is played on. You can watch the interview here. He also says that Toronto and Shanghai is very slow.
I like the fact that Paris is fast, and maybe that is one of the reasons Nadal has decided to skip it as well. I wish more courts would be this speed so pushers like Nadal and Murray don’t always have it their way. In today’s presser Roger mentioned that the fast conditions makes it difficult in the sense that the match comes down to only a couple of points, whereas on slower court you have more chances. But the good thing about Roger is that he can play well on any surface. But with his serve, volleys, and overall attacking game, these conditions should suit him very well. As you can see, thing are already starting to change at the top. It has been a quiet time for Nadal, while Roger has been having some excellent results. Now I just want to see Roger beat Murray here and then Nadal at the Masters Cup. It could hardly get much better than that.