Once again Roger stepped it up today from his previous round against a player who had the weapons to hurt him. I like Zverev’s game and you can look out for him in the future. The first set was a tight affair with Roger facing two break points at 3-3 and 15-40 on his serve. But then something very encouraging happened, he served two nonreturnable serves. This is the type of thing Roger does when he is playing well, and the serve was much better today then against Stepanek. But at 5-4 and Zverev serving Roger had a set point but could not make an easy passing shot to win the set. It was really a sitter and he shouldn’t have missed it. Also at 6-5 and with Zverev 0-30 down on his serve he once again missed an easy pass which would have given him another three set points.
Going into the tie break he lost his serve immediately and went down 0-2, only to win five of the next six points. It was once again that all important serve that bailed him out, in the end finishing the match with a first serve percentage of 67% which is above average. There is very few players that can beat Roger when he is serving well, even on clay. The forehand was once again working well as it has so far this week which is another key shot for Roger. The only thing that was a little off today was the passing shots, but that was just in the first set anyway. In the second set Roger stepped it up as he has done so far this week. He was looking like his old self except for not closing out the match at 5-1 when he should have.
There was just a bit of hesitance from Roger today on some important points but he is still building confidence and I’m sure against Djokovic there will be no such thing. Another thing that I liked about Roger’s play today was his willingness to approach the net. Going to the net 21 times in a two set match is a lot for Roger and I hope he can keep that statistic up. He only won 12 of those 21 net points but it’s the intention that matters. Djokovic also had a pretty easy win against Juan-Martin Del Potro 6-3, 6-4 and looks to be a very solid player on clay these days. Roger would have to play nothing but his best to beat Djokovic, and I believe that he will. At least Roger has done the bare minimum now which is to reach the semi-finals.
If he beats Djokovic I would call it a good result for Roger, and if he wins the tournament he would have out done himself. Rafa schooled Robin Soderling yesterday 6-1, 6-0 and today he beat Verdasco 6-3, 6-3. I’m actually very disappointed with Verdasco’s performance. I thought he should at least have taken Rafa to three sets, but he was terrible on the big points. Roger takes a 2-0 record against Djokovic on clay into the semi-final but tomorrow that won’t matter much. Djokovic has become a real threat to Roger on clay and tomorrow much would depend on who plays the big points well. I think Roger will step it up another notch tomorrow and he will be hard to beat. The hard work of the last week or so is paying off, but tomorrow will be a very big match for Roger.
Against Djokovic he will have to keep a high first serve percentage like today and be at his attacking best. Staying on the base line against Djokovic who has a one of the best two handed backhands on tour could be fatal. He needs to seize the initiative with his first serve and capitalize with his forehand. Going to the net on the right occasions certainly wouldn’t hurt either. On the return he also needs to be aggressive. I’m feeling positive