It wasn’t an impressive performance from Roger today, but he did what needed to be done. He played a solid enough match. As expected Roger won the first set relatively easily. In the second set he went down a break to trail 3-1, and for a second there this looked like the old Roger was back. But he broke right back and got the break again in the ninth game. This was not the old Roger. I’m convinced he is still a big favorite to win this event. You are not gonna play your best in every match. Sometimes you just have t0 do what needs to be done and keep your best form for when it is needed. And besides, Seppi probably played as well as he could. Roger now leads Seppi 7-0 in the head-to-head and 15-0 in sets. It’s obvious Seppi is not the kind of player he is getting super motivated when has to play against him.
The first serve was at a good 64%, but he only converted 3/9 break points. This would suggest he could probably have won easier, but why try to play amazing tennis when you are winning anyway? Roger now plays against Soderling who beat Ferrer 7-5, 6-4 today. This will be a bigger challenge for him and I expect him to bring the heavy artillery to court once more. The head-to-head against Soderling now stands at 13-1, but that French Open loss is still fresh in my mind and I want to see it extended just that little more. Djokovic has been in great form of late and fed Gasquet two bread sticks today. We could be heading for a cracker of a semi between Roger and Djokovic here, and some much needed revenge for Roger. The big news of the day is that Jurgen Melzer beat Nadal 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. I watched the match and was really impressed with Melzer.
He was pretty much just in the zone, hitting winner after winner from the back and serving great. Nadal showed his usual fight by coming back in the second set with some amazing clutch play, but in the third Melzer was just too good. Nadal made some unforced errors, but it was mainly because of the constant pressure he was put under from Melzer’s stinging ground strokes. The Nadal fans will claim that Nadal was not at his best, but if you want to be number one you find ways to win despite not being at your best. And besides Nadal was actually playing really well. The thing is that amazing attacking tennis is mostly going to win over amazing defensive tennis on a court surface with decent speed. Melzer played exactly the way you should to beat Nadal, assisted by the court speed.
He served big and basically teed off on everything from the base line. And most importantly he did not choke when he had the lead. In fact he won the match twice. When Nadal was serving at 2-5 in the third set Melzer had a match point, and after hitting another big ground stroke on the base line in was called out. Nadal could not make the return, but the umpire decided that the call put him off. It was the wrong decision, and for a minute I thought Nadal was gonna get lucky again. But Melzer was not going to be denied and held serve to love for the win. I’m wasn’t a fan of Mezler before, but I like anyone who can stand up to Nadal. This means Nadal loses 510 points from his final appearance last year. Roger on the other hand did not play last year. This means there has already been a 690 point swing between Roger and Nadal in the rankings.
With every win for Roger this increases of course, and if he wins the event there will be a 1510 point swing. If he wins the event he will also pass Djokovic and get back to number two again. The point gap between Roger and Nadal is so great right now that he needs to make up some points towards the end of the year if he wants to make an assault on the number one ranking again next year. But for now all focus is on the Soderling match. It won’t be an easy match, but if Roger brings the form he did against Isner he should be fine.
In other news, someone claimed Roger was involved in illegal betting which you can read about here(thanks Jiten). This smells like total crap if you would excuse my French. It sounds like someone has a vendetta against Roger’s management company IMG. Apparently Agate has already spread false rumors about IMG before so there isn’t anything to worry about. Also, if Roger gave Forstmann any information regarding a match I don’t see how that as wrong anyway. It all depends on what kind of information he gave him and I can’t imagine that Roger would do anything that questionable. The important thing is that Roger has already dispelled all of these rumors and we know he would never do something to bring the sport into disrepute. This comes back to the doping issue as well. There is just no way in my mind that he does any of these things.
He is just to honest a guy and too much of a role model. He is the greatest ambassador of this sport ever and it is a shame that his name is now being associated to such things.We the fans don’t care however because we know who Roger Federer is.