There you go folks, the GOAT is back. There should be no doubt after this victory. Roger is on a campaign of domination and he will be awfully hard to stop. The match against Djokovic was always going to be important considering what happened at the US Open. You will remember my theory that Roger lost that match because Nadal was already in the final. This further proves my point. I don’t think Roger was quite ready for Nadal then, and I am still glad he didn’t make the final. If Roger plays well there is simply no way Djokovic can stop him. Still, it was extremely important that he proved it, because many people thought Djokovic was simply to good for him in the US Open. So it was crucial that he put Djokovic back where he belongs and show everyone that he is still Djokovic’s master. Djokovic was actually many people’s favorite to win this match, including the bookmakers because of his recent form.
It just shows how little the average person knows about tennis. Having watched Roger this week and listening to his interviews, it became clear to me that he is on a mission, which is why I predicted he would win this match in straight sets. He took Djokovic apart today in no uncertain terms in what was almost a perfect display. The first set was pretty close, until Roger got the break in the 11th game. When serving at 6-5 and 15-15 I thought he got himself in trouble on a slightly shaky approach, but he made a fantastic stretch volley and then held to 15 for the first set. In the second set Roger started playing more relaxed as Djokovic started feeling the GOAT’s wrath. It didn’t take Roger long to get another break in the 3rd game, and he did so again in the 5th game to take a 4-1 lead. It looked like the second set would be over fast, but then Roger played a loose game to drop serve.
From there on it was just a question of holding serve to win the match. This was a very solid performance from Roger no doubt, but sometimes I feel like he can play even better. He had something to prove in this match, so there was extra pressure. But I feel like if he was more relaxed he could have won this even easier, which is a pretty scary thought. I think if there is was no pressure he would have been even more aggressive in the first set, and in the second he would not have dropped serve at 4-1. But this was Roger in God mode either way. You get the feeling he can do anything and it’s just great to see him playing like this again. It’s all about confidence though. I think since Montreal Roger has made a new beginning with Annacone and has slowly started working his way back to his dominating best. In that time he lost to both Djokovic and Murray, so first he has to erase those losses again.
I’m very confident that he will avenge Murray also tomorrow, and at that point he will be supremely confident. The only thing left to do then would be to go after Nadal. With this win Roger is now back at number two in the rankings. Of course Nadal has been the best player this year without a doubt, but if Roger wins tomorrow he will be confident that he can take down Nadal. He is out to prove a point. He said at the start of the week that it is about time he beats Nadal again. There is no doubt he is after the Spaniard. He probably would have liked to face Nadal in the final here, but I’m glad he is getting the chance to first erase his debts. This will make him more confident when he faces Nadal. But after this event he will first get the chance to face Nadal again in Paris in three weeks. They would both have to make the finals as well.
They have a better chance of meeting at the Masters Cup I think. That would be a terrific showdown if it is to happen. Roger would also have a terrific chance to win it given that it is indoors. It’s a long way to go, but a win over Nadal before the end of the year would be a nice mental boost going into the Australian Open next year. I’m liking Roger’s schedule now. He has Stockholm next week and then a week off before Basel and Paris, after which he has another week off before the Masters Cup. It’s a tough schedule given that he will probably go deep in every event, but he should be fine considering that he has played a lot less this year than usual. He has a chance to make a bucket load of points till year end given that he did not do much last year during this period. If he wins Shanghai, I think he will win Stockholm and Basel as well, gaining points in both.
Then he has Paris and the Masters Cup left where there is a lot of points to gain as well. I also think this stretch is very important for Roger to show he is still a major force to reckon with going into next year. Too many people writes Roger off way too easily, especially when you take into account how many times he has proved the critics wrong in the past. I think he must go on a shock campaign now and show everyone that he means business for next year. People are talking about things like Nadal completing the Nadal slam in Australia next year and even the calender slam. I’d like to see Roger get back to domination next year and end any of these possibilities for Nadal. I have been saying for a while now that Roger still has the game and that there is too much being made of his age, and he is proving me right already this week.
I shouldn’t really get into all of this before Roger has actually won Shanghai, but I am supremely confident that he will. I am just excited so please excuse me. If he wins this event, Stockholm, Basel, and the Masters Cup, this will still turn out to be a pretty damn good year. If Roger should win the title tomorrow, he will also tie Nadal again for the most Masters Series wins at 18. The head-to-head with Murray also needs a little work, which currently stands at 5-7. Today everything was working just great for Roger. The first serve percentage was 63%, the winners outnumbered the unforced errors 30-24, the net game was fantastic as he won 14/17, and the break point conversion was also very good winning 3/4. That kind of tennis is basically impossible to defend against, and another performance like that will destroy Murray.
Right now everything is working well for Roger. There isn’t one shot giving him problems. He is also playing the perfect balance of base line and net play. He is being very aggressive from the back and not scared to come in either. This game is very effective against Djokovic and it will be against Murray as well. In fact if Roger keeps that perfect balance in his play he will be unbeatable for anyone. Only Nadal will have a chance, but not indoors. If this is the kind of balance that Annacone is bringing to Roger’s game, then we may just see Roger still dominate for some time to come. Now lets go finish the job off tomorrow champ!