I said before the tournament that Wawrinka could be the toughest test for Roger in this event, and that is probably how it’s going to turn out now. I watched this match again on stream with hardly any continuity in the points, but at least I have a better idea of what went on this time. Roger looked disinterested at the beginning of this match. He was two breaks down at 1-5, and almost lost his serve again to lose the first set. In the second set, things continued to get worse as he dropped serve in the first game. This looked like Roger was going to have another one of his epic collapses, but Roger has been a different player of late. He broke back in the fourth game to even the score at 2-2. Then there seemed to be a turning point at 3-3 and Roger serving. On game point, there was an epic rally in which Warinka lobbed the ball over Roger’s head.
Roger ran back and lobbed the ball back over Wawrinka’s head and ended up winning the point(part 5 below). This point seemed to wake up Roger who until that point looked like he was sleep walking. He then proceeded to break serve in the next game on his third break point. From here on it was one-way traffic. Roger held serve to win the second set and broke two more times in the decider. It was an entertaining match with some great rallies. Roger ended up with a first serve percentage of 63%, 6 aces, 38 winners and 31 unforced errors. Not bad stats considering the start. I don’t have the complete break point and volley stats, but he won 4 break points and 4 points at the net. That is actually surprisingly few net points won. But either way I am very happy with the way Roger responded after being a set and a break down.
This was a mix between Roger’s evil twin and JesusFed. The important thing is he got the win which in my mind makes him the clear favorite to pick up a 64th career title. Soderling lost today and Berdych lost earlier, which makes it even easier for him. I should be careful what I predict after what happened in the Shanghai final, but I really do believe this title is now Roger’s for the taking. He next faces Ljubicic, who he has a 12-3 head-to-head record over. Ljubicic is a good player with a big serve, but if Roger plays anywhere near his best, this should be no problem for him. Then if he wins he will face the winner of Mayer and Niemenin. Really it doesn’t come much more straightforward than that for another title. This year has been somewhat of a title drought for Roger so he can really do with this one, even though it’s just ATP 250.
A title is a title and it will give him confidence which he desperately needs right now. Then he can take a week off and come back ready to take Basel and Paris by storm, and finally the Masters Cup. I’m really glad Roger won today. I didn’t say it was an important win for no reason. I have said before that this final stretch of the year is important for him given the year he had. He needs to establish himself at least as the clear second best player in the world again before the beginning of next year. If he had lost here that would have been hard. Two more to go champ. Get it done.