The gif pretty much sums it up. The GOAT was not in the mood to share the feeding trough with the Dog and sent him scurrying 6-3, 6-1. I didn’t watch the match and the highlights doesn’t look that impressive. It was windy so it seems that lowered the quality of play, but it looks like Roger dealt very well with the wind, while Dolgopolov lost the plot a bit. Dolgopolov does not strike me as the kind of player who would do well in the wind anyway. He is flashy and is not really interested in playing the percentages. I think Fedfans in general was pretty nervous about this match because the Dog beat Nadal and he is quite a dangerous player. But the GOAT is clearly much more dangerous, as you can see above. The Dog is simply no match for the GOAT when the GOAT is on his game.
Very few players have ever beaten Federer and Nadal in the same event anyway. Probably only Del Potro and Djokovic. It seemed like it would be a pretty close match until 4-3 in the first set, but then Roger broke serve and ran away with the match, winning 8/9 games. Roger’s serve was on fire again, making a terrific 72% of first serves. And again converting 4/9 break points. That has been probably the most improved part of his game of late, and is an indication of the increased mental strength and desire. It looks like he was at his defensive best as well, and the one point I found on Facebook was especially impressive. Roger may have lost a step but you could hardly tell with the way he is moving. It’s more a question of confidence and health than age when it comes to footwork and movement.
Great stats for a windy day
Anyway this was another terrific performance from Roger. He really is playing some exceptional tennis and is yet to lose a set in Indian Wells. This is like the old days! But now he is coming up against a real threat in Djokovic, who beat Isner 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-1. Some Fedfans on Twitter was really worried about the Dolgopolov match and now they are sure Roger will beat Djokovic. Makes no sense of course and is caused by being overly emotional. I was very positive about Roger’s chances against the Dog but I know Djokovic is another animal, even though he has looked vulnerable this year. Roger beat Djokovic 6-2 in the third in Dubai but the conditions are different in Indian Wells. Also Djokovic doesn’t go long without winning a title. He does struggle sometimes but it doesn’t take long for him to come good again.
He is not a 6-time slam champion for nothing. He has been struggling which means he is probably at his most dangerous. He senses the opportunity here to start turning this year around. If he wins the title he is in a great position after Wawrinka, Nadal, and Murray’s early losses. Against Isner he actually had a set point against him in the first set which turned out to be quite a crazy point. Had Isner won it he would probably have won the match. I thought Isner could win the match beforehand but it just showed me Djokovic can’t be underestimated. The way he saved that set point and then came back to run away with it in the third set is typical of Djokovic. Djokovic also got broken to love serving for the match in the second set. That is really unheard of for Djokovic and tempts you to believe that Roger is the favorite for the final.
Pure intensity, peRFect power
But this match may just have been what Djokovic needed for his confidence. The way he ran away with the third set also suggests to me that he was getting more confident towards the end of the match. Yes I believe in my player and I think that Roger can win this, but I am not as confident as some Fedfans. I like Roger’s chances but I think it will be close. For one thing Djokovic is a devastating returner. If you can bread stick Isner you have to be. So Roger’s serve will have to be in top form, which admittedly it has been. The difficulty against Djokovic other than him neutralizing your biggest weapon with his world class returns is that it is very difficult to end a point against him. His ground strokes are very consistent and of course his defense is world class too. So again Roger will have to be at his attacking best.
It should be a great final anyway and I am very much looking forward to it. If Roger wins it he claims a 5th title at yet another event, climbs back up the rankings into the top 4, and goes into first place in the race ahead of Stan. He also puts some more distance between him and Djokovic in the head-to-head which currently stands at 17-15. And like I said before the event winning Indian Wells is the next step for him if he wants to top what happened in Dubai. He would also deal Djokovic’s confidence another serious blow and it makes him the in form player this year so far, even ahead of Stan. I’d love for him to do well in Miami too and if he wins Indian Wells it sets him up really well for that too. Clearly there is a lot to play for here, but losing won’t be the end of the world either.
The cheer leaders approved
I’m sure if Djokovic wins he’s gonna have to play incredibly well, and he hasn’t done that of late. I am fairly confident about Roger’s chances but like I said even if he loses it is just great to see him play so well again and he has already done very well this year. I’m sure there are many more good things ahead regardless of the result, but at the same time I desperately want him to win this. We believe in you champ!