The King Straight Sets Djokovic to Make Shanghai Final(Part II)

Hey guys. There isn’t a long time before the final now which is played during the day, but I wanted to say a bit more about yesterday’s match against Djokovic. It was too good not to. Roger came right out of the starting blocks looking like he was ready to get the job done. He just looked to be in a very offensive mood and to be taking the initiative. He was going after his forehand and taking control of the net. There was no half measures. This was Roger in full confidence God mode, truly a sight to behold. Roger got the first break in the fifth game with a terrific slice approach which Djokovic netted. He still had to consolidate however or the break would mean nothing. He found himself break point down which he crucially saved with an inside out forehand winner. 4-2. Now things were getting interesting. Djokovic held serve and at 4-3 Goderer delivered the a near peRFect game on serve where he hit three aces and one serve where the edge of Djokovic’s racquet only just clipped the ball.

At 5-4 with Roger serving for the first set the game went to 30-30 but Roger came up with one beautifully constructed point where he finished with the volley winner, and then he finished it off in style with an ace down the T. It looked like we could be in for something special, but knowing Djokovic’s ability to steal matches from Roger that he should have lost(e.g. two US Open semis where Roger had match points) there wasn’t a moment where you could relax and think this match was over. Djokovic is like Nadal in that sense. They are incredibly difficult to put away. And on this occasion it took Roger being at his absolute peak to put Djokovic away. I mean we are talking about a Djokovic here who was on a 28-match winning streak in Asia. He is truly the King of Asia. But Roger is the King of Tennis. So in the first game of the second set the King of Tennis came up with some more terrific offensive tennis to set up two break points.

He then got the break on the second break point with another scorching forehand winner. He was now it the best possible position after winning the first set and getting the early break in the second set. He also consolidated without any problems. Then at 3-1 came a pretty big game where Roger had four break points for the insurance break. On one of those break points Roger hit a deep approach to the Djokovic backhand which he flicked for a cross court angled pass, and afterwards he took a long hard stare at Roger as if to say “Are you going to back off NOW???”. It was terrific entertainment. After Roger failed to get the insurance break he then went down 0-30 on his own serve. Here was an opportunity for Djokovic to get back in the match, but Roger was rock solid on the next two points. First he out rallied Djokovic form the base line forcing him into an error, and then he hit a masterful short slice with side spin that found Djokovic wanting.

The serve has been especially good in Shanghai

Both players held serve and at 5-3 there was another important game where Roger went all the way to 40-0 up, only for Djokovic to pull it back to deuce after a terrible attempt at a drop volley from Roger at 40-30. It was a tense game that went to several deuces but again Roger was rock solid as he held serve with the unreturnable serve. In the next game Roger then went up 30-0 on the Djokovic serve and set up a match point at 40-30 after a gorgeous backhand down the line which forced the error from Djokovic. I was hoping he could take it to avoid the drama of having to serve for the match, but Djokovic came up with a gutsy serve-and-volley play to save it. Roger then set up another match point after following the return to the net, but this time Djokovic saved it with an ace. So it was all down to Roger serving for the match at 5-4.

Could he hold Djokovic off for one more game? It was getting slightly nervy but I had a good feeling about it. Roger went down 15-30 and now things were getting tense again, but as was the case in the entire match he took matters into his own hands and ripped the forehand winner. Next he hit his seventh ace to set up match point. And fittingly he would win match point with another gorgeous old school volley point. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful match where peRFection was on display. It needed to be peRFect from Roger to beat this Djokovic. Anything less would not have gotten the job done. I think we witnessed something truly special from the GOAT who is 33 and played like he was in his peak. And I mean that when I said it. Djokovic said himself Roger played as well as ever after the match. It is quite astonishing and refreshing to see Roger play that well at his age.

It makes you believe anything is possible and that he is still improving since he had that slump in 2013. Back then I said to rise very high you have to sink very low, without knowing what exactly that entailed. I think we have seen Roger already rising very high this year, but of course he didn’t quite reach the heights of a slam title. I honestly believe now that is still possible after seeing the way Roger plays against Djokovic, and that he is still improving. For the first time since playing with the new racquet I really saw him going after his forehand and ripping it for winners. It was just the whole mindset against Djokovic that impressed me. There was no holding back. Just 100% believe in his own ability. The lack of confidence was the main theme of his 2013 slump and I believe for the first time we are now seeing him return to full confidence. He was playing well in the Wimbledon final but I don’t think he was quite back to full confidence yet.

The GOAT ladies and gentlemen 

So I am hoping and I believe that Roger could scale new heights towards the end of this season and at the beginning of 2015. If Roger wins today against Simon he will be only 990 points behind Djokovic in the race and within range of being the year end #1 for a record 6th time, especially given that Djokovic’s baby is about to be born and he will take some time off. It would be very special if Roger can achieve that but for now it is all about the Shanghai final. They asked Roger about it after the match too and it was good to see that he was not thinking about the year end #1, and that he was fully focused on winning the final. That is really what it comes down to now because if he loses to Simon a lot of the good work he did to beat Djokovic would have been made undone. Beating Djokovic is not an every day occurrence and Roger must make sure he capitalizes by winning his second Masters of the year.

He is also 1-3 in Master finals this year which he will want to improve on. Simon has historically given Roger his fair share of problems. There is no doubt about it. But I think there is a fair chance that he could crush Simon today too. The times that Simon gave Roger trouble he was probably just slightly off his best or didn’t play with enough urgency. Simon is the kind of player who can lull you into sleep with his boring pushing game. But I think if Roger plays anything close to what he played against Djokovic he will make short work of Simon. I know tennis is a match up game but it is obvious that Simon isn’t anywhere near Roger in terms of quality. We will see how it goes but I have full faith that Roger can and will win his second Masters of the year. The match will be on his racquet and if he plays offensive tennis the way he did against Djokovic there is no hope for Simon.

Go get him GOAT!

 

Highlights:

Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.

15 Comments

  1. Great post Ru-an.
    What an amazing display by roger last night.Loved it totally.The look on his face was assuring too.
    Final is due in short time.Hope he’ll win the 2nd masters of the year which is very certain given the magical form he is in right now.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks guys! Grateful to be sharing this with you! Join on on FB for live chat!

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  2. Hi Ru-an, a really great post !!! Thanks.

    And I hope that in three hours we will celebrate another Masters for the Master. Allez Roger !!!

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  3. Did anyone notice that Djoko dispatched multiple overheads easily… Fed tried to lob him or unbalance him.. but Djoko was handling the overheads quite easily… usually his weak area..

    Anyways, perfect match from Fed.. and he needs to continue in the same vein to win this Masters… he needs it.. he deserves it… Chumm Jetzt !!

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  4. Great pic on the last post, Ru-an!

    This was a Federer masterclass as of old, a complete and perfect performance where he executed his game plan with total confidence, and comprehensively outplayed his opponent.

    The world #1 was in peak form and played some scorching tennis, but his baseline game, the best in the world for most of the last three years (and especially on hard courts), was powerless against Federer’s all-court mastery. This is the clearest demonstration yet of Federer’s uniqueness-his game doesn’t depend on raw power or speed, but on creative shotmaking, precision, and perfect technique, so he can break down the more physical games of his younger opponents despite the age difference.

    This is better than vintage Federer: in ’06-’07, Federer was beating pre-gluten-free Djokovic. Now Djokovic is a far more formidable opponent, a seven-time Grand Slam champ and world #1, yet Federer dismissed him in straight sets. He didn’t give up a single break of serve against the best returner in the men’s game, and only one break point overall. All of Djokovic’s efforts failed to make a dent and he had to play his best tennis just to avoid being blown away. When was the last time anyone managed that?

    He’s had problems consistently sustaining this kind of level, his challenge is to prove it’s not a one-off and win the title. Many times this year he’s played well to make it to the final only to produce indifferent tennis in the title match. Hopefully, with the Cincinnati win to boost his confidence, he can go all the way.

    Only one more match to go! C’mon Roger, 加油!

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  5. What a godamn epic post from you Ruan! I had chills up my spine when I read ” Go get him GOAT”. Epic post for an epic match. Salute the GOAT blogger.

    AND ROGER HAS WON SHANGHAI!!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!ALLLEZZZ ROGER!!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha cheers Monfed. The title GOAT blogger is one I worked hard and long for and one I am proud of, just like I’m sure Fed is proud of being the GOAT! Lol.

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  6. Hey Everyone!

    A good win (not great) and an AWESOME Victory!

    Another check off the box in the illustrious resume of the mighty Roger Federer! I was one of the first that predicted early that Roger will choose to play Shanghai precisely because he hasn’t won it and he wanted to give himself another shot at winning it.

    And how lucky was he? Saving 5 match points in the 2nd round and now he is the WINNER!

    I predict that next year he’ll skip Miami and play Monte Carlo and Rome to try and win those as well.

    But let me say again – WOW! This year has been great – even without a Grand Slam. I mean 9 Finals. 1 GS Final. 5 Masters 1000 Finals and 2 Masters 1000 Trophies. Another Dubai Title. 4 Titles overall and there is still MUCH to play for.

    Basel, Paris possibly, London and the Davis Cup. Year End Number 1 anyone?!

    Jesus, there are so many things to play for and we thought that after the U.S. Open, there are no more highlights. But there are!!!

    I think that if Roger somehow wins Basel, he’ll probably choose to play Paris to pursue the Year End 1. That would be insane! I mean Tennis works in mysterious ways. Just when you think – OK Roger missed on the U.S. Open and check what follows. Plus, I love that he’s CLEANING UP at those events that he hadn’t won before. And the records too. I mean I would be happy if Roger wins the Davis Cup and possibly Basel (Nadal is in bad form and with the appendicitis he’ll lose there if he plays). But if he matches the SF result of Paris and wins WTF he’s got to have a shot at the Year End Number 1. Right now Djokovic is only scheduled to play Paris and London.

    Yes, long term it could be detrimental to Roger but you know what – if Roger wins all the above and ends at Year End Number 1 – how awesome would that be? I don’t think he’ll have another shot at that any other time. Then he can give his Allen Australia – win or lose being Number 1 or possibly Number 2. He already wants to erase that loss in Brisbane and win that for the first time. Then after that he can chill until Monte Carlo and Rome and push again at the French, Wimby and the U.S. Open.

    But for now let’s celebrate the 2014 Shanghai Rolex Masters Champion – ROGER FEDERER!!!!

    Yes Yes Yes!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Your predictions have been good for this tourney Vily. Not to mention that you were the one who predicted he would play Shanghai. Congrats. Even your prediction that Simon was the one to worry about turned out to be right. Incredibly, he turned out to be a bigger headache than Djokovic!

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    rahan Reply:

    Yes , I am also very surprised : how Simon
    turned out to match Federer for much of the time from the baseline.

    I think that the domination at the net
    (24 of 35 points) decided the winner.

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  7. Federer just won Shanghai !!!! It was difficult to watch. I muted commentators. Often I had to close my eyes and then open and check score. Roger has a lot of tools in his tool chest. So happy for Fed. I think Simone will be the up and coming player to watch. He appeared much harder to play than Djokovic. I enjoyed the game with Djokovic but this game seemed a little boring. Simone does not play an entertaining game. Fed was a little emotional before presentation. He is so humble.

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  8. He did it, Ru-an, he won Shanghai! Fantastic tennis, he is the Tennis King.
    Your blog is brilliant, Ru-an, another WIN blog to write.
    Vily must be somersaulting for joy!
    Steve, the Glueckstern was with Roger, I BELIEVE.
    Bravo, Roger.
    Best,
    Dolores

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Dolores and yes he won! The GOAT is back in business!

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  9. Great analysis Ruan, thank you!
    This was the best attacking tennis I was able to watch in a long time, it proved that approaching the net is still an effective and powerful weapon in hands of the greatest master ever and can be done on a regular basis, not only to shake hands.

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