Hi folks! It was another couple of crazy days for me here in Thailand, but I have stayed up to date with the tennis and even caught some of Roger’s match. I saw him winning the first set 6-1 and then saw some rust in the second set which he lost 6-3. I still thought he would probably get the win. I couldn’t watch the third set but Roger went a break down early and then broke back at 3-4 to square things up. Things went down to the wire with a tie break where Roger served for the match at 6-5. Chardy then made an amazing passing shot which swung things in his favor and he won the tie break 8-6. Roger still sounded upbeat in his presser and it was just one of those matches where the opponent came up with something out of the ordinary and it slipped away. You can’t be too upset about it.
But it meant that Roger had to once again count on Djokovic if he was gonna keep his all important top 4 ranking for the French Open. Djokovic had to beat Ferrer yesterday to keep Ferrer from once again passing Roger in the rankings, which he did impressively 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Djokovic had not played since Monte Carlo where he lost to Roger and Ferrer is always tough to beat on clay. It’s been impressive how Djokovic has fought his way back into form so quickly. He is not at his best yet but he is getting there fast. He will now face Raonic and you would like his chances to make it to the final at least. As for the other Swiss Stan, he once again disappointed by losing in the third to Haas in three sets. But that is OK because this time Dimitrov beat Birdshit and we won’t have yet another bend over in the semis.
Windy conditions made things difficult
Dimitrov also defeated Haas after winning the first set 6-2 and then Haas retiring. Dimitrov now faces Nadal after Nadal had yet another tough three set win over Murray. He also needed three sets to defeat Simon and Youzhny. Nadal still struggling with his confidence but he is slowly but surely playing himself back into form as well, thanks to his luck in Madrid. I didn’t see the match against Murray but it would have boosted Nadal’s confidence because from what I hear Murray was playing well. Nadal just keep grinding out these wins with his relentless will. He is no doubt one of the mentally toughest in the history of the sport, if not the mentally toughest. He just never gives up and never stops believing. It is quite extraordinary. And this is something which people who are blinded by bias and hate can’t see.
Anyway I don’t want him to win Rome or the French Open so I am hoping Dimitrov can stop him, and if not Dimitrov then Djokovic. But it is like the stars are aligning again for Nadal because of his never-say-die attitude. He just never accepts defeat or failure. What happened in Melbourne obviously crushed his confidence but even after that he is still bravely fighting on and trying to defy the odds. I don’t like Nadal but I have to respect that. If he keeps fighting like he has been he may just dispose of both Dimitrov and Djokovic and be the favorite for the French once again. I mean the guy was in ruins before Madrid but then gets lucky with the draw and takes full advantage of it. He also got lucky in the final but again he never gave up during that match. And now he has fought his way all the way to the Rome semis once again.
Doesn’t look very upset, does he?
I’m not counting out that Dimitrov can defeat him, but knowing Nadal he will probably find a way to grind out another three set win. We may just be heading for another Djokodal final which could be a preview of what’s to come in Paris. I think Nadal’s confidence is still shaken and anything can still happen, but he is also gaining confidence with every win. Even if he wins Rome an early round exit in Paris in not impossible. But a 9th French Open title is not out of the question either. I just felt that this year it would be very difficult for him after what happened in Melbourne and he has after all never won the French five times in a row. My gut feeling still says Nadal won’t win the French Open this year, but with him you never know. Can he bounce back the way Roger did in 2009?
If he does bounce back and win the French Open then he is still on track to catch up with Roger’s slam count or even surpass it. We have reached a crucial stage in this GOAT debate. Nadal’s confidence took a massive hit in Melbourne and he needs to bounce back in the best way asap, or time is running out for him. If he does win the French Open he is right back in the hunt and the crushing loss he suffered in Melbourne will be all but forgotten. I do feel like Nadal basically have to win Rome and beat Djokovic in the final if he is gonna win the French Open though, so we will see what happens. I’m looking forward to today’s matches and I’m definitely gonna try to watch. As for Roger winning the French again at this late stage will be difficult, but I’m not gonna completely count out his chances.
He is Roger Federer after all.