Tursunov Tests Federer, but Federer Rises to the Challenge

Hi, friends. I haven’t had time to read all the comments of late but what I’ve seen is that some people are quite concerned about Roger’s win over Tursunov while others are quite happy about it. I fall into the latter group. First of all it’s hard to be concerned after Roger won. And it’s even harder to be concerned when he beat an inspired opponent in four sets. I don’t think Tursunov can play any better, but that should be no surprise given how many players seem to play their best tennis against Roger. How many times have we seen players in the zone against Roger and beating him? Many times in the last few years. The big difference in 2014 is that Roger is still winning those matches and winning them ugly if he has to. Roger is past his prime and can’t just school all comers the way he used to, so he has to find a way of winning despite not being at his best.

And that is exactly what he did against Tursunov. Despite a dismal break point conversion rate of 4/21 he served up a storm and found a way to get it done in four sets. Brilliant. I was really proud of my player for the way he fought through a rampant opponent and found a way to get the job done. Especially the way he came back in the third and fourth sets after losing the second set on a tie-break. The final score was 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-4. Roger played a solid tie-break, but Tursunov finally came up with a scorching winner that made the difference. Just too good and nothing to have regrets over. And clearly Roger did not have any regrets as he won the next set by two breaks and the final set by another break. Granted Roger wasted even more break points than he did in the first two rounds, but who cares given the score line?

If anything this was another very encouraging performance from Roger. Roger lacked matches since Monte Carlo, so is the rust that he is showing really such a surprise? Taking your break point opportunities have to do with match fitness and confidence. But since Roger don’t have those at this point the second best option is to win despite not having them. What more can you do? Then you either play yourself into confidence and match fitness or you lose and try again. It’s that simple. Roger is doing the best he can do at this point. So far, I would say he has done the necessary in every match. Nothing more, nothing less. How can you fault him for winning? Of course, that doesn’t guarantee him a win against Gulbis, but if he keeps doing the necessary it logically follows that he will win again.

Roger does not come into the French Open with his usual two warm-up events or a final in Rome. He played Monte Carlo which is the first of the clay court events and then lost in the first round of Rome. Considering that I think he is actually doing very well. I guess this is a point where I and some of my readers differ like night and day. I am realistic but positive. To me, it seems like many Fedfans are unrealistic but negative. They expect Roger to do the impossible, but they are all too ready to criticize him. I don’t expect Roger to do the impossible, and I praise the little victories. This is why I don’t believe in creating expectations because it causes disappointment and negativity. Just go day by day and round by round and enjoy every step of the way. I simply cannot be negative over a win.

Roger is my favorite and I will always give him the benefit of the doubt. I just can’t get myself to criticize him when he has won. Especially after digging so deep and showing so much heart. It was clear that he was struggling somewhat out there and that things were not quite going his way, but he found a way and for that I have nothing but admiration. I will also give Roger the benefit of the doubt against Gulbis. I refuse to be negative and say that his form against Tursunov means he will lose to Gulbis. For that, I believe too much in my player. I will only accept defeat after the two have shaken hands at the net and Roger came out the loser. This will be the attitude of any true Fedfan. No doubt Roger is in for a difficult match against Gulbis, who had another impressive win against Stepanek.

But before the French Open started Gulbis had a negative win-loss record in slams while Roger became the first man to have at least 60 wins in all four slams when he beat Schwartzman. Think about that for a second. Clearly Gulbis lacks consistency, especially at slam level, while Roger lacks anything but consistency. Of course Gulbis can beat Roger, but it is very far from guaranteed. The way some people make it sound Roger has already lost. The win against Tursunov may have been exactly what Roger needed before playing Gulbis to give him self-belief and confidence. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts in a very efficient performance and defeats Gulbis in four sets. The main thing is to tidy up his break point conversion rate. As far as the match stats against Tursunov goes, let me also remind me that it was the first match his winners outnumbered his unforced errors.

Fighterer

And then of course the serving stats were impeccable. The volley stats were decent too. So once you take the dismal break point conversion rate away it was actually very good match stats. The fact that Roger created 21 break point opportunities is already a promising stat. Now he just has to convert more of them. If he does that against Gulbis he will win. As for the rest of the draw, Djokovic had a tough 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4 win over Cilic. I never rated Cilic but since he hired Ivanisevic as his coach he has become a very competent player. He played out of his mind against Djokovic and in the end Djokovic did well to shut him down in four sets. It was also ironic that after playing so well that Cilic served a double fault on match point. The negative ones will say that Nadal is now the clear favorite to win the French Open.

The way I see it Djokovic did well to get it done in four sets and he learned an important lesson that may serve him well if he faces Nadal in the final, which is that he was being too passive. Djokovic has a much harder draw than Nadal, but it may end up costing Nadal the title. Djokovic is being thoroughly tested while Nadal has a cakewalk draw. Berdych had a good win over Bautista-Agut as well while Isner did the same against Robredo. Those two will now face off for a place in the quarter finals against the winner of Roger and Gulbis. Things are getting interesting. Today Nadal will be in action against Mayer who will probably get utterly destroyed by Nadal while Murray is playing Kohlschreiber which will be interesting. Well, I’m gonna stop here. This post has already gotten long.

Allez Roger!

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/media/2014-05-30/yo4kqrlj8mrlgeyjbt_u6437ynzdpshn.html

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

65 Comments

  1. Many thanks for another insightful post. Really pleased to see your positive view. Let’s have faith in Roger and hope for the best!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome Lau. Optimism is the way to go.

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  2. Hi Ruan,
    Good post! Tursunov tested Roger with his big shots, but Roger responded when it mattered . First two sets were tough mostly went on serve. Roger was forced to work out for every point through of first two sets third set was bit good , BP conversion still a huge concern Gulbis is very tough opponent and he’s on a roll after title last week & playing well here too, good to see Roger came through tricky opponent overcast condition doesnt favour Roger which was clear yesterday. Roger need to serve well and create & convert break points will be key which will not be so easy against Gulbis. Believe in Roger! Enjoy Rogers play!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Inbakumar. I wouldn’t even say the bp conversion rate is a huge concern. I’d be shocked if it is that bad again against Gulbis. But yes he does need to tighten up in that area.

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    Aravindhan Reply:

    Gulbis BP conversion 4/12(30%)out of 8 games of BP opportunities.
    Also saving lonley BP he faced

    Winners:Unforced errors 45/30(+15)

    Federer BP conversion 4/21(~20%)out of 8 games of BP opportunities.

    Fed saved 2 BP he faced.

    Winners :Unforced errors 56/39(+17)

    Djokovic BP conversion 7/22(32%)out of 11 games of BP opportunities.

    Djoker saved 8/11 BP he faced
    So Cilic broke his serve 3 times in the Match!!

    Winners :Unforced errors 30/37(-7)

    IMO :D joker is the one who should be worried

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes I saw your comment on my last post.

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  3. Very positive post, Ru-an; insightful and looking at things in different perspective. You put things so well, it’s hard to fault your writing or your insights! I definitely feel better after reading your take on the match and Roger is actually improving match by match albeit rather gradually, especially the serve has been impeccable as you put it so well. If the rest of his game picks up, serving like he is doing right now, he will be too hot to handle. Let’s hope his level picks up. I hope he can find a way to play his all court game to disrupt all these big hitters. I just realised Roger is getting all the big hitters in his draw – Schwatzman, Tursonov, Gulbis, Berdych, Djoko, Nadal!!! Does the guy get a break?!! Also, I have a question for you,Ru-an. Why is it that Roger never had any problems with big hitters in the past? In fact he relished playing them and he could dissect and break down everyone of the big hitters. But today, the big hitters give him nightmares. Why is that, Ru-an?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica. Roger has actually been having some problems with the big hitters for a while, because his footwork and defense is not what it used to be. Also his invincible aura is gone.

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  4. Great up beat post. Although we have all been spoiled by Roger’s fabulous tennis I myself don’t mind how many matches he wins ugly! Sometimes I think we fans are too critical after all the win is what is importent.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers Elizabeth. Being spoiled is the problem with Fedfans. Because many of them only know Federer they think he is the norm, but nothing can be further from the truth. I have followed tennis for a while and I’m trying to help them understand that they have been spoiled as fans. Personally I am a fan of tennis. Roger just happens to be my favorite tennis player.

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  5. Great post Ru-an. I often am critical of Roger and I should not be given this late stage of his career. I think most of us hope for the best and struggle when he loses. Sometimes I wonder what he still can accomplish and what my expectations should be, if any. I think Fed played well against Tursinov and I think Gulbis is in for a good match. Congrats on Federer getting 60 wins in four different slams. I watched the Djokovic/Cilic match and WOW! Cilic has a big game and poses a threat to top players.

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  6. Tomorrow will be very difficult! I expect a tough match and I’m not taking it for granted. Federer has difficulty against Gulbis and hast lost to him on clay before so you never know. Hope for the best!

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  7. Good, optimistic post, Ru-an. This victory won’t enter into the annals of the all-time greatest Federer matches, but the important thing is he lives to fight another day. A little extra court time won’t hurt, especially in the early rounds, given that he didn’t have a lot of clay matches coming into Paris.

    I think Tursunov was playing quite well, despite his injury. He served well and went for big shots. Although he might have been hobbling a bit in the third set, he recovered in the fourth—a lot of those break points were saved with big serves and one-two punches. Injured schminjured, there’ve been tons of times where “injured” players discovered adrenaline and managed somehow to win—as happened with Monfils today. Federer still had to close the guy out and he did.

    He was subpar but he shook off all those missed break points and came good in the end. I think he upped his return game in the last two sets to compensate for his issues on BP conversion—he had three BP in the first two sets and then 18 in the last two. He even joked after the match that he simply pretended there wasn’t a problem with his conversion rate and just kept going for it on break points. He also used drop shots to exploit Tursunov’s lack of mobility.

    Slightly annoying that he lost yet another TB—he used to be good as gold in breakers, but now he’s lost three in a row, starting with the MC final. Hope he can tighten up that part of his game for the second week. He was very vocal with himself when he made errors so it’s clear he’s hoping to play better than he has so far.

    Gulbis will be tough but beating two power baseliners should be good prep for Federer. He still has at least one more match to get his game into tip-top shape. If he comes through Gulbis, he should be well-prepared for Isner/Berdych. I am hoping for a masterclass but I’ll take a win however it comes.

    Somehow it was typical of Cilic that he would almost come back in the match only to double-fault on match point; he has immense talent but overthinks things at the crucial moments. Still, it’s a very good result for him—clay is not his favorite surface but he gave Djokovic fits for two sets.

    Raonic beat Simon in a five-set epic. It’s not easy to beat Simon in front of his home crowd; there’s something unique in his counterpunching game that gives even the best players trouble—they can’t just hit through him. A big-serving opponent with relatively limited mobility would seem to play right into Simon’s hands, but somehow Raonic found a way to overcome the Frenchman. This might be one of the most important victories of his still-young career because it shows he’s more than just a big serve.

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  8. Love your positive post and reminding us that he is capable of digging deep to secure a W. Shouldn’t be too critical as I think he is trying to play himself info. Got to give it Roger for great serving, hope he can keep it up against Gulbis. Btw a certain Spanish Bull already dishing out bad back card, wonder where is that leading to. Don’t mind him losing early so I can watch Djoker and Roger slugging it at the semis.

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  9. End of the road for Roger at Roland Garros. This is obviously not good for his confidence but he should head straight to the grass courts now and start practising. His chance will come at wimby just as Ruan was saying all along. The good thing is we won’t have to worry about Roger upsetting Djokovic. I’m obviously upset Roger couldn’t make quarters at least but I believe it’s for the best.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Alex disappointing collapse from Roger again and strange how some Fedfans were so sure he could win the title. But like you say it’s not the end of the world. Just needs to hit those grass courts hard and give it his all to win an 8th Wimby title :-)

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    steve Reply:

    His twins were born like three weeks ago and he had only one clay match in the month leading up to the tournament, and it’s the “end of the road” for Federer at RG? Let’s not get carried away here. He was underdone and distracted by his personal life, being nearly 33, wasn’t able to get match tough in time. That’s all.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Relax Steve. It IS the end of the road for Federer at RG. He is out of the tournament. Do you understand that?

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    Alex Reply:

    Yeah that’s what I meant. He’ll be back at RG next year hopefully although with Nadal still around I still wouldn’t count on his chances of winning the thing. Roger can take solace that the match could have been won or lost again today on his own racket. Match points in the second set. he blew it right there. Trying to be a little too cute I guess. But Gulbis took two pages out of nadal’s playbook today. Keep pummeling away at the back hand and medical time out to take Roger’s momentum away.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No problem Alex you made yourself perfectly clear in your first comment. You are obviously a positive fan.

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    steve Reply:

    Ru-an, my apologies to Alex if I overreacted. I am aware that Federer is out of the tournament, having watched the entire tortuous match and Gulbis’ triumphal on-court interview to boot.

    “End of the road” can be ambiguous because it is a very loaded phrase: it connotes total, permanent, and irrevocable failure. If Alex means he’ll never have a shot at winning RG again, I strongly disagree–there were extenuating circumstances, as I mentioned. If all he meant was Federer’s been knocked out of the tournament and will have to wait another year for a chance at the trophy, well that’s obviously true.

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    Alex Reply:

    Apology accepted steve. I’ve lowered my expectations of roger so that I would not be dissapointed if he loses at Roland Garros. However, my expectations remain very high for Roger at Wimby since he is afterall probably the greatest grass court player ever.

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  10. I don’t want to be the one to spoil the party but I did have a bad feeling about today and my fears came true. I knew that Gulbis is a very dangerous opponent and he proved it today.. The positive is that now Federer will have more rest and time to prepare for Wimbledon. Anyway..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yet Roger had Gulbis at his mercy at 7-6, *5-3, and 40-15. If he didn’t collapse mentally again he could have won this in straights. Or in 4 at most. Oh well.

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    Vily Reply:

    Wow! If that is true, then – I guess Roger did choke then. I didn’t get to see the match but I had a bad feeling anyway. At this point, if Roger didn’t lose to Gulbis, he might have lost to Berdych. If he didn’t lose to Berdych, he would have lost to Djokovic. And if he didn’t lose to Djokovic, then he would definitely have lost to Nadal. This tournament is all about Nadal and Djokovic in the Finals.

    I have a VERY good feeling that THIS year Djokovic will destroy Nadal in the FINAL.

    The only interesting match will be between Raonic and Djokovic and I hope that Novak prevails. Also it will be interesting to see Nadal against Ferrer. But if it all goes according to plan, Djokovic will finally kill the monster. :-) ))

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  11. Such a frustrating and disappointing match, because he had the chance to go up two sets to love but made an absolutely bone-headed choice of shot and threw away the second set, and the third shortly thereafter.

    The match wasn’t lost in the fifth set, it should never have even gone to the fifth set. If you allow Gulbis to play, guess what, he’s going to play and then it’s going to be hard to beat him once he’s full of confidence. Then of course there’s that MTO where he went in hobbling and somehow came out superman, pounding serves and forehands like they were nothing for the next set and a half. This is why I don’t buy the “injured” bullshit, ‘cuz it’s bullshit.

    Lack of matches, still distracted by the new twins, age, who knows. Done trying to figure out what’s the matter with Roger Federer. All I know is I don’t care what happens until grass season rolls around. Gulbis’ moment of glory will be predictably short-lived as, having claimed the big scalp he came for, he turns in an indifferent performance against Berdych, whom Djokovic will in turn cream in straights. Murray will be pulverized in the quarters by his Spanish master.

    The Beast and Beast Jr. are going to meet in the final and beat each other bloody for five or six hours, and the crowd is going to howl and cheer like mad for whichever one staggers out of Thunderdome alive. I can’t say I care which one wins.

    I’m sure Federer will come back fully prepared for grass and then we’ll see what happens. Go Roger!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are also making too much of the twins. No need to make excuses. Roger had Gulbis at his mercy and choked. It had nothing to do with the twins and everything to do with his lack of mental fortitude. Sometimes one must take responsibility, even if it’s just as a fan.

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  12. I couldn’t see the match today b/c of work obligations. I don’t want to make excuses either, but is there anything positive to take from it? Was it a good fight on the whole, etc.?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’ll make a post tomorrow Joe. I don’t have time to reply now.

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  13. Guys,please stop with the twins bs. That’s not it. I think many of you just didn’t see the writing on the wall in the Tursenov match. Roger simply did not manage to get his game up to the level required to go further in this tournament. I’m sorry, but it was so freaking obvious if you watched the whole match. I usually agree w you Ru-an or accept your greater wisdom but I really felt like you and I must have watched different matches or something. The last half of that match Roger was terrible and the stats just didn’t show what really happened. Regardless, I wouldn’t be too upset folks. This is not Roger’s best slam hunting ground and while he couldn’t get where he needed to be w his game here, he HAS DONE IT THIS YEAR SEVERAL TIMES. So, back to the practice courts to get ready for the grass. I do not think I’m being unrealistic when I say that it’s still possible for Roger to win more slams. He just needs a little love with the draw and to be playing his best tennis, which at this tournament he clearly wasn’t. Long live the king!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Eric of course we won’t agree on everything. But lets face it, Roger was cruising at 7-6, 5-3, and 40-15. He could have easily won this match in straights, which is why I still think the last match was good. He was in full control vs Gulbis and let it slip. Simple as that.

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    Alex Reply:

    To be fair though Roger could have so easily won today. He wasn’t as bad as you’re making out. One mistake cost him. That’s it

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Alex. He was playing very well until that one mistake. Then it all went south.

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    Eric Reply:

    Alex, these kinds of statements are my pet peeves. I have said it here before. One mistake does not lose a tennis match! Tell that to Rafa or Djoko and they would laugh for an hour. A point is just a point, IF you are in the right place with your game and your head. It’s unique in sport. You make a mistake and you go right back to work immediately. No buzzer or time clock to prevent you from fighting back that mistake bAnd Ru-an I agree he could have easily won in straights today but only if he didn’t face real adversity. His confidence and maybe his energy were just too fragile to stand up to a true challenge. I hoped he could put it together here but I still truly believe we will see better from Roger in London and New York.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry Eric but I cannot agree with you here. One point can and often do make the difference in a match, and Djokovic and Nadal will no doubt admit it. A tennis match usually comes down to one or two key points. I speak from experience as a fan and a player.

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    Eric Reply:

    Well, maybe I’m not being clear w what I’m saying. Absolutely, highly competitive matches very often come down to the narrowest of margins and one or two points are the difference between winning and listing. Absolutely. But with Roger it’s often a completely different thing. If he’s up a set and a break and blows a point or even a game, and then falls apart for the next few sets – it’s not the point that lost it for you, it’s your head and or your game. I’m not criticizing him about today, I just think he was not in a place with his game or head where he could stand up to adversity. That is necessary to win five setters against quality opponents. Look at Maria Sharapova out there fighting like a dog for every single point no matter how many mistakes she makes. She was doing that even back in the days when she was double faulting 25 times a match.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok I’ll answer your comment tomorrow. Gotta get to bed now it’s 1 am here!

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    Eric Reply:

    Ok sleep well Ru-an, and thank you for being so cool that we can discuss like this even when we disagree. Most guys out there would have too big an ego to allow it. You’re awesome.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Eric but you are really the awesome one for not taking offense or getting upset. I welcome all opinions but at the same time I am gonna tell people exactly what I think about their opinions. A lot of people can’t handle that. So all credit to you for taking it like a man and not taking offense. How are things going at work?

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    Eric Reply:

    Thank you and thank you for asking. I really did great work and I’m proud of that. I find out if I made it through any day now. Your blog is helping me from going crazy while I wait to find out. I’ll let you know either way. Fingers crossed!!

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    Gaurav Reply:

    Got to agree with Eric here. One point, however crucial, does not cost a match. With Federer it’s becoming a worrisome norm. He loses one point towards the tail end of the set by virtue of a brain fart combined with some luck for his opponent and he just crumbles after that. (The US Open match against Nole anyone?) There are countless examples.

    His final set first game woes continue. Seems uninterested, unwilling to fight. The fifth set is where a champion’s mentality comes into play. With the momentum and crowd on his side, along with Gulbis’ reputation for not being the strongest mentally, Federer should have CRUISED.

    Instead, what do we see? Him crumble against, not Nadal, not Djokovic, but against a mental midget. Gulbis. Djokovic and Nadal would have been 2 sets to 0 up for starters. They would never have let that 40-15 point go by and even if they had, they would have regrouped and taken the set.

    Even if they hadn’t, they would have entered the fifth set raring to go, fully charged up. What we get to see is a disinterested Federer who won’t even take bigger cuts at the ball even when he’s down 3-0 in the fifth.

    Today was pathetic. It had nothing to do with age or the twins. He was coming up short on all rallies more than 3 points against Gulbis. The stats weren’t even close. That is the area Federer should have been dominating against an aggressive player like Gulbis. Gulbis should have been leading ,3 shot points and Federer should have been up on anything longer than that. He couldn’t even stay competitive with a guy who bludgeons the tennis ball as hard as he can!!! That is just a joke.

    Let’s just wait and watch how Berdych/ Djoker dismantle Gulbis. It’ll be a joke. They’ll just outlast him and mentally drain him. Which isn’t a big ask. The guy’s practically a playboy. Federer had everything going for him today. He lost the match. Gulbis didn’t win it. As simple as that. Horrible

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    Alex Reply:

    Guarav and Eric. We are not blind you know. We’ve known for quite a while now that something is wrong with Roger even if we take away the one or two points here and there that can win you matches. He’s basically not in his prime. This is not news and we should all be past this and have accepted it by now. THAT is what’s wrong with Roger. Secondly the competition is much stiffer now than in the past. Thirdly, I don’t make these statements lightly. Today was a mixture of horrors like the fact that Roger kept playing to Gulbis’ strengths which was the backhand (which was extremely solid). Guarav you are right. It IS becoming a worrysom norm with Federer. I said it before, he is not in his prime anymore, he makes too many unforced errors. You also said that Djokovic and Nadal would never have lost that 2nd set. While it’s true that even after losing the two set points, Roger should still have won the 2nd set, one cannot help but wonder why the hell did Roger miss that easy overhead smash, because it was actually an easy shot if you see it again. Also think back to Djokovic and Nadal semi at RG last year. Was it not another overhead smash which djokovic missed and from then on suffered psychologically and lost his momentum? And finally…momentum. The momentum was with Roger at the end of the 4th set when Gulbis took a medical time out (probably tactical). He then came back only for Roger to be broken immediately and almost get broken again. Needless to say, the momentum was gone and with it gone was the fifth set too. THAT is what happened today and it all boils down to that one point which he should have put away. That’s how I saw it.

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    Alex Reply:

    I can definitely understand what you are saying in that it never actually comes down to one point but can you honestly say that had fed gone 2 sets up he would have lost today?

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    Eric Reply:

    No. He probably would have won. But who knows. And it doesn’t matter because he didn’t win the second set. I thought Roger played pretty well today. Better than his previous round. But not good enough to win in five sets at Roland freaking Garros 4th round. That’s the big time, man. He started the tournament playing just ok, and then improved a little each round to pretty good. Sorry but you just don’t win grand slams with ok and pretty good. I bet he works really hard now and comes into his next tournament playing as well as he played today. From there if he improves as he goes he has a chance of getting to the level required to win. There’s a building process required. He’s not gonna just make it to the quarters playing ok and then be able to jump from ok to extraordinary overnight to defeat the big guys. Globis is a hard hitting mother-f-er, having his best ever year, and loaded with confidence. He had a sufficient reservoir of belief to be able to deal with adversity and Roger didn’t. That’s why Roger lost, not because he missed a shot or lost a game.

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    Eric Reply:

    Sharapova just had match point. She double faulted. Then sprayed a terrible forehand to go add down. Did she fall apart? Hell no. She got her head together and went back to work served an ace to deuce, then a super aggressive point to set up a monster forehand winner to win the match. That’s how you have to fight and believe to win grand slams.

    Gaurav, thank you, but one thing I would have to say is it’s a bit unfair to compare Roger to Djoko and Rafa like that. It really is a big age difference and practically a miracle that Roger is still able to compete on this level. It was not going to be easy. Gulbis is a quality player and while Berdshit (haha rua-an) should beat him, I wouldn’t expect bagels and breadsticks. The reason why I am so excited to root for Roger is exactly because I know how incredibly hard it would be for him to win another slam. If he can do it I think it would be the greatest achievement of his career. I want that for him and I will root for him until the day he decides not to play anymore, but IT WILL BE VERY HARD. He has to start the tournament at a higher level and then improve as he progresses.

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  14. And yes, now that Roger and Dimitrov are both out, I’m very happy to root for Djoko. Not so that he can protect Feds legacy, but because right now, he’s the best tennis player on the planet, he’s magnificent to watch, he’s not Rafa Nadal, and he deserves to win and regain number 1. So Go Djoker!

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    Joe Reply:

    Those are good reasons Eric. :-)

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  15. Its not the best day for us Fedfans :-( if there are positives its that Fed will now turn to grass where he gets more value off his serve, forehand, slice backhand etc. It seemed that everyone and their mother was getting a racquet on feds serves on clay :-( hopefully grass will be kinder…. Also it is now or never in terms of the total grand slam record. Djoker just blitzed Tsonga and Nadal is rumoured to be nursing a sore back. We need Ferrer, murray/monfils and Djoker to finally step up to the plate and take down Dull once and for all in his backyard. The consequences of not doing so could be fatal to the slam record, as Dull will be 3 slams away with renewed confidence. If however Dull loses, he could be tired by wimbledon and hopefully a big server could evict him early. First things first…… We need Djoker to get past Raonic quickly without wasting energy, and ferrer past anderson likewise…..

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  16. Very disappointed with how Federer disappeared at the start of the 5th set. He has done that many times in the past and it’s too hard for him to come back.

    I thought he had it at 40-15 , 5-3, and then he decided to hit a volley directly to Guilbis – or at any rate, Guilbis guessed right. Then Federer crumbled. Sometimes I think he can’t handle when his opponent makes a great like that – i.e. Djokovic’s forehand return in the US open SF 2011 when Fed was serving for the match, or just a few weeks ago Chardy’s lucky passing shot on match point. Then he just loses focus.

    We are all fans but we have to accept that today Federer was overpowered. Guilbis was hitting harder , flatter shots (especially off the backhand). He had more winners than Federer by a good margin, which is rare.

    IN slow, heavy conditions, big hitters like Guilbis and Soderlinlg and Berdych have more time to set up and make their big windups. Whereas on grass there’s no way Guilbis could do that.

    Anyway someone above called it – Guilbis will probably just lose like a dog to Berdych in 3 sets…

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  17. I am very disappointed by the loss of Federer at the hands of Gulbis. There is a reference to the farce medical timeout that Gulbis took to rattle Federer by Steve and Alex in their comments above and personally I am so frustrated by the style applied by Gulbis to win the match. I think Federer could still win the match had it not been for the momentum shift caused by the cowardice act of Gulbis. I would not mind much had Federer been subdued by a fair play. This is also a matter of concern that other cheats may take lesson from the biggest cheat that is called Nadal to fake the MTO to unnerve the opponents and cause the momentum shift.

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  18. Two rounds ago I also mentioned that Andy Murray was looking better than I expected and might be able to help us out. He could be a little beaten up for Mondays match but if he can get through Verdasco without working too hard, he can rest up a bit and possibly go deep. I certainly don’t think he wins this tournament but he could provide enough of a fight for a sore backed Dull (who thought of that, it’s peRFect) to help Novak crush him in the final. I drool thinking of that happening.

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  19. “Mentally I have already switched to the grass, to be quite honest,” said Federer. “For me, it’s like, ‘the clay-court season was fun, but we are moving on.’ Clay doesn’t need me anymore, I got flushed out here.”
    -Roger’s post match interview.

    Last year someone pointed out in this blog that since the loss in 2011 FO final, Roger lost interest in clay season itself. He is playing there because there are lots of points. With these words from Roger in his interview, its confirmed. People in this blog know about Roger than anyone else. Proved again.

    Sad thing is Roger was defeated by that foul-mouthed Gulbis. But still I’m kinda happy as Roger gets some time to practice on grass and will be ready for Halle. And of course good days usually starts with the grass for Roger.

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  20. And another thing. Who the hell is Lajovic? Why is Nadal’s opponent in the 4th round an unheard of? Someone said it before that Nadal’s draw is a joke. I agree.

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    Alex Reply:

    I am watching nadal and lajovic play and I have to say it’s getting pretty pathetic out there. I honestly feel sorry for the kid. Come on Ferrer!!!

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    Eric Reply:

    I finally just saw this match and was feeling bad for the young guy too. But he was well composed and shouldn’t be embarrassed.

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  21. Hey guys, I hope you haven’t forgotten about me, because I certainly haven’t forgotten about you all. But for some reason since a week when I visit this blog at home, I leave a comment and it doesn’t show. And when I submit it again, I get the info that I already posted it !!! But for some reason when I visit this blog at my work, I can leave a comment and it does show. Go figure :-) So I had to wait till work to comment again. Well, so here is my take on it. Please read I am doing this in my bosses time :-) ):
    1) Let me just say that I am PROUD of the way Roger played Tursunov and to some extent Gulbis. “Roger 2013” would have found a way to beat Schwartzmann, but would definitely lose to Tursunov, let alone Gulbis. “Roger 2013” would never have won the 4th set yesterday, so…. there is (a little) improvement we should be happy with. So, I am STILL very proud of Roger.
    2) Kudos to Gulbis for winning, but lets also be real, he didn’t win the match, Roger LOST it. Big time. He tried to come back, he really did and fought, but failed. I will not make excuses for Roger, he SHOULD have and could have won. Period. The way he lost the 2nd set was not done. But people, that is what pressure does to you. Remember the last 2 points Novak played against Stan at QF AO 2014?? How did we wonder then, like how could Novak play those two netpoints on such an important moment?? The moment that made him lose and fortunately gave Stan the opportunity to win AO. That is what pressure does to you. But like I said, no excuses, Roger should have won the 2nd set. No way Gulbis would have won the 3rd.
    3) A small bandage for some of our wounds: It took a 25 year old player (who won this year 2 tours on clay) 5 sets to beat a 7 year older TIRED player who has played more than 1200 matches and who wasn’t this year totally prepared for clay…. Something still to be proud of??
    4) About the MTO. Way to go Gulbis. Wow, you really played your card right. Didn’t need one in the 2nd set when you won or the 3rd set when you won, also not in the 4th when you were serving, but very convienantly when Roger served for the 4th set. Way to go. Gamesmanship learned by whom?? Roger should be used to it by now, but still he let it disrupt his momentum. Not good of him either. But Gulbis… if that is what players like you need to beat the Greatest tennisplayer of all time?? Then maybe you should ask yourself, am I not convinced or trustfull enough to rely on my own game?? Anyway, he will get his due. I bet Roger (in the plane) laughs at all these young players who haven’t played like 1200 matches and aren’t 32 yet and still take MTO every opportunity they get. Gulbis won, but he lost my respect with that MTO. Especially when he hit an ace of 218 km in the first games of the 5th set. Sooooo rooting for Berdy to take him out.
    5) Roger really needs some kind of a mental coach. Now… every player and their coach will know (if they didn’t already) that he will lose the first game in the decider set, he will most probably lose the TB and that if you outplay even one great shot against Roger, you already won. He needs what Novak did. Hire someone who can get him over that hurdle.
    6) And still, I don’t think Rafa will win. Andy will not outplay him, but he will hang with him till the 5th set. Andy is no stranger to long matches grinding for hours and hours. And…. then there is Ferrer. I really believe Rafa will lose to Ferrer. No way David is letting Rafa defeat him this year…
    7) I don’t like it when people talk about Roger choking…. But this really was one…..sorry Roger, you should have won…. Still love you though dude :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha. Bad karma? I swear I have nothing to do with it!

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  22. Oh and guys, just keeping my PROMISE. I said Roger would win RG 2014. He didn’t. So I truely apologise for saying it over and over. I honestly believed he could do it this year (with Rafa not invincible). I will try to keep my predictions real and short. But one thing I will never stop is believing in Roger. This was a setback. Which hurt, but Roger is fine and so am I :-) Still love and believe with all my heart in the Greatest Tennisplayer Of All Time. The ride is not over yet. Halle and Wimby, here we come :-) Sorry for the long comments, but I waited for today to post… 

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  23. Hey Ru-an. Do you know how compensation generally works for professional coaches? How do you think it works for all of these ex stars of the game who are only doing 15 weeks a year or so? Big fee per week on the road? Percentage of winnings? Very curious. Thanks.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No idea Eric I think it varies from player to player. I’m sure you can find something on Google about it.

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