US Open QF: Federer and the Wind def Soderling 6-4, 6-4, 7-5

I know Roger is not the kind of person that seeks revenge, but this win felt pretty good after what happened at the French Open this year. It has to be said that the wind played a pretty big part in this match. When I saw how hard the wind was blowing I thought Soderling would have problems with his big swings and high ball toss on the serve, and that is how it turned out. Soderling struggled with his first serve and often took a lot of pace off it. He couldn’t hit those stinging ground strokes the way he would have in windless conditions. Roger on the other hand took advantage of the conditions and served especially well. He hit 18 aces and made 62% of his first serve which was very impressive in the blustery conditions. He also hit more than twice the amount of winners Soderling did from the base line.

But maybe the most pleasing stat was the break points conversion rate which was 5/6. This is something Roger has been having problems with and shows me that his confidence is up again. That said, the wins helped a whole lot. I’m not sure if Roger have figured this type of player out yet. There was several base line rallies where he went toe to toe with Soderling and tried to outhit him. For me this is a brainless tactic. But at the same time there were times when he did change up the pace with drop shots or slices. One thing that has become clear to me is that you can’t give these kind of guys any rhythm from the back of the court. A play that I noticed works well against Soderling is to hit the short backhand slice for which he then has to move forward and can’t hit an attacking shot from. Then from his reply Roger went hard up the line with his forehand.

This won him quite a few points because it breaks up Soderling’s rhythm. So the way I see it he must alternate between taking of the pace and really ripping it. This way Soderling can’t settle into any rhythm. Also hitting the drop shot and then following it to the net works well because Soderling doesn’t like being at the net. Roger started doing this in the third set and won the point almost every time. He also lobbed Soderling successfully after bringing him in. These are all ways of taking Soderling out of his rhythm instead of stubbornly going toe to toe with him from the base line which he just loves. And then obviously the serve was key which is more effective on these courts than on the clay of Rolland Garros. So in the end I think Roger would have won anyway, but the wind certainly made it easier.

At the beginning of the match there was some controversy when Roger challenged a call from a shot from him that was called out. It turned out to be in, and after Roger talked to the umpire the point was awarded to him, even though Soderling could possibly have gotten a racquet on the ball. This made Soderling mad and as far as I could make out he told Roger sarcastically ‘Do you want it?’ This incident seemed to put Soderling off and Roger broke in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. That proved enough to bag him the first set. After this he also hit 12 consecutive serve winners in a row in his next 3 service games. At 2-2 in the second set Soderling was leading 40-0 in a service game and missed an easy overhead. That proved to be costly as Roger broke him in that game and held on to win the second set.

Source

In the third set Soderling was more competitive and lead 5-3. It looked like Roger could lose his first set of the tournament, but he played another great return game to break back. Two games later he broke again, and at 6-5 he served it out to love with two consecutive aces to end it in style. It was a convincing performance, even considering that the win helped him. This will send a strong message to the rest of the field. He will now play against Djokovic who beat Monfils comfortably in straight sets. This will be the 4th consecutive year they meet at the US Open having met in one final and two semi-finals, all of which Roger won of course. Djokovic is playing well but I don’t see him upsetting Roger. He can get a set but that’s about it. If Roger keeps serving the way he has throughout this event this will be his 6th US Open title.

These courts just suits his game better than any other surface. He should really have had six consecutive title was it not for a lapse in concentration when he was up a set and a break last year in the final. There has been a lot made of Rafa’s serve of late. It is quite amazing how he has improved his serve speed and he has not been broken in the tournament so far. But on the other hand he hasn’t faced any really tough competition. As far as the aces go he is not even in the top ten while Roger is at number two. I don’t think the pace of Rafa’s serve would bother someone like Roger much. Even though Rafa’s serve is faster than Roger’s now, Roger still has the best serve, especially on these courts. It is just incredibly accurate and gets him many free points. Today Rafa will play against Verdasco. I’m pretty interested to see how that goes.

Roger attended Fashion’s Night Out two days ago (Source)

I hope Verdsaco can get off to a good start and really show some belief the way he did against Rafa in the Australian Open when they played that amazing semi-final. Rafa’s draw is almost a joke and I would like to see him tested once at least. I just hope Verdasco doesn’t roll over they way he often does against Rafa. As far as the Youzhny/Wawrinka match goes I find that hard to call. It has just started so I’m about to go watch. Just one more thing and that is that Brad Gilbert apparently said that Roger is out of the GOAT discussion if he loses to Rafa in the final. So basically he is saying the same thing as Agassi now. Amazing what these so called experts can come up with to suit their own agendas. This will just make it all the much sweeter if Roger wins this event, which you would think has a very good chance to do now.

Presser: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-08/201009091284057173991.html

Highlights:

Soderling with his usual entertainment:

Roger Federer


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15 Comments

  1. Very impressive win for Federer. I think he’s in a good frame of mind right now about his game. A more aggressive Federer is going to be tough for 99.9 percent of the guys on tour, particularly the plodding power players like Soderling and Berdych.

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  2. Amazing serving game considering the conditions. Even though he didn’t win all the rallies he wanted to prove to Soderling that what happened in RG was a one-timer. He also returned Soderling balls very well – keeping Soderling back and not letting him take control. Even his backhand was solid, unlike in his to losses to Soderling and Berdych, who took advantage of it again and again.
    Federer’s confidence and concentration were excellent and he didn’t let go till the end. Another masterpiece

    Oh, and about Gilbert and other experts – they’ll say whatever gets them a headline and more twitter followers

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  3. Brad Gilbert is so wrong with that comment for so many reasons.

    1. He implies that losing to Djokovic in the semis would be a SUPERIOR RESULT than losing to Rafa in the final.

    2. He implies that Roger’s QF losses at the French Open and Wimbledon preserved his GOATness (better to lose to inferior players than make two Slam finals and lose to Nadal!)

    3. He implies that losses TAKE AWAY from past achievements. Did Sampras’ 2000 and 2001 US Open finals losses take away from his previous 13 Slam wins?

    4. He’s ignoring this most important fact:
    Roger has won 8 hardcourt Slams with Nadal in the draw. Nadal so far has only won one with Federer in the draw. How is Nadal the superior player.

    5. He is also ignoring that Roger is 29 years old and is way past his prime.

    6. Nadal is and always will be a bad matchup for Roger. Look how pre prime Nadal crushed Roger in Miami in 2004 and nearly beat him the following year in the final. If PRIME FEDERER struggled with pre prime Nadal, why should post prime Federer be beating PRIME NADAL?!

    Gilbert, you are missing the facts here:

    1. Making the final would give him a 7th straight US Open final. This ADDS to his greatness.

    2. Making the final would give him a 23 Grand Slam finals, extending his record. Again he’s ADDING TO HIS ACHIEVEMENTS!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post again Fedfan. You are good at making the facts clear. Gilbert is obviously high but i would really like to see Roger beat Rafa here in the final. It is his best surface and Rafas worst. Therefor he doesnt have much of an excuse to lose and it would settle the debate once and for all.

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    Fedfan Reply:

    The one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is that Roger is 29 years old and will more than likely have the tougher AND later semifinal. That KILLED Sampras in 2000 and 2001.

    If they met in the 2005-2009 finals I have no doubt Roger would have won. This year is quite different.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I doubt thatll make a difference.

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    Fedfan Reply:

    If Roger plays a 4 hour match against Djokovic and it ends at 9PM he’ll be at a huge disadvantage.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger hasnt lost a set thus far. He’s fresh as a daisy and fit as a fiddle. Besides hes not playing a 4 hour match vs Djokovic. John Mcenroe played a 5 set semi one year and came back the next day to win the final in 5 sets. Roger doesnt have any excuses. He shouldnt lose to Nadal in the final.

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    leslie Reply:

    Rafa had an almost 5 hour semi against Verdasco at th 2009 AO, and beat Roger in 5 1 day later, so there are no excuses. This is what they play for.

    Roger doesn’t want to face Rafa though, in the final. Rafa can beat Fed in the final, but would have a harder time against Djokovic.

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  4. Great analysis as always. Two questions:
    It’s meant to be cold, windy and possibly rainy the next few days. Are these conditions an equaliser when it comes to the Djoker, Nadal and Fed, or do they fair the more consistent players? If so, then Nadal wins because he plays with the highest margins, no?

    second question: the djoker won by coming to net a lot on monfils. does roger need to do more of that in these conditions?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes i think the wind would help Nadal to be honest. It would make it harder for Roger to take advantage of the conditions which favor him. At least he can still serve well like we saw against Soderling. But its harder to go for your shots and go to the net, so yeah i think it would favor Nadal.

    Its harder to come to the net in these conditions like i already said.

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  5. One of the more impresive performances in tricky conditions I´ve seen for some time.He´s very confident
    and a confident Roger is very hard to beat at the USOPEN.
    I hope he will give Novak his annual beating.

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  6. Great mathc.Roger is in top form but I will be as nervous as ever for Roger on Saturday.We all know how
    Djoko does when N2 is on the line.(Djoko against Nadal).
    All the pressure will be on Roger “to get it done”.No
    competition for the lucky Nadal.All the hype is on Roger´s shoulders.All of it, even the media bashing him
    against his rival.
    I still believe Roger will win and put all those doubts to rest.

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  7. I think Roger could have lost this match if there was no wind, he wasn’t winning the majority of the baseline rallies and Soderling was unable to hit Roger off court, it could have gone to a fourth set but it didn’t but his forehand started misfiring midway through the third set, he might be able to squeak past Djokovic but not Nadal having said that I could see Roger losing to Djokovic, all of their past matches have been tough 3 or 4 setters and there has really only been a few points difference in all of them, a poor shot on a big point could send Federer home and losing to Djokovic wouldn’t be too bad, yeah he’d lose the number 2 ranking but Djokovic hasnt exactly played well when he has held that number 2 ranking, Djokovic has load of points to defend after the US open, Federer doesn’t have much, reaching the final of Basel was his only real high point after the US open last year.

    I fear this year that Federer has peaked too early, I feel that is what happened last year as well, all of his tricks came out in the quarters and the semi and he ran out when he was serving for the second set in the final however to get past Soderling and Djokovic without expelling too much energy calls for these amazing performances, so while I hate to say it, I just can’t see Federer winning this year, his draw is a nightmare and Nadal has got better with every match, his toughest match so far was the first round match after that he’s been blowing teh competition apart, this run this year reminds me of how he won the French open this year . I hate to say it but I’ll be very surprised if Federer wins, I know you’re not going to be very angry with me Ru-an for not having much faith Roger but I just can’t see it, maybe if I had been a fan of Roger for longer I’d have more faith in him but Nadal has been playing like a demon-easy opponents or not. Federer needed to be tested earlier on by someone who could beat him on a consistent basis, Nalbandian should have been in his draw, if he managed to win that one in straight sets, I’d be confident that he could win.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    What if he beat Djokovic in straight sets? Surely that should make you believe.

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