Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of this match after the first set as ESPN was either showing commercials, interviews, or action on the outside courts. Can’t say I was very impressed but you know if Federer was American they wouldn’t have missed a second of the match. Luckily it was another routine win, as expected. Roger got off court in under 2 hours in the heat of the day which is ideal. He got off to a flying start racing to a 5-0 lead, but then lost concentration and his serve at 5-1. The rest I didn’t see much of but it was obviously a routine win. I just saw an interview with him on ESPN and he says the wind was a bit difficult and didn’t allow him to play as attacking as he wanted. They also asked him about a possible final with Rafa which all the Americans want to see. He said he would like it but hinted that Rafa still has work to do to make the final.
I’m not so sure he wants to play Rafa that much and that would be understandable to some extent. Rafa has beaten him in all slam finals aside from the US Open. So he may be worried that Rafa can beat him again. But the way I see it he should never have lost that Australian Open final last year, and if they were to meet here he will have the ultimate chance for revenge. To me that is really the only way to see it. To see it any other way is to allow doubt and fear into his mind. I mean he would have the chance to stop Rafa from achieving the career slam! Already Rafa has stopped Roger from being the only man to win six slam titles consecutively of single slam at Wimby. He also stopped Roger from achieving the calender slam three times. If there was ever a time to set the record straight it would be at the US Open which suits Roger better than Rafa more than any other slam.
But of course this is all hypothetical and again I agree with Roger that Rafa will find it hard to make the final. He can pass the quarters against guys like Nalbandian or Ferrer, but against Murray in the semis he will find it tough going. I watched his match against Gabashvili in the first round and he didn’t impress me at all. I know it’s just first round but Rafa never impresses me much at the US Open. He reminds me a lot of Sampras at the French Open. I like Rafa but part of me hopes he never wins the US Open because he has already been helped so much on tour with conditions slowing down pretty much everywhere. I just don’t see how he can beat Murray here who looked very impressive in his first round. It is even possible that he can lose before the semi-finals. And lets not forget the Simon Reed jinx which is always a potent curse.
So to conclude I don’t think Roger is even thinking much of a final with Rafa right now. I’ll be surprised if Rafa makes the final and if it should happen Roger would be the favorite. To get back to Roger’s match today, I think it was just more proof that Roger is the favorite to take the title this year. That said, Soderling made short work of Taylor Dent today after he barely escaped in the first round. I’ve been saying since the start that Roger’s quarter final match will be a test and I am sticking by that. I think Soderling will make the quarter finals and we all know how tough a match he gave Roger last year. The biggest upset on the men’s side have been Roddick, who lost last night to Tipsarevic. It was a very entertaining match and Roddick was up to his usual abuse of the court personnel.
This means the Djokovic quarter of the draw is a little more open now. It will probably be Djokovic or Fish who makes semi’s now, and I like how Fish has been playing. I hope Fish makes semis since I’m a bit tired of Roger always playing Djokovic in New York. Another big upset was Berdych who lost in the first round which makes Murray’s road to the semis even easier than it already is. Yet another upset was Davydenko who lost to Gasquet today, which makes Djokovic’s quarter even more open. Also I was glad to see Nalbandian win in five sets even though it was against someone from my country. I would like to see a Rafa vs Nalbandian quarter final which is always a dynamic match up. If I have to guess I’d say we’re probably heading for a Rafa/Murray and Federer/Fish semi-final. Roger will next face Mathieu who he has faced four times before and only ever lost one set to.
Mathieu can be dangerous but I think we are looking at another relatively straight forward win.