US Open Rd 3: Federer Passes Test Against Cilic 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

This was better from Roger. It was a test that needed to be passed. Roger was break points down early in the match but held on to take a 2-1 lead. He then proceeded to break which was enough to bag him the first set. In the second set Cilic had a break point early on but missed an overhead which he really should have made. I thought that would really cost him, but at 4-5 Roger was facing two set points on his serve and Cilic capitalized. All of a sudden it was all squared again. In the third set Roger broke in the first game which was just what the doctor ordered, but then got broken right back. A break is only a break once you hold serve, and Cilic was right back in it. He was playing well and I was starting to get nervous. I knew this was a big moment for Roger. If he got broken and lost the second set I thought he would have lost.

We know fighting from behind is not one of Roger’s stronger qualities. He is at his best when the match is on his racquet and is in control of things. I like what I saw from Roger in the third set. He looked like he really wanted it, and it paid off. He got the break to take a 5-4 lead and then served out the set. The third set was really the crucial set of the match. When he won that the fourth set was basically a formality, as he broke twice to take it. I thought Cilic played really well and this was a confidence booster for Roger. Roger still has a long way to go before he can win this title, especially being so up and down of late. But I would like to be a bit more optimistic and say that there is at least a chance now. There is nothing wrong with dreaming. If he wins the US Open it would really be the ultimate.

He would become the first player to win a slam for 9 consecutive years and he would then be on an incredible 17 slams. He would also become the first man in the open era to win 6 US Opens. But lets get back to the reality on the ground. Roger now faces Monaco, which should be a much more comfortable opponent for him than Cilic. He could use an easy match before a potentially very tough quarter final against Tsonga or Fish. No match is easy of course, but I don’t see how Monaco can be much of a threat to him. He has played Monaco twice before and won on both occasions. I think Roger should be able to win in straight sets, or at most four sets. It is nice to know that Roger’s quarter final streak will probably remain in tact. His next test will really come in the quarters where he will either face Tsonga or Fish, who both had straight set wins as well.

It is hard to call who will win that one. It may be better for Roger if Fish wins, given the last two losses Roger have suffered to Tsonga, but at the same time if he plays Tsonga it will give him a chance for some revenge. I know most Fedfans want Fish to win, but I guess I am different. A win over Tsonga would be very sweet and Roger can’t think like most Fedfans anyway. If he wants to win a slam he shouldn’t be trying to avoid certain players. To win a slam you want to be the best player in the draw. Elsewhere in the draw Berdych withdrew which makes the draw for Djokovic slightly easier. But Berdych would hardly have troubled him anyway. Nadal won today against an over the hill Nalbandian and now faces Muller. That is a pretty lame draw for him as usual. In the quarters he will face either Ferrer or Roddick.

Both Ferrer and Roddick have struggled with injuries of late, but the winner may be able to trouble Nadal, as Nadal is struggling himself. He did not impress against Nalbandian and hasn’t impressed since Wimbledon. I’m hoping Murray can make can make semis as he will have a chance to take out Nadal, given the form Nadal is in. Del Potro also lost against Simon today. I have been disappointed with Del Potro during the American hard court season. After his long lay off last year he was quickly coming back to the top of the game and I expected he would really catch fire during his favorite hard court season. But it has not materialized. Against Simon he disappointed again as he had 3 set points in the fourth set and should have at least forced a deciding set. Well lets hope Murray can at least take advantage and make semis.

Highlightshttp://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=federer+vs+cilic+us+open+2011&aq=0z&oq=federer+vs+cilic+

Presserhttp://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2011-09-03/201109031315086681409.html

Roger Federer


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22 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan, the match with Cilic was enjoyable to watch because Roger was present.You mentioned you could see he wanted to win and its true. His face reveals where hes at. Cant wait for the next match to see what he will do. One match at a time. Go Roger

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  2. Great analysis, I think this encounter was very close, even if it was only four sets. Cilic was zoned in from the baseline and his serve was firing; he returned better than I’ve ever seen, especially on the forehand. Federer was forced to play exceptionally well to win the first set and then survive Cilic’s onslaught in the third set.

    Cilic has been in good form this summer, but had the misfortune of running into excellent players early on–Djokovic in Montreal, Tsonga in Cincinnati, and now Federer.

    The quality of tennis on both sides was high, at a level one might see in the quarters or semis. I’m encouraged that Federer fought so hard to seal that third set and was able to make the needed adjustments in the course of the match.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve.

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  3. Roger wanted this win so bad, and he didn’t hesitate to show his emotions on some crucial points – he yelled “COME OONN” at least 3 or 4 times, once in French “ALLEZ!” , and “NEIN!” in (Swiss) German when he shank an easy forehand on a service return – which made all Fedfans glad I think since we have questioned his will and determination to grind out a match for once. Federer must win his matches even if he’s not the better player on court and that was the case in the third set; these are some good signs of a player who wants to be considered as one of the strongest favorites to win a slam in my opinion.

    And to achieve this victory he employed different tactics and strategy, it was like he kind of realized his mistakes against all these big hitters he has faced and lost to. I can’t even remember when was the last time Fed hit fewer winners and unforced errors than his opponent, which is another fact that shows Federer cared more and wasn’t that casual in his offensive game.
    But as Susan wrote, one match at a time. Allez Rog!

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    Manu Reply:

    Prior to this US Open, Federer always feasted on the memories that he is the Roger Federer- winner of 16 slams and at least 1/year:not stubbornness, after realizing what he has achieved in his career. But now, coming into this US open, everything’s changed. For the first time, Federer comes as the fallen king who is seldom in the spotlight, thanks to Djoko. Therefore, he comes out playing in his match with more careful analysis. He showed this against Cilic, which was good to see. However, Federer must not take this win lightly, he better analyse the mistakes he committed, particularly on sets 2 and 3, because with Djoker, if he plays like that, we might as well hide our faces. To quote a line from Robert Frost’s poem: “We have miles to go, and miles to go before we sleep.”

    I also heard that Nadal collapsed with pain during his interview. Despite all my hatred for him, I do hope he will be fine.

    Good analysis, Ru-an

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  4. Smallish point of disagreement: it’s far from clear that Berdych “would hardly have troubled” Djokovic. He had him in trouble in Cincy b/f his shoulder undermined it. And this matters b/c I think it’s a mistake to see Nole as invincible – he was close to that from Jan through Miami this year, but he has shown signs of vulnerability ever since. Now it’s true that none of his potential next two round opponents look likely to take too much advantage, but I wouldn’t be surprised for him to let a set to Dolgopolov and also be pushed by Tipsarevic if he emerges the winner from the Ferrero match, depending on how much that takes out of him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good observation Nelson. But it is hard to say Djokovic is vulnerable when he has lost only one match so far this year. I doubt Berdych would have troubled him much over 5 sets.

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  5. I´m pleased that he came through and had quite a good work-out on court.He didn´t play his best tennis but I´ll prefer him to save all his best for the second week
    “Not to avoid certain players” but he always has the toughest draw and we are seeing the same match-ups, I´d like to see Tsonga against Djoko or Nadal…and never the benefit of a retirement…But you can Roger just do it!!!

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  6. Great analysis as usual Ruan. I agree with you – Roger should play Tsonga and beat him for some much needed confidence. He can then deal with the Djoker firmly in the semis if the Djoker gets there. Meanwhile, Nadal is low on confidence and i like Murrays chances against him in the semis. If Murray gets to the finals against Roger there will be only one winner – THE GOAT!!!

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  7. Excellent post. I think that match was very good quality-wise for Federer.
    Could you write a post about the pros and cons of Federer changing his racquet? I read somewhere that it’s a very old model with old technologies… and that Fed himself recently thought of changing it…

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  8. Fish is a much better player than Tsonga right now and is gonna prove it in a couple of hours I think. I’ll probably be rooting for Tsonga though since Roger is gonna make it this time against him and he shouldn’t be trying to avoid certain players if we wants to win a slam, as Ruan mentioned in his post. The revenge factor will play a major role as well. On the other hand, if Roger plays Fish then he simply has to play extremely well to overcome his fast attacking tennis and his net play, which is the best in the game right now I think. Anyway, enough with the praise of Mardy’s game, let’s hope Fed cathes some fire in the second week. Go Fed!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Tsonga up a break in the 5th now. I wouldnt say Fish is much better. When Tsonga is on he is very hard to beat.

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  9. I am getting the feeling Tsonga is doping, er, using an egg. His rise in stamina is nothing short of remarkable. Look at how Fish faded and also how Tsonga held on to beat Roger in 5. That’s the benefit of blood doping, as your opponent starts making unforced errors from exhaustion and can’t chase down balls, you remain remarkably fresh. It’s why Nadal could just outlast Roger, especially the 2008 Wimbledon. Hope Fed can win it in 3 otherwise, could be trouble. I would not be surprised if Tsonga looks fresh as a daisy on Wednesday beside playing 5 sets. Yikes.

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    Susan Reply:

    Tsonga has been in Las Vegas working out with the man(dont remember his name) who worked with Agassi in the latter part of career and wins. He had Andre in better shape then when he was young.

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    Manu Reply:

    Gil Reyes-he too was responsible for the rise(albeit temporary) of Verdasco.

    And no, I don’t think Tsonga is doping. He might, but i don’t think he does.

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  10. I’m on the east coast of the US, and I just may see a little bit of this match with Fed and Monaco. If it ever starts. It’s 11:04 right now, and I hope Woz wins. Now,,,,GO FED!!!

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  11. Wow! Monaco got pwned big time, LOL!! Roger must have said to himself, I don’t wanna hang around here too long after midnight, let’s get this match ovah.

    Didn’t see it, but read the word ‘Masterclass’ a few times today around the boards.

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  12. Roger played like a 16+times grand slam champion,i watched the whole match,crisp,clean shots,unreal tennis,43-4 winners..i was so happy for him,he sent a message to everybody including Tsonga,watch out guys

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