US Open Rd 3: Federer def Mathieu 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, Murray Upset by Wawrinka

Not a bad US Open for the Swiss is it? I’m sorry that this post comes a bit late but it gives me a chance to report on what has been the biggest upset of the US Open thus far as well. With the draw that Murray had I basically assumed that he would make the semi-finals. But this is what makes this game so great. Nothing is certain. On the other hand Murray is prone to being upset in the slams. Today was another very disappointing performance from the Scot. In the end he couldn’t even hold serve to at least make Wawrinka serve for the match. In all honesty I thought this was probably Murray’s best chance yet to win a slam, although I never called him the favorite. But Murray has just once again proven that he is not slam material. He could possibly win a slam in the future, but compared to Roger and Rafa his mentality is almost a joke.

He just doesn’t bring it in the big moments, and today was more proof of that. Wawrinka on the other hand deserves huge credit. He started off on fire, but faltered when he served for the first set. I stand corrected but I think he was a break down in the second, and then fought his way back into the match. That takes a lot of guts to come back like that when you basically choked away the first set. So all credit to Roger’s fellow Swiss and it’s great to see him finally get a telling win in a slam. It’s not impossible for him to make semi’s now and that would be another big result for him. Stan has always been in Roger’s shadow in Switzerland so I am glad for him. As for Rafa, his draw has just gotten considerably easier. With respect to Stan, I don’t think he has as much of a chance against Rafa as Murray had should he make the semis.

This is big for Rafa. It basically puts him in the final. Nalbandian also lost today who had an outside chance of upsetting Rafa. Rafa now has Lopez in the next round and then another Spaniard in the next round, who he usually owns. And then he could face someone like Wawrinka, Youzhny, or Querry. He is obviously the favorite to make the final now, but when it comes to Rafa at the US Open nothing is quite a certainty either. You just don’t assume he will make the final when he has never been in the final before. Now back to Roger’s match against Mathieu. It was another clinical performance from Roger as he served 13 aces in the wind and served 0 double faults. Given that it was windy conditions makes this even more impressive. Mathieu is a dangerous player so Roger must get a lot of credit for how he handled the Frenchman.

Again the match was completed in under 2 hours and thus far Roger has not been tested in the least. It kind of reminds me of the French Open where Roger cruised all the way to the quarter final and then lost to Soderling. Now before you get all nervous on me, let me just say that I think Roger has a much better chance of winning if he meets Soderling this time. And they almost certainly will meet. I don’t see Soderling losing to Montanes and I don’t see Roger losing to Melzer. But this time Roger is another player. During the clay and grass court seasons he was desperately lacking confidence and that has changed with his strong performances in Toronto and Cincy. Also he is more comfortable on fast hard than clay, while Soderling is probably less comfortable. That said, I’m not underestimating Soderling.

If looks could win grand slams, this would be it (Source)

We all know Soderling is the kind of player that gives Roger problems. Last year they had a very close match, and I expect something similar this year. I don’t mind Roger facing Soderling at all. It’s a great chance to get revenge for that painful loss where he broke Roger’s semi-final run. It could also give him much needed confidence for a possible final with Rafa. These power hitters has been his Achilles heel of late and to get a win back over one of them in a slam will be very satisfying. Not that I don’t think Roger is the favorite if he is to meet Rafa in the final. He must be the favorite simply given their respective records at the US Open. I don’t care how much of a mental edge Rafa has over Roger. We’re talking of an event which Roger has won 5 times and made the final once, while Rafa has never been to the final.

The conditions is faster than any other slam and Rafa is clearly not as confident on it. It is true that Rafa has beefed up his serve, but even that doesn’t make him the favorite. Roger has dealt with much bigger servers with ease in the past. I think if a Fedal final is to happen, it would be the ultimate opportunity for Roger. It would give him a chance to avenge that Wimbledon ’08 and Australian Open ’09 losses, not to mention all those French Open losses. Now that Murray has lost, I want a Fedal final more than anything. Winning a record 6th US Open by beating his nemesis in the final would be the ultimate. Can you see it? If you can dream it you can have it! But we are no there yet. Both Roger and Rafa have a lot of work left to do. With the loss of Murray we are just a small step closer a match of epic proportions…

Presser: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-04/201009041283639044722.html

Highlights:

OOP: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/schedule/schedule14.html

Roger Federer


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15 Comments

  1. Well murray got his due…i simply dont understand how he can be so proud of almost nothing…yes i agree he is not a grand slam material,quite happy for wawrinka specially when he plays backhand looks to me like roger and i love to see that…a well deserved win for wawrinka…well rafa is going quite smoothly right now and i think we will see fedal finale which i dont want to(honestly speaking)…good luck to roger against melzer and i think he will avenge rolland garros defeat against soderling comprehensively given he plays with the same confidence as he played with in the games so far

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  2. hi there,

    i’ve been reading your blog for a bit now and i just want to say that i find your analysis to be much more useful than that of the so-called experts on telly. i also take your point that it is important for fed to face down the sod monster hitting. he needs to prove that he has the variety needed to outwit NOT outhit these big guys.

    two questions for you:
    do you think nadal’s flatter /harder serve is actually easier to return than his kicking slower serve? my sense is that it may well be for players that like the pace.
    second Q–why is it that murray always appears to be physically depleted at key matches? can someone finally lay to rest the rumor that he has overcome his mental and physical frailities??

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks you Sakhi. I think a bigger serve will help Rafa more than vice versa. Its always preferable to have a serve that can give you more free points. As for Murray i think his problem is more mental than physical. I think he is physically very fit. He appears physically depleted in key matches because of his attitude. He tends to get down on himself which makes him look tired, but its all mental imo. Thanks for the questions.

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  3. Imho, Nadal is already in the final. No one in his half can challenge him in a best-of-5 match. He made it to the semis in the last 2 years – whereas today he is a much better player with a surprisingly good serve. One thing you can say about Nadal is that in the last few months he is never going away easily and most of the times he just never goes away.
    On the other half of the draw, Federer has much tougher matches in the quarters and semis but he can make it to the final. I think Sod will be a very tough match, tougher than the semi.
    If we get a Fedal final… I fear Nadal will have the upper hand – but lets leave it for now, we have 3 more matches till then.

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  4. What else might help Nadal in this tournament? And easy draw with all the Spanish Armada…
    And easy road to he final and I can´t help feeling that fortune is in Nadal¨s side.I prefer a Roger´s loss before the final than a loss in a Fedal final.I´m really sad.

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    muhammad Reply:

    O come on…i mean we should not be so fearful of nadal…i am sure roger will beat him in the final if they meet there.To wish for roger’s defeat before final just to avoid confrontation with nadal is not healthy..cheers…

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    ines Reply:

    I still think Roger has the game to win against other players Nadal included.But with R.N.the story is another, you know that.Roger winning here should be as assured as Nadal´s beating him on clay.I try to be positive but it´s exhausting, I can´t stand another Roger´s loss in GS against R.F.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well put Roger can only lose to himself in a final. Its time he stopped doing that.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Completely agree. If Roger is to win his 17th GS, he has to do it in his own terms. Let’s stop speculating; doing probabilities and permutation and combination. Right now, his tennis is looking very very good. If he can keep up his concentration level, I don’t think we should fear much about him losing. If (God forbid) he loses despite his best efforts (that means the guy on the other side of the net has to come up with something spectacular or extraordinary when Roger is healthy), nobody can help it. Just take it as his destiny. Whatever has to happen, will happen. As I have said before, we can only wish him the best of luck so that he can give his best. And when he his able to play to the best of his abilities, no one (including Nadal) can stop him from lifting the cup on Sunday. COME ON ROGER!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Very good post Jiten. You sound like a level-headed person :-) And lets not forget that this is a huge opportunity for Roger to turn things around against Rafa if they are to meet.

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    TD Reply:

    I’m sorry Jiten but Federer just don’t bring his best against Nadal in the slams (at least the last ones). That’s the mental edge Nadal has over Federer. Take the fifth set in the AO 2009, Federer just lost his nerves. It doesn’t happen to him against no one but Nadal. A win over Nadal here will mean the world to Federer but it also make the whole thing very stressful.

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  5. Soderling didn’t look good on his latest match. It was like he was having problems with his abdomen or wrist, he was leaning down at the end and seemed like he was in pain. And he made some double faults which made me think he had a problem. But even if he plays well against Federer in quarters, it is not a disadvantage for Roger. Federer cen make the final arrangements he needs in that match.

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  6. Right now I have to take 1 match at a time for Roger. As for Nadal, talk about good luck – all the dangerous players have exited prematurely and he looks locked on to reach final. Why can’t Roger get a break, his path still looks difficult :-(

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  7. I think Nadal will win the US open not because of his game but his mental strength and luck. He shouldn’t win but just the way that Roger shouldn’t have won the French open last year, it looks like he has a real shot of doing so. All i can say is what comes around goes around, the draw has opened up for him the same way it did for Roger last year. Roger is the only one who can stop Rafa now and he must play the best tennis of his whole career to win the US open now. Rafa is far superior to Federer mentally and beats his opponents using this superior mental capability before hitting them off . Roger will have to play now like he has nothing to lose but this could be the changing of the guard if Fed and Nadal play each other and Nadal wins then, he will be the GOAT, Roger will just be the seat warmer, Nadal may not win 3 slams in a year 3 times like Roger but with game and where he’s come from doing it just once would be enough and he has a great chance at a non-calander year grand slam, Roger is no doubt best player ever in terms of the variety his has and this hides that he can be a fit frail mentally not in the sense of beaing weak minded but being too stubborn, Roger will lose if he believes that is supposed to beat Nadal but it doesn’t matter who you are you have to beat Nadal he won’t beat himself however, this could end the GOAT debate (until the french open next year) if Federer beats Nadal, if he can prove that he can beat Nadal in big matches despite being in ‘decline’ then that would hurt Nadal status. Federer over the recent weeks has got revenge on a few players hopefully Soderling and Nadal are next.

    Verdasco, Ferrer, Youzhny Wawrinka have a great chance of getting to their first grand slam final, all of them know that Rafa has been beaten comprehensively in some cases on hardcourt by players he would demolish on any other surface if they can find it in themselves to put away their mental struggles then they could beat Rafa but to me none of them look like a Del Potro, just a couple of weeks ago in Cincy Rafa was beaten by someone who he had never lost to before but to be honest he does look more comfortable at the US open than he did in Cincy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    If Rafa wins the USO it doesnt mean he will be the GOAT. He still needs to equal Roger in slams. Roger has got amazing consistency at slams like 23 straight semis, 18/19 finals, and 3 slams a year for 3 years. Rafa wont ever get that. I suppose it depends on what you use as a criteria for deciding the GOAT. If you use slams, which for me is the most important, Rafa will never catch Roger.

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