A while ago you may remember I made a post called Wawrinka does Federer a Favor by Losing in Beijing 2nd Round. On that occasion Stan lost to Querrey, just after he lost to Benneteau in the semis of Kuala Lumpur. He then had a couple of good wins against Anderson and Raonic in Shanghai before getting breadsticked by Nadal. He also passed Roger in the race in Shanghai after Roger lost to Monfils there. But after getting routined 6-4, 6-3 by Roger-Vasselin today in the 1st round of Basel, Roger is ahead of him in the race again. I watched the match and it was the most disappointing match you could ever hope to see if you are a Stan fan. Personally I have never been a huge fan although I was happy for him after his US Open run. Today he was an absolute shadow of that player. He wasn’t even back to his old self.
He was below that. I mean Stan had the easiest draw of the top 4 seeds. Seppi(who lost today) was the toughest player in his quarter. An ideal opportunity to make semis at least and book his place for his first Masters Cup. Now it’s not even sure that he will qualify. Roger-Vasselin is ranked 65th in the world and I have literally never heard of this guy beating anyone of note. This is surely the biggest win of his career. He’s basically like Mannarino. A French player with no weapons to speak of. He’s got a good all round game and has some talent as all French players do, but he really has very little to hurt an opponent with. And yet he straight setted Stan, breaking him three times. Stan’s 1st serve percentage was 35, while he served 5 double faults, one of which was on match point. If I remember correctly the last 2 points of the match were both double faults from Stan.
Has reason to be smiling…
I’m pretty shocked by what I saw out there today. In Stan’s defense he has always done badly in Switzerland where he has a 9-10 career record, and Vasselin did hit some nice volleys toward the end. Still, this is almost inexcusable. It looks like Stan is back to his old role which plays into Roger’s hands. In fact none of the guys fighting for spots in London seem very eager to qualify. We know Roger is determined to qualify because he has repeatedly said so and it is an important event for him. But Raonic, Tsonga, and Stan have now all lost early in their last tournament. Even Gasquet tried to choke in Moscow but his opponent in the final wouldn’t allow him. I’m starting to think Gasquet will lose tomorrow to Llodra too. It’s like no one wants it. Anyway this is good news for us Fedfans because Roger is now very close to qualifying for London.
I made a mistake in my last post when I said Roger plays on Thursday. He is playing tomorrow against Istomin who beat Zeballos 7-5, 7-6(3) today. It was an expected result and as I said Istomin will be a definite test for Roger in his current form. Roger leads the head-to-head 4-0 and have never dropped a set to Istomin, but that won’t matter much tomorrow. Still, you would expect Roger to grab this opportunity. Especially since Stan the Friend has taken some more pressure off him. Dimitrov will play his first match today as well against Stepanek who is himself a good indoor player, and it will be interesting to see what kind of form Dimitrov brings after winning his maiden ATP title in Stockholm. Hopefully he can keep up his winning ways and Fed wins tomorrow so that we can have our first Fed vs Baby Fed match up!