Wawrinka Does Federer Another Favor, Istomin Wins

A while ago you may remember I made a post called Wawrinka does Federer a Favor by Losing in Beijing 2nd RoundOn 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!

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11 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan,

    Nice to see post after post from you!

    A strange day indeed:

    I Karlovic defeats (2 seed) T Berdych (100 points vs. 108 points, 0 Break Points Won by I.K.)

    A Falla defeats (6 seed) G Simon 61 60 (wow!)

    E Roger-Vasselin defeats (4) S Wawrinka 64 63

    M Przysiezny (73 ranking ) defeats F Verdasco 63 76(1)

    D Brands defeats (7 seed) A Seppi 76(3) 63

    What do you think about the article:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/sport/2013/10/last-days-roger-federer

    I hope it’s OK that I ask you (I also wrote the link on your previous post)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No problem Rahan. Yeah just saw Berdych lost as well. Crazy. The article was good. I like the end where he says Roger’s next challenge is to learn to fight and scrape because he is not the hunted anymore. He will have to adjust to being the underdog. I like what he says about Jordan too who had moments of great peaks into his late 30’s even though it became less frequent. This is what I think the future holds for Roger. His last peak lasted more than a year. I think his next peak will be somewhere in 2014 but won’t last as long and be as consistent as 2012. But I think his peaks will still be very good. People easily find all kinds of reasons why Roger can’t play the way he used to, but a lot of it is confidence and things clicking for some time. Then everything seems fine again. Look how he played in 2012. There hardly seemed to be a difference between that level and his peak. The reason he couldn’t completely dominate in 2012 was also because the competition had caught up. Both Djokovic and Murray are much better players these days than when Fed was in his peak. Nadal too. So yeah I think there are still some good times ahead. It will just be less frequent.

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  2. and now M Llodra (ranking 55 ) defeats seed no. 5
    R Gasquet 64 62 ….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Expected. They all badly want Fed to qualify for London. If Fed wins tonight his spot is surely booked. But can he win tonight?

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Yes he can Ru-an and he has. It was a very patchy performance from the local boy. He was lucky to survive that 0-40 game in the third set. But the good news is that, after that particular game, he looked like the Federer of the old. With more wins under his belt, he will definitely be a threat again. We need to be patient and keep believing in our hero.

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    rahan Reply:

    And the good luck continues:

    K. Nishikori, a potential semi-final opponent for Federer this week, was defeated in the second round by I. Dodig (6-1, 6-2 in just 57 minutes !!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Dimitrov is still there. I’m not looking any further than Fed’s next match anyway.

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  3. With Berdych and Gasquet out, the draw is opening up for Federer. It’s vital that he make the most of this opportunity. There have been more than enough losses to journeymen this year; he must find a way to get through to the later rounds of this tournament.

    Scratchy start but he finished great against Istomin. The key was that somehow he was able to pull off that game at 1-all in the third, 0-40, then he played much better and Istomin trailed off a bit. He was not playing terribly well until then and there was a real danger of his going down an early break in the third. But he was playing much better at the end and as long as he keeps moving forward in the draw, I’m happy.

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  4. Can’t wait tomorrow, Federer v Dimitrov!

    A match where both players will be playing attacking tennis, not baseline grinding ie Nadal v Novak.

    Interesting to see how far Dimitrov has come in the match tomorrow against the Master!

    [Reply]

    Girish Reply:

    Not yet… Dimitrov is next facing Dolgopolov tomorrow… QFs will be played on Friday…

    [Reply]

  5. To be fair to Raonic, other than Stockholm (where he wouldn’t have gained any points even if he had won the entire tournament) he hasn’t lost to anyone ranked lower than him since Cincinnati. I just think he’s made a decent run this past month or so…

    [Reply]

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