The men’s quarter finals of Wimbledon 2009 was always going to make for interesting viewing, and it sure didn’t disappoint. I obviously couldn’t watch each match separately, but I was switching between channels so I have a pretty good idea of what went down.
Federer vs Karlovic
Roger Federer has come to a point in his career where it’s hard to find the words to do his accomplishments justice. By beating a very awkward opponent today he has now made 21 consecutive grand slam semi-finals or better, a record that may never be broken. There is just NO ONE close to this guy, forget Rafa, forget Sampras, forget Laver. Roger Federer is one scary tennis player. The final score was 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(3). The Federer genius was kicking into gear early on. At 2-1 and 30-0 on Karlovic’s serve, Roger had half a chance to make a forehand pass down the line after Karlovic made a great pick up, but he found the net. For a second there I was wondering if this could turn out to be a day of missed opportunities for Roger, but in the very next point he put an end to my doubts.
He hit one blistering backhand return down the line off another Karlovic bomb at 30-15, and on the very next point he did it again, this time on the forehand. 3-1 Roger and that was the first set. There was just no way Roger was gonna get broken today. He didn’t face a single break point on his serve, he made 62% of first serves and won 94% of points on his first serve. Untouchable. Incredibly Karlovic’s first serve percentage was way up at 80%, yet Roger still managed to create 2 break points which he both took in brilliant fashion. The second one came at 5-5 in the second set and 40-15 on Karlovic’s serve after he made yet another scorching passing shot. It’s just as I expected, a few moments of brilliance form the GAOT and he had the first two sets.
I mean breaking Karlovic twice in a match is almost unheard of. In the third set Karlovic managed to hang on to force a tie break, but Roger played a clinical tie break and it was all over for the one dimensional serving machine. There has been some controversy about the way Karlovic has been celebrating after his wins of late, and when asked in the media whether he would do the same if he beat Roger, he said yes. Here it is:
Lol! So much for his little victory dance. It just never ceases to amaze me how Roger makes his opponents look silly and exposed. Just another perk of being a Federer fan! He certainly gave Karlovic a good ass whooping today, one that he will never forget. Roger now looks back to his very best and he now has a 15th grand slam title firmly within his grasp. It’s just very refreshing and inspiring to see Roger play like this at his age after so many had written him off.
Presser: Great role model this Roger the way he shows respect to his opponents. Even when the journalists tempt him into calling Karlovic boring, he still responds in a respectful manner. I also found it pretty funny when he called himself a clay court specialist, which is true of course!
Update: Here is some of the best shots of the match. The first point is that brilliant return from Roger at 2-1 and then the next point he hits another one. They also show a pass at 5-5 in the second set, but I wish they showed what happened after that since I forgot. Either way Roger must be one of the most underrated returners in the game. His genius knows no bounds…
Haas vs Djokovic
This was another close match. Haas was looking impressive from the start and broke Djokovic at 6-5 to win the first set. In the second set everything went on serve as far as I know until the tie break. I remember Haas looking very shaky when he had the opportunity to take a two set to love lead. This is usually the point where Haas gets tight, but he managed to hold is nerve and Djokovic wasn’t exactly looking to take advantage of Haas’ nervousness. The second set was always going to be key in terms of the final outcome and maybe the fact that Haas beat Djokovic at Halle a few days ago made him believe in this match. After Haas took the second set it was always going to be hard for Djokovic. He is not exactly known for his fighting abilities.
He did manage to take the third set, but in the end Haas was just to good, winning 7-5, 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-3. It was a good match to watch and in the end Haas managed to impose his attacking net game on Djokovic’s base line game. All credit to Haas, it was really a vintage performance from him, and probably the most important victory of his career. He has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open on 3 previous occasions, yet at age 31 and at Wimbledon this must be the cream of the crop. For once he displayed the undeniable talent that he always had and he held his nerve when it mattered. In a sense he has come of age and I am really happy for the guy.
Murray vs Ferrero
This is the match that I saw the least of, and it was also the most one sided and disappointing quarter final match. I just saw Murray break to win the first set and then he got broken in the first game of the second set. At that points I thought Ferrero would make a fight of it but the next time I looked it was all over, Murray winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-2. In the end Murray just has too much variation and Ferrero is another nice match up for him. So far Murray hasn’t had one single match against a recognized grass court player and I must wonder if his easy draw won’t come back to haunt him. His next two matches will be tough that’s for sure, and will be unlike anything he has faced so far. Anyway since Hewitt lost, I now hope that Murray goes on to beat Roddick so that Roger can give him a good spanking in the final.
Roddick vs Hewitt
Not surprisingly this turned out to be another epic match. I said this one was the hardest to predict and in the end there was very little between the two players. I thought Roddick was at is very best, while Hewitt was not the player he was all those years back when he was number one. I still believe when both players are at their best Hewitt is better, but nevertheless it’s been a great rivalry. I thought Hewitt fought back really well in the second set after losing the first set, and again in the fourth after losing the third. This lead me to believe he would just edge Roddick in the final set, but it wasn’t to be. He just made some unforced errors at crucial times, which back in the day he would not have done. So in the end that was the difference for me.
Hewitt’s loss has been the most disappointing thing in this Wimbledon so far for me, but Roddick deserves a lot of credit for the way he hang tough right till the end. I thought if it went all the way down to the wire, Hewitt had the nerves to beat Roddick, but he is obviously not quite the player he used to be, while Roddick is now in his prime. Roddick has been having a great 2009 so far and he will definitely test Murray. This was by far the most exciting match of the quarter finals and it made for some great tennis and nail biting moments. In the end Roddick’s serve was exceptional, and is really the thing that made the difference. The final score was 6-3, 6-7(10), 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4.
Well that’s the end of another exciting day at Wimbledon 2009 and I hope you enjoyed the action. Tomorrow is women’s semi-final day of course so there will be no men’s singles. I will be back with another post previewing the two semi-final matches, so keep a look out!