Wimbledon Rd 3: Federer def Benneteau 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-1

Speaking of flirting with disaster. This Roger just loves drama doesn’t he? I mean how many times did he have a chance to make things easier on himself? Yet he insisted on walking the tightrope. But hey, so we know our man. For instance in the second set Roger got the early break which was exactly what was required after losing the first set. Yet he failed to consolidate and in the process gave Benneteau a boost. He couldn’t break again and a tie break ensued. He lost the first point of the tie break on his serve which is always crucial, and could never recover from it. I could hardly believe he was two sets to none down.

However, I still felt he was probably the favorite to win the match. He just needed to win the third set and wake up from his sleep state. I mean he really looked bored out there. No fire. I just wanted him to fist pump a few times and look like he is into the match. At least in the third set he woke up a bit and broke twice to win it. I felt Roger was for sure the favorite at this point. He then had Benneteau at 0-40 on his serve in the fourth set but blew all three break points. Once again he let Benneteau off the hook and was flirting with disaster. The fourth set went into a tie break, and even I was pissed off at Roger at this point.

I like a certain amount of drama, but this was getting too much. At least Roger was serving better and playing better in general now. The tie break was nerve wracking though. Roger held serve on the first point this time and this may have been the difference this time around. He got a mini break but lost it again. He got another one and I think he lost it again. But finally he got another one and this time he made sure to consolidate. Roger likes to torture his fans, and I guess in a way they deserve it for doubting him so often. But yeah, it’s a bit annoying. I always thought the fourth set would be decisive and so it turned out to be.

Roger easily won the deciding set and Benneteau was clearly a beaten man. Now lets get to the deeper meaning of this match. Roger played well in his first two rounds from what I heard. He was looking motivated to win this title, unlike the French Open. Now he has this bad match against Benneteau where he almost loses. My first thought is that these days Roger often have one ‘off’ match during a tournament. It is not like his prime where he just blasts every opponent off the court anymore. But once he gets that one bad match out of the way he goes back to his top form. I think that is what happened here.

I fully expect him to beat Malisse in straight sets in the next round, and the same for whoever he faces in the quarters. Tipsarevic lost to Youzhny today so it might be Youzhny. I don’t see Roger having another ‘off’ match after today. Gasquet also beat Almagro in straight sets today and looks to be on track for a quarter final meeting with Djokovic. That could be interesting but probably Djokovic would have the edge. I like Roger’s chances if he faces Djokovic in the semis. I think the fact that Nadal is out is a relief. He now only has one big hurdle in his way instead of two. So I think a Djokerer semi will decide the champion.

It’s too far to go to really to make any predictions but if it does happen I like Roger’s chances. This close encounter with disaster will give him a lot of confidence, knowing that he can trust himself in a tough situation. It is what we have been seeing a lot from Roger 3.0. He grinds out these close encounters and finds a way to win. So if you ever thought Roger 3.0 left us, think again. He is right there in the thick of things, ready to pounce like a tiger on slam title #17.

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44 Comments

  1. Love your posts as insightful as always! I was watching the match live on centre court and literally wanted to throw up so many times during this match. my stomach felt so sick. It felt like Roger couldn’t find a return or volley for the longest time and his slices and second serves are all eaten up. It’s a bit like watching the Falla match in 2010, somehow I had the feeling that Roger can pull this one out BUT i dont know how. But both times he did.
    I was thinking does the Nadal loss subconsciously affect Roger to some extent…. remember 2009 RG when Nadal lost , next day Roger came out to play Haas and nearly lost (also two sets down)!!!!!

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  2. Thank you for your great post, Ru-an. Did not think he could win this match, but HE DID. I had thoughts of our Schadenfreude on the Nadal loss yesterday was being punished today, luckily it did not turn out that way. You can be sure the Nadal fans were hoping for a Federer loss to even the score. Their Schadenfreude did not work. Roger, keep going for #7, #17!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  3. Hey Ruan! Nice post, glad to read your posts again. I didn’t get to see the match but heard it was a tough start for Roger. In summation though, you’re definitely right. Roger has these tough matches in the middle and then all of a sudden he comes up with the perfect energy to tuck his future opponents away. I hope Roger gets his mojo back though, we don’t want to keep seeing slow and scary starts!

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  4. I have no doubt that, like 3 years ago at RG, Roger was feeling the nerves and pressure and that bogged him down in the first two sets – not to mention that Benneteau was playing extraordinarily well. Once Fed got down two sets to love though he was just dialed in. The fourth set was one of the greatest mental performances he has ever put forth, up there with RG and Wimby 09, among others. He was two points away from losing 5 times, including that 6-6 point in the TB, which if he had lost it, would have forced him to save MP.
    One thing is for dead sure – the fire still burns very hotly in Roger. His reaction after taking the 4th was the greatest thing ever. Malisse is tough but Fed should get through, and Youzhny could be tougher (took a set off RF last year), but in the end, I expect Roger to get through both with relative ease. (Maybe somewhere in between the Ramos/Fognini matches and this one – so 3 tough sets hopefully).
    The other thing that I noticed was that Fed seemed to struggle with the roof at first – he did not seem comfortable at all, and he mentioned after the match that he was not used to it. I think they effected his groundstrokes, especially his slice, until he adjusted and started bombing more forehands.
    The volley is something that he’ll work on. He was superb with them in the first two matches and today he was off, but at least he was moving smoothly along the baseline and was pretty solid from there overall.
    A lot of people are saying that Roger had a bad day and that’s why JB was able to take him to 5 but the Frenchman played the best match of his life – anything less and Roger would have won in straights. That Fed was forced to dig deep and show his fighting spirit should bode well for the rest of the tournament, hopefully.
    #Allez17 #H17TORY

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  5. Hi ruan–always good to read your reaction. Here’s my question –Fed looked a bit slow and shell-shocked in the first two sets–not bored. Johnny Mac mentioned it as well and what surprised me was how hard Benneteau was hitting the ball. Usually Fed loves big hitters and beats them down with his variety but I think having lost to many of them these past few years, he gets a bit panicked and starts to hit those irritatingly short slices that are candy for anyone with a big backhand (as was the case today). I was also intrigued by Fed’s reaction—he looked almost wistful, as if he couldn’t believe he had managed to survive this, and on the verge of tears when he was interviewed later. This is the most quiet intense emotion I’ve seen in him. I think he’s going to be strong and focused the rest of the matches, win or lose. Go Fed. I am proud to be a Fed fan –unlike Nadal’s BS antics yesterday when he was down, Fed played stoically and like a real sportsman even when he thought he was going to lose.

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    Anewor Reply:

    roger Poised and polished under pressure is the article at ATP website. I reckon this is an indirect comparison between roger and nadal that the author wish to convey when both players are facing defeat!

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  6. Spare a thought for JB, he was simply too good..i guess Rosol taking out Nadal just charged everyone else. Even Djokovic had to come back from a set down. Glad to see that Federer digged deep and came out on top :-)

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  7. Federer 3.0 indeed. Benneteau played great, especially on big points, but Federer had his chances and just blew them most of the times. For next rounds it’s simple, if he won’t raise his game he won’t beat Malisse/Youzhny. I wonder where that flare from the 1st 2 rounds went (gone with his youth I guess).

    It’s always interesting to hear players views on other players. We always discuss our views as fans but we can learn a lot from the players:
    1. Like Ruan, I’m sometime desperate to get some emotion from Federer, a fist pump, something. But today I learned that his composure has its advantages. I’ll just quote Benneteau: “Mentally, he’s a rock. He’s two sets down and he doesn’t show anything.” (http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/news.aspx?articleid=18502&zoneid=4). I guess that in some ways it can drive one crazy when Federer just keep on playing without showing he’s defeated.
    2. We discussed a lot about what it takes to beat Nadal and how Federer is too nice to him. Rosol say it quite clearly – he was prepared, he knew what to do and how to get under Nadal’s skin:
    a)”My coach gave me very good tactic. He was watching so many videos. He told me everything what he gonna do… He tell me what he’s doing, how long should I sit in the bench.”
    b)”He wanted to take my concentration… Yeah, but it was okay. I mean, I knew that he will try something…” (about the shoulder bump in the 3rd set).
    (http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/interviews/2012-06-28/201206291340967741838.html)

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  8. I don’t think Roger expected JB to hammer the ball that hard so consistently – he’s not exactly a power player like Gulbis or Rosol. He adjusted very well though by hitting over his BH more (realizing the slice was ineffective), and he ran around the BH numerous times to unleash his powerful FH.

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  9. oh… what a match… extremely tensed one..
    I was so scared..literally.. scared.. wishing best for Roger whole time..
    Could not bear the tension, and went to sleep during 4th set.. but could not sleep at all.. kept on wishing, praying….
    Finally woke up after couple of hours just to check the result.. was bit afraid..but but… Roger came through the dark as glorious as …. of course Roger himself… :-) :-)
    Soooooo sooo happy.. stars are really aligned for 17..

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  10. Roger was imo way too passive during the first two sets. He didn’t play first strike tennis at all and rarely went for winners when he easily could do so.
    He totally left the initiative to the frenchman, waiting for Benneteau to make unforced errors.
    Why? I really don’t understand Roger in this…
    The frenchman on the contrary had the confidence to go for his shots without making too many errors.
    He attacked relentlessly Roger’s second serve on both sides, and went to the net every time he could.
    The result of this was that Benneteau was hitting more winners than Federer during the first three sets,especially on the forhandside, and making more points at the net, as well as hitting more aces than Roger too.
    Very unusual for Roger it seems to me.
    Anyway, I’m very happy Roger FEderer finally turned the table and got through in this one.
    He will now face my fellow countryman in the next round, Xavier Malisse, who is of the same age as Roger. He is a talented player with a good serve and a good forehand and a decent net play. But the match-up is good for Roger.
    Roger should win it without too many problems.

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    rich Reply:

    I agree that Roger seemed to be getting pushed around an awful lot by Benneteau in those first couple of sets. The Frenchman was playing incredible tennis, which really threw Roger, but the champ didn’t help by feeding him too many ineffectual slices and missing shots he should have expected to make. It was hard to watch. Gone was the artistic display of the previous two rounds; this was going to be an ugly and brutal encounter if he was going to survive. Without his ‘A’ game to call on it was a titanic struggle, and so we saw Roger the battler, the streetfighter. Many (including myself) have doubted his ability to win by simply hanging tough. But he proved us wrong. And far better that than seeing him squander an apparently unstoppable lead, as he did against Tsonga in last year’s Wimbledon. I like Benneteau’s tribute afterwards, when he said about Roger’s comeback in the later stages part of the match, “He is like a rock,” said Benneteau. “If your level is a little bit lower, he takes the opportunity. Every point against him, you cannot make a mistake. If you do not put the ball in the right place, you lose the point nearly every time.”
    So with Benneteau yesterday and Rosol the day before (and with Haas at Halle), we see the rise of the underdog. It makes for fascinating tennis this time of year. Malisse may be an aging journeyman but if we have learned anything in the last few weeks it is never under-estimate the underdog; he may play the match of his life.

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  11. Do you guys sense a Murray v Fed final for Wimby? That would be amazing, either a 1st grand slam for Murray at home or Federer with his 17th record GS. I hope thats the final!

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  12. I am the only one who DID NOT TURN OFF THE TV and endured the 4th set TB which nearly gave me a heart attack. I was roaring out loud for every single point Roger won there. :-P

    Also I hope Rosol can maintain his form, like RG 09′, Roger looked like packing away with Nadal but did not in the end. I want a Federer V Rosol final which would be interesting and match of great quality.

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  13. Is it just me, or does it not seem real what happened the past 2 days, with Nadal losing to a person, not even I had ever heard of, and I watch quite a bit of tennis. Also, because I am such a huge fan of Federer, I was even prepared for him to lose that match yesterday, and then move onto the next. I really was so used to him winning, that when he didn’t I’d actually be upset the next day or 2. I guess I’m accepting defeat much better, and I’ll take the wins when they come. For me, this would be incredible after more than 2 years to see him do it here. Yesterday proved how much he really wants this one. He was so close to losing, and gave it all. Thanks Roger. G

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  14. We’re on the same page Ru-an. I also felt that Roger was flirting with the ultimate disaster yesterday. It was as if he wanted to test his abilities when needed. I know that was not the case but he was giving you the impression that he was well aware of his situation and that he was pretty confident about his eighth career grand slam fightback. Roger was two sets to love down. It was then that he started demonstrating championship grit, making the third set look like a piece of cake. I mean at this point it is anything but easy. Especially on grass. Clay at least guarantees that rallies will be played and if you are better in most of those, then you’ll probably win. The grass makes you more vulnerable and doesn’t forgive. Actually that’s exactly what happened to Roger last year. Grass court tennis is the most mentally demanding, in terms of keeping your focus and concentration. It is also played by instinct to a certain extent, and we all know Federer has a great and beautiful touch. It’s a cliche but it really comes natural to him, as experts say. Btw also Murray has a great touch, a good ‘feel’ on his shots. His lobs are exquisite. Anyway, one other thing I love about Roger is how he keeps doing it all these years. His intrinsic motivation is extraordinary; His love of the game is a confidence boost. He stayed at the top 3 no matter how difficult it was, especially after becoming a father. Who would have thought that Nadal would be the first of the two guys to experience a 2Rd upset? Roger keeps reaching quarters and semis. It would be almost poetic if he could dethrone Djokovic and return where he belongs.

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  15. man i hope you are right.
    this was a nerve wrecking match.
    we are assuming that Fed will only have one “off” match, but maybe at the age of 30, going on 31, he is due to have more? either way i think ND is still the favorite. i hope Fed cooking a surprise for us all.

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  16. People speak differently of different people.IF Nadal would have won taht match,ppl would be hanging over the moon about his rock solid mental balls.If Federer does that,they say that he played badly against even a lower ranked player and won it in 5 sets.This is just a pathetic logic.And I want to clarify this to everyone.ROGER FEDERER IS STILL IN THE TOURNAMENT.And since he is there,he has as much chance as anyone left to win it.Even Djokvic came back from a set down and is the very heavy favourite for the title??What kind of a joke is this,Even Federer won.Just because he came close to losing does not mean he will lose to Djokovic certainly in the semis.If they meet(IF)then this will be their first battle on grass i believe(atleast at wimbledon) so how can mindless fools predict the outcome??One thing is for sure but,If it s a Djokerer semi.The Titlst and the New World no1 may come from that match.
    Allez ROGER
    V

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  17. Four more matches to go. I fully expect JesusFed to show up and not give any more breaks to anyone. People were looking at me funny at the grocery store when I yelled after Roger won the fourth set tie-break( I was watching it on my phone). Federer got his one funky match out of his system and should be fully charged to win this tournament. It’s tough being a fed fan sometimes but it’s well worth it!

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  18. I think grass is still the one surface where Roger has an edge over Djokovic, especially if they play outdoors. They have never played of course, and yes, Djokovic still is the favourite, but you can’t call him an overwhelming one even though Fed has only beaten him once since 2011 – the guy is a 6-time Wimbledon champion after all. Plus, adding to that, Roger is extremely motivated, and he’ll know if he can play great against Nole there is no Rafa waiting in the final – something different than we saw at RG this year and last (and at the USO 2010 and 2011). If they play second and Roger knows that Murray or Tsonga is in the final, that is much more encouraging than a strong Nadal there.
    Of course I am looking too far ahead – can’t look past Malisse at this point, and even after that, Youzhny or Istomin have great games that are suited for the grass. It won’t be easy and Fed will need to play great tennis along the lines of what he played in the first two rounds.

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  19. Now that was nerve-wracking tennis! Roger walked such a tightrope in the first, second, and fourth sets, but in the end, his great valor carried him through to victory. I urge all of Federer’s fans to look at the bright side of this hard-fought battle: our champion prevailed, he still has a decent chance to raise his 7th Wimbledon trophy, wrest the number one ranking from the Serb, and surpass Sampras’ record of total weeks at the top—and all this in one clean stroke! What more could we ask of this majestic champion? Yes, he can give us ulcers and unnerve us with his perplexing, passive play at times. And yes, he has succumbed somewhat to the ravages of aging, to the wear and tear of Time’s cruel march to eventual oblivion. But look at the Maestro’s Iron Will, people! Look at his artistry, his sense of fair play when staring defeat in the eye. Now compare that to the brutish Spaniard…. Regarding Nadal’s early exit, I strongly feel the Gods demanded that a great karmic debt would now have to start being repayed. How many times has the crabby Majorcan used delaying tactics to disrupt his opponent’s momentum? So many times. Too many times. Finally, the Gods said, enough! Here! Have a taste of your own vile medicine! We’re going to close the roof! and oh, by the way, it will take 40 minutes, thank you very much. I know you’ve just been on a beastial roll, but tough luck! As Dylan said: how does it feel! To be on your own. A complete unknown—in the cruel silence of the locker room, at least. And we all know what happened after that … Sweet Justice, thanks to Rasol’s heroic efforts…. Isn’t this a glorious tournament! Such drama, such Shakespearean emotion and glory, such Homeric lessons to be learned. If this Wimbledon has taught us anything, it is that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Rasol could lift the trophy, for all we know. So sit back and enjoy, people. Appreciate this great spectacle. And above all, appreciate this grandest of champions, now matter what may befall him, for you will never see the likes of him again.

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  20. Some thoughts on Nadal

    Nadal relies very, very heavily on his incredible defense. He can usually wear out big hitters by absorbing their pace until they get tired and start making errors. When that doesn’t work, he doesn’t have a lot of other options.

    This time Rosol didn’t get tired and he didn’t make mistakes. He kept the points very short, took the ball early, and kept blasting. Nadal was unable to get into the rallies and could only watch the ball fly past him.

    In years gone by he might have won a match like this one; he did win similar five-setters against Haase and Petzschner in Wimbledon 2010. But as he gets older, he will lose just a tiny bit of speed, and that makes him just a tiny bit more vulnerable to the power players, especially in early rounds.

    The result is a slightly increased likelihood of early upsets. They will happen a little more often as he gets older. Not much more often–but then, there are only four majors in a year. An early loss at one means there are only three other chances to win one that year.

    There is one point that the author did not mention, and that is how Rosol handled Nadal’s gamesmanship. Nadal tried to slow the pace of the match by complaining about how quickly Rosol was serving, and then bumped into Rosol in an attempt to disrupt his concentration.

    Many times players have let themselves be distracted by Nadal’s MTOs, which always seem to come at the most inopportune moments for his opponents, his fistpumps, etc, and Nadal has turned a lot of matches around this way. Petzschner in particular was rather skeptical of the fifth-set MTO Nadal took in their 2010 match.

    Rosol was prepared for this (he said afterwards that “I knew [Nadal] would try to take my concentration”) and did not let this affect him; he simply continued blasting away.

    After this victory, other players may seek to emulate Rosol’s response to Nadal’s mind games, and that means Nadal will have a little more trouble inducing them to melt down when they are in a winning position.

    Finally, Nadal’s exit creates a vacuum that the other top players will be eager to fill. By winning Wimbledon, Federer/Djokovic could virtually cement the year-end #1.

    Conversely, Nadal’s chances of regaining the #1 have taken a significant hit. He must reach the USO final just to keep the points he had from last year, and has never been a force during the post-USO fall hard court run.

    So this does affect his season adversely. And next season, he will be one year older and have to fight harder to regain momentum that he had lost, while one of his rivals will be in a much stronger position.

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    steve Reply:

    Hi, Anchit. I’d just like to let you know that I was the one who wrote the comment you just posted:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1242002-rafa-nadal-why-his-second-round-wimbledon-exit-is-not-a-sign-of-things-to-come

    You evidently copied it and posted it here as your own work. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t do that.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Is that true? If so Anchit is done at this blog.

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    Manu Reply:

    I did notice some odd things in that post. For example, “There is one point that the author did not mention, and that is how Rosol handled Nadal’s gamesmanship. Nadal tried to slow the pace of the match by complaining about how quickly Rosol was serving, and then bumped into Rosol in an attempt to disrupt his concentration.”

    That point, was fully mentioned in your last post Ruan (and I’m sure no one calls you “the author” over here) and yet he blindly “wrote” that!

    It’s also written in that classic Steve style.

    Czech mate, Anchit! :-)

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    WIlfried Reply:

    I’m sorry to hear someone has been copying your article. But I admit I’m happy at the same time to get to know your valuable opinion on Nadal’s loss and its consequences for the near future. Why not writing these thoughts and analysis on Ruan’s blog ? Anyway, one of the consequences of Nadal’s loss is his position in the ATP rankings. Depending on how good Nadal and Federer both will perform in the summer Olympics, Rafael Nadal might stay on the third spot in the ATP rankings with Djokovic and Federer as the top seeds in the up coming summer hard court events.

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    V Reply:

    Steve.Its really sad to see what has been done by anchit.At the same time I have a question regarding that article in which you had commented which i think would be foolish to post right at bleacher report as i would not get a good response as almost all the posters over there are Nadal fans who post baseless articles.THe wuestion i sthat,the writers 1st point over in that article has me wondering whether he is contradicting himself.He says Nadal didnt play a bad match and he lost simply becasue his opponent played inspired and better than nadal.That itself says that nadal need not plaay bad to lose matches.isnt that a problem for him then??

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    steve Reply:

    Good point, V. If Nadal played well and lost, it means he was simply outplayed by the #100 player in the world, which is not a good sign for him.

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    Anchit Reply:

    sorry steve if youre ofended i justed wanted to share your nice thoughts that you hadnt posted on this forum.. i shouldve atleast mentioned the author. Acc. bleacher it was written by stevie k i searched this blog but didnt find any author named stevie k so i thought i could get away with it.. anyway i should have mentioned the original author

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    Anchit Reply:

    im relatively new on this blog and didnt think it was posted on bleacher by steve as it wanst mentioned there ,name sounded completely different..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok Anchit I will give you another chance. We all deserve one. Having said that I don’t appreciate people copying comments. It’s called plagirism and it’s dumb and dishonest. You know I like honesty and integrity on my blog so don’t do it again or you will be banned.

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    steve Reply:

    Apology accepted, Anchit.

    But in my view, it’s the copying without attribution that is the problem, not the fact that you happened to copy me.

    Copying and pasting that comment without attribution would have been just as bad, even if the author hadn’t happened to be a poster here.

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    Jonathan Reply:

    Hey Steve/all,

    Just thought I’d let you know that this comment was left on my blog too –

    http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/federer-overcomes-benneteau-scare-at-wimbledon/

    I thought it was weird because I mentioned all about gamesmanship but I figured he had just missed it.

    I will add your in attribution to the original article now!

    Jonathan

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    Anchit Reply:

    oh yes i forgot to mention it there too.. apologies…

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    Chris Reply:

    Well done man, Steve should not try to deprive us from his wise and intelligent comments by putting them on other blogs ;-) Keep searching them and put them here, just mention where you took it from and who wrote it! I’m not reading other blogs, so I am a bit jealous of learning that Steve is wandering around in Cyberspace… just kidding

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  21. Hi Ruan.
    I was wondering did Federer’s fall ain his last match affect the first two sets.
    I thought he did not run for balls I thought heshould have done.
    Great he won. Asd he said himself he was lucky in the 4th set tie break.
    m

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  22. Unfortunately didn’t get to see the match, I was busy while it was going on, though I did manage to sneak a look at the score from time to time. When I saw he had lost the first two sets I again had that weird calm. I figured if he got an early break in the third he would have a decent chance, and fortunately he did.

    In their last encounter in Paris, Benneteau won two sets from Federer, and the same thing happened here. We saw the difference between Halle and a Grand Slam; an inspired opponent may be able to blow Federer away for two sets but getting that third set is far harder.

    Maybe Federer woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe Rosol’s shock knockout of Nadal left something lingering in the atmosphere which inspired Benneteau. Maybe it was Federer’s lack of experience with indoor grass. Maybe it was some combination of all these things.

    Whatever it was, Federer was able to battle past it. His fighting spirit and love for the game continue to burn bright and undimmed. If he hadn’t been absolutely determined to win, if he had been even the tiniest bit bored or jaded or distracted, he would have lost that fourth-set tiebreak.

    I was glad to see that total determination, because that is what will carry him to Grand Slam #17.

    C’mon Roger!

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  23. The simple fact that he is in the situation that if he wins 4 matches he will become number 1 at this age and with this generation is amazing. I feel realy happy to be a fedfan.

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  24. Fed got past Malisse and a bad back. What a scare at first, but Fed handled the situation very calmly and coolly, similar to how he handled the Benneteau match. The good news is that the back problem seemed to get better as the match wore on; Roger said he took some painkillers and such, and he looked to be moving well in the 4th set.
    Roger showed why he is the classiest player ever, apologizing to Malisse at the net about having to go off the court for his back. He knows that those kind of interruptions can be awkward for opponents (having been on the other end numerous times, most notably with Nadal). Credit to X-Man too, he played well and hit the right shots to make Fed as uncomfortable as possible.

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    V Reply:

    yeah kyle i saw it on the replay. too good gesture(unlike humblemaniac nadal)

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  25. omg, title hope almost tarnishes. how cruel was it!!! it was scary and painful to watch roger in the 1st set, hope his bad/stiff back will fully recover very soon, otherwise he will have very little chance to beat djokovic, also may get upset against youzhny. till the end he was not able to bend fully while at returning posture and also for hitting his shots. i don’t want to see roger at other than his free flowing best.

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    Kyle Reply:

    Fed has said that this back problem has been on and off for years now, likely since 2008 (when he had mono). That he was moving well at the end of the match is a good sign, plus the fact that he’ll have a day off for good treatment.
    Statistically, Roger actually played great. He was 34/39 at the net, 45 winners to 18 UE’s (with a bad back!), and hit 70% of his first serves in. Granted, the average speed on his serve was 110 mph and he only got it up to 122 at the highest, but usually if he is having back issues, the serve is bad (AO2009 final for instance). Today it was not, even though he took a lot off it. Perhaps it’s because Fed serves better at Wimbledon than anywhere else.

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  26. That was a gutsy and mentally tough performance by Federer. As he walked off the court he had a pained expression on his face, though he seemed better in the BBC interview.

    He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like to mention injuries as an excuse, or to give his opponents an edge. I”m afraid he was just putting a brave face on it afterwards.

    amazingly he has never once, in more than 1000 matches, retired. It is easy to take for granted his day in and day out durability.

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