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.