Today Roger was back against Granollers and it proved to be another successful outing as he won 6-2, 7-6(1), 6-3. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but I’m sure he will be just fine with the outcome. The first set was routine with two service breaks but in the second set Roger got broken in the sixth game to trail 2-4. He didn’t allow Granollers to consolidate however as he broke right back after a long game. The set would be decided by a tie-break where Roger breadsticked the grunter.
Roger then got broken in the opening game of the third set and fell behind 0-2, but quickly got his act together as he reeled off five games to take a 5-2 lead. Granollers made Roger serve it out at 5-3 and he did so as Granollers netted a backhand return. It was a decent match with some interesting rallies, which included a double-handed backhand lob from Roger, followed by a one-handed backhand winner. There were loads of drop shots as well of which Granollers probably hit the best one.
So in the end another good straight set win for Roger as expected, but I’m sure Fedfans can find something to worry about. As I expected the breakpoint ratio also improved and now there is nothing left to find wrong with the match stats. I guess if Fedfans want to worry they can worry about the fact that Roger got broken twice despite a good serving performance, but he broke back on both occasions and in the tie-break he also schooled Granollers. But perhaps there is on more thing Fedfans can worry about.
Mcenroe Makes Telling Statement
And that is what John Mcenroe said while commenting during the match for Eurosport. He said: ‘The older you get the more you can’t figure out why you don’t feel quite right on the court some days’(don’t remember the exact words but that was the gist of it). I found this to be a telling statement because I always said that the game is still there for Roger, but that I couldn’t quite figure out why he is not always into it mentally. So this is the answer for me. Roger is still doing extraordinarily well in the sport at his age.
I don’t think about that there can be much doubt. He is number two in the world and still very consistent. But there are days when he doesn’t seem to be there mentally like against Seppi in Melbourne and Monfils in Monte Carlo. It’s nothing new at all. It has happened since 2008 probably. In tennis, you decline physically as well as mentally, and some days Roger is just not there mentally. So this is currently probably the biggest problem for Roger, more so than his physical decline I would say.
I say that because physically you at least know where you are, but the mental part is unpredictable like Mcenroe says. You just don’t feel the same out there on any given day and there is nothing you can do about it. This is why it is difficult for Roger at slams especially to string enough wins together for another title. His draw at the French Open is very friendly, but there is no telling when he can have another lapse and lose to anyone basically. But it doesn’t help to worry about what could happen.
Roger’s draw has been very friendly so far in Paris. He will face Dzumhur in the third round of a slam who I’m not even sure I’ve ever heard of. Apparently he made the third round in Melbourne too. Monfils also won in five sets today after a four setter in the first round which means he is already tiring out before a possible fourth round meeting with Roger. He is playing Cuevas now too who will be a difficult opponent. So things are panning out nicely for Roger and in his current form he is in the position to take advantage of it.
Elsewhere in the Draw
As far as upsets go there were four more today and that was Fognini, Gulbis, Bautista-Agut, and Verdasco. Gulbis lost to Mahut and falls 57 places in the rankings to number 86 as a result after making semi-finals last year. What a drop! Nishikori and Berdych are still on a collision course as Nishikori had a good straight set win against Bellucci while Berdych dropped a set against his compatriot Stepanek. Stan also had a four-set win against Lajovic and now plays Johnson who you’d expect him to beat.
Finally, I was disappointed today to see Thiem losing 7-6(7), 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-5 to Cuevas after he served a double fault at 6-5 in the first set tie-break, and that is the third time that has happened in his last four matches. Had he won the first set he could well have won the match, but I will give him a break after winning Nice. At least he defended his French Open points and is now in the top 30 for the first time. I would have taken that at the beginning of the clay court season for sure.
Tomorrow the rest of the big four is back and like Roger today, the Djoker will play on Lenglen while Nadal and Murray get Chatrier. The Djoker plays Muller which I expect to be routine. Murray plays Sousa who is a dirt baller, but that will probably be routine for Murray too. The most interesting of the three will be Nadal against Almagro although like I already said I give Almagro almost no chance. I am just interested to see if there are any more signs of vulnerability from Nadal.
At least Almagro has beaten Nadal on clay before and he is not the worst player on clay. The biggest problem is his mental weakness and choking abilities. The other matches which I will personally be keeping an eye on are the two matches that involve youngsters which are Coric against Robredo and Sock against Carreno-Busta.