OK lets see how far I get, as I’m still not healthy. Actually I think this will be quite short. Incredible match of course. No doubt one of the best of the year. Sad I couldn’t watch as this is the kind of match I watch tennis for, but proud of myself nonetheless for putting my health first. I will just say one or two things about the match and then you can fill in the rest. The first is that Stan always had the potential to play this kind of match, which is why I didn’t assume Roger will be in the final. Stan should have won the match when he had three match points at 5-4 on his serve in the deciding set, but incredibly he made a serve-and-volley play on all three math points. Unreal for a guy who is known for his base line game and not his volleys. So definitely this has to go down as a choke from Stan. But I don’t want to take anything away from Roger’s mental strength either.
This is the third time since the US Open against Monfils that he saved match points and went on to win the match. The other one of course being that match against Mayer in Shanghai. And then he won many a set from being set points down. I’ve been harping on it for a while now but the one thing that stands out lately is Roger’s mental strength. Certainly that is the one thing that has improved with his age, as well as his net game and serve. I wasn’t happy that Roger missed the chance for a double bagel against Murray but the fact that I couldn’t find footage of the game at 6-0, 5-0 didn’t help. That was more like a reminder of the past anyway and clearly these days Roger is mentally very sharp. Yes Stan played his role with the S & V plays on match points but it still takes big balls to win those points knowing that you are only one unforced error away from losing.
I have mixed feelings as far as Stan goes. I feel sorry for him but at the same time what was he thinking doing S & V on those match points?! It has lack of self belief written all over it. And from what I hear the umpire Mourier was pretty pathetic in this match too. I don’t know to what extent it worked against Roger but he didn’t seem like a happy chappy at the beginning of the third set. Also those loud come ons form Stan does tend to get under your skin when you are a Fedfan. Finally why did he play so poorly against Djokovic and so well against Roger?! So I’m not gonna feel too sorry for him. Stan was obviously crushed after the loss but as you would expect Roger handled the situation very well and showed compassion for Stan. This loss will sting for a couple of days but the important thing is that Stan has found form for Davis Cup in the nick of time.
For me the Swiss are now the overwhelming favorites to win the Davis Cup. But first Roger has a score to settle in London. Djokovic may have won that Wimbledon final and he may have gotten the year end #1, but Roger now has a great opportunity to steal some of Djokovic’s thunder. A lot of people have already written off Roger’s chances after his long match with Stan and due to the fact that he yet again played the evening session. I find that to be a damn shame myself as it meant I could have watched the match if it was played in the day session, and it would have made the final more fair. But of course there was no way the organizers could have predicted what will happen in the semis. I don’t know if it will make much of a difference anyway. I think the match with Stan prepared Roger mentally for Djokovic and he should still be pretty fresh after the early loss in Paris and the easy round robin wins.
Oops, I did it again!
Remember I said earlier this week that the lack of energy expended in the round robin matches could come in handy in the semis and finals? Well this is where those routine wins can really pay off. I mean he wasn’t even an hour on court against Murray. That was more like his practice hit for the day. Another thing that is worth mentioning is Roger’s first serve percentage which has been low due to the slow courts. So that will be a disadvantage against Djokovic given what a great returner he is, and of course the slow courts will help his base line game too. The ATP clearly haven’t gone out of their way to help Roger win this title with the schedule and slow courts, and maybe those obstacles will be too much for Roger to overcome. But I refuse to throw in the towel before the match has started. I still believe Roger can win this against all odds. At least we can be sure the crowd will be behind him…
Ps. I was just made aware on Twitter of the fact that Djokovic is playing three days in a row while Roger had Friday off. It somehow slipped my attention. So in the end there is no real reason to believe that the scheduling will play a big part here. And remember Roger had two extra days rest after Paris too while Djokovic played semis and a final. I think if anything the match with Stan will just help Roger’s confidence. Like I said, I believe he can win this.