Federer Dismisses Kavcic for Australian Open Third Round Birth

This post was written by Ru-an on January 16, 2014
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Hello friends. I’m flying to Thailand in a few hours and I’m currently blogging from Cape Town International Airport. It was a pretty busy day for me getting everything ready, but I got to see Roger’s match this morning as it was played at a convenient time for me. I was pleased with what I saw. In the first two sets anyway. After that unforced errors started creeping in to Roger’s game again and I felt he was lucky to get the job done in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(4). Kavcic led 3-0 in the breaker and only won one point from there on, and it wasn’t due to brilliant play from Roger. It was mostly due to Kavcic choking. But Roger will take it and overall I would have to say it was a pretty good performance. I mean the first two sets was almost JesusFed level. Roger broke Kavcic in the opening game to set the tone for the match.

He broke once more and Kavcic only barely avoided the bread stick. In the second set he couldn’t avoid it however. But the funny thing is that that he never held serve in that set. He only broke Roger in the 4th game, raised his hands in the air,  after which Roger resumed his domination. The overall stats look very good too. Roger’s serve continues to impress as he served at a very high first serve percentage of 76, while he delivered 11 aces and 0 double faults. Definitely it does look like the new racquet is having a good effect on his serve which is a promising sign. And I said before it looks like it also gives him some extra pop on the ground strokes. There were several positives to take from this match. Roger was more aggressive on the return and it paid dividends. He was also intent on coming to the net more.

It seems that Edberg is already having an effect. Roger hit some very nice backhand down the line winners too. And amazingly Roger was better than 50% on break points won, 50% being a pretty good yardstick for break points converted. Anything better than 50% is good. So Roger did indeed put in a more efficient performance compared to his first round. He did start with the unforced errors in the 3rd set but I can’t be too critical. It’s after all still a work in progress. I have a bit more hope after this performance. Not necessarily in terms of the Australian Open but maybe a little further down the line there is hope that Roger can have some big wins again. The first two sets once again just proved to me that the game is still there. It’s just a case of steadily building up confidence until everything comes together.

It’s early days in terms of the changes Roger has made too. We should give him some more time. But certainly I think the new racquet and the new coach are changes that over time can have a significant effect. Roger’s draw has also opened up slightly with Verdasco losing to Gabashvili in 5 sets. Tsonga and Murray however both had straight set wins again and still looks to be on course for a clash with Roger. Tsonga plays Simon who had yet another brutal 5-set match with Cilic today after winning 16-14 in the 5th against Brands in the 1st round, so he must be utterly spent. I can’t see him put up much resistance against Tsonga. Murray play Lopez next, and unless Lopez can come up with the upset Murray will almost definitely make quarters because his 4th round opponent is Klizan or Robert.

So even making quarters will be a challenge for Roger, but he has to beat Gabashvili first. We will see how that goes. We know these days Roger is still unpredictable. The question is whether he can find a certain amount of consistency during the Australian Open. For that to be the case he must make at least quarters. Having another good match against Gabashvili and then falling apart against Tsonga won’t show much progress. I think he needs at least one win over a top player and Tsonga is that if he keeps playing the way he has been playing. But ideally I want to see Roger make semis here. Lets not forget the draw isn’t set in stone either. Aside from the fact that Roger has to keep winning the other guys have to as well. If Murray gets upset for instance it drastically improves Roger’s chances to make semis.

And even if Murray makes quarters he is not back to his best yet I think. Even Nadal’s chances to make semis is not guaranteed. Del Potro did lose today and his draw has opened up some more, but upsets are always possible. Monfils is already a very talented player who is in good form. We will just have to see. You know you are probably gonna see a pretty mediocre performance at some point from Roger. I just hope it is later rather than sooner. So in the end today was a good day for Roger but it’s still a work in progress and I’m certainly not getting my hopes way up like some people. For me it’s just about progress and building something. I’m not expecting miracles. I think the conditions are decent for Roger this year. It looks faster. Also Roger played against Kavcic indoors.

Maybe if the weather stays as hot as it has been they will close the roof again which could possibly help Roger. He likes playing indoors after all. I just want to see something positive coming out of the Australian Open for Roger. I’m clearly not expecting him to win the title but if he can make semis or even quarters while losing another close match to Murray it would show progress. Making semis would certainly show progress, never mind how he gets there. Not that I want to see him lose to Nadal in another slam match, but it’s too early to think about that. Next is Gabashvili who Roger only faced once before in the 1st round of Wimbledon 2007 and got a routine straight set win over. This is 2014 however. New ball game. Well I will arrive in Bangkok Saturday morning and I will probably not be able to see Roger’s match.

I won’t be able to watch the rest of the tournament either because I will be busy with an intensive English teaching course. So probably no more blogging from me for the Australian Open either. It’s unpredictable and I don’t really know what to expect. We will see. If I don’t blog at all I’ll keep my eye on the results and highlights and communicate with you in the comment section. Things started looking a little better today. I think we just need to be patient and keep the faith. The game is still there but the confidence building process must continue…

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2014-01-16/201401161389864604049.html

Reader Comments

2 down… 5 more to go !!! Go Roger…… Loved his on court interview !!! Now lets focus only on his next match. This is the third guy he will play that he never played before…

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Katyani Reply:

Before I forget Ru-an, good luck in Thailand !!! You are going there for work, but you also have to see it like you are going there to help other people learn English so they can better themselves. So you are going to do an amazing and important job. Have a good time and also have fun. Don’t be a strict teacher !!! Hope the weather there is not as hot as at the AO. Good luck and looking forward to seeing your comments soon….
Oh and thank you Ru-an, the day before someone leaves is always so hectic and you still wrote an article…. Respect

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Katyani I appreciate it. I will do my best to be a good English teacher and try not to be strict. As far as the weather goes I much prefer warm weather over cold weather so I’m looking forward to having no winter. Maybe the way it is in Australia is a bit extreme though.
As far as the blogging goes I am 11 hours early for my flight because that’s the only ride I could get, so I have plenty of time to blog here. But I would have fitted it in anyway. I wanted to make at least one more post before I left!

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Ru-an Reply:

What do you mean 3rd guy? And this is not the 1st time he plays Gabashvili?

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Katyani Reply:

I know. Later I read too that they played before. My mistake…..

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#1 
Written By Katyani on January 16th, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

Good luck on your trip, Ru-an! This is the right attitude. We’ve learned our lesson – I think. And that is that Roger is truly unpredictable. Hopefully he can find the right gear though! :-)

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Vily. Not sure Roger is that unpredictable. He is predictable in the sense that he will have an bad day sooner or later, right? ;-)

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#2 
Written By Vily on January 16th, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

Good luck in Thailand, hope you have a good time there and enjoy your job.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks!

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#3 
Written By Marron on January 16th, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

Ru-an, by the time you read this, you may have arrived Thailand already! Hope you had a good flight. Thanks so much for fitting in a post for us at the airport, you are too good to us! All the best to your English course and let’s hope roger plays a good AO this year. I will be counting the days and looking forward to your first post from Thailand!!! Take care!

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Ru-an Reply:

At more service ma’m. I’m still at Cape Town airport waiting for my flight at 2 am. The journey haven’t even started! Getting tired now. Guess I’ll be doing a fair amount of sleeping on the plane, even though I have a hard time sleeping on planes. Too uncomfortable!

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Veronica Reply:

Wow! You still stuck at the airport! Was your flight delayed? Yeah, me too, I can never sleep on plane. But who knows? You might be so exhausted that you just might sleep like a baby up in the sky!! Looking forward to Rogers next match! Hope he gets it done in straights to save energy for Tonga and Murray. Those two are very fresh as they have been efficient in their wins.

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Ru-an Reply:

No I just came to the airport 11 hours before my flight. It was the only ride I had to the airport that wouldn’t cost me a fortune. I’m still here. Flight in an hour. Least my luggage is checked in now haha.

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#4 
Written By Veronica on January 17th, 2014 @ 12:16 am

Hi Ru-an, wishing you all the very best in the coming journey! Thailand is a beautiful country but got to be careful with safety. Hope to hear from you in the near future.

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#5 
Written By Onefly9 on January 17th, 2014 @ 12:32 am

Best of luck at Thailand, its a great country to be in with good food and friendly people. Great post, let’s remain positive in his next few matches. If he gets it right he can reach the semis. Its hard to assessment Murray’s form right now with tomato can opponents. Feliciano Lopez will be his first test while for Roger, next round opponent will be a little tricky. Let’s hope he get through easily so he is fresh for his next match against Tsonga. I doubt Simon can do any damage to Tsonga as he went through 2 long 5 setters.

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#6 
Written By Dippy on January 17th, 2014 @ 12:40 am

Tommy Robredo at 55 is playing unbelievably out there, despite a long injury break a while back. Tireless, amazing defence, heavier-hitting than I remember – why is it that everyone except Roger gets better as they get older? Wait, I forgot – Robredo is a Spaniard.

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V Reply:

Lol 55??

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rich Reply:

Exaggeration for effect. Another veteran. Like Ferrer – also playing his best tennis. Evergreens, it seems. For myself, I wish I knew how they did it…

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#7 
Written By rich on January 17th, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

Good luck in Thailand, Ru-an, and have a safe trip. Let us know how things go!

Any day Federer moves through the draw is a good day, and if he does it in straights it’s a great day. I think he will benefit enormously from having a chance to play indoors with the new racket and figure out how to calibrate his shots in perfect conditions.

He was moving great and striking the ball very cleanly, which is encouraging.

From the QFs on the matches are all night matches, I think, so one can’t expect that he’ll play with a closed roof later on. But then again, there’s still two matches before he even gets there.

Go Roger!

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#8 
Written By steve on January 17th, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

good one Ru an….
nice to see jesus Fed specially in the first two sets…
Alld best for ur trip.

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#9 
Written By Dr Saud Ansari on January 17th, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

Hi Ru-an, thanks for another great post! Wishing you all the best and good luck in Thailand.

Have a good time and I hope you will enjoy your job!

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#10 
Written By rahan on January 17th, 2014 @ 11:33 pm

Federer through to the round of 16 in straight sets. Missed a chance to make the score 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 but that’s pretty much the only thing to complain about.

Was a tougher match than the score suggested, Gabashvili had break points in Federer’s very first service game and also at the beginning of the third set. He hit some very brilliant winners out of nothing.

Federer played very solid, controlled tennis, always within himself, not too flashy although he hit some wonderful shots. Serve was very good and he backed it well. He came forward a fair amount (though maybe less than in the previous match) and brought out the variety to break Gabashvili, drop shots and slices. He was hitting the backhand down the line very well. He saved all five break points against his own serve.

Next opponent is a huge step up. Tsonga with his powerful, stylish game is capable of blowing anyone off the court and has done so to Federer a couple times in Grand Slams.

If he makes it past that obstacle, he will likely have to wade through the NadaDjokoMurray trio to win, so the road only gets harder from here. But one match at a time!

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#11 
Written By steve on January 18th, 2014 @ 10:53 am

The first week’s matches have been comparatively uninteresting. None of the top players – and that includes Roger – have been pushed. For the top guys, each encounter this week has seemed little more than a practice session; not a real match, whose outcome was in doubt till the last ball. For Roger fans, it’s been a gauge of how well the former champ is putting his game together, with a new racquet and coach. Not too bad so far, but he has yet to face a player of any mettle, so as to provide a truly accurate assessment of his game. He hasn’t been under pressure. And pressure – these days – is Roger’s Achilles heel.

I have the feeling we are watching 3 tournaments in one: Roger fans are anxious to see him go deep in the tournament – but not meet Nadal at the business end; Djokovic and Nadal (and to a lesser extent Murray) meanwhile easily progress towards their expected rendez-vous in the final; and the rank and file and up and coming players meanwhile battle it out for the minor placings – which is to say they make it into the second week but don’t go any further against the big guns.

There isn’t much to get excited about. We hope Roger puts up a good show but I can’t realistically see that including doing better than the semis. Why? Because winning is now all about defence. That’s the real difference between Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Ferrer (yes, Mini-Me!) and the rest of the tour. The top players can almost always outlast their opposition once the ball is in play and their sheer consistency induces panic in the player across the net. The error which comes is almost inevitable. Regrettably, that includes Roger now. He doesn’t have anything like the defensive and retrieving ability he once had – he is a good step slower, and his attacking game often disintegrates against their implacable defence. If he was in his prime it would perhaps be a different story, but for now defence trumps attack at the top of the game. I will make this one exception: while Djokovic defends as well as Nadal it is his ability to play more aggressively that gives him the advantage over the Spaniard. That offers hope for the future. The game might not be entirely lost yet to the kind of game patented by Uncle Toni’s creature.

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#12 
Written By rich on January 18th, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

So, as expected, Nadal shows Monfils to be little more than a schoolboy, as he spanks him in 3 straight sets, while Djokovic does the same to the preening Italian, Fognini. Yawn. Murray, meanwhile, faces someone we have never heard of – another testing encounter for the convalescing Scot – what a happy draw for the world no.4 – while Roger looks ahead to his first significant test with Tsonga, who can be expected to play his usual lights-out tennis. It won’t be easy for Roger if Tsonga is finding his marks – new racquet or not. Oh yes, in other matches boring Berdych bludgeons his way through an even more one-dimensional Kevin Anderson, while Ferrer/Mini-Me unsurprisingly exhausts the dogged Florian Mayer, after losing the first set to the German. But while “the Spanish formula” is working well for Nadal and Ferrer it isn’t helping Robredo as we speak, as his grinding journeyman’s game is being ruthlessly exposed by the more talented and bigger-hitting Swiss, Stan the Man. No surprises then. Except in the women’s draw, when for the first time in five years Anna Ivanovic finds a serve, as well as her range, and embarrasses Serena Williams out of the tournament. Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks Serena could have weight issues?

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#13 
Written By rich on January 19th, 2014 @ 11:58 am

Tomorrow first of the 4 D-day’s…. Jo Willy vs our Goat. To be honest I see only two outcomes…. Jo Willy in 4 or Roger in 5 sets. So hope Roger can win in straights.
Ana Ivanovic did the unthinkable, defeating Serena.
Maybe this miracle will also happen to Roger and he will beat Jo Willy, Andy, Rafa and Novak back to back. But that is just a dream (and wish) of mine.
Still taking it one point, one game, one set, one match at the time.
If Roger does defeat Jo Willy he will have overtaken Vilas with the most wins (930 matches)….

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Katyani Reply:

Hey guys, sad to see Serena and Maria go, but deserved victories for Ana Ivanovic and Cibulkova.
Looks like Rafa and Andy are both going to win in straights. Hoping the same result for Roger. Good luck Roger !!!

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Katyani Reply:

Yesssssssss, oh my God, Roger through in straights !!! Winning his 930th match, surpassing record after record !!! Surpassing Vily’s record. Roger is now the third player in history with so many matches won !!! Goat !!!! Can you tell that I am happy???

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#14 
Written By Katyani on January 19th, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

Are you all watching this?!! Yes!!!!!!! Not getting ahead of myself! One point at a time! No let down now, Roger!!! Common!!

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#15 
Written By veronica on January 20th, 2014 @ 10:55 am

Federer won 6-3 7-5 6-4, Fantastic new. Next is Murray

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#16 
Written By Bartholomew on January 20th, 2014 @ 10:58 am

Yay!! 63 75 64!!! Now, is that impressive or not fedfans??!!!!! Lethal, man! lethal!! Happiest night of my life for a LONG time!!!

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Katyani Reply:

Roger is roaring again and shining like a diamond, Veronica !!!
I am so happy, but like you said, one match at the time….
Roger gave Stefan a great birthday present !!!!

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#17 
Written By veronica on January 20th, 2014 @ 11:02 am

Roger Federer is back!

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#18 
Written By steve on January 20th, 2014 @ 11:03 am

That’s as good as I have seen Roger play since Wimbledon ’12. He moved really well, took his opportunities to attack and defended much better than I have seen for a long time. The errors were few. If there were any flaws (and I am being picky here) in his performance, he could barely find a first serve in his last two service games, but Tsonga returned poorly – that will not be Murray (or a Nadal or Djokovic) – and despite having Tsonga at 2-4 love-40 in the 3rd he didn’t attack any of Tsonga’s second serves from that point and so the exasperated Frenchman was able to bash his way back to hold serve. When Roger has his foot on his opponent’s throat he should keep it there. But this was all a far cry from the Federer who folded so abjectly against the grafting Hewitt a couple of weeks ago. The question for his fans is which is the real Roger. Maybe both? His next match will certainly tell us more about that.

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Ru-an Reply:

Hey guys. I watched the first two sets of Fed’s match. Looked confident and calm. Very good result. Doesn’t get any easier from here on though and I wana see him make semis so that he doesn’t lose before the semis for the first time in 10 years. Gotta take advantage of Murray while he is not yet back to his best. Dropping a set vs Robert? Liking Roger’s chances!

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Jiten Reply:

Hi Ru-an. I guess your first post from Thailand. I was wondering whether I am the only one who is missing you at a time when Roger has silenced his doubters, at least for the time being? I believe the new racquet has begun responding now, at least on his returns, which he also admitted that in the post match interview. Moreover, he seems to be more confident on his backhand side now, not hesitant as he did in most part of 2013. I hope he is able to produce such great level of tennis in the next round as well. No looking ahead too far. Still one match at a time! And Ru-an, I hope you have a wonderful stay in Thailand, and both you and Roger prosper simultaneously in your respective fields, Roger with is new racquet and you in your new country.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Jiten I appreciate that. Like you say one match at a time. If the recent past is anything to go by Roger can fall apart at any moment.

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Katyani Reply:

Haha Ru-an, JesusFed not letting you go, even if you are in Thailand right??? I am so looking forward to the match. Hope the full match is on YT and not just highlights…
Ps: Ru-an, here is me again with my records, but Roger is now with 930 matches won the third of all time !!! Goat, making and breaking records whenever he steps on the court….
Could you see Rafa’s match??? First let us worry about Andy, but according to you (if you watched) how did Rafa look???

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Ru-an Reply:

Don’t know Katyani. I was hoping you could tell me.

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rich Reply:

Nadal struggled to find range and rhythm against Nishikori – he was nowhere near as comfortable as when he disposed of Monfils – but he was still able to depend on the Japanese player to make the errors when they were needed. Nadal typically has a poor match, or two, in a slam, but he also usually survives the scare and is there on finals day. I am still picking that there is only one player in the draw who has both game and the self-belief to beat him.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Rich. Same here.

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rahan Reply:

I like that you are cautious.

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Vily Reply:

Hey guys!

I like how calm and collected Roger was and how he basically dismissed Tsonga last night. To me his game is great at the moment and I think it’s mostly due to the new racquet! Fewer shanks, unbelievable gets on the run on both the forehand and backhand wings. The serve is mostly pretty good though I want more aces.

I actually think that Federer will dismiss Myrray as well. The way he is playing – watch out!!! I predict Roger in 4 sets or 3 tight sets tomorrow.

By the way my buddy Dimitrov is doing pretty good. I actually an confident in him taking a set or maybe 2 off Nadal.

Another bonus is the Edberg effect on Roger. Roger is definitely coming in more but he is doing it smartly and efficiently which is no doubt due to the mentorship of Stefan.

One match at a time but honestly – I feel pretty darn good about Roger and his chances against Murray! ;-))

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Wilfried Reply:

Congratulations for your buddy Dimitrov.
Hope he plays his best tennis against Rafael Nadal.

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#19 
Written By rich on January 20th, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

Hi Ru-an,

Best wishes for your successful transition in Thailand. Nice to see Roger come through in straights again.

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Ru-an Reply:

Cheers Grumpy.

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#20 
Written By grumpy on January 20th, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

I must be a Fedfan. I got up at 4 am, and watched just till I had to go to work. What a treat. That was some awesome play from Fed. Who knows, he just may go all the way. His confidence is through the roof. G

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#21 
Written By gary on January 20th, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

Here is the highlight of the Fed-Tsonga match. Enjoy! Truely a masterpiece to cherish.

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#22 
Written By Jiten on January 20th, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

Ru-an, glad you made it to Thailand safe and sound.

That was better tennis than he showed in 2006! Seems that with the new racket he can impose himself in the rallies in a way he couldn’t before and finish points decisively. He used that additional power and control to implement an aggressive and highly tactical game plan.

He hit behind Tsonga repeatedly and mixed the pace, kept the ball deep and placed it really well to keep Tsonga off-balance. Tons of net play (he came forward forty-one times which is pretty high for a three-set match, at least by modern standards) and great volleying. Backhand DTL was working like a dream. No problems with his movement at all.

Tsonga didn’t hit a single forehand winner for the first set and a half. Federer barely gave him a chance to unload from that wing and kept picking on his backhand.

Tsonga is comparatively slow, so it is easier to move him around the court and get past his defenses. That will not be true, obviously, of Murray, nor of anyone else Federer is likely to end up meeting from here on out.

It will be difficult for Federer to maintain this standard for three more matches–let alone increase his level from match to match, which is what will be needed if he’s to prevail. But one match at a time.

I said QFs would be a good result. If he doesn’t beat Murray, it’s still an improvement from his last Grand Slam result; if he can beat Murray, so much the better. Go Roger!

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rich Reply:

“Better than 2006″? If that is so then he should win the tournament – because that is what he did in 2006. That’s the test of whether he is now better than he was in his prime. Yet as good as he played yesterday I have seen him play better – Djokovic in the 2011 FO SF, Murray in the 2010 AO final – and of course his even more impressive dismantling of Tsonga in their 2010 AO SF. Enthusiasm should not cause us to lose perspective. Without doubt he played better yesterday than he has at any time since Wimbledon 2012, and was light years away from the player who lost to Hewitt a couple of weeks ago. But as we have seen, that Federer is quite capable of making a sudden and uninvited return – and for long periods at a time. A grand slam is about winning 7 matches, not playing one great one (Rosol, Darcis, anyone?), as any player can do that. The Federer of 2006 won not just one slam but an unbelievable three, and of course a host of other tournaments, completely dominating the tour(which did include Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Murray, and del Potro – all of whom are currently ranked ahead of him.) Hold the celebrations, until at least Sunday – if he is still there.

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Vily Reply:

I concur Rich. But against Murray, Roger is the slight favourite. Here’s why:

Last year, he was burned out after the Tsonga epic just like he was after the Delpo epic at the Olympics in ’12.

He was able to push Murray last year after the epic with Tsonga with the old racquet while Murray was still on a high after the Olympics and US Open wins.

This year:

Roger is coming in fresh after a full-preseason. The new racquet is dynamite and amazing. Roger is getting more and more confident with each match and he’s playing smartly with the volleying – no doubt due to Edberg – I.e better approach shots., etc. the doubles play in Brisbane is paying off too.

Murray is coming off a surgery and is not up to his best.

Roger is fresh and ready and his physical and emotional tanks are still pretty good. He did not close out Tsonga 6:2 but he withstood the Frenchman comeback and won “comfortably” in straights. I think he is the slight favourite tomorrow. If Dimitrov takes a set or 2 off Nadal will see. But the new racquet is definitely adding new life to Federer and he is looking like his old self. I like it..

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rich Reply:

Vily, before you attribute too much to a new racquet, it was the same racquet that he used against Hewitt a fortnight ago..

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Vily Reply:

You are right, rich! I’ll try to keep my excitement to a minimum. By the way – I am not sure what to make of Djokovic’s loss yesterday. I a happy but also not happy because Nadal is now the favourite for the title…

I’ll leave it at that and see what happens tonight..

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#23 
Written By steve on January 20th, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

What impressed me last night was Roger’s instinctive free playing all court tennis and having a game plan. I hope he goes into every match now with a proper game plan. Edberg has definitely made a big difference in the tactical side of Roger’s game. However, the lame play at 4-2 love 40 is a little worrying. As Rich said, Roger must keep his foot on opponent’s throat once he got them. If it had been Murray/Nole/Nadal last night, that moment could have been a turning point and Roger could very well have lost the match or stretched to 4/5 sets. I hope BOTH his feet will be on Murray’s throat tomorrow! No more letting up from here on. I hope the usual let down that Roger has subjected us to where he can play brilliantly one match and completely collapse in the next will not happen and what we witnessed last night was the beginning of some consistency from here on. If he remains consistent, he will beat Murray in 4. He should take full advantage of a less than 100% Murray. And if he does take out Murray in straights or 4, I’m really liking his chances against Nadal. Nadal of course will come back even stronger after that shaky match against Kei as he always does. But he’s not playing that well in these faster courts and his fitness is a tad suspect. If Roger can “tenaciously” play this free flowing tennis, Nadal doesn’t have a chance. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tsonga was just a sampling of a less than impressive entree. The mains and dessert are far more superior. Common Roger!!!

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#24 
Written By veronica on January 21st, 2014 @ 3:16 am

Btw, Ru-an, so glad you made it to Thailand! Hope all your plans will go smoothly. So, what was your first impression of Thailand?! Also, did anyone noticed something really strange last night?! Yes!…..there were no shanks! (well, maybe 2 or 3…!)I was on shankfest alert from the moment the first ball was hit!! Haha! The racket is definitely looking like an extension of Roger’s arm, as Roger himself said!! But.. NO expectations!! One match at a time!

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Katyani Reply:

Hey Veronica, I saw the match at night on Eurosport. They showed the entire match. Wow….. was that our Roger?? Roger from last year??? The normally cool and calm Jo Willy did not know what to do… I saw Roger was moving very well and I think I saw no shanks in the first two sets, but two shanks in the third set…. I honestly believed Jo Willy thought this would be a “easy” match with maybe 4 sets. His outburst in the third just said it all !!! The Dutch commentator on Eurosport said at the end: “eventhough the scores say otherwise, but this was a masterclass from the Swiss master to his student”….. That was so true !!!

But…. this is Roger we are talking about, so lets not get carried away. The guy is a master of getting our hopes up and then…… He might play like the master against Andy or like the student…. We don’t know which Roger will turn up. Yesterday JesusFed turned up, hopefully he will have had so much fun that he decides to turn up for 3 more matches….
But since it is Roger…. one point, one game, one set, one match at the time….

Ps: Veronica, in the beginning I believed in this “Andy is injured”-stuff, but he is killing everyone on his path… So I don’t buy it… Andy in 4 sets or Roger in 5, but hopefully Roger wants to prove us all wrong again and defeats Andy in straights !!!

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#25 
Written By veronica on January 21st, 2014 @ 3:53 am

Ru-an very important. Doi-Suthep in Chiang Mai. I climbed the steps and sat with a Monk for an hour and have never been the same. Please go, you will love it!!!!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Chiang Mai is where I wana go work and I’d love to sit with a monk!

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#26 
Written By Eric Manes on January 21st, 2014 @ 6:30 am

Hey guys, just a remark. IF…. Roger wins AO with Edberg as coach (don’t worry, I am not getting ahead of myself or getting my hopes up too much)…. then I don’t care how many millions Edberg asks….Roger SHOULD hire him as a fulltime coach !!! Even if his salary-demands are out of this world…. he should hire the guy fulltime and not for only 10 weeks…
Go Fedberg…

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#27 
Written By Katyani on January 21st, 2014 @ 8:29 am

Wawrinka dismissed of Djokovic.
9-7 in the fifth set.
Who’s next ?

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steve Reply:

Congrats to Wawrinka, what a colossal effort to topple the four-time and defending champion! Had a feeling it might go his way this time after two heartbreaking five-set defeats.

Hard to imagine that he has enough left in the tank for Berdych after that epic. Berdych is well rested, he’s dropped only one set during the whole tournament thus far.

But hope Wawrinka can make it to the final.

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rahan Reply:

I think that Stan is the favorite: Berdych did not play well at all!
62 unforced errors!
I don’t know how he managed to win.

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#28 
Written By Wilfried on January 21st, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

Well that’s all she wrote folks. Djokovic is out. Nadal will be pumped. Who knows maybe Roger will be pumped now too knowing that if he gets past Nadal there is NO djokovic. It could be a blessing in disguise but I fear that Nadal will take full advantage of this. Should Stan the ‘man’ play Nadal in the final then he will bend over in straights again. I wanna cry :(

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rahan Reply:

Interviewer Jim Courier asks Wawrinka how did he manage to beat Djokovic and the Swiss takes his time before answering.

“I tried to focus on what I did last year. I tried to be aggressive. Novak at his best is better than me, for sure.”

“I was playing really good, I tried to fight,” says this year’s semi-finalist….

I’m really, really, really happy.”

… and I think that Nadal feels the same :(

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#29 
Written By Alex on January 21st, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

Stan won!!! What a match?! So happy for him!! But who can stop Nadal now from biting on more than one trophy at every slam?!!

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rich Reply:

Yes, I fear Stan may have played his match of the tournament. God, what if he now loses to Berdych in the semis! Appalling thought. Unless Dimitrov does a “Rosol” to Nadal (unlikely) I can’t see anyone stopping the Spaniard from adding yet another grand slam trophy to his pharmacy – er, cabinet.

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rahan Reply:

If Dimitrov does a “rosol” i will send a bottle of wine to Vily.

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Vily Reply:

I am not sure what to make of Grigor! He seems humble and not too overwhelmed by the occasion. Nevertheless, it’s Nadal we’re talking about. I dunno. I don’t think he can win – maybe in couple if years. But I do think that Grigor can take at least a set – maybe 2 if he gets going. There will be at least one tie-break and if Grigor manages to win one, you never know. I just hope he plays a great match. And hopefully Roger does his part as well and take Murray out today. I feel fairly confident about his chances tonight. I hope he “brings it” as he likes to call it! :-)

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Ru-an Reply:

Not Stan.

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#30 
Written By Veronica on January 21st, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

Stantastic! Roger will most of all be happy for his fellow Swiss player, who totally deserved it to finally come through a five setter against Djokovic. Does that mean another Slam for Nadal? Most probably. But I decided long time ago not to let this machine on weak knees destroy my joy of following tennis

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steve Reply:

Agreed, Chris. There is no point to living in fear. If you let Nadal destroy your love of tennis, then he truly has won.

Federer should just be focusing on the tennis. Play each match as it comes, each opponent is just another opponent, live in the moment. That’s when he plays his best, anyhow.

Here’s to an all-Swiss final!

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#31 
Written By Chris on January 21st, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

No need to sit with the monks, just go and see the Panda in the Chiang Mai Zoo, he’ll teach you a lesson or two about chilling. Coolest guy I’ve ever seen.

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Ru-an Reply:

Haha Pandas are damn cool Chris.

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#32 
Written By Chris on January 21st, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

I take my hat off for Stan. Great win and congrats for playing amazing and not giving up.
BUT….. if by taking Novak out, Rafa will succeed in winning AO and therefor will be the first player in the Open Era to win every GS atleast twice…. well, then I will dislike him big time for a long time…. Stan better make it to the final and win if Rafa makes it so far.
And…. sad and bad news…. if Rafa wins AO and also RG, he will have 15 GS…..

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#33 
Written By Katyani on January 21st, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

Guys,

Grigor is playing like a man Possessed! I like it! Can he go all the way?!

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Chris Reply:

He will eventually go all the way, Vily, but not today. The match is decided in few key points, in favor of the mentally stronger. And in this respect, Nadal is the best and deserves respect and admiration. Unlike my opinion on his stamina and knee injuries, which expose him as a jerk

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rich Reply:

How mentally strong does Nadal have to be to beat a mental weakling? That’s Dimitrov, I am afraid. Missing putaway forehands in the 3rd set tie-break – firstly on his own set-point, which is unforgiveable – and then on Nadal’s set point – to be so expected from the Bulgarian – shows the crucial limitation in Dimitrov’s game. It’s between the ears. I gave up watching at that point. Nadal is playing so poorly (for him) that he wants to give Dimitrov the match – but the Bulgarian can’t – or won’t – take it. Depressing. Modern tennis.

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Katyani Reply:

Hey guys, I just watched the third set tiebreak and then left for work. Respect BIG time for Dimi. He played great, but like you said those setpoints…. well, it is done. Rafa in the SF. Hope Roger will not unconsciencely “tank”, because he CAN beat THIS Rafa….
Come on Roger, you are playing great. Please keep that up for today and hopefully two more matches…..

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rich Reply:

And like Serena and her “back injury”, Nadal has an “injury” excuse on hand – literally. A savage “blister”, we are told. Of course. There has to be a reason why Nadal is pushed to the limit by a lesser player. It can’t be the skill of that player, but yet another injury. What a sportsman. Not.

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Joakim Reply:

More talking down Nadal, even in the face of evidence. The devil never dies, right?

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rich Reply:

You again. Do you have an alarm clock that goes off whenever someone says something about Nadal?

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Joakim Reply:

If that was true I would be posting all the fucking time as those comments are part of this blog’s DNA. Fortunately reality dismisses all those silly beliefs. Grown-ups just don’t act like that.

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rich Reply:

Well you have your work cut out defending Nadalstrong, because half the internet is devoted to speculation that he is a doper. (The other half is convinced he is.) It’s noticeable you only comment on a Federer fan site to defend the Iberian cheat. None of us here would bother reading the bollocks that passes for a Nadal fan site. You prove why.

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Joakim Reply:

Are speculation and internet forums a decent proof for anything? Coming from guys with narrow views like you? Come on, bring in some wit for a change. Federer has improved vastly over last season, why is this fear again? I really don’t get it. As someone posted here at some point, a Nadal loss is more celebrated than a Federer win. How healthy is that?

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Chris Reply:

It’s pretty cool! I can never be completely disgusted when Djokovic, Murray, or any of the other players win a match or a tournament, because I emphasize with them. Not so with Nadal and his entire screw in the box. Whenever they lose, I feel there is justice in the world, and I celebrate full heartedly. It feels healthy! You gotta have somebody to hate.

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Katyani Reply:

Hey Joakim, please don’t use the F-word…

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rich Reply:

But Katyani, if he does that he has nothing left to say…

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rich Reply:

It’s funny isn’t it. All you have to do is say something about Nadal’s “blisters” and he goes into a little rage. Not even a mention of doping to set him off. Such over-reaction to criticism of his idol speaks volumes. Fear of the truth.

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#34 
Written By Vily on January 22nd, 2014 @ 4:36 am

Jesus, that was a painful ten minutes. Where had the positive attacking Federer gone, that had got him to serve for the match – when he disappeared – and then those match points in the tie-break? (Whence he vanished again.) Nowhere in sight. Unless he finds that player again soon it will be Murray in five.

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#35 
Written By rich on January 22nd, 2014 @ 11:10 am

Roger Federer is into the final four in Melbourne for the 11th year in a row! Thankfully he got it done in four sets, otherwise I don’t think he would have had enough for Nadal even if he had won in five.

Now to rest and recover, huddle with his coaches and prep for the next match. C’mon Roger!

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#36 
Written By steve on January 22nd, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

Phew !!! You love to scare us, right Roger???
But glad you won, afterall, we were saying if you would make 4th round or QF we would be happy. Anything above this is a bonus. Now…. it is Rafa, BUT it is doable. Still no expectations for you, just me beeing proud of you !!! Lets take it Friday one point, one game, one set, one match at the time !!! Love you Roger !!!

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rahan Reply:

YES !!!

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#37 
Written By Katyani on January 22nd, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

Superb – until he had to serve for the match at the end of the third set, and then in the tie-break. At that point there was the old familiar loss of confidence in his game, the timid Federer returned, and Murray – showing more balls than Federer – played more aggressively and took his chances to take it to another set. I gave up watching after Roger missed his fortieth (or so it seemed) break-point opportunity at the beginning of the fourth set but I see that he later claimed the vital break that set to take the match. Nadal is looking beatable, but not by a Federer who quails when the match is within his grasp. So many break points when begging. Still – well done, champ, for coming back after failing to put his man away in 3, and for putting the arrogant Scotsman in his place – for now.

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Wilfried Reply:

Roger’s confidence is probably not yet what it was during his prime, Rich, which explains the hesitation on pressure moments like serving for the match I think.
In his on-court interview Roger didn’t answer Jim’s question “where he would rate his own confidence on a Roger Federer scale of confidence” straight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AXaabCsrPI
But I think Nadal’s confidence isn’t either.

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Wilfried Reply:

Roger played very well but he also got a some help of the friendly scotsman.
The scotsman got several times behind with 0-40 scores in his service games.
Andy managed to bail himself out of trouble each time, except in his last service game of the 4th set in which he made 3 consecutive unnecessary errors in a row with his FH (0-40). Two of these break points were erased by some excellent serving of the scotsman but the third breakpoint was one too much.
By the way, Roger’s average first serve speed in the last three matches is only 184 km/hour. That’s pretty low for his standards.

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Dave Reply:

Hey man, take a lude! The fucking guy kicked Mutray’s ass ! Did any of us think he would make it this far? GGGEEEEEZZZZ! Perfection and nothing less right , no?

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Wilfried Reply:

Don’t need to take a lude, Dave.
My comment was not meant as a critic at all, just a simple objective observation of a very happy fan and a pointer that Roger has still potential of playing even better against Nadal, because Roger’s average first serve speed is sometimes in the 19O+ km / hours.

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Dave Reply:

We need to be less critical and more appreciative of what Roger is doing. Roger did create a slew of break points, isn’t that stat alone telling in itself? No double faults, positive winner to error ratio. I’m proud of him at this point. Everything else is just a bonus.

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Katyani Reply:

Hey Wilfried and Dave, we all are right. Roger kind of does this to us. We all say one match at the time and then we begin to dream.
But lets face it (I did not see the match), Roger could have gone into low confidence after losing the third set. The Roger of last year would have definitely done that. But this Roger held himself together and fought. All those BP in the first game of Andy in the 4th. He might have not broken Andy, but he did create so many chances and held Andy as a lion holds his prey. I was at work keeping an eye on the scores and all I could think about was (about the long game in the 4th): Wow, Roger is holding Andy as a prey and he is not letting go. Reminded me of that long game at the Wimby 2012 final. There Roger did break Andy after that long game, here he did not. But I loved how he said, I did not take the BP, I am not good at it and I know it and it does not matter that much, I kept fighting.

Ofcourse Roger makes us dream now about SF and Final, but we are so proud of him. Him reaching the SF was the actual goal, everything else is a bonus.

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#38 
Written By rich on January 22nd, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

I switched off my tv when Roger lost in the tie-break. I couldn’t bear to go through another tension-filled fourth set— not good for the heart. :) I’m relieved and happy. How can a Fedfan be less affected or more relaxed whenever Roger is on the brink of losing his match these days? I hope he can retire in the future on a high note.

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#39 
Written By Rogiee Yang on January 22nd, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

Well, guys!

Roger is into the Semis of a SLAM – I think his most consistent SLAM of ALL time is the AUSTRALIAN Open! He’s made 11 consecutive semis or something like that so ROGER Is THE MAN!!

Now, onto the NADAL Strong! Grigor obviously couldn’t get it done but it obviously came down to that PIVOTAL 3rd SET tiebreak. If Grigor wins that, you never know!

I know just like ALWAYS it will come down to that. I think that Roger will come out guns blazing against Nadal. He’ll probably win the first.

He’ll have chances in the 2nd but he might lose that. And then the 3rd will probably go to a tiebreak again. If Roger wins it, he’s pretty much the Finalist and the eventual champion.

But again! One match at a time. I can go on and on about the importance of this match but there’s no point. Everybody knows this. The US Open wasn’t meant to be but the Ausie OPEN can be awesome!

Roger is peaking at precisely the RIGHT time. Last time he struggled against Tsonga and battled against Murray to no avail.

This year, with an improved fitness, NEW Jedi Racquet, Edberg, etc, – he basically dismantled Tsonga and won quite comfortably against Murray.

Yes, he could have closed it in 3 like he should have but that’s ok. The important thing is that ROGER is playing withink himself.

He’s not going for broke and that’s thanks to the new RACQUET. He was very effective on both wings and the serve was dynamite. Basically, he’s playing like the 2007 version of himself. It’s kinda crazy but we could only imagine if he had switched to the new racquet in 2010 instead of waiting until 2014.

In any case, long story short. Nadal is still the favourite. He always is. But this time it feels different. The way Roger just beat 2 HIGH quality opponents BACK to BACK with such ease gives me hope that he can beat Nadal here. The courts are playing fast.

Obviosly, mentally it wlll be tough for Roger to stay focused. However, I think that Roger will have the right attitude. We all know that it comes to few points here and there. And I think the RACQUET will make the difference and so will Edberg. I haven’t been so excited about Roger since 2012 but this year he really has a MONSTER opportunity. No Djokovic lurking. Berdych can spoil Roger’s title but I don’t think Wawrinka can.

It will be very tricky. Roger has to fight Nadal and if he wins, we’ll talk again. But what a match today. Back to back as well! 5 Awesome matches so far!

I think Roger’s got some left in the tank as well! It’s the beginning of the year and Roger is rested enough to have enough juice for the remaining 2 matches. Nadal is hungry too but Roger is gonna want to make an EMPHATIC statement in couple days. He made couple of statements already. But watch out in couple of days, guys! It will be tough. It will rough but Roger is ready…

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Katyani Reply:

Hey Vily, I agree with everything you said, but let us also give credit to Roger FOR THIS: After Brisbane and before AO we were talking about beeing happy with a 4th round win or a QF win. I think Ru-an even said that as long as Roger made QF or SF he and we would be happy with what Roger accomplished. Everything else will be a bonus. I think and hope that Roger can beat Rafa. This is HIS time and he is prepared. But lets not forget the mental hold that Rafa has over Roger and that Rafa WILL TRY to do anything on court (if he sees Roger is confident and winning) to get him out of his rythme or to get more in his head.
For me…. it is very simple, GOD HAS TO GIVE ROGER THIS WIN OVER RAFA, but let us just hope that Roger will do it on his own, which he is more than capable of.

After Roger defeats Rafa, I am looking forward to 2 things:
1) That it is Roger (and no one else) who stopped Rafa from beeing the first tennisplayer in the Open Era to have all the slams atleast twice
2) To hear what excuses Rafa will come up with.

Go Roger. Honestly dear Roger, if you lose in the final, I won’t mind that so much, but you HAVE TO defeat Rafa in the SF.

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Vily Reply:

No, if Roger wins tomorrow, he has to go all the way. I am worried about Berdych should Roger get that far, though. Hopefully Wawrinka will do his part.

I was thinking about the Rafa crosscourt forehand to Roger’s one handed backhand and after watching the Grigor-Rafa match and some of Roger’s match with Andy, I realized that an effective way to neutralize that shot would be to use a slice backhand to Nadal’s backhand.

Basically redirecting the crosscourt to up the line with a slice! It’s very effective because that way Nadal goes to his backhand side and Roger has options.

I think that he employed the slice quite a lot today and so did Grigor and it worked on several occasions!

I think that Edberg will surely point that out as well as other things to Roger. I am actually feeling pretty good about this. It almost feels there is no EMOTIONAL built-up to this match because basically no one expected Roger to do so well so early with the new racquet. Roger us playing within himself and winning. So if need be, he can raise his level a few notches and then he’s got this!!!

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#40 
Written By Vily on January 22nd, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

Well that was pretty awesome and can’t complain too much about the 3rd set failure to serve it out (although I agree totally with what Rich wrote above). But then he showed the guts to keep on fighting in the 4th.

90% of the match the backhand was on form and solid. Just nice hearing that solid thump of the ball of that racket. When he uses it as an offensive weapon it is not a liability at all.

Court seems a bit quicker than last year and that helped Fed in the 1st and 2nd sets.

Well my hopes are not high. I expect Nadal to claw and fight and hit miraculous passes (followed by ‘spontaneous’ fist pumps and the rest). The only positive thing I see was that Federer seemed honestly relaxed about it in the on-court interview…

Is Edberg a tactician? I never thought so. But he has had some kind of effect. That was a Federer 3.0 match, as Ruan might say. Looking forward to his comments when he has time…

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#41 
Written By Bharata on January 22nd, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

YES, that heavy solid thump that Roger is getting on the ball is music to my ears. He was hitting hard and deep and getting to the net with urgency, on great approach shots, volleying beautifully. Wow! I am at work today completely wrecked, barely slept, but soooooooo happy. That was a very physical match though. Am hoping that Roger can fully recover in such a short time. Nadal’s hand blister will definitely help. I can’t recall seeing him double fault or miss forehands as much as he did against Grigor. This is as good an opportunity as we can hope for of Roger taking a slam title. Alleez!!!!

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Vily Reply:

I actually have another name for the moments when Roger covers the net and “swats” the ball away into the open court.

It’s “SWAT team”! Love it when Roger swats it past the opponent, they feel so helpless it’s quite funny!!

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#42 
Written By Eric Manes on January 22nd, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

Hi guys,
Really excited and happy to see Federer turning back the clock… I think the biggest thing Roger would have loved from this tournament was to get his confidence back. And the way I see it, this tournament has certainly provided that. Against less fancied opponents in rounds 1,2 & 3, he played under different conditions and yet won in routine straight sets. Then against Tsonga , a player who plays with supreme self confidence, Roger totally out classed him and beat him again in straight sets. So, from Rogers perspective, he knew he was moving forward.
Now, let’s consider the Murray QF. For almost 2.75 sets, Roger just continued from where he left against Tsonga. So that was again a big positive. Then, yes I agree that his level dipped a bit & he faltered while serving for the match & again let 2 match points slip in the tie break, but I personally feel that’s the best that could have happened for Roger. That’s because I feel this has prepared him for the Rafa SF. Roger will definitely have ups & downs & momentum swings throughout his match vs. Rafa. What Roger has experienced from the Murray match is how to put a disappointment quickly behind him & regroup. He always put pressure on the Murray serve in the 4th set, and eventually broke serve at the perfect time. Roger needed all this to happen to basically understand – “Its never over till its over”.. And this is a very important lesson to learn for him before the Rafa SF.
Hope you guys understand my point. Routinely beating Murray (just like Tsonga) would have seemed nice on paper, but we know Rafa won’t go away that easily & with Rafa, its more a mental game.So if Federer had a straight forward win against Murray, and say, lost the 1st set vs. Rafa, he wouldn’t have been sure if he can fight back. But now, after the Murray match, Roger knows he can put disappointments behind him. That’s a big positive. Also, this was important before the Rafa match, since we can assume that Roger usually starts well against Rafa, but then fades away. So in the SF showdown, if say Roger wins the 1st set, and Rafa 2nd, I think Roger will still fight for the win this time. This his is best chance to take #18, and I strongly feel he can. In one of my previous comments, I had said that I believe Roger can beat Verdasco, Tsonga, Murray, Nadal & Djokovic to win the title. Even though that sequence has seen some

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sameer Reply:

Even though that sequence has couple of changes, I still believe he can.

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Katyani Reply:

Hey Sameer, I hope you get a chance to read my comment. The things you wrote ++1 !!! Great comment. I thought exactly the same. In my opinion the “best thing” that could have happened to Roger was that he lost the third set to Andy. Then, he knew he did not wanted Andy to get to a 5th set, that is why he fought extra hard. If he would have won in straights, given the same situation with Rafa, he would have lost the remaining 3 sets. Now he knows he can put a loss of a set to a bigger player behind him and regroup and fight harder.
Sameer, great comment. I am so nervous for tomorrow. I have no expectations for Roger, he came this far, but I hope and prey he will beat Rafa. He HAS to. All Swiss final coming up !!!

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#43 
Written By sameer on January 22nd, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

And guys, don’t be too critical about Rogers break points conversion rate. That’s never been his strength. But what he is doing good is giving himself more chances. Its like football. The more balls you play in the box, the better probability that you will score. Likewise, the more breakpoint chances you create, the more probability of you eventually converting one. And all you really need is just 3 – 1 breakpoint per set.

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#44 
Written By sameer on January 22nd, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

Guys, first of all if Roger takes a 2:0 lead or even a 2:1 lead, he’s winning the match against Nadal. Whoever takes the 2:x first is winning this one.

By the way, if not already known, an added incentive for Roger is that if that he beats Nadal and WINS the Title, not only is he getting #18, 5 at each of AO,US Open and Wimby but he’s also automatically jumping to #3 in the world!

So, no big pressure! ;-)

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rich Reply:

Vily, what are you (and a few other excitable fans here) going to say if Roger has a let-down in the next match and loses in 3 straight to Nadal? (Which is entirely possible, given their record.)

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Wilfried Reply:

I think the king will be back, Rich, not Federror.
Wat we are going to say if he has a let-down and looses, I don’t know, we’ll see and think about it when that moment arrives.But the king is gonna back, sooner or later. He is awaited and coming as far as I’m concerned.
And my feeling about Edberg was a good one. He is the right coach for Roger at this point of his career.

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Vily Reply:

Rich,

To be quite honest, this has all been a HUGE pleasant surprise and it feels so UNEXPECTED. Just couple of months ago we were talking about Roger struggling to beat the likes it Tsonga and Del Potro and over the course of 10 days I personally as well as you have witnessed something else entirely. Basically cruising and destroying Tsonga and beating Murray with such ease. I mean. Last year Roger was coming off an amazing year in 2012 and this year he’s coking off his worst in 2013. And it couldn’t have been any different.

To me it’s crazy that after last year slump and dump and talking about retirement Roger is potentially two matches away from #18. It’s crazy but it’s true.

The way Roger is playing right now and the speed of the courts is helping him. Yes, he wasn’t clutch and lost the 4th set but taking a step back and look: he basically beat Murray and was in control. No miracles. No lucks! It was basically from beginning to end – vintage Roger. And I am thinking.

Two key stats: 2nd serve winning percentage is about 61% which he’ll need against Nadal. And he’s creating a ton of break points. May not be converting them but he’s creating them. Sooner or later he’ll become even more efficient.

I am taking the realistic approach to tomorrow expecting Roger to lose in 4 sets but my inner voice is telling me that Roger will make yet another emphatic statement tomorrow. If Grigor was able to push Nadal, the so can Roger! Grigor doesn’t have the emotional baggage that Roger has but he lacks the experience that Roger does and it will be a toss up. We’ve seen these matches play out so many times.

In the end, Nadal is always managing to take the 2:x lead and then go onto win. The two Wimby wins for Roger way back in 2006 and 2006 Roger took those leads. Therefore, if he takes the 2:0 lead or the 2:1 lead he’s winning! Roger plays so much better when he’s in the lead! Getting to the point though will be very difficult. But the last two “out of no where” performances give me hope. The new racquet is KEY!!!

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#45 
Written By Vily on January 23rd, 2014 @ 1:55 am

I’ll say BRAVO!! Great tournament, great progress, and exciting things to come in 2014. At this stage in Roger’s career it’s unreasonable to EXPECT him to vanquish in-prime world number 1′s and 2′s, but if and when he manages to do it I will be cheering all the way for him!!!!!

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rich Reply:

Well I don’t care who he beats in the early rounds of a tournament. And I don’t care how stylishly he plays. But I don’t like to see him lose. And above all I get no pleasure in seeing him become Nadal’s bitch. But if he doesn’t beat him tomorrow I at least want to see him play like a champion, not squander his chances, and push the Spaniard to the limit.

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Vily Reply:

I agree although I don’t like putting “Greatest of All Time” and Nadal’s butch in the same sentence! I think that Roger is just so sick of losing to Nadal lately that he’s gonna come out so focused out there that I expect a really emphatic performance.

And yes, like anyone he can let off the gas. He’s not A machine. Race to 2:0 lead if he can manage and then if he can close it out in 3 – great. If not. Then 4 sets. But no panic and no obsession in winning in straightS. A win is a win. I just hope he doesn’t win the 1st set and then shrink. He has to get that 2 set lead. Nadal will fall then..

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#46 
Written By Eric Manes on January 23rd, 2014 @ 3:29 am

I don’t understand you Rich. You have no love of the game and to me, that is antithetical to RF. If you don’t care about the beauty of the way he plays and just want wins, be a Nadal fan.

[Reply]

rich Reply:

No, you don’t understand, Eric. Tennis – and a grand slam especially – is a contest. If the outcome of that contest doesn’t matter to you then you should simply see it as an exhibition. But the players – including Roger – sure as hell don’t see that way. Style has its place but there isn’t a lot of pleasure to be gained from an aesthetic game that is a losing game. (I’ll bet you Roger HATES to lose.) The ultimate beauty of Roger’s game – flowing serves, forehands and backhands aside – was that it was generally a winning game. If it were not so we would never have known about him – or much cared. To me, Nadal’s is an ugly game – in so many ways. It’s not how I enjoy seeing the game played. That’s why I want to see Roger win again.

[Reply]

Eric Manes Reply:

Nope, I want him to win as much as you do, I stay up all night just to witness it live. It’s just that at this stage of his career, it’s unreasonable to EXPECT him to win against the 25 year old 1.2 and 3′s in the world, especially if he has to do 2 or 3 of them in a row. So a loss in itself won’t kill me but I cannot take watching him play terribly. Winning would be glorious! That’s all I meant to say. After he retires, there is no one I’d be willing to stay up all night to watch because I simply don’t enjoy the way they play that much.

[Reply]

#47 
Written By Eric Manes on January 23rd, 2014 @ 5:40 am

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