Indian Wells Rd 3: Federer Whips De Bakker 6-3, 6-3

Well another routine win for Roger which has been pretty common of late. Just pretty clinical stuff with no drama. A huge change around from last year where drama was basically the main theme. With Edberg as his new coach, a bigger racquet, and his health back, Roger have completely reinvented himself in 2014. The question is now whether Roger of 2014 is better than Roger of 2012. I think it is too early to say, and if the past is anything to go by then each new version of Roger is a little worse than the previous version. It’s after all natural to decline with age in tennis. I think the one area Roger have improved in is the mental department. But physical decline can’t be stopped and neither can the competition be halted. The one thing that seems to have improved as well is the fact that Roger is more clinical.

In 2012 Roger had quite a few tough three setters. That goes hand-in-hand with mental fortitude of course. It’s still early days like I said, but up until the final in Indian Wells Roger didn’t drop a set, and so far in Miami he hasn’t either. The amount of titles won so far compared to 2012 is irrelevant because Roger did not play Rotterdam this year, and he lost in the final of Indian Wells in a final set tie break to Djokovic. In Miami 2012 Roger lost in the third round to Roddick and now he has already done better by reaching the fourth round, and he is looking good for a semi-final spot at least. That’s why I say it is too early to tell which version is better, but it won’t be easy to reach the level of consistency of Fed 3.0 again. Of course Roger won a slam and became #1 that year again, and for that you need a lot of consistency.

The early signs are not bad though. I just think it’s great that Roger is playing as well as he is at nearly 33 years of age and giving us another encore if you will. It’s inspiring to see how he reinvents himself by making changes to his equipment, coaching staff, and schedule. The new coach and equipment have made and especially big impact I think. With Edberg there is a certain calm about Roger. They have great chemistry, like they were destined to be a team. As for the racquet you can almost say the same thing. I think the bigger racquet head has definitely improved Roger’s serve and consistency from the ground. I am just excited to see which surprises this next chapter in Roger’s career have in store for us. To get back to the match with De Bakker it was another rock solid serving performance and overall the stats were impressive.

Roger broke in the forth game of the first set in a game which included a terrific forehand passing shot from Roger. In the second set Roger broke in the opening game and at 4-2 he hit another one of those jaw-dropping shots that left the crowd gasping. It came off a full-blooded smash from De Bakker which Roger anticipated to perfection and then just blocked down the line with sublime timing and precision. It was another one of those strokes of genius that will make the scores of Federer highlight videos on Youtube. At 5-3 Roger broke again for good measure to wrap proceedings up. Another very encouraging performance in the slowish conditions and Roger now plays Gasquet who routined Roger’s quarter final opponent in Indian Wells, Anderson, 6-3, 6-4. Gasquet has been good in Miami and definitely is not to be taken lightly, but in Roger’s current form I like his chances.

The head-to-head stands at 11-2 in Roger’s favor. Elsewhere in the draw Dimitrov lost to Nishikori so we won’t have a Federer/Dimitrov quarter final. Dimitrov is the more talented player but Nishikori looks like the better match player at this point, because Dimitrov collapsed at the business end of both sets of the 7-6(1), 7-5 loss. Roger is likely to play Ferrer in the quarters if he beats Gasquet, which would be fitting as Roger will most likely pass Ferrer in the rankings this week. Elsewhere Nadal destroyed Hewitt 6-1, 6-3 and is obviously looking to improve upon Indian Wells. I’m sure he will too and make at least semis here. Then it is up to Stan if he is there to stop Nadal again. Stan needed three sets to defeat Gimeno-Traver though and it is yet to be seen if he can make semis.

Obviously he would like to improve on Indian Wells too. Then Murray looked good in a 6-4, 6-1 win over Lopez, and will now play Tsonga who fought off Baghdatis 7-5 in the third. That is potentially and interesting encounter but I would give Murray the edge. The winner will probably play against Djokovic who plays against Robredo after Djokovic had a walk over in the third round. If Murray finds some good form here he could potentially trouble Djokovic in the quarters which is what I am hoping for. Despite the slow conditions in Miami I am hoping Roger can make at least semis. A final and a semi would have been a pretty satisfying result in North-America, even though you would have loved for Roger to win a title. In the end it is just great to have Roger back healthy and I’m excited to see how this year unfolds.


I was gonna make a post about the video below last week but something came up. There is something just so special and poetic about seeing these two legends hitting with each other. In his playing days I was a big fan of Edberg and seeing him hit with and coach my current favorite it just really cool and I spent more time watching the video than I do watching any highlight reel. Edberg is now 48 but still looks in great shape and still hits a mean ball. That backhand is a thing of beauty and the same goes for those volleys. I love how easy they make it look and the effortless power too. I almost had tears in my eyes watching these two legends and favorites of mine hit together, and I feel like they are almost destined to win another slam for Roger. The partnership feels destined for sure. Excited about the future!

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  1. Hey Ruan,

    Great post as usual! I wonder, though if you’d also be willing to say, “Gasquet has been good in Miami and definitely is not to be taken lightly, but in Roger’s current form I like his chances to win in straights.”


    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure what you mean Joe?

    Joe Reply:

    I’m just joking with you Ruan. These are the words you put in your post; I just added ‘in straights.’

    I’m just trying to get everyone a little pumped for Roger’s next match. And the way he’s been playing this year, that’s completely unnecessary! :-)

    I’ll be delighted if he wins, and I don’t actually care if he does so in straight sets or not!


    Ru-an Reply:

    Oh I missed the ‘in straights’ part. Who knows. Gasquet is playing well and Fed hasn’t dropped a set in a match that he won for a while so it’s not impossible that he could drop a set.

  2. If Ru-an won’t say it, I would, Joe! OK, Roger in straights!! Ha! Great post, Ru-an. It’s been a long time since we Fed fans were able to feel so calm and comfortable. I was just telling Steve in your last post that I was literally tearing my hair out watching Roger last year!! Ha! It’s good to be cautious as you said Roger 4.0 may not be on the same level as 3.0. You can’t beat Father time. However, despite the inevitable, there is something in this Roger 4.0 which is more attractive and appealing. There is so much calm. The confidence is so matured – you don’t sense arrogance/stubbornness anymore; just absolute peace with himself. The hunger is there. He is more humble. His pressers have been outstanding. He is mentally stronger. He is more expressive on court. He is so focused. 2012 was more like a mission; he just wanted to get a slam, beat the no. 1 weeks and win the Olympics. Sort of just getting it over and done with. But this year he is warmer, more heartfelt, yet more efficient and clinical. He is enjoying himself so much on court now but yet he gets the job done with minimum fuss. Roger 4.0 is like a well polished diamond,or gold that has gone through fire. Btw, I hope Baby no. 3 will time his arrival perfectly so that Roger would not miss any slam!! I’m betting it’s gonna be a boy! A REAL Baby Fed; not the Sugar Coated one from Bulgaria or the French Toasted one!!

    Katyani Reply:

    Roger that Veronica :-) Loved the last sentences about the REAL baby Fed !!!
    Rafa just destroyed Istomin and Stan is winning, but with difficulties. Their match would be something awesome. Both of them looking forward to the chance of proving that AO 2014 was not a fluke. Unfortunately Rafa will win the battle, except when Stan just hangs around and won’t give up :-) Go Stan. I am so proud of those two Suisses… Hope Roger goes all the way. He deserves to be world number 3 or beyond that….
    But…. don’t underestimate Andy. I think either Roger or Andy will win Miami 2014 :-) Hopefully ofcourse Roger :-)

    Katyani Reply:

    Ps: Veronica, I think Roger beeing calm and more “humble” has also got a lot to do with Edberg. Roger really respects him and want to let him see that he is doing good and above all, like Roger always says, he is not too old to listen and learn….

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said Veronica. I think Fed has matured after last year’s adversity.

  3. Also thanks so much for the practice vid, Ru-an. I can understand how you almost teared up. Gosh, it’s like beauty/elegance/smooth overload!! I swear Roger and Edberg can’t take court together – the courts would just burst in praise and thanksgiving for the beauty both of them create!! Ha! I don’t really know Edberg but I totally agree, his bh is pure beauty, For me, Edberg is elegance personified; even more so than Roger. I enjoy watching him on the stands watching Roger. Such a classy gentleman and his expressions are just right; not too out there like Uncle Toni or Djoko’s camp and not too poker face like Lendl. Edberg allows himself to smile and show appreciation when Roger makes a great shot. Like you Ru-an, I really hope they win a slam together – it will be “poetic justice” if they do! Excited is the word for this year, Ru-an! It is fitting you repeated this word many times. Boy! Im so excited! There goes that word again! Hehe!!

  4. Good news !

    Kei Nishikori wins the second TB (11-9) in the third set vs. David Ferrer !!!

    He also saved at least 4-5 match points !!!

    This means that his 2008 win in 5 sets at US open vs Ferrer was not a fluke .

    Hope that Roger will win!

    Ru-an Reply:

    It also means Roger is back in the top 4 Rahan.

    Joe Reply:


  5. Damn my age! I would have loved to see Edberg in his prime… just makes me think how lucky I am now to be able to follow Fed and this current era. Hopefully when all is said and done Fedberg will treat us to an exo or two… in my mind I envision an indoor tennis masterclass, now wouldn’t that be something. :-)
    With 3.0 comparisons, he’s doing alright so far! He may surprise us all with his consistency this season, age is but a number! :D
    You’re quite right about Nishikori being a good match player as well: I just watched that tiebreak with Ferrer, I was pretty impressed with him. So with Kei’s brilliant efforts Roger is officially in the top 4 again! Now it’s Gasquet and a tragic case of what could’ve been. We’ll see if he can threat Roger from the off: if he’s playing from the first row of the stands we can all facepalm as it’ll be match over. But even if Richard actually uses his brain, Roger in this form will be too much. Fed in straights.
    Now I was born very premature, 10 weeks early. So I know more than most that there’s a chance the baby might come during Wimbledon! Can you imagine that? Baby Fed + 8th Wimbledon :D I’m not an overly emotional guy but that would be magical.

    Ru-an Reply:

    Objective #1 achieved of getting back into the top 4. Now he can just focus on getting to the semis at least :D

    Joe Reply:

    … and you’ve got to love that “Fed in straights” prediction!


    Katyani Reply:

    Hey guys, now that Roger is officially number 4, is it time to worry about Nishikori??? He is taking out good players left and right… Hope Roger will stop that and take revenge for last year…

    Ru-an Reply:

    I dunno, why don’t you give us a prediction Katyani? ;-)

    Katyani Reply:

    Roger in 2 very very thight sets (maybe 2 TB) or in 3. Nishikori is playing great tennis, but it is time to show him his place :-) Go Roger. Hope he plays him like he played Gasquet :-)

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