Miami Rd 4: Federer Shuts Down Gasquet 6-1, 6-2 to Set Up Nishikori Rematch

For the first time since I can remember my stream was almost 100% stable so for once I could fully enjoy what Fed 4.0 has to offer, and he didn’t disappoint. It was yet another clinical performance. Just total domination from start to finish. Gasquet actually looked good in the opening game and I thought we might see a competitive match. Could Roger keep his clinical form up or would we see a drop in his level for once? The answer is the former. He won the next 7 games breaking the Gasquet serve 3 consecutive times. In the second set Roger broke 2 more times to shut Gasquet down in 49 minutes. I must say it makes quite a difference when you don’t have to deal with the frustration of streams buffering all the time, because I quite enjoyed this one. It also helped that Gasquet is a talented shot maker himself and good to watch.

When I see him play there is a sense of sadness that he hasn’t made the most of his talent. He is just poor in the mental department, or else who knows what heights he could have scaled. He has all the shots. But since he has little heart Roger made short work of him. Despite the short match there were some good shot making and Roger probably enjoys playing against Gasquet. Gasquet falls way behind the base line and Roger has all the time in the world to execute his many weapons. I was impressed with Roger’s defense. He made some great defensive plays and at age 32 he is still moving very well. It’s about health and confidence. Then he hit some very sweet backhand down the line winners as well, which is always a thing of beauty. The match stats are as clean as it gets. The 5/6 break point conversion rate is something you don’t often see from Roger.

He will now play against Nishikori who upset Ferrer 11-9 in a third set tie break. I thought Ferrer would win so all credit to Nishikori for proving me wrong. The result meant that Roger is back in the top 4 where he belongs. As far as I’m concerned objective number one was thus achieved before Roger went on court with Gasquet. The head-to-head with Nishikori is 1-1 with Roger winning the Basel 2011 final with ease, but losing last year in Madrid. So he has some unfinished business with Nishikori which I think he will take care of here. Just as you think Roger’s level may drop for one match he puts in another clinical performance. This is something very encouraging. The more of these performances he can put in the more confident he becomes and more likely he is to continue doing so.

The serve continues to impress

Everything seems to have clicked now. Roger has been building his confidence back up since Cincinnati last year and he is beginning to peak now. The changes he has made is also paying off. Everything is falling into place. I don’t want to look past the next match but I can see him doing better than semis even. I think Roger actually slumped in the final of Indian Wells. There was still something missing, and even though the conditions are less favorable in Miami he could do better this time around, whatever that means. But like I said I don’t want to look past the Nishikori match. I am focused on that match because I want to see Roger set right what went wrong in Madrid last year. As for Djokovic and Murray they both had straight set wins today. Murray easily took care of Tsonga, while Djokovic was decent enough against Robredo.

Those two will face off in the quarters now and I can actually see Murray beat Djokovic. But it will be tight either way. As for Nadal he looked in brutal form as he served Istomin a bread stick and a bagel. He is obviously desperate to win this Masters title which he has never won before. It’s also quite surprising how he has transformed as a player since Indian Wells. He obviously has something to prove. He still has to play Fognini today and I’m sure it will be another slaughter. It’s now up to Raonic, Dolgopolov, Isner, or Berdych to stop Nadal from making the final. Dolgopolov beat Wawrinka today and personally I am not that disappointed with that result. It’s good to see a talent like Dolgo mature and it’s good for tennis. Isner and Berdych is currently on court to decide who will play against Dolgo.

I think Nadal will make the final anyway. I have never been very good with predicting Nadal’s future. For one thing he is unpredictable. Last week I was sure he would slump this year. After seeing what happened in the first two rounds he all of a sudden looks like the killing machine of 2013, so I have no idea what to think anymore. I mean I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he wins Miami. But hopefully he can be stopped. Finally, I saw Roger’s post match presser with Sky and it struck me that Roger has matured. Veronica also said it in a comment on my last post. He looks more calm and like he doesn’t take himself too seriously anymore. In interviews Roger always came across as a bit awkward and on the edge to me. He just seems more sure of himself from the interview that I saw.

The Da Vinci of tennis, with his racquet as his paint brush, and the court as his canvas

I don’t think it’s my imagination either, or Veronica wouldn’t have brought it up. It also coincides with what I have been saying about his improved mental fortitude. Probably the adversity he was facing last year with his back played a role in maturing him. Adversity has a way of making us grow and mature. Personally I have been going through a tough time of late myself and I can also feel a sense of improved maturity and compassion. It probably sounds strange or even silly for me to say so but it is true nonetheless. Is there some cosmic connection? I think all things are connected. Anyway I don’t intend to try and convince anyone or offer proof. I just thought I’d share it because this blog is after all a part of my personal journey and maybe someone else have experienced something similar.

Onward and upwards!


Posted in Uncategorized.


  1. I hope you know we are all wishing you the best in your own comeback Ruan. We know you are struggling with some circumstances and we all hope you’ll get on top of things soon. It would be great if you had a resurgence like Roger’s. Maybe we’d call it Ruan 2.0!

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha cheers Joe. Yeah it’s been testing times but there is light at the end of the tunnel :-)

  2. Speaking as a layman, it’s my opinion that Roger’s shot selection looks better than it has ever been.

    Would you agree Ruan? I know I haven’t been able to see all his matches through the years, in part because my work schedule is and has been very demanding. So maybe his shot selection isn’t as improved as it looks to me.

    But his mental strength is also much better than it’s ever been. Roger looks unshakeable out there! When an adversary makes a great shot, it means nothing to him now. Ok, let’s just play the next point and see if you can do that again – that seems to be his attitude now.

    He may not be quite the athlete that he was at his peak, but I wonder how far these other two attributes can take him, especially since he looks great physically too. He’s moving well and he doesn’t seem to have lost very much in that department!

    I know we’re all careful not to expect too much of Roger at this point, but I’m starting to think he may surprise us all with his results before the year is out.

    I don’t want to ‘jinx’ him – but wouldn’t it be strange if it turned out that the main stumbling block to Roger’s success was his very success? I mean, that he just succeeded so well earlier in his career that he just didn’t have time to change his racquet, and was playing with a tooth pick for so long?

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t know the answer to your first question Joe. When Roger is playing well people always say those kind of things. It may be true, it may not. My streams have been so bad that I haven’t really been able to pay attention to detail. As for his peak he had an air of confidence and invincibility back then. He won’t ever get that back but there is a certain maturity and composure about him now that is very interesting. I don’t look ahead anyway. I just think it’s great the way he is playing now at 32 and I’m just staying in the moment and trying to absorb all of it.

  3. Hi Ruan,
    Hope you are Gud! Stats are pretty good for Roger, great improvement match by match and confidence level has been high. It was clinical performance by Roger to win a match against top 10 in 49 min is gud, these kind of shot saves energy for big matches ahead and no double’s tats so Roger will pretty healthy here, courts are pretty slow as clay but Roger’s plays has been gud in 3 matches faced a single break point i think &BP conversion is gud, UE its k that’s great stats, Roger is back to top 4 another gud show probably title shot will take Roger to Top 3, well thats far, Next up will be Kei ., H2H splillted 1-1 , Hope for gud show from Roger!

  4. “Shuts down Gasquet, Whips De Bakker, Clinically Disposes Karlovic, Rams Down the dog, Goats Past Anderson..!!!” Whew! Ru-an! You will surely soon run out of superlatives to describe the Maestro’s performances!! Just love your headings, Ru-an! Roger is so “making his presence felt”. The stadium was just hushed today; I suspect not so much as there was a lack of fight from Gasquet but that everyone was just silenced by the genius on display out there. That banner, “Shh! genius at work” would be so appropriate for today’s match. It’s like people were afraid to make noise lest they “disturb” the genius at work! And as soon as the genius finished his masterclass, the stadium erupted in deafening approval! It’s never enjoyable to watch a match where one player completely dominates the other. But with Roger, it’s so beautiful to watch him play dominating flawless tennis! His defence is top class, the defensive squash shots, the passing bhdtl, the angles, etc etc, I have a hard time remembering all the shots that I wanna talk about; there were so many; not only in this match but other matches/tournaments as well! I don’t know about you guys, but I am just in AWE of Federer right now! I know it can still disappear in the blink of an eye; who knows the back issue may suddenly appear again or he withdraws into his shell again when he meets Nadal but as far as this moment is concerned, I am just floating on a cloud and enjoying the now, the present. I would prefer he meets Ferrer. Kei is quick and can be dangerous, has a great bhdtl. Roger should win this if he continues to stay sharp. Murray just might edge Djoko although Djoko can still improve. Nadal is looking invincible…again! Gosh, I totally agree with you, Ru-an, you can never know with this guy. But my logic mind tells me that the cycle should be down this year. Maybe he is just holding on to win Miami “at all costs” as he wants a better Masters 1000 record than Roger to help his case for GOAT! On personal level,totally agree with you, Ru-an, that adversity always makes one better and stronger if one responds in the right way. Interesting you talk about connection with Roger. I see it too as you reveal bits and pieces of your personal journey and how you can pick up certain things about Roger. And Roger’s cycles of ups and downs also seem to co-incide or complement your cycles! I see Roger as your “saviour” in many ways. If you had not loved tennis and been a Roger fan, I wonder what and where you would be today! One thing I know for sure. I am SO glad you love tennis and you love Roger and we have this blog!! OK, back to reality – tennis! Haha! Common Captain Wasabi!!

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Veronica, just love and love your comment :-) Now, it is payback time. Kei is playing some good tennis, but Roger will win, as long as he does not underestimate him.
    I have also said before it started that Rafa would maybe make the final, BUT he would not win it. I see Andy as a winner or Roger. Andy looks like he has the monkey off his back and like he wants to prove that he does not really need Lendl to be there to win.
    And Roger, maybe he will not win the title, but maybe he will, because no one expects him to…
    And I love your comment about the crowd somewhat beeing silence so that they would not interrupt his geniusplay. I kind of did also notice that :-)
    Go Roger :-)

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks Veronica I’m just trying to be original and not like everyone else with headings like ‘Federer Defeats Gasquet to Make Indian Wells Quarter Finals’. You will know by now that I hate monotony. As for tennis and this blog I agree that it has saved me. Playing tennis was probably the only thing I ever truly loved, and although I never came close to reaching my potential it was something to hold on to. I don’t get the same enjoyment out of blogging that I did from tennis but I don’t get a same frustration either! Anyway the blog has been something to keep me going as well. I wouldn’t call Roger my savior, but the blog as a whole has definitely helped me. That includes Roger, my own efforts, as well as my readers. I’m just grateful to have this blog as kind of a companion on my personal journey. It’s a gift.

    Jiten Reply:

    Ru-an, whatever you have been through, I am absolutely sure that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel one day. Honesty, hard work and diligence has to pay off in the long run. I reiterate, your blog is not a personal journey for you alone, we have all become a part of it unconsciously. It has been a long and beautiful one; keep up the good work.

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Jiten, your comments are much appreciated.

  5. Miami has been a great tournament so far as regards the Big 4.. each one making their presence felt !

    did anyone read tht Nadal did not lose a point on serve in the 1st set against Fognini – quite federer-esque and a step better !

    i bet Nadal to reach the finals & win it, even if its djoko he is facing…

    i am an ardent fed supporter. However, do not like his chances against a rampaging Nadal, given the slow court.

    Joe Reply:

    Everything you said is true, and I take special notice about the court speed, but a rampaging Federer shouldn’t be taken lightly either. :-)

  6. Hi Ru-an like Roger may the force be with you! I think that Fed is just so happy to be feeling good that it’s just showing up in his tennis and is enjoying his life on and off the court. Hope that his next match is as good. Fognini didn’t bother Nadal too much either off the top of my head can’t think what would bother him, maybe a ‘Sherman Tank’.
    Take care Ru-an and enjoy the tennis.

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Elizabeth. Yeah Nadal will be very hard to stop here. Take care.

  7. Sad but true: take a look at the following remark of a Nadal fan on ATP site:

    “If Nadal does not win Miami this time I do not know when.

    Let´s take a look: IF Djoko wants to win he has to beat Murray, Federer and Nadal.

    If Murray wants to win he has to defeat Djoko, Federer and Nadal.

    If Federer wants to win he has to beat Djoko or Murray and then Nadal.

    If Nadal wants to win, the only thing he has to do is nicely wait for one of those 3 guys who will get to the final after a hard battle.

    So lucky draw for Nadal this time. “

  8. I think Roger is still improving, and I hope he’ll use good strategy against Nadal if they play in Miami. I hope he won’t help Nadal to win by making poor choices during a match.

    I believe that if Roger can serve freely, use bhdtl and others effectively, approach the net wisely, and remain mentally unshakeable, he can make things very difficult for Nadal.

    This may not be his moment to beat Nadal, but I think such a moment will come. I surely hope so.

    Ru-an Reply:

    It may not be his moment to play Nadal either ;-)

    Joe Reply:

    Good point! But I’m still betting on Roger to beat Nishikori – in straights!

    Ru-an Reply:

    That only puts Roger in the semis. And Nadal is still in the quarters. We will see how things work out. If Roger makes semis Djokovic will be incredibly difficult to beat.

    Joe Reply:

    Oh I understood what you were saying Ruan. And of course you are right!

  9. Hi Ru-an, Just sent you a Comment, however, it did not go through….???

    Ru-an Reply:

    Didn’t get anything Dolores. I’m sorry if it got lost. Can you post it again?

    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Ru-an, my first attempt may have been my fault, I may not have clicked properly. Sorry.
    My comment was about that controversial play during the Djoko/Murray match where Djoko’s racket was over the net on Murray’s side when he hit the ball. The point was given to Djoko, I thought it was wrong, what is your opinion on this, should there not be a definite rule on a play of this nature? Sorry about my ignorance on this matter, Ru-an. Also, who is Nadal’s opponent in his semi final?
    Thank You for your time, Ru-an.
    Keeping my fingers crossed that Roger will be in the semi-final to defeat Djoko? My hopes are high, but first he has to win tonights match. Will not be able to see it as it cuts into my beauty sleep time….ha-ha-ha.
    Best to you, Ru-an,

    Dolores Reply:

    Disappointed and a bit saddened with Roger’s loss to Nishi. Looking forward to your blog, Ru-an.

    Jiten Reply:

    So you had to sacrifice your beauty sleep time for this match Dolores! Ha Ha :-) . I have already sacrificed many in the last two tournaments as all Fed’s matches come at pretty odd time in India. But hey, that one is a very small one to give up for our hero.

  10. Pretty disappointed by this outcome . Nishikori has the game to trouble Federer (short, aggressive swings, very solid, bit like Simon, but better). Still I don’t think Federer took this match seriously enough until it was too late. He was up TWICE a break in the 2nd set and donated serve tamely. He did not really try to attack the net very much either. I really wanted him to grab that no.4 spot; I didn’t care much for his chances versus Djokovic.

    I look forward to seeing what Ruan and the others make of this.

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Bharata, great and honest comment. Roger should have taken the two opportunities in the second set, he didn’t. Then he did try to “fight extra hard” back, but maybe Kei had momentum with him. I am sad too, Roger should have won. Didn’t. And to be honest, I don’t want to attack him too much for it. He did try till the end. Hopefully he will learn from this even more…

    Jiten Reply:

    Nishikori took his chances and got them. It was not like he was waiting for Federrors. He won by playing first strike tennis. Of course, the abysmal first serve percentage from Fed did not help much. I saw some glimpses of Fed 2013 in this match where he lost his calm between points. Kei deservedly won the match. Overall, Fed is still in the gaining side from this tournament. Losing early here may be a bless in disguise as he has already played 26 matches in the first three months of the year. As Katyani puts it “On to Davis Cup”.

    Veronica Reply:

    There were glimpses all right, Jiten! But I suppose he got through his early rounds so superbly, he must have been very frustrated and annoyed with himself that things were just not working out as efficiently as the early rounds. He did say that Gasquet’s match was the one where he finally felt good playing. Karlovic and De Bakker sort of didn’t give him much rhythm. Maybe if the earlier opponents have tested him more in rallies, he would have been better prepared. Who knows. But then getting through the early matches efficiently saved him energy and he should have plenty left in the tank; for Kei at least. His serve let him down, maybe due to the conditions, he was little rattled and the match got away from him. As Bharata said, he may have underestimated Kei a little and didn’t attack the net much. Question: does Roger have a plan B if his first serves are not clicking?

    Veronica Reply:

    But it’s funny too, Jiten coz Roger actually had more winners and less unforced errors than Kei. I can’t remember the details of the match coz I was distracted with other things but I remember it was a sloppy game in 2nd set at 6/5 but 3rd set his serve was improving, just maybe inconsistent and ground strokes letting him down, misfits, errors at crucial time? At times they looked like they were playing ping pong, so quick and fast were they hitting to each other! Kei was working Rogers bh and draw him really wide there. Often times it looked like Roger can’t keep up with Kei’s speed and pace. And he took the game to Roger. A deserved win.

    Jiten Reply:

    If I remember correctly, in most of the games where he was broken, he was at least two break points down and that is a quite a tough situation. I think, Nishikori’s first strike tennis surprised him a bit and lack of rallies in the previous matches hurt him. However, I still believe, Fed could have been a bit calculative where he could have simply floated some of the points without going for those shots particularly on the backhand side from awkward positions. I wish, he were more clutch on 4-3 in the second set when he was broken back. In the hindsight, he may have been unconsciously thinking about the Davis Cup tie ahead which is due to begin next Friday. Nevertheless, I am happy about Fed’s performance till date in 2014; he himself seems to be in a buoyant mood. Despite the loss, he is already talking about the European clay circuit. I am sure the pre-Madrid period will do him a lot of good in terms of rest and training. COME ON FED!

    Jiten Reply:

    Oops, my bad! Should be subconsciously, not unconsciously.

    Veronica Reply:

    Agree, Jiten. Yeah I remember now he could have been better in 2nd set when he was broken back. Just a little rattled and impatient, trying to beat Kei at his game and yah, maybe a little surprised by Kei’s game. But we can’t ask for more after such a terrific come back season so far. And it’s actually STILL early days. He has exceeded even his own expectations of how soon he would be back to form. Ppl were predicting he would fall out of top 10 this year! How wrong they were! Common Roger! Onwards and upwards!

  11. You did well Roger. Maybe some things abandoned you, maybe you could have done some things better. But you fought till the very end !!! You wouldn’t give up. Kei had to work for it. No present from you.
    No worries. You came this far on “Slowami”. Also, Kei played really well. Did not look tired after his 3 hour match last night. No worries. You won’t win Miami, neither will Andy. Rooting for Novak or someone else, anyone but Rafa. On to DC :-)

  12. A woeful serving day, seem little sluggish, (too many matches?). Won’t get it done against Kei who is quick and aggressive. Was bossing Roger round the court quite a bit too. Not a surprise because I always feel Kei’s game can bother Roger. He made Roger looked almost slow sometimes. Well done to Kei. But he had to work so hard, isn’t it, to get the win. He served so much better than Roger, was playing high quality tennis and Roger even gifted him back the breaks but still he had to fight hard. It’s never easy to beat Roger unless you are Rafael Nadal of course. At the end of the day, it comes down to the serve. Roger would have won if he had served better. Which just makes you wonder how he beat Djoko in Dubai where his first serve percentage was pretty low. Maybe a case of Djoko still struggling for form, quicker courts and Roger playing really well there. But I don’t feel too disappointed. In a way, I’m glad Roger lost because in this form and looking a little tired now, just won’t get it done against Djoko; so the h2h stays positive with Djoko. Yay! That’s positive thinking for you, folks! Ha! He’s been on a high for quite a stretch now. What goes up must come down! Ha! Don’t worry about no. 4. Still time to get there before FO and Wimby. It’s all good! Rest well Roger and let’s take one step closer to hoisting DC!!

  13. Sublime tennis in the first set, then Roger ran out of steam. Probably what happened in IW final too. Tennis is there, hunger is there, but 32 years old can be a great burden if you go deep in many tournaments. That’s I think his main issue onward, how to cope physically with very fit younger players on high bouncing courts that favor long rallies. For me that’s the only thing that stands between him and more slam glory. At least he got back to no4!

  14. I watched Federer-Nishikori match from middle of the first set to the end of second set. I think Federer was not in a mood to fight with Djokovich and if that went positively for him it would be Nadal. Just too much of work to be done to win the 22nd master’s title. Unless Berdych clinches the Miami title, Federer will return to number four and it is very unlikely that Berdych will win the tournament. In this perspective, I am at peace with Federer’s loss this time. He has avoided a difficult situation of proverbial ” between Scylla and Charybdis”. He had better prepare for Davis cup and so, hopefully,every thing should be going well for him. Now unto Davis Cup

    Veronica Reply:

    Yeah, I think so too, Mridul1, too much work. The courts were like clay and Roger couldn’t quite adjust to the conditions at night. He played well 1st set; but having to work so hard on his own serve just ran out of steam eventually.

  15. So why did I buy Tennis Channel? Maybe to watch Federer play his career out? They show Li Na, Wozniacki, and then it was over. I thought for sure with the amount of days left, and the fact they played the Djoker/Murray quarter, that Federer wouldn’t play till today. Afterall, Tennis Channel had showed pretty much everything, but no. ESPN put it up on their Website, and I didn’t know. They didn’t show an American tournament on TV with the GOAT? WTH. Shame on whoever made that decision. Just unreal. G

    Veronica Reply:

    Haha Gary. That must have been maddening! Fans were all over the net questioning the non show.

  16. Veronica you wrote THE QUESTION:

    “../. does Roger have a plan B if his first serves are not clicking ???”

    I am also very curious if there is an answer ???

    I really don’t understand how he easily “Shuts down Gasquet , Whips De Bakker , Clinically Disposes Karlovic, Rams Down the dog, Goats Past Anderson!!!”
    and then loses to Kei (no. 21) after having better statistics in every department:

    Match Stats

    R. Federer vs. K. Nishikori

    Aces 7 vs. 6
    Double Faults 3 vs. 5
    1st Serve Points Won 70% vs. 65%
    2nd Serve Points Won 49% vs. 49%
    Break Points Saved 7/12 (58%) vs. 5/9 (56%)
    1st Return Points Won 35% vs. 30%
    2nd Return Points Won 51% vs. 51%
    Winners 29 vs.25
    Unforced Errors 39 vs. 42
    Break Points Won 4/9 (44%) vs. 5/12 (42%)
    Net Points Won 63% vs. 50%
    Total Service Points Won 60% vs. 59%
    Total Return Points Won 41% vs. 40%

    Total Points Won 97/196 (49%) 99/196 (51%)

    These numbers show that Roger wanted a rematch with Djoko. It’s clear that what decided the whole match was the 1st Serve: 53% 66%

    In conclusion:
    a disappointing loss, but Roger has good chin and I am sure that he will bounce back.

    Allez Roger !

    I will wait for next Ruan’s post, maybe he will give some answers.

  17. To me it felt that Fed didn’t find the prospect of playing Djokovic and then Nadal in Miami appealing. He was dominating until he broke Nishikori’s serve in the second set and immediately gets broken primarily due to unforced errors. In retrospect, this was for the best.

  18. Hmmm…what to do?? I want Nishikori to win just to show that when Roger lost to him it was for a reason.
    But on the other hand I want Novak to win, because well, who else will stop Rafa from winning??
    So… I am going with Novak. Hoping he beats Nishikori quickly and saves energy and hunger to defeat Rafa in the final…

    rahan Reply:

    Hi Katyani! Your hope has been been fulfilled. Djoko is in the final after 0 minutes :-)

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Rahan, now Berdych has also withdrew. Seriously??? Is Roger one of the only players left who would play no matter what???

  19. I haven’t seen Nadal play during this tournament, but a close win against Raonic might suggest that he’s getting a little more vulnerable himself.

    Would anyone who’s seen Nadal play have any thoughts about his current level?


    Gargantouas Reply:

    Nadal is not in clay season Beast mode but still too good for most players. His unreal topspin isn’t easy to solve.

Leave a Reply