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!