I wonder how many titles Andy Roddick might have won if it had not been for Federer. Perhaps as many as Federer would have won if it had not been for Nadal? No matter who you are, it seems there is always someone else that has your number and last night’s match at the Sony Ericsson Open proved it again. If Federer can move past Djokovic in the semis, it sets up the possibility of a Federer-Nadal rematch of the Australian final, but I’m equally looking forward to Williams v. Williams in the women’s semis.
Just finished watching the Open. Thought Roger had a chance after coming back in the second, but then he seemed to relax. Nadal is too mentally and physically tough (anyone see the match against Verdaso). Back and forth, trading sets, and then I saw something very unusual. Roger’s edge in big matches has always been his ability to come up with a big serve to get out of trouble or get up in a game. His serve completely deserted him in the fifth. Nadal up a break and it was all over.
Nadal is to be congratulated not just for a big win but for elevating his game to complete at the highest level on all surfaces. Federer’s time is not necessarily over, but on the downslide while Nadal is reaching a peak. Federer will have to go back to the proverbial drawing board and find a way to elevate his play to solve the Nadal problem, a person who is clearly inside his head.
That was a solid win over Roddick. Personally, I thought Roddick had a chance at winning at least a set. Good back-to-back matches for Federer as he awaits the winner of Nadal-Verdasco. While Nadal is the popular choice, Roger will still have to elevate his game one more level in order to tie Sampras’ record, regardless of opponent. It seems he’s up for it mentally, so continued best wishes from this end.
I hope Roddick continues to improve. The change in both physical conditioning and strokes resulted in a solid tournament. Once the changes have a chance to become more second nature, perhaps we will see an American mount a serious challenge for a major.
Just checked the live scores on tennis.com and noticed that Federer must read my blog 🙂 He shook off the poor play from his prior match and must have played very aggressively to not just beat del Potro, but smoke him in straight sets, including back-to-back bagels!
del Potro is no slouch and there is a reason he’s seeded number 8. This seems to be an appropriate response to both a resurgent Roddick (his next opponent) and the seemingly invincible Nadal. Continued hopes on this end that the Fed Express rolls on. Great win Roger!
I had heard Berdych was a highly talented player and was worried about a Federer letdown from the level of his prior match. The first two sets confirmed my worst fears. It was astounding to see Federer forced a yard or two behind the baseline, playing almost bewhildered-looking shots for two full sets.
But, what’s more exciting – a Federer blowout or a Federer comeback? I was literally screaming at the TV for him to play more agressive and come into the net even behind returns. I was about to turn the match off at 3-3, 40-15 on Berdych’s serve. Then, came the agressive backhand and the follow-up into the net. Finally, Federer won that critical game and adjusted his play to quit teeing up the ball into Berdynch’s strike zone.
While physical talent is important, it’s often mentality that makes a champion. Federer proved it in this match. Sometimes a test like this can propel you to greater heights and much greater heights will be needed to reach the level at which Murray and Nadal are competing.
One of the advantages to getting up very early to start the work day (usually 5AM) is that I can watch the Australian Open while eating breakfast, initial email check, etc. Federer v. Safin was viewed as a very challenging match for Roger, considering the previous meeting between the two in the semis. Safin is a very capable player, with a huge serve. With nothing to lose, he is the type of person that can easily eliminate a top seed.
I haven’t seen Roger in this form in quite some time. The serve was business as usual and the forehand was unbelievably explosive. The only backhands he seemed to miss were those where he raised up during the stroke (note to self – pay more attention to that in practice). He was able to elevate his game at critical points and was mentally tough in the tiebreaker. I wish I had recorded the match just to watch that final backhand passing shot again. Another note to self – get TiVO.
As long as he does not relax and lose concentration, this could be a great tournament for him.
After an exit in the semis in Madrid (although no one should feel bad losing to Murray on a very fast court), it was good to see Roger follow up with a win in front of his home crowd at the Swiss Indoors. Although not exactly a major championship field, there were some strong tests for Federer and Nalbandian is no pushover. After surviving a couple stiff early challenges, it was good to see Roger finish so strong, including a commanding performance in the final. Here’s hoping that bodes well for the 2009 season.