Federer Meets Roddick Again in Australian Open SFs, Nadal v. Verdasco
by Sean Randall | January 28th, 2009, 10:53 pm
  • 38 Comments

Here we go again. It’s Roger Federer v. Andy Roddick, round 18. The Australian Open semifinals. Ding, ding!

Federer of course has dominated Roddick winning 15 of 17 including all six Slam contests, but I hear this time it’s different. Or is it?

In recent meetings each time Roddick’s run into Fed he came into the match with an alleged new wrinkle which would make the difference against the Swiss. More aggression, solid net play, improved backhand, better court positioning, more mono, etc. This time we hear Roddick’s ready to take down Fed because he has…wait for it…LOST WEIGHT!

Puh-lease.

Roddick’s certainly looking slimmer and fitter, and he seems to be moving around the court better, but is that really enough?

I do give Roddick a slim chance against Federer, I always do, because if the American can get on a massive serving roll he can rip through just about anybody. And he did beat Rog in their last meeting, though the health was a question mark for the then-World No. 1 for that encounter, so that should help his confidence level.

Andy’s also been playing well this week, but of concern to me are his results. I already mentioned his easy draw but what’s alarming was his early performance against Novak Djokovic. Yes, Roddick was the fitter guy and he absolutely deserved the victory. But in that first set I thought Roddick played much better than Novak but he still lost the set. Granted the Serb elevated his play in the tiebreak but prior, Roddick really wasn’t making much of an impression on Djokovic’s serve. Not a great sign.

Under the lights, with the roof shut I think should help Federer more than Roddick. Fed lost his only two sets in the daytime but at night he’s been perfect. And the last thing he wants to do is lose to Roddick being this close to Pete’s 14. So I think Fed gets it done tonight pretty comfortably.

Tomorrow we get a pair of Spanish lefties with Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco. Going into the tournament I thought someone would pick off Nadal – namely either Richard Gasquet or Gael Monfils – but those meetings never happened and Rafa successfully returns to the Australian Open semifinals without losing a set for a second straight year.

Nadal owns Verdasco winning all six meetings and 15 of 16 sets. So it’s going to be a big ask for Fernando to follow in the path of past Aussie Cinderella finalists like JW Tsonga, Fernando Gonzalez, Rainer Schuettler, Arnaud Clement, etc, and get to the final. Against just about any other opponent I’d take Verdasco based on that history, but not against his buddy Nadal in this situation.

About the only unfortunate aspect of these SFs are that they are on at 330am ET. Thank God for tape!

As for the women, I still like Serena beating Safina in the final.

And I read a lot of talk about Serena fitness and the roof closure. My thought is first hat unless it’s raining or snowing it’s ridiculous to close the roof once the match has started. If it’s open at the start, leave it open. Simple.

Regarding Serena’s fitness. Sure, she doesn’t look like the fittest cat out there, but she wins, she finishes and she’s plays on a women’s circuit which doesn’t place the same premium on fitness as the men’s game does.

I do agree that Novak should have played at night, but he didn’t. As I sad before that’s bad luck. But it still doesn’t mask the fact that Novak was virtually drained after only on an hour of play. That should be embarrassing to him or to anyone trying to defend a Slam title.


Also Check Out:
Roddick v. Verdasco Highlight Thursday in Montreal
Roddick v. Querrey, Federer, Murray in Action Wednesday
Verdasco, Gulbis Showdown Friday in Barcelona
Roddick, Federer Face First Test Today at US Open
Roddick v. Simon, Nadal v. Monfils Part of Intriguing Third Round in Paris

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38 Comments for Federer Meets Roddick Again in Australian Open SFs, Nadal v. Verdasco

RG Says:

Von:
First and foremost – Congrats on Andy’s win!

To All:
I know the focus is now on the Federer – Roddick match.

But first my 2 cents on Novak’s retirement -

After Novak’s retirement/defeat vs Roddick in the other match, I was still trying to come to terms with it. Hence the late post. I missed the last thread, which heavily criticized Novak.

First – I have to admit that I am a big fan of Novak and greatly admire his game. I also think he thoroughly deserved to be criticized for his fitness and conditioning. But, I was very saddened by the amount of hate/intense dislike seen on the previous thread.

One could see – as early as the 2nd set, that the heat had gotten to him and he just couldn’t overcome this as the match wore on. And HEAT can be a very compounding factor. I have had my share of experience as a long distance runner. Also, as Sean pointed out – had this been a night match he might have had more time to recover.

All this – of course doesn’t take anything away from Andy’s victory – who right from the start had come ready to play. (unlike the slow start at the US Open).

I sincerely hope Novak learns from this. Like Agassi – and now Roddick and Verdasco, he should put a premium on training and conditioning. He should be able to play back-to-back 5 set matches in a Grand Slam.

On another note – I am not a big fan of the US Open scheduling the men’s semi-finals on a Saturday and the Final on Sunday. It gives the players very little time to recover.


Kimmi Says:

Serena play magnificent. I really thought Demantieva will be too tough for her, but Maaan !! You can tell she really wanted it, she picked at the right time…I see her now going all the way. Way to go Serena..


moimoi Says:

the fat smelly arse serena escaped daylight murder when the roof closed and basically handed her the match! just another american screwing the human race AGAIN!


Wade Says:

I hope Serena can win the Aus open and Nadal can do the same on the mens side. I got tickets to the mens final and i’m hoping so much that it will be the top two players.

As for Novak better luck next year pal would of been more manly for you though just to finish the match as a champ who would never quit no matter the situation.

And Roddick whack the shit out of those serves in tonights semi’s your going to need to!


Wade Says:

moimoi im with you there bloody americans just because they can buy everyone out even with a debt of 3 trillion dollars owing to there country. How much debt do you think australia is in- none!


jane Says:

I am disappointed for Dementieva – ever the bridesmaid, never the bride, always getting to the semis, but never going that extra step. Much like Davydenko that way. At least, however, Elena has a gold medal. :-)


jane Says:

RG – I am with you: sad, disappointed, hopeful, all of it. And likewise, full credit to Andy for working hard, being ready and winning. I hope he wins tonight also, even if, or especially because, it’s a long shot! It would be awesome.


RG Says:

Yes Jane – looking forward to the match tonite. Hope your son is doing better!


jane Says:

Thanks RG – he’s better, went to school today and everything.


Ezorra Says:

moimoi…

you’re absolutely sick! Mr. Randall, please do something about this!


mem Says:

Ezorra, if i were you, i wouldn’t even dignify those comments with a response. they are searching for attention! plain and simple ignorance! how sad!


Kimmi Says:

Safina also won. Good for her, hopeful she can follow her brother footsteps. She played much better today too, her forehand was working. Good luck to her but I think Serena will be too tough !


jane Says:

Yes, I am glad for Safina. This is another chance – she’s getting herself into the finals so that’s half the battle. Does this mean whoever wins on the women’s side will be the new number 1?


Kimmi Says:

Yes jane, Winner will be number 1 and runner up will be number 2…Jelena will now be pushed all the way to No 3. Well, she need to toughen up. Need to win Grand slam to be worthy no. 1


jane Says:

Thanks for the quick reply Kimmi.


Milo Says:

God I hate big babe basher ball dominating the scene. Almost as bad as watching Roddick’s atomic amoeba strategy. At least Fed will break out the pastels and brush him aside tonight.


Ezorra Says:

mem, agree with you! BTW, I’m so happy for Nadal win. Hopefully he will successfully go to the final! VAMOS RAFA!!!


margot Says:

Sorry Ezorra, you’re obviously a big Rafa fan, but I really don’t like the way muchomacho plays. “The power on that forehand was awesome. mind boggling incredible blah blah and the topspin on it could’ve knocked the earth off its axis…” Yawn..
Come on Verdasco!


AB Says:

I just think the SF between Andy and Roger is going to provide us a lot more entertainment than their previous meetings. For once I would put my money on roddick to go through ( though my brains say federer is more likely to advance ) . But either way the final would be a cracking affair, provided Rafa goes through ( which he will!)


Ezorra Says:

It’s ok margot. I don’t expect everybody to like him either. However, I’m completely disgusted with those who irrationally talk rubbish about him just because they like somebody else. To me, you can like/dislike whoever you want but at least please be sensible in your judgment.

BTW, how can you like the way Verdasco play but in unison you dislike Nadal’s? To me, their technical aspects like cross-court forehand, backhand and ground stroke are very similar towards each other. In fact, I heard Vijay Amritraj has said in his segment saying that Nadal is going to play with himself tomorrow. It sounds pretty funny but I think its true!


RG Says:

Wow! Federer looks in top form!


Mary Says:

As much as I want to see Roddick win, just ’cause I want to see new faces in the final, Federer is playing kick ass tennis.
I always felt their 2007 AO semifinal match was underrated– Federer played the most amazing match that year.

“In fact, I heard Vijay Amritraj has said in his segment saying that Nadal is going to play with himself tomorrow.”

What now that he has stopped wearing those ridiculous pirate pants, he has now moved from playing with his rear to playing with his front?

Andy chill out dude! ESPN is showing his continuing meltdown over what was a right call during the break.


RG Says:

The way things are going – is it Federer again in straight sets?


Kimmi Says:

roddick is cranking up the serve now…maybe the set will go to tie break


Milo Says:

Roddick has the nuclear arm to trouble Rog. Hold serve and then play on top of the baseline and never back up. Andy should be the “poor man’s Andre Agassi.” Take full advantage of his power and trouble Roger with short bullet points. Just stand in, take balls on the rise and keep points short and without any rhythm or comfort. He also can’t let Roger chip short returns. Win or lose, he has to rip a high risk forehand on the next ball and let Rog know the point will end one way or the other on the next shot.


sam Says:

fed leads 2 sets to nil…………


Al Says:

It just finished. No real contest, the score flatters Andy.
Does anyone think Roddick’s goofs and mini-tantrums are spontaneous? I think they’re calculated to throw his opponent off his rhythm. And it might work too, if there wasn’t such a huge talent disparity between he and Federer.


Milo Says:

Agreed. And by how Roger reacted, you know he felt the same. When it comes to “throwing in the kitchen sink” out of desperation, Brad Gilbert is forever Roddick’s coach. But hey, I’m sure Andy has seen Stepanek get under Roger’s skin to win.


margot Says:

How gobby and irritating was Roddick? He went on and on…..Bad calls happen to everyone. Get over them. I couldn’t wait for him to get whopped.


jane Says:

I am missing all of these matches due to them being in the middle of the night here – drag. (But not chauvinism Giner – just disappointed).

Looks like Fed is going to win the title. Nadal has a shot of course, if he gets past Verdasco. But Rafa usually goes “1 step” at a time, and getting to the final will be that step – just like Wimbledon 2006. I don’t know if I can see him beating Federer’s momentum now. I wonder if Verdasco were to win through if it would be a different story – likely he’d be over-awed by the occasion as many players seem to be when they play their first slam final.

Anyhow, now I can kind of hoping for Fed/Rafa in the final.

BTW, I don’t know why people have to be so judgmental about Roddick. He got the to semis; he’s proven himself here at the AO. Maybe players react differently to certain situations. Maybe crowds or hawkeye cause Federer to get irate or lose his nerve (I’ve seen him downright grumpy in some matches), whereas bad calls do it for Andy. C’est la vie.


Kroll Says:

Sean

“In recent meetings each time Roddick’s run into Fed he came into the match with an alleged new wrinkle which would make the difference against the Swiss.”

Well thats the idea innit? You keep trying till you cant? And thats the right attitude as far as Andy is concerned. So what if it doesn’t work yet.

“Going into the tournament I thought someone would pick off Nadal – namely either Richard Gasquet”

I dont remember that at all Sean or I would told you that it was the worst prediction in the world, even by your standards. The world’s worst bottler beating Rafa in a slam?
Never, not in a million years, No way, Na..ah.

And I am surprised Zvonareva lost, she was so much poorer than her usual standards. She has the game of a No. 1 player (especially among the current crop, except Serena) but she is strangely inconsistent.

And no way Serena is losing the final after her super perfomance against Dementieva


Andrew Miller Says:

Sorry, but the Federer match-up for Roddick is far worse that the match-up with Djokovic. Roddick can bully Djokovic, but Federer RELISHES playing Roddick…and when he loves tennis, Federer relishes playing ANYONE. He loves seeing the biggest weapons in the game. And if he were to have played, say, Tsonga, I think he would have relished that match-up also. And if he gets Rafa in the final…get this…he will ALSO relish that. The question is whether Rafa would like to play Federer at the Aussie Open final. And if he does…we could be in for another treat.


Andrew Miller Says:

That said: I hope this semifinal FUELS Roddick’s resolve rather than chip away at it. Roddick says he wants to put himself into these situations and I say to that attitude…that is it is the best possible one: seeking impossible challenges. That he puts himself in position and aims to do so is admirable, and it’s courageous and it’s bound to fall his way if his health and mind are intact. At this moment, only Federer and Nadal are performing that same task better. So…a huge thanks to Roddick. A semifinal for him is a great result. It’s not the same old conversation, even if it is an identical result. I think he can walk away proud: if he played this way against Federer in previous match-ups in Australia, I think it would have been closer. So if the bar is improvement – I say this is an excellent result for Roddick. I think the match-up clearly is bad for him, and I think he needs encouragement to keep putting himself in contention. How many other top ten players even WANT to face Federer in the semifinals? (probably more and more as Federer’s grip loosens ever so slightly). What I do know is that Roddick, a contemporary in the midst of a changing of the guard, WANTS to be there and PUSHES HIMSELF to get there. That’s more than I can say of many others on tour, however fantastic their skills may be. Not that I want to single anyone out there, but David Nalbandian…are you listening?


Fedfan Says:

Rafa will definitely beat Verdasco, straight sets.

The match up with Federer is intriguing, as Fed said it himself. I don’t thing this will be another wimbledon, 9-7 in the fifth. One of them will be on top of their game, and it will not be that close. Either Fed gets him in 3 sets, or Rafa will get him in 4. No 5 setter this time – because if one of them is really ON, the other will get steam rolled. If both are on, Fed wins. This is a hard court, not clay.

Both won’t be on though.


Giner Says:

“On another note – I am not a big fan of the US Open scheduling the men’s semi-finals on a Saturday and the Final on Sunday. It gives the players very little time to recover.”

I totally agree with that. It makes Saturday the biggest day of tennis and not the Sunday.

Both finalists don’t get a day off at the USO, whereas at the AO, one finalists gets one day of rest, and the other gets two days. You’ll need all that rest for a big final.

jane Says:

“I am disappointed for Dementieva – ever the bridesmaid, never the bride, always getting to the semis, but never going that extra step. Much like Davydenko that way. At least, however, Elena has a gold medal. :-)”

Serena was simply better. Elena played pretty good, except her serve which was very inaccurate. Low first serve % and lots of double faults. It’s less of a liability than it used to be, but not enough against a player like Serena. The way Elena played was good enough to beat pretty much anyone, but Serena was equal to the task, winning the spectacular rallies (which usually ended in an error from Elena). Serena was simply a step up from all her other opponents on this run, and I can only surmise that the Sydney drubbing was an off day for Serena.

I also think Serena’s mother is a very classy supporter.

Elena’s best chance at a Slam would be the French where the Williams sisters typically don’t do that well.

“Yes, I am glad for Safina. This is another chance – she’s getting herself into the finals so that’s half the battle. Does this mean whoever wins on the women’s side will be the new number 1?”

Correct. Winner takes #1. I think the occasion will be too much for Safina, and Serena outclasses. Mentally, Serena is also solid as a rock.

“Well thats the idea innit? You keep trying till you cant? And thats the right attitude as far as Andy is concerned. So what if it doesn’t work yet.”

I don’t have any tips, but I hope he and his coach have been studying other players that do beat Fed consistently (like Murray, Nadal, Simon, etc) to see what they’re doing well, what works, and what he could take from the player that knows how to beat him, and what vulnerabilities Fed has that they’ve managed to exploit.

Roddick isn’t winning sets from Federer when they meet in slams. The Wimbledon 08 final is a good reference. The 07 final showed us some glimpses into Fed’s mind. Hawkeye really rattled him that year. Andy should perhaps challenge more shots and hope to get lucky.

I hope Andy taped that match.

“I dont remember that at all Sean or I would told you that it was the worst prediction in the world, even by your standards. The world’s worst bottler beating Rafa in a slam?
Never, not in a million years, No way, Na..ah.”

You missed it. Gasquet was meant to pick off Gonzo then Nadal and then Simon before losing to Murray. I know, he went on a real limb there. When I asked him to justify his reasons, it basically came down to “I have a good feeling. Yes I know he’s a head case, but this time it will be different. Promise!”


Von Says:

RG:

Sorry, I missed your post. Thanks for your good wishes regarding Andy. I’m proud of him getting to the SFs and playing a pretty good match. He had a slow first set start, which shows he was nervous, but he was able to settle down and play better. Thus far, his connection with Stefanki seems to be producing some positive results.

Sorry about Djoko, but look on the bright side he’s still securely entrenched in the No. 3 spot despite the loss. Murray helped him out by losing early also.


Giner Says:

“Sorry about Djoko, but look on the bright side he’s still securely entrenched in the No. 3 spot despite the loss. Murray helped him out by losing early also.”

I’m not sure if ‘entrenched’ is the right word. He was defending champion and lost a ton of points, meanwhile Murray was a first round casualty in 08 and has now gained some. So Murray losing early did not do anything to ‘help’ Novak out. By making the 4th round, he’s actually gained some ground on Novak.

Djokovic has slid down the rankings, Murray, Federer and Nadal have gone up in rankings points. His position at #3 is less secure than it was two weeks ago where he was within 10-20 points of surpassing Federer. That chance is gone now. Murray is likely to bounce Novak down to #4 by the end of the year.

Novak’s position at No. 3 is anything but secure or entrenched. Soon he will have to defend his Indian Wells and Rome titles.


jane Says:

I mostly agree Giner; I’d say Novak is precariously positioned at #3. “Soon he will have to defend his Indian Wells and Rome titles.” Yes, but he also stands to gain points at places like Miami, Wimbledon, possibly Toronto, and maybe some of the indoor events. So he still has a shot at staying at number 3 by year’s end. Meanwhile Federer and Nadal have a ton of points to defend on grass and clay and hardcourts – basically throughout the rest of the year. Murray will have a lot to defend post-Wimbledon, and I am not sure how good he is on clay.

I tend to agree with something Von wrote earlier – that the rankings in the top ten will revolve and shift a lot this year. That’s why the contest to name the year-end top ten was such an interesting one.

Top story: Serena Williams And Simona Halep Clash For The WTA Finals Title
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ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
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