No April Foolin’, Federer v. Nadal Friday Night in Miami, Djokovic Has Fish; Predictions?
by Sean Randall | April 1st, 2011, 12:08 am
  • 432 Comments

For the first time in six years the two titans of tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, will wage war on American soil Friday night in the Miami semifinals. With deference to Novak Djokovic who is playing the best tennis of anyone this season, the main attraction in the sport remains Federer v. Nadal and tomorrow night it’s chapter 23.

Earlier today, Federer arrived into the semifinals by way of a retirement from Gilles Simon. The Frenchman aggravated a neck/back injury during a morning warmup, and down 3-0 to Federer, Simon decided he had had enough.

“I felt to this morning during the warmup,” Simon said. “It’s a pain I have sometimes. I had it in Rotterdam one month ago. I couldn’t play either. I have some problem with my back. I know I have to work on it. Still some days, sometimes I just wake up like this and cannot turn my head that much and really feel uncomfortable on the court.

“I tried everything. I mean, anti-inflammatories, hot cream, just trying to feel better. Just after the second forehand, I tried it hit it very hard; I felt it very hard also. I knew I have no chance to play today.”

Interestingly, Federer admitted to just having a similar neck issue. “I had a bad neck last week as well,” Federer said. “It’s just something that’s really hard to play with sometimes.”

While Federer spent about 10 minutes on court, Nadal went two hours longer this evening thanks to a spirited performance by Tomas Berdych. In the end, Nadal saved three break points early in the third to survive 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and set up the much-anticipated Federer-Nadal showdown, the first in the U.S. since 2005 Miami final when Federer first beat Nadal overcoming a two-set deficit.

“t’s always special to play against him and have these matches, very important matches for both of our careers: finals of Roland Garros, finals of Wimbledon, of Australian Open, a lot of finals in Masters 1000s,” Nadal said. “That makes the rivalry very, very special. I don’t know if rivals in the rest of the history of tennis played as many matches as we’ve played.”

Said Federer, “My No. 1 rival to me it seems is Rafa. Doesn’t matter how many more times I’m going to be playing all the other guys. At the moment, we have that history and nobody can take it away from us. That’s why the only thing really missing from us is a US Open match, I guess, and a few other maybe tournaments.”

Head-to-head, Nadal holds the sizable lead 14-8 with the bulk of that margin courtesy of a 10-2 clay advantage.

On hardcourts, Federer the scale tips ever so slightly in Federer’s favor 4-3 which includes that 2005 Miami title and a win last November on the slippery surface at the London Indoor Finals.

But these courts are playing much slower and the windy, heavier conditions to me favor Nadal. Rafa has also never won Miami, an event Federer’s won twice, so there’s the added incentive, though these two hardly need any when they clash.

And for my money Nadal has simply been playing better tennis this year than Roger. Rafa just got past Berdych, a hurdle Federer couldn’t clear in Miami a year ago, plus he beat Del Potro last week and took a set from Djokovic. [corrected]

Federer’s results, while strong, begin to fall apart a little when you look a little closer. The Swiss has yet to beat a Top 10 player on the season (0-3 with all losses to Djokovic) and as we are starting to see Fed’s worst surface as he ages is a slow hardcourt, the same one he’ll be on tomorrow night.

Still, you cannot totally dismiss Federer’s chances Friday. He still has the ability to put something special together tomorrow night like he did in London when he played ultra-aggressive.

Playing in the evening when the wind is not a strong should also help Federer. But I’m picking Nadal here 7-5, 6-4.

“If you win, great; if you lose, that’s okay, too, as long as you tried everything and learned something else from that match after you lost,” Federer added. “But I am planning to win, and that’s why I have to be well prepared.”

As for keys to the match, I think if Nadal serves well he’ll win. For Federer to win he’ll have to serve well, take some chances (like Roddick last year) and be solid and sharp off the ground, especially the backhand.

Also worth noting, Nadal hinted at an injury concern in his arm for which he received treatment during the Berdych win. “I did a little bit of treatment now after the match, and I’m going to do it more tonight when I arrive at the hotel,” he said.

“First time in my life [I felt something like this]… really strange. Especially since the left arm I could do aggressive movements, but the right was really strange. Seriously, I couldn’t understand during the match what happened.”

Oh boy. Let’s hope it’s nothing.

In the earlier semifinal, Mardy Fish has a lot going for him against Djokovic. He’s a South Florida native, he likes the heat, he likes playing in the daytime, he’ll carry the flag of being the best in American tennis, he’s playing great (hasn’t lost a set!) and he’s beaten some very good, powerful players en route to the Final Four. Unfortunately for Fish, he not only has to face someone he’s never beaten in five tries but who also is the hottest player on the planet in Djokovic.

Novak comes in riding a career-best 24-match win streak (22-0 this season) and as they said on TV yesterday the ball must look like a basketball to him. His serve is solid, movement great, his backhand is lethal and it looks like he can hit his forehand wherever he wants to. Cross-court, down-the-line, angled, it doesn’t matter. To say he’s in the “zone” is an understatement.

Fish will come in with no pressure and if it is hot Friday maybe the heat gets to Djokovic who’s played all his matches (I think) in the late evening/night. So I don’t expect it to be a romp and I feel Fish will make it a battle, but one he’ll lose in the end 7-6, 7-5.

ESPN2 will again have live coverage at 1pm and at 7pm. Check your favorite internet site for live streaming. You don’t want to miss out.

For the weekend, I believe CBS will have the women’s final between screamers Maria Sharapova v. Victoria Azarenka Saturday and the men’s final Sunday, both at noon.

FRIDAY MIAMI SCHEDULE

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[14] M Fish (USA) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[8] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) / A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs [3] L Huber (USA) / N Petrova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [3] R Federer (SUI) – ATP
D Hantuchova (SVK) / A Radwanska (POL) vs S Peer (ISR) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA


Also Check Out:
Miami Sony Ericsson Tennis TV Schedule
Rafael Nadal Has Already Begun Training For The French Open; His 2013 Clay Season Schedule
Mardy Fish On His Heart Condition: “I Was Panicking, I Thought I Was Going To Die”
Roddick, Fish, Berdych Face Stern Tests Today in Washington
Djokovic Steps His Game Up While Fish Flounders; Nadal Meets Murray In Miami Showdown

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432 Comments for No April Foolin’, Federer v. Nadal Friday Night in Miami, Djokovic Has Fish; Predictions?

felix Says:

Just a slight correction to your article. Its not true that Federer did not take a set of Djokovic. He did so 2 weeks ago in the finals. Very convincingly as well and had scrambled his chances once more to beat Djokovic when it was 3-2 in the deciding set.

Actually the records even show that Federer had a better Season so far then Nadal, by playing more winning more and loosing less then Nadal… even if its very close. This does not mean he will beat Nadal tonight, as the Spaniard has a way to get to Fed. Federer has this mental time outs at times, that in the past couple of seasons made him very streaky at times… loosing points and winning them alike. His game against Djoker a couple weeks ago is a perfect examples. Here he goes winning point after point and suddenly he collects unforced errors like others stamps.

The biggest question is for me therefore. Can Fed keep his focus and keep his unforced errors to a minimum. something that Nadal has been great in the past.

I love Fed, but think there is a slight edge to Nadal.


jane Says:

^ Yes, in IW semi-finals, Fed got a set.

Good luck to Nole. Hope he can reach another final, but it will be tough tomorrow, I suspect.


Mila Says:

OK Sean, here is my stab at this:

Novak beats Fish 6-2, 6-1

Federer beats Nadal 7-6, 0-1 (Nadal retires)


jane Says:

Sean picked Rafa & Nole, but the last hot, humid Masters tourney was Cincy, and it was Fish vs.Fed in the final, interestingly. So.


Gregoire Gentil Says:

If sound decibel is the only thing that tennis-x can comment about women tennis, that’s pretty thin and disappointing.


andrea Says:

oh no. another nadal injury??? he was either really putting some intense spins on the balls in the last few rallies with berdych, or angling his arm to reduce some pain. in any event, his arm action was looking pretty funky.

mila, nadal retires? that would be astounding and highly unlikely. but, i guess it happened at the AO so we can’t rule it out completely.

could it be that the old man of tennis, roger himself, finally retires from the sport in two years or so never have retired from a match? that would be remarkable.

i’m not betting against fish, but jock itch is on a confidence roll so nothing short of spectacular from fish, or self implosion from novak, will derail him.


jane Says:

The key in the women’s final will be the serve. Azarenka served very strongly versus Vera tonight. Maria’s serve has been derailed a number of time but she has found a way to grind her way through. If she can serve well, she has a good shot as she can return better than Vika. But the serve is a big “if” for Sharapova these days. Here’s an article on the ladies’ final contenders, mainly Sharapova’s road:

http://supersport.com/tennis/wta/news/110331/Sharapova_to_meet_Azarenka_in_Miami_final


Leslie Says:

All I know is when fed and rafa play it is very etertaining and that they as sportsman have taught the next tennis generation loads about sportsmanship!!! Negative to say rafa will retire, not his fault if he has to.. To both of these great stars thank you for always trying your best!!!!!!!!


Mike Says:

Nadal injured? you mean that typical Nadal injury of taking a medical TO brought on by a sudden break of his serve

who is he trying to kid geez

i’m frustrated at Federer thesedays and we’ve all seen this movie before – Fed playing well but undone by Nadal retrieving every ball until Fed bombs one into the front row and i expect the same again tonight zzzzzzzzzz.


dari Says:

I think you could give similar advice to both Maria and vika about keeping down the errors and waiting for the right time to unleash big shots. But neither are tremendous defenders ( vika better than maria) and they might feel like they can put away shots easier than against a wozniacki, for example.
If the better versions of both these two show up Saturday, it will be very exciting, aggressive tennis.
Hope its Maria’s time for a big title!


dari Says:

As for fedal volume 23, not too much to say, fed has a chance hope he takes it, I’m sure Rafa will feel.fine in the shoulder tomorrow.
Vamos Roger


prashant Says:

oh no another rafa injury! till when will the tennis lovers have to tolerate this sham! he should withdraw from the tournament if he is injured. same old gamesmanship, match after match…sad.


Polo Says:

grendel Says(from the other thread):
Polo, looking over my post, I can see it wasn’t clear, my bad.

Hahaha! Grendel, the truth is, I understood you clearly. I was just emphasizing our argument for the other bloggers that Federer should never be counted out from winning anything. When the time comes that he could not contend anymore, he will know and he will stop. Nobody stops while you still enjoy the game and still ranks very high. Number 3 is not bad especially if number 4 is still several steps behind.


Gabsvamos Says:

I think Rafa has been playing some amazing tennis and am so looking forward to seeing Roger bringing out Rafa’s best. I think Rafa will win 7-5, 6-3.

VAMOS RAFA!!!!


queen Says:

Prediction? Rafa in two no doubt about it. 6-4 6-4 Vamossssss!!


Patty Says:

Hope Roger can beat a “healthy” Rafa and that we get a doozie of a match.

As for Fish vs Djokovic…everyone is picking ND but Fish just took out 2 very tough players in Del Potro and Ferrer, so anything is possible.


Kimberly Says:

feds interview on atp site regarding rivalry was very classy.

7-6. 7-6 Rafa.


blank Says:

It’s fluky enough to pick the winner, but to predict the scoreline is just too much. You can make an educated guess and pick the winner based on rank, form, H2H etc but there is no way you can even remotely justify a scoreline prediction. I wish you’d rather say a tight 2 setter or something like that.


queen Says:

Kimberly I also loved the rivarly interview. I was so moved reading it – felt like crying LOL
No metter how many times Fed will play Djoko or Murray or any other player FED-Nadal will always be THE rivarly. love it


Polo Says:

Kimberly, thanks for telling us about the interview. It was really classy and speaks well of the respect Federer has over Nadal. I am sure Nadal feels the same way. Great rivalry. Great for tennis. The memories will be more meaningful with both of them there than it will be with either missing.

Here is the website for those who may be interested:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2011/3/13/Miami-Federer-Nadal-On-Special-Rivalry.aspx


dari Says:

Read the interview in full elsewhere last night. Nice words all around and nice to hear roger admit that it was tough to have such a great competitor like Rafa after a year or two of major win :)
Today I hope for great matches with healthy players. Maybe some results that make people think they’re being April fooled ;)


grendel Says:

It’s like a grand love affair which persists over the years despite the occasional fling – a Djokovic here, a Murray there. Together, they shall fade into the twilight, wrapped in warm memories until neither can quite remember who won what when or where….


Gabsvamos Says:

Grendel, I understand that sentiment so well…when I remember the 2008 Wimby final I still get goosebumps, two gladiators in the worlds most prestigious arena, battling til the very end…


Dory Says:

It’s Fedal day today YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


queen Says:

Grendel,

too funny:) you should be writing romance novels…


Dory Says:

RF: “But I am planning to win” Of course you are my hero Roger!! Go win it!! I’m so emotional today. Two of my favorite players can make it to the final and of course the dream rivalry with Nadal. What fun would it be without Fedal?


Ben Pronin Says:

“After diligent research, far beyond the call of duty, the ATP World Tour determined that this is the 18th time the big three have landed in the same semifinals. For the record, Nadal has won the most titles in those events (six), but five of them came on clay. Federer has five and Djokovic four.”

This absolutely blows my mind.


andrea Says:

crazy that’s its been 6 years since they have played in the US. this is better than the 2010 US Open final, which everyone was hoping for. i like the semi final vibe for a change.

i hope nadal’s arm is ok so he can play without consequence.


queen Says:

Does anybody think Fed wasn’t challenged enough in this tournament? I mean he only played Stepanek and Monaco. Simon does not even count.
He had the easiest entry to this semi than enybody else. I do not think he can hurt Nadal.


Gabsvamos Says:

I agree with you Queen, Fed hasn’t had any challenges and also hasn’t beaten a top ten player this year. His confidence is a tad hollow, methink…


margot Says:

breaking news: according to MW Barry Cowan is set to coach Andy!
Barry who??? Oh right Sampras……


margot Says:

April fool anyone…;)


queen Says:

Well Gabsvamos, the confidence part I am not so sure about. FED is usually overconfident no matter if he loses or wins but that’s just part of his personality ;P


jane Says:

Barry Cowan: I don’t know of him but i read the blurb at Murray’s World. A new coach is good.


dari Says:

Hmmm, so fed hasn’t beaten a top ten, but the only one he has played is novak. I get the argument that he needs to flesh out his confidence. what better way than against the #1?


dari Says:

Do I know Barry cowan as a commentator?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Is it OK to put my kids to bed early so I don’t have to read stories during the match??


dari Says:

Just read a little.about it, good for andYM. Vamos to him.
The guy sounds like a guru. Now we wait and see


tennisfansince76 Says:

re: Tennis Vagabond hell yeah! sedate them if you have to.


dari Says:

Tambien, feliz cumpleanos to Miroslava Vavrinec Federer, aka MIRKA !


skeezerweezer Says:

Just heard Rafa has pulled out due to a shoulder injury……bummer


margot Says:

dari, sorry it’s an april fool!


margot Says:

skeeze, another one…april fool i mean….


Naresh Says:

The match between Monaco & Federer was of a pretty high level, with both hitting lots of winners.. I remember the commentators mentioning that most of the points were being won instead of lost. Monaco is not a top 10 for sure, but he played at a much higher level in that match.. guess Federer brings out the best in em’!


skeezerweezer Says:

ok margot you are good I will get u later though…watch out ;)


dari Says:

fish and novak begin- good luck!


margot Says:

skeeze, only cos I almost fell for Cowan jape ;)


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic looks tired.


Dory Says:

That Fish forehand Nole better be careful.


dari Says:

What? Everybody is in on this cause I just looked up news…
Oh, I Google news’d it and tracing back the source it is Murray world. Gullible, always, even on April 1.
Skeeze- not funny!


Dory Says:

Novak not playing very aggressive early on today.


Ben Pronin Says:

You’re just not a grand slam champion if you’re not saving break points with a flurry of aces.


margot Says:

Shies look threatening, expect our Miami gal is at work or could give forecast. Commentators mentioning conditions not good for nole :(


margot Says:

Skies even!


Dory Says:

WTF rain always coming when big matches are there.


jane Says:

Nole not playing great to being, whereas Mardy is sharp. But now, rain. Might be a lot of stopping/starting by the looks of the weather.


jane Says:

margot, I wondered about the headphones and the “psychological” approach” to the game. ;)


margot Says:

uh oh….Fish playing well, isn’t he? Needs to get to the net and not swap baseline shots with Nole or he will lose……


margot Says:

jane :) apparently Judy tweeted guy on MW who wrote article. Don’t know if u read it but it said Andy wasn’t happy with choice but Judy wanted Cowan so that was that! Teehee.


dari Says:

Rain :(
Geeze, should have known with the shoe lace noose.


margot Says:

dari: :)


madmax Says:

queen Says:
Does anybody think Fed wasn’t challenged enough in this tournament? I mean he only played Stepanek and Monaco. Simon does not even count.
He had the easiest entry to this semi than enybody else. I do not think he can hurt Nadal.

April 1st, 2011 at 11:29 am

queen, dont you think that things have a way of evening themselves out? rafa was the same, I think it was in Australia this year? or it could have been tournament after that? It was this year. He didnt play a top 90 opponent until he reached the final against – novak. Plus he had a walkover/retirement – so who is to say that nadal hasnt had it easy. He has. Secondly, Federer had little rest in the toronto final last year – he had a few hours rest and went to play against murray – and lost.

nadal played dogol who had played tsonga, 5 hours previous, then had to go and play rafa – who had 21 hours rest – so come on. Be fair.

It all equalises over the year.

Stepanek, a former top 20 player and monaco, a top 30 player – and monaco was really aggressive.

I always feel that it’s better for roger to be tested earlier on in a tournament so that he doesn’t become complacent.

I can’t see him being complacent against rafa, I really can’t. I just hope he can beat him and remembers what a genius player he is.


madmax Says:

margot, i’m sure you know this, but sky are going to announce andy murray’s new coach in minutes. I dont think it’s an april fool (which strictly would have ended at 12 noon, today).

Who do you think it could be?


stu Says:

Court is being dried? They should be back on soon…
Ajde Novak!


johhny Says:

yep, novak looks tired/bored. fish may be able to stop him, no shame in that.


Kimberly Says:

hi all, absolutely cannot score tix for tonights match without mortgaging my house!

However, I did score 2 box seats front row sideline for womens final from a client who felt bad about rejecting my request for tonight, but said no waaaaaay. Who to bring? Kaiser, my older son, a friend,relative…hmmmmmm


stu Says:

re: Ben’s statistic at 10:56 am,

I wonder how many of those wins went in favor of the one who _didn’t_ meet one of the other 2 in the semis….


Kimberly Says:

rafa was the same, I think it was in Australia this year? or it could have been tournament after that? It was this year. He didnt play a top 90 opponent until he reached the final against – novak.

_______________________________________

he did play delpo and karlovic, who were not top 90 per se, but de facto top 30 and 20 opponents.

However, I can’t complain. Rafa has been on the receiving end of a lot of cupcake draws. This tournament has not been one of them.

Both Fed and Djoko actually had difficult draws but their seeded opponents crashed and burned so they ended up with more favorable matches.Arguably Novak and Fed had it harder with the defending Champ Roddick and Murray on the other quarter.


madmax Says:

pete bodo

Earlier today, I walked out to our press box halfway up the stadium here, where Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim had been watching Federer practice. “Did you see any of this?” he asked.

No, I confessed. Jon went on to describe how Federer can “make the ball talk.” How he simply has a degree of feel and facility that nobody, not even Nadal, can match. We all know that to be true, but it’s nice to reaffirm it now and then with an experience like that. It’s always good to have a refresher course in genius, because we grow too accustomed to watching Federer perform under stress. It’s like reading so much Rilke that you forget Wordsworth ever existed.

Under match conditions, practical realities force even the most uninhibited and creative of players to rein it in a bit, to play the percentages and distill talent down to the concentrated essence demanded by what remains the overriding mandate in tennis: to win points, games, sets, matches—as quickly, easily and safely as you can.

Still, you can bet we’ll see some of that archingly pretty tennis that TMF conjures up, even when he’s impersonating a working stiff just trying to get the job done. The men have no secrets dividing them, no reason to turn away and whisper into the telephone if either of them is within hearing range. If there’s such a thing as a comfortable rivalry lacking petty jealousies, resentments, or phony pleasantries delivered through pursed lips and clenched teeth, this is it. If you had told that callow youth whom Federer described earlier, the one who thought he would rule the world and fly circles round the sun, that a rivalry could be so enriching, he probably wouldn’t have understood.

Both men have a right to be sick and tired of all the punditry, armchair psychology, and Monday morning quarterbacking that invariably surrounds their meetings, their history. I’m not sure how Nadal feels about that, but this is what Federer said about the process, when he was asked if we make too much of the rivalry, or are too quick to try to create new or different ones.

“Yeah, I think it’s understandable you talk about rivalries, and especially you have such a big one going, it’s clear that you address the next big player who’s playing so well at the moment, which is Novak. What we know is that it moves very quickly, in terms of how the press reacts to results and losses and wins and so forth, ranking swaps. So that’s just part of the game. But at the end, I think the players, they look more in the long‑term. You can’t be too rattled about quick news.

“At the end, I think the press knows that as well. At the same time, we have to come up with a story at the very moment. That’s completely understandable. It’s fine. I also like good headlines for tennis. I don’t want them to be boring and always the same. It’s all fine.”

It’s only natural that Federer would like good headlines. He’s made enough of them, and tomorrow night, with a little help from his career rival, he’ll surely make one more.

http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2011/03/ti-1.html


Dory Says:

Brilliant hold by Novak.


Ben Pronin Says:

The point isn’t that Federer gets easy draws and Nadal gets easy draws and things balance out, or whatever. The point is that, at this one particular event, Federer hasn’t been tested as thoroughly as he could have been and that can hurt him against Nadal. And I completely agree with this because I’ve been saying it for years; Federer has an easy tournament then runs into Nadal, who’s relentless, and is a little overwhelmed because he’s not used to being pushed so hard. However, now that he’s having a tougher time recovering, yesterday’s result could’ve been for the better. The question is which Federer is better, a fresh one or a battle-tested one. I guess we’ll find out somewhat tonight.


madmax Says:

Kimberley,

this is what i was saying and you and I had a discussion about this a while ago.

Over a season, you know as well as I that matches containing retirements/walkovers can sometimes be gifts and not in others. All players have benefited from this at one time or another. It was rafa last time – and it was reported that he had not faced a serious contender last tournament until the final. That’s a fact.

I would not say that delpo is de facto 30 right now. He is certainly better than his outside 100 (initial) ranking, and I think now he has moved to 45. We all know that but he is lacking match practice. He’ll be back to top 5 soon enough.

Am certain that fed was not happy about not finishing the match as he always gives a wave to the camera at the end of a match after signing it. There was no smile from him last night. It was obvious how he was feeling.


dari Says:

We’ve got tennis!
Mardy is looking good today!
Novak not as Sharp.
That women’s final is still a.major score, kimberly!


stu Says:

wow Fish is playing well. underestimated slightly by Nole maybe? he didn’t expect to see that dropshot come back…


madmax Says:

The point is that, at this one particular event, Federer hasn’t been tested as thoroughly as he could have been and that can hurt him against Nadal. And I completely agree with this because I’ve been saying it for years.

your opinion Ben.

Let’s take the previous tournament shall we? where federer WAS tested from the get go. and reached the SF’s.

Let’s take the WTF shall we? Where federer played all the top 5 players one after the other and was well battle hardened, not having lost a set and then went on to lose a set to rafa but ultimately beat him.

Short memory Ben.

This tournament. You could say he was tested by Monaco. Went to a tie breaker and Monaco is no slouch. At all.


stu Says:

And Nole has not figured out his heat issues. Feels like 85 deg F in Miami, with 66% humidity…


Dory Says:

DjokoBEST


stu Says:

Nole the wall gets the break…


jane Says:

Kimberly, congrats on the women’s final score. :] For your sake I really hope Sharapova wins. Bring earplugs, ;) just kidding.

Good job Nole – now hold please.


Duro Says:

Oh boy, I love him!


dari Says:

Where is Dory? Maybe he was right about fish and long rallies…


Dory Says:

I’m here only. I made that comment on some long-term observation of Fish’s game. :)


Ben Pronin Says:

But Monaco isn’t at the same level mentally as Nadal and Djokovic.

Federer was tested maybe tennis-wise but not so much in the mental department. Which is kind of what happened in Indian Wells. Yeah Andreev and Harrison pushed him, but they’re still far from taking Fed out. Djokovic, however, knows he can beat Fed and isn’t gonna go away in the big moments.

And as for WTF, that just furthers my hypothesis. He played and beat the other 4 top 5 players. I’d say playing anyone in the top 10, especially 5 of them, is enough to battle-test anyone. So when he did face Nadal and began to be pushed, he wasn’t shocked, he knew it would happen and he was well prepared after the week he had. He also had a day off, so he was both fresh and battle-tested.

Like I said, we’ll see what’s more important for Fed nowadays, the battle or the rest.


Duro Says:

Dari, Dory, Duro, ha ha ha…


stu Says:

let’s start baking for the next set, Nole, GO!


stu Says:

why are we discussing Fed when there’s such a great match on that he isn’t playing?


jane Says:

Easy hold by Fish there – that’s some serving. Nole not getting enough firsts today, imo. Could use some easy points. Please hold Nole. (closing eyes, fingers crossed, cringing)


Dory Says:

Novak looking way too less-energetic today. Mentally tired or physically?


Ben Pronin Says:

Because Fedal is huge.

Funny, though, Brad Gilbert tweeted that rain delays would help Fish but looks like the opposite is true.

Also, I think Djokovic is on his way to revolutionizing the return game. Or at least bringing it back to the way players returned in the 90s. Back then, the returner looked to actually hit winners or at least unreturnables on the return. Agassi was obviously best at this but even guys like Sampras employed a similar strategy. But then Roddick came along and began serving bigger than ever and other players followed so hitting really effective returns became nearly impossible. So Federer answered this by consistently getting the ball and play and working the point from there. So everyone followed this strategy and worked on getting the ball back. And now you have Djokovic who’s always trying to hit the baseline when he’s returning and, assuming he maintains his level, I believe the players will trend towards this strategy.


Ben Pronin Says:

Anyone else notice how pissed off Djokovic is after that point? Even though he won it?


Dory Says:

True that. Until Djokovic arrived, I regarded RF and Agassi as two of the best-ever returners but lately RF’s return game against monster servers has been a little bit down, Djokovic on the other hand. He’s the best returner ever.


Ben Pronin Says:

Similar to the Anderson match, Fish is maybe playing the better game, but Djokovic too confident. I think it’s safe to say he’s at Federer/Nadal level of mentality where he expects to win all break points, his and his opponents.


dari Says:

Novak refusing to lose in games with bp’s for or against him. Chances just erased- mardy’s giving some away as well, but novak isn’t missing!


margot Says:

Wheee first set to Nole! But oh my word Fish squandered those last game beak back points.


Dory Says:

THANKFULLY he takes the set. I was beginning to get worried on break point.


NELTA Says:

The stats say Djoko saved 3/3 break points in the 1st set. I thought he saved at least 5/5. Hmmm


Ben Pronin Says:

Even if Djokovic loses today or tomorrow, I honestly wanna put a lot of money on him not getting broken even once. I mean it’s really quite unbelievable.


margot Says:

madmax: re Andy, announcement , 4 real ;) meant to be any minute and I have NO IDEA:) but know who I’d like….Agassi or Cahill, but no chance I fear :(


dari Says:

That’s weird, there were definitely two 15-40 games, so that’s four minimum…
I want three sets, c’Mon, mardy!


Dory Says:

So many missed opportunities by Fish.


Ben Pronin Says:

Fish is usually good at approaching, but against Djokovic his approaches seem Roddick-like.


margot Says:

Fish looks as if he’s unravelling now.


Ben Pronin Says:

Commentators just mentioned Novak is 14/14 saving break points this tournament.


jane Says:

Nole snuck out that first set, imo; let’s see how the rest goes. He starts the second with a break – good job! Djoko needs to get first serves in a little more consistently. No doubting the quality of his returns; they are stellar, superb, smashing.


dari Says:

Is this something you can watch on tv, margot, max? you’ll fill us in? Isn’t that weird to hold a press conference for coach change ? And on April fools?


Ben Pronin Says:

I actually think Novak is serving pretty well in this match. 67% first serves in, 4 aces, 0 doubles. Could improve the 77% first serve points won, though.


Dory Says:

Nole’s fatigued body language is encouraging Fish probably.


andrea Says:

c’mon fish…step up to the plate.


margot Says:

dari: am wondering at the timing myself..maybe Andy’s humour. Bet they laughed at item on MW.


jane Says:

Maybe that’s what it is Ben. It seems like on the bps, there were a lot of seconds, which makes it extra tense. Anyhow, one break isn’t a lot. And Mardy has pushed in a lot of Nole’s service games. So, we’ll see.


Ben Pronin Says:

Novak playing a little better off the ground this set. Seems to be a trend for him. Everyone is gunning for him so they come out guns blazin in the first set and Novak takes some time to adjust. He wins the set anyway and then relaxes in the second and plays even better.


Dory Says:

Now that’s what I call demolition by strong return game!


jane Says:

Yep, Nole’s returns are TOO good.


Daniel Says:

Wow, by the looks of it He will come to the final with less than 20 games lost in 5 matches, remarkable!!


madmax Says:

stu Says:
why are we discussing Fed when there’s such a great match on that he isn’t playing?

April 1st, 2011 at 2:48 pm

because it was brought up stu by queen way back. that’s why. read then you’ll understand why.


Ben Pronin Says:

The returns are putting plenty of pressure on Fish, but off the ground he’s lost. This match has been fairly short and we’ve seen Fish try various tactics: rallying, going for broke, coming in, mixing up the speeds and spins on the serve. Nothing has really worked so far.


margot Says:

Fish’s game only works when his serve is firing and he can rush to the net, a bit like Llodra and the game these days ain’t played like that any more.


madmax Says:

oh stu, plenty of times you talk about murray when a fed match is on.

novak seems to have got it tied up, though he is tired and will relish finishing earlier.

can fish do something with his chances?

hi duro.


stu Says:

Rafa-like on break points..


madmax Says:

dari Says:
Is this something you can watch on tv, margot, max? you’ll fill us in? Isn’t that weird to hold a press conference for coach change ? And on April fools?

April 1st, 2011 at 3:07 pm

dari,

yes – lots of chat in the rain break. And not an April fool as this finishes on the same day at 12.30, so can’t imagine they wouldn’t know this.

Perhaps it is Andy’s humour? who knows? If anyone will know, it’ll be Margot.


madmax Says:

Fish has played remarkably well. I think that he has played some great rallies, but novak is just scary good right now. he really is.


Daniel Says:

Djoko will beat Nadal on a clay match this year! You heard here first! :)


dari Says:

Was just thinking that stu. New king of break point erasure!


Ben Pronin Says:

If anyone was doubting the credibility of Djokovic’s form, hopefully they’re more convinced now. Fish has been playing great tennis this week and came out firing today and the score still looks like a routine win.


Daniel Says:

Djoko is sublime!


jane Says:

Love the lovely winning Nole!! Way to go Djoko! :)))))))

Fish very close to breaking into the top ten, his goal. I hope he gets it.


Dory Says:

Hopefully he’ll be back to super energetic form in the final or the winner of Fedal will eat him.


Daniel Says:

Damm, He only lost 18 games in 5 matches, that is a 3,6 games lost avarage! Unfreakingbeliavable.

I am a Fed fan first, but always enjoy watching greatness, and right now Djoko is… no words!


Duro Says:

Hi, Maxi!

Butterflies in your stomach prior to Fed’s match?


andrea Says:

another fine day for american men’s tennis. oh, by the way, do you know that mardy fish is now the #1 men’s player for the US? that should make you feel better…


madmax Says:

Is the final on Sunday? It should be if fedal are playing at midnight.

The result does not do mardy justice. he played well, but was no match for novak today.

He’s just too quick right now.


stu Says:

Fish played well today. Wouldn’t have expected this score at the start of the match for sure.


Duro Says:

Daniel, no, we didn’t heard it here first. You said it couple of days ago, as well :-). Thanks for that.


Duro Says:

sorry, hear, not heard…


margot Says:

Well played Nole, a bit of a walk in the park in the end!
Doubt if I’ll be around for next one, so I hope u all enjoy :)


Ben Pronin Says:

I like that response from Djokovic: “Who wouldn’t watch Federer and Nadal”


dari Says:

Sorry mardy gave up many chances, novak gave up on none. Serb stays Superb.
“Who wouldn’t be watching federer and nadal” says novak when BG asks if he is watching tonight!
Vamos, Clinical Swiss!
So April fools only counts in the morning?


madmax Says:

Duro! I feel fine. I always love fed and rafa matches. Just waiting for rick and co to join and do their usual rock dj spins! They are so entertaining!

Fed fans are used to a lot from roge right now. Anything is possible.

Federer will always be our champion. If he is to beat rafa, then I hope it’s in straight sets – though with these two, you know it’ll be difficult – if roge can serve well and not throw away any break points – then that will be great preparation.

Duro, I have never seen novak so confident, even in his English. He is just so confident right now. He’s just said “I’ll take anything right now”. He is confident and super for him.

Come on Roger!

It’s always tense duro. You know that.


Dory Says:

They don’t show the interview after the matches in any of the ATP events on TV. :( At least not in the feed I get to watch.


madmax Says:

unconfirmed reports that it’s ROSS HUTCHINS who is to coach andy murray.

Margot? Who is Ross Hutchins?


jane Says:

I know Dory – mad about that. I always like Nole’s interviews.


madmax Says:

this is what murray just tweeted:

Ross hutchins will be my new coach alongside dani starting in barcelona! Can’t wait to get startedd, full statement on personal website
half a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® .7pm uk time, 2pm miami time
about 4 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® .Will be announcing my coaching decision at 2pm today, statement will be released on my website thanks


madmax Says:

dory/jane, they showed novak’s interview here – he looked very relaxed, said that he felt he got a bit of a helping hand from the rain, but that the match was a tough one.

buckland asked if he thought rafa was the greatest, novak said he was not going to worry about who was going to win tonight but that he was going to rest up watching it.

nice interview with a very confident novak.


jane Says:

Thanks for the info/tweet on Murray madmax. I am going to look up Hutchins, now.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Amazing. What a run for Nole, have to feel good for him.
The way he’s running through guys, I wondered if he might be on-track for Rafa’s record of fewest lost games at a Masters, which he set last year in Monte Carlo.
No! After the semis Nole has lost 18 games. Rafa lost just 14 including in the finals! HOLY DOMINATRIX!
What Novak is doing is amazing, and sets up two legendary matches in the history of men’s tennis in a row!
Can’t wait for tonight, can’t wait for Sunday.


dari Says:

And then Murray tweets this :
@andy_murray Felt like I needed another yes man
Ross doesn’t play anymore?


Dory Says:

“Asked if he thought Rafa was the greatest”…
Nole’s said about Federer being the greatest as well in the past, not just Nadal.

Btw, worth seeing: http://sports.yahoo.com/tennis/blog/busted_racquet/post/The-18-best-pictures-of-Rafael-Nadal-and-Roger-F


dari Says:

Gotta be a joke


dari Says:

Haha Dory, nice pics what a bromance!


jane Says:

^ Yep another joke re: Murray. Has to be – Hutchins is only 26 and turned pro in 2002. He’s a doubles player. ; ) Murray really having a go today. lol.


madmax Says:

bit silly jane if that’s his game. shows he isn’t in serious mode, when really i think he needs to be.

The thing is, a potential new coach was going to be announced 2 days ago…?

okay, moving on.

Roger just needs to do 2 things to win against Rafa:

1. Serve like we know he can. If his 1st serve % is above 60 Rafa is in trouble. Though Roger can serve much higher than this.

2. Return more aggressively. WHEN he does those 2 things tonight against Rafa it’ll be a straight sets win.

In other words, if he plays the way that he did at the WTF on the miami court, Roger HAS to win!

I’m going to enjoy the match, come what may. Federer IS enjoying his tennis right now, he ISN’T the favourite so no pressure then! All bets are against him.

Come on Federer!


grendel Says:

Daniel – some time ago, margot suggested Nadal should watch out at RG, cos of Djokovic, and I supported her on this. I am not myself a Djokovic man, I can see how good he is, but his style leaves me cold. I certainly think he is a real threat to Nadal at RG. Only one other player is. Bet you can’t guess who.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Those pictures are AMAZING! Bromance- very apt. They are like Achilles and that dead guy…
Is that a secret handshake??


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I imagine those pictures as a film montage with “Something tells me I’m into something good” by Herman and the Hermits playing.


Ben Pronin Says:

“All bets are against him.”

I bet on him :D


dari Says:

Awww, TV that’s a nice image- patroclus is it?


jane Says:

I like the Wimbledon final one, in 2006, when Fed’s in his suit jacket with his trophy, and Nadal has that great long hair, and they are taking their laps, but they reached down and gave each other a “low five” – thought that was a nice moment then and that picture just reminds me.


madmax Says:

yeah right ben. sure you do.

I’m sure there will be more post mortems from you as is your want.

you’ll have your barmy army soon ready to join you.


madmax Says:

Am sure federer will be inspired tonight!

It’s Mirka’s birthday after all!

Come on Margot, what’s the news on Murray?


dari Says:

You guys are getting me really emo with fedal right now. Now I’m thinking about roger kids and Rafa future kids being buds and playing tennis- BEAT HIM ROGER!


jane Says:

Fish on Nole: “”He’s not losing games. He’s crushing us,” “He’s so confident and he doesn’t give you much out there at all. When he does, he seems to erase it pretty well.”"


jane Says:

And more… “”He’s moving better than anyone right now, no doubt about it, on a hard court,” Fish said. “It’s his playground right now.” But he correctly added “”I didn’t win any of the big points,” “None of them. I left a lot shots out there today. That’s what’s disappointing.”


mat4 Says:

It seems that Barry Cowan will be the new AM’s coach.


Fritz Says:

To Mila @1:03 am, predicting 6-2, 6-1 for Novak.

Wow girl, you almost got it right; let’s hope you’re correct with Federer’s win too!!!


stu Says:

I hope I get to say I-told-you-so, jane :).
stu Says:

Nole will only lose a couple of hundred points if he loses tomorrow, jane. Not the end of the world, and easy to make up for when he wins the IW-Miami double :)

February 25th, 2011 at 10:30 am

jane Says:

stu, I do appreciate you optimism. Gets me out of Eeyore mode. But the IW-Miami double is a big ask! ;)

February 25th, 2011 at 10:34 am

Highly unlikely tho…


jane Says:

stu, lol, ^ I will gladly hear it; in fact, I hope to hear it. Actually, I want to hear it. No, I mean, never before have I ever demanded that I definitely be told “I told you so”.

But I am now. Please stu, say it, scream it, yell it from the rooftops. ;)


Kimmi Says:

congrats to djoko! amazing how he is been demolishing everybody. fish had no chance today! so much for thinking fish will give djoko trouble grendel :)

Time for me to leave..go somewhere..anywhere! will not watch a fedal.

I wish this was showing on TV, so i can watch the replay IF *big if* federer wins…

I cant see anything on schedule right now :)


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax idk what you’re talking about. I have pending bets with 2 of my cousins and while I do think Nadal is slightly favored, Im gonna root for Federer regardless and thus I’m betting on him to win.


jane Says:

Hmmm…in his interview Nole said he is feeling physically tired but mentally motivated, the the Miami win is still, I think stu, a “big ask”. But you never know. I almost think Nole should skip Monte Carlo, play Serbia and then go for it in the two clay masters. He missed Madrid last year due to illness so he could gain a lot there. But he could use a rest, imo.


Dory Says:

Had a good 3 1/2 hours sleep. It’s 4:15 AM in IND. :P Didn’t know it was Mirka’s birthday today madmax. :)


Kimo Says:

OK. Roger vs. Rafa. Here we go.


Fritz Says:

Why would Novak skip MC when he is on a verge of entering history books with his streak?
I don’t think he is that stupid!
In addition, doesn’t he live in MC? An extra reason to play there.

BTW, has anyone noticed the similarity between Novak Djokovic and Charlie Sheen – WINNING DUH…


jane Says:

Fritz, I said why – because I think he can do great at the other 2 masters on clay if he has a rest, because he said in his interview he’s “physically” tired. But yeah, he does live there, wasn’t thinking about that, so it is probably a good idea to play on. Charlie Sheen, btw, is not winning; he’s INSANE!


jane Says:

BTW, the streaming I have on is going through the history of Fedal… could be a while before they start. ;)


Dory Says:

Monte Carlo starts on 11th so 10 days is good rest isn’t it?


stu Says:

His “physical” tiredness is also mental IMO…if that makes any sense at all…he has played as many, or fewer matches than the rest, so he should have enough left in the tank..but he “thinks” he’s tired coz it seems as if he’s been playing and winning for so long…


dari Says:

:))))
Vamos Roger


puckbandit Says:

okay, after a very hectic week with no time to chat here, I’m in for the night for this one.

This post is where everybody’s at, right?


Dory Says:

OMG OMG OMG! It begins.


jane Says:

Maybe 10 days is enough, Dory. And as Fritz pointed out, it is at his hometown, so of course he will play, and he’ll be cozy at home.

I like Fed’s low-key outfit.


stu Says:

I love tennis.


andrea Says:

bring it on…


puckbandit Says:

Nice start for Fed,
Not sure who I’m rooting for. Any suggestions?

Dear Fed and Rafa fan(atic)s I’ll take money to root for your guy:)


puckbandit Says:

Jane,

Agree on the outfit. Getting a little tired of the glow-in-the-dark color schemes popular now.


puckbandit Says:

wow, can they keep this level up?


puckbandit Says:

Where is everybody, was it something I said?


Dory Says:

Roger watch out for the higher part of the net!!!


Dory Says:

Damn it! RF’s self-destructing.


Kimo Says:

Rafa hitting every shot possible to Roger’s backhand. Typical.

Rafa Breaks. 2-1 Up.


grendel Says:

“so much for thinking fish will give djoko trouble grendel :)” But Kimmi, he did. Djokovic himself admitted the rain helped him. When they came back, Djkovic had regrouped, and he broke. But Fish was still playing well, and should have broken back. He had two break points, then did a terrific return of serve – quite as good as any of Djokovic’s – which Djokovic just managed to get back. Fish came steaming in for an elementary volley – and fluffed it. With the whole court open to him, he probably hesitated fractionally, and ended up doing little more than tapping it back to Djokovic, who said thankyou very much.

The match was over then. This is not hindsight. That’s what I thought then, and I had the feeling Fish knew he had blown it.

Not that I think Fish would have won – but surely if Fish had played just a half decent shot in that critical moment, the match would have continued competitive for quite a bit longer.

Another thing – the scoreline is deceptive. Djokovic won most of the games, but they were often close. There were many long rallies in which Fish completely held his own – but Djokovic proved more adept at the coup de grace. So all in all, I think if Fish is wise, he’ll see that he did ok in a match with the current hot player on tour – he just needs to work a bit harder. If he’d improved just a bit, he could have won a set easy. And so on.


jane Says:

Since the winner of this will likely end Nole’s streak, I kind of think Fed deserves to do that. But on the other hand, I picked Rafa to win it all in the fantasy tennis, so a Rafa win would do wonders for my bracket! ARRRGH – can’t decide; let the best guy win.

Rafa already breaks. To me Fed looks a little too casual on the backhand side. NOTE TO FED, put up your dukes or this’ll be over quick!


dari Says:

Rog needs to clean up the bh. Hitting forehand down the middle. Let’s go Rog


stu Says:

jane @7:27 — my sentiments exactly!


Kimo Says:

Roger’s throwing the entire kitchen sink at Rafa right nor. Nothing’s working.


jane Says:

grendel, you’re right, Nole told Mardy at the net “the rain saved me” and then he told the press that. I think Mardy played nervously on those break chances at 5-3 when Nole was serving for set one. Nole knows it was closer than the scoreline suggests, but he made sure to begin the second set with that advantage firmly in hand. Also his play facing break points this week has been “simple” (his word) and confident (evident in the serving).

————————————————–
Come on Fed – make this a 3-setter!!

puckbandit – how bout them Canucks? ;)


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m glad Pmac is a mind reader because I was just gonna say whats up with Fed hitting loopy forehands and not flat. When did Nadal become better than Fed on hard courts?


puckbandit Says:

Is it me, or does Roger seem a bit off now when rushed to his forehand. He almost looks better dancing around a backhand to take a forehand than chasing it down.


Dory Says:

Phew!!


puckbandit Says:

Jane,

I think your team may finally take home the cup. At this anything less would be HUGE dissappointment.

Of course, BobbyLou needs to come through.

:)


Daniel Says:

Fed needs to reduce his errors, 9 already in 5 games. God hold for him while Nadal is blasting, he needs consistancy and patiance.


Dory Says:

Belgrade, Madrid and Rome are three weeks in a row!!! If he wants to do well at the 1000s, Nole should skip Belgrade. But it’s his own tournament so he won’t.


puckbandit Says:

Didn’t see Fish match, but sounds like his miss at net was like his buddy ARod’s volley miss in second set of ’09 Wimby. Not as big a match of course, but a similar deciding moment.


stu Says:

can’t believe Roger missed that overhead…what’s going on?!


Ben Pronin Says:

Fed running to his forehand has always been a weakness.


puckbandit Says:

Daniel,

I think you meant “good” hold. But he also need God tonight.
p


jane Says:

^ Yep exactly Dory. But he lost early in Belgrade, and didn’t play Madrid last year, so he can not do great at one of them and still make progress, if you know what I mean.

puckbandit – precisely.


Daniel Says:

At least Fed is not giving Rafa rhytim, because he is missing early in the point!:)


jane Says:

Nice serving this game from Fed. Ooooo Anna Wintour flew in for the match. :)


puckbandit Says:

Ben,

When Fed has to sprint across full court, he seems to be able to keep ball in play and even hit winners. But I agree that the short, 3-4 step move to his forehand has always been suspect.

He’s better in motion whatever the shot.


Dory Says:

The kind of shots RF is missing makes me feel he’s slightly intimidated?


stu Says:

finally a good game from roger


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal simply not missing tonight. Fed’s feeling the pressure early, seems a little too casual while Rafa is super intense.


Daniel Says:

Puckbandit,

Indeed he needs!


stu Says:

that lady came on too strong for Rafa..he’s not amused…


puckbandit Says:

I think Nole’s schedule becomes more of a problem if he wins or goes deep in those tourneys.

It’s a good problem to have, but I think it took a toll on Rafa a few years ago when he played his hometown tourney. It can be hard on the body, even if it’s on clay. The nagging aches and injuries creep in when their tired bodies hit the summer hard courts.


Dory Says:

Again the higher part of the net!!!!! Grrrr.


stu Says:

shouldn’t roger know it’s coming by now? BH-BH-BH-BH-BH-FH = shank.


Daniel Says:

Agreed Ben, NAdal not missing, even his returns, when you think Fed hit a decdent serve, NAdal trow a moonn return landing right on Fed’s feet.


stu Says:

not fun. maybe aging Roger needs a double-handed BH


jane Says:

Yeah, puckbandit, and I want Nole to do well at the slams instead. All serves or 13/15 have been to Fed’s backhand return; Fed should try running around it and hitting for a winner.


Dory Says:

Rafa’s serve became a very strong aspect since last year Wimby-US Open right? Earlier it didn’t win him so many points!


Daniel Says:

Another first set that Nadal’s come strong.
Fed is missing silly shots.


puckbandit Says:

Yikes


Daniel Says:

Nadal is returning everything, even for his standards.

See, another moon retunr which problems Fed!!!


Dory Says:

Shank shank shank!!!!!!!!!!


jane Says:

Too many errors from Roger tonight. : / Nice serving though.


Daniel Says:

Another one, what’s up with his returns…


Daniel Says:

Fed didn’t won a single second serve. What?!?!?!
Nadal serving at 81%. Wow!
Not much Fed can do, but try to hold his own, Nadal in his best set this year.


puckbandit Says:

Oh my.

Rafa is ready and waiting for those out-wide serves. Interesting to see if Fed sends more down the middle.

Loose game from Fed to lose the set. Not sure if I’ve ever typed or said that before.

Fed’s great at picking up his level. Let’s see if he can do it here.


dari Says:

Reset button for the second set, pleAse.
Come on roger, make it a match!


Queen Says:

Wow I am really impressed Nadal broke Fed twice in the first set. Vamosssss!!!!


jane Says:

Rafa’s serve seems to be a weapon tonight; Fed hasn’t done much on the return. But Nadal hasn’t made that much inroads into Fed’s second serve, so if Fed could cut down on errors, and clean up his own service games he’d have a better chance. At this rate, it’s looking like straights for Nadal.


stu Says:

he ends every long rally with a shank, it’s horrible to watch


puckbandit Says:

Fed can’t hang in those rally’s. Needs to end when he’s in control or Rafa will just wait him out with balls in court.


Dory Says:

This is like their French Open final encounters. :(((


Daniel Says:

Nadal is not going to miss anything. 3 points where Fed go for broke and he only won 1.


Ben Pronin Says:

Ok really gotta credit Nadal because he is playing absolutely amazing.


jane Says:

Daniel, on my stats it says Fed won 60% of second serve points. But the errors gotta go.


Ike Says:

hey jane congrats! ur man is in the Finals :)


puckbandit Says:

Rafa is on, Fed is off. that’s all there is.


Ike Says:

Ben Pronin

if Nadal’s level doesn’t drop down, can Fed win this match? and the answer we all know is NO!


Daniel Says:

WTF, first a ball in the lines or out, and now a lucky net cord. The gods are not with Fed today!


Ben Pronin Says:

Who painted this clay in purple and green?


jane Says:

Thanks Ike.


Daniel Says:

Jane, on Nadal’s second serve.


Ike Says:

puckbandit

no disrespect to Roger, but if both Rafa and Roger are “on”, we know Rafa will win the match.


stu Says:

*reminder to self* whenever I think Nole’s defense is impenetrable I should watch Rafa play…


puckbandit Says:

Rafa also has the court in his favor. That high bounce to the backhand has always been a problem.


puckbandit Says:

That’s the Fed we know.


puckbandit Says:

Ike,@7:59

I agree.


Ike Says:

jane

btw, i believe Nole will win the finals!


Ben Pronin Says:

If both players are on, on a hard court, Fed wins. He’s the attacker.


Ike Says:

i wonder if Roger had two-handed backhand like Nole / Juan Martin, what would have been his record against Rafa? definitely he would have won lot more matches…


puckbandit Says:

Ben,

I disagree. This is not your typical hardcourt. It plays more like clay than hard. This surface is definitely in Rafa’s favor. PMac even said so tonight and it’s been mentioned earlier in the week.


Ike Says:

Ben Pronin

Rafa leads Roger 3-1 on outdoor hardcourts, the only win you know was in Miami in 2005


Daniel Says:

Finally a drop shot!!!


Ben Pronin Says:

This is killing me.


Ike Says:

puckbandit

I agree!
without a doubt Miami is slower than Indian Wells, (and we can’t even mention Cinci and Miami in one sentence when it comes to the speed of the court)


Dory Says:

It’s over.


Daniel Says:

Now, Federer is having problems with high forehand, he missed 2 in this game on the net.


puckbandit Says:

Ike,

I don’t agree with the backhand comment. The players that have successful one handers are those that are fluid strokers:

Fed, Gasquet, Sampras, Graf.

Can’t imagine any of the hitting two fisters.


Daniel Says:

Nothing is working. Can Nadal miss a single shot for Crist sake?!?!?! Just one silly shot, one UE


Ike Says:

what was that from Roger? what kind of BH is that?


jane Says:

Ike – you’re the eternal optimist. :) Nadal is very focused. Feel sad for Fed tonight. Not getting any rhythm. Some bad misses. Just not in sync.


Queen Says:

This is incredible. Rafa makes it look like playing Fed is a piece of cake. Love it!!!!


Ike Says:

puckbandit

Trivia….
Sampras used to have two handed BH but switched to one handed when he was something like 15-16


Daniel Says:

Well, at lesta Fed will have a it was an off day excuse. Because it ain’t pretty.
I don’t know how he even made 3 games in the first set.


puckbandit Says:

This is ugly. Even I, a sometime critic of Fed’s off-court persona, feel bad for him.


stu Says:

Nadal – Fed same score as Djoko – Fish?! Make it not true, Roger!!!


jane Says:

Ike, I mean optimist about Nole. Will be tough for Nole to beat “this Rafa”.

Nole said in an interview that this court plays slower at night.


Ike Says:

puckbandit

my comment re. BH was mostly re. “against Rafa”, i believe if Rafa and Sampras were playing in the same era, Rafa would have dominated him too!


C!P! Says:

we’re done here ; let’s move on to the next victim ; Djokovic


Ike Says:

i truly feel sorry for Roger (and his fans)…i m hoping for some miracle…somehow he wins this set…oh no he double faulted!


stu Says:

where did you find Nole/ Fish’s post-match interviews, jane? i have been looking all over for them..


dari Says:

Pushed back dinner to watch this match. Roger needs to make me not regret that.
Come on, Roger! I can’t even look at how well rafa is playing cause im pissed about fed’s errors and lack of intensity.
Head up, Roger!


Dory Says:

I am hoping for a turnaround like that Federer-Davydenko Aus Open match. In my dreams that is.


Ike Says:

jane

don’t be nervous, Nole will beat Rafa!


Daniel Says:

Aff, Fed already know he lost it and is desperate because he is gonna lose ugly. Anyone who played knows this feeling.

His last 2 forehands where in the midle of the court, whereas before he made some winners attacking NAdal`s forehand side.


puckbandit Says:

Ike,

Yeah I know about Pete’s two-hander, and he has gone on record as saying switching to one was the single most important moment in the development in his game and conceeds he would not be the same without the one-hander.

The game has changed of course, so for many the two-handed backhand supplies them with an extra weapon.

One-handers are more and more rare. But you have to think that there is something about those that choose it that makes it an integral and inevitable decision.


Ike Says:

Dory

yes, but that was against Davy…


dari Says:

Last thing Roger needs is pity, ike!


jane Says:

stu, just read snippets here and there in press reviews of the match; haven’t seen full transcripts.

Fed needs more aces tonight. Go for it.


Kimo Says:

This is painful to watch.


Ike Says:

puckbandit

i play with one-handed BH :)


Daniel Says:

Finally he won a moral lift point!
Ace please…


Ike Says:

come on Roger!!!
this is the first time i have EVER rooted for Roger!
typically, i root for underdogs, and i think he is now against Rafa & Nole…


Daniel Says:

Nadal missed a return?!?!!?!?!?


Dory Says:

It’s just one break! C’mon Roger. Get your act together.


puckbandit Says:

Umm, Ike,

If Pete played today, Rafa would dominate.

And if Rafa played in Pete’s time, Pete would probably dominate.

Game is so different: courts, all of them especially at majors are much slower. (Wimby is a joke to be called grass) raquets different and the strings? Rafa would so much of his ability to spin the ball if he used the old equipment.

Just IMHO, and I’m not a big fan of Petes, but admire his game.


Ike Says:

puckbandit

great BH from Roger, that’s more like it!


dari Says:

Bagel averted.
Do you hear this crowd? They want a match like we all do!


Ike Says:

wow!!! almost whole stadium is rooting for Roger!


puckbandit Says:

Pretty exciting to see crowd get into this.

Ike – so how many more tournaments would you have won with a two handed BH? LOL


Ike Says:

puckbandit

great point re. strings, racquets, & era
BTW, i never rooted for Sampras, i was Agassi fan :)


jane Says:

Yeah, dari, it’d be nice if this set went to a tiebreak at least if not a 3 setter; hoping Roger breaks back.

Ike, I usually cheer for underdogs too, but with that said, I have been thoroughly enjoying Nole’s winning streak… :)


Daniel Says:

Fu.. You Nadal. Is this a shot to make 30-30??? C’mon…


puckbandit Says:

Wow,

Come on Roger! Win this so Nole can beat you tomorrow.


Ike Says:

puckbandit

the reason i play with one handed BH is because i can’t hit with two hands LOL


Dory Says:

It’s like Fish. Can’t stay for long in the rally without shanking it. :(


Daniel Says:

Nadal is really smart, he didn’t served flat once in this game. All on Fed’s BH with spin. He got two easy points when down 0-30. He is super Uber foccues in this match.


Dory Says:

It’s just one break. I won’t give up hope.


puckbandit Says:

Ike,

I started playing so long ago that the racquet I learned on was wood. We have a throwback tourney every year in the area with wood racquets.It’s a great reminder of the finesse that has exited the game forever.


Ike Says:

jane

Nole is underdog against Rafa as long as Rafa has better record against him, so we have long way to go…16-8


jane Says:

True Ike – Nole still the underdog, esp. with Rafa playing like this. So go Nole!!


Ike Says:

puckbandit

once in a while i go to Newport Hall of Fame Tennis museum…it’s fun to go thru tennis history…wooden racquets, etc


puckbandit Says:

I know Fed is making many errors, but some of those “shanks” are from nadals heavy shots with overwhelming spin. those are harder to time so you see more shanks.


Gabsvamos Says:

Yowzer!!! My guy is on fire! He wins the whole thing on Sunday, mark my words;-)


Ike Says:

Dory

i m with u, i wanna see more match…


puckbandit Says:

Ike,

I used to live in Newport. Great place and nice grass courts are fun to play on.


Ike Says:

Gabsvamos

mark my words, Nole WILL beat Rafa in the final!


Ike Says:

puckbandit

that’s awesome! i never played on grass :(


Queen Says:

Ike mark my words..not this time!


puckbandit Says:

PMac with excellent commentary explaining poor match-up for Fed when he plays RAFA


Daniel Says:

How can he play so good in WTF London and like this in last than 5 months?


jane Says:

Good point about Rafa spin puckbandit.


Ike Says:

rooting for Roger kind of feels like rooting for Rocky..


stu Says:

it’s going to be a long, long match on Sunday. a ball bouncing between two walls…


Ike Says:

Queen

you gonna be disappointed!


Dory Says:

I sometimes feel the surface type is overemphasized these days in tennis. Of course, it makes a difference but if you play well, it is bound to not make that much of a difference.


Queen Says:

We shall see. I think you are going to be more dissapointed tonigh….sorry


Ike Says:

Daniel

Roger leads Rafa 3-0 on indoor hardcourts…


Daniel Says:

This is just horrible display, he can even put a slice on court. Lucky form Fed is that he is so good and have such a great serve that even when he plays crap, he doesn’t lose 6-1 6-2, apart from that infamous RG 08′ final.
Only if Nadals feels a litle pressure when serving 5-3, if Fed makes this game, he will have any shot.


puckbandit Says:

Daniel,

Indoors London was a fast, low-bouncing court. Allowed Fed to hit out and kept Rafa’s ball low enough to avoid problems with BH. Plus he was playing better. But court is huge factor since it neutralized one of Rafa’s weapons: high-bounce spin.

The guys that can counter Rafa on slow high bounce courts are either stronger enough to hit through him (Soda) or are taller (Murray) or defensivly great with strong 2 hander.


Dory Says:

I wouldn’t have been worried for Nole if not for Nole’s today’s form which looked really exhausted to me.


Ike Says:

Queen

i rooted for Rafa for last 5-6 years, i m NOT a Roger fan!


Queen Says:

So you will be happy just like me:)


Daniel Says:

Not even volleys which are not so difficult.
Just everything going bad, only positive is that he is serving above 60% I think.


puckbandit Says:

Dory,

Do you play? and if you do, do you switch surfaces often.


Daniel Says:

This match NAdal annoyed me, countless moon balls that landed in close to the baseline, just bizarre.


stu Says:

Dory,

the final will not be played in the middle of the day. big difference. but still, i’m picking rafa


Ike Says:

seems like Roger is saying get me outta here…


C!P! Says:

Nadal played at 25% in Indian wells finals ,he basically stopped playing the last two sets ,now it’s a different story ,cause the Uncle Tony is around


Kimo Says:

Hideous match. Super sad :((((((((((


Ike Says:

was this the shortest duration match between Rafa and Roger?


stu Says:

tragedy. i can’t empathize with Fed fans when he loses to Nole, but i see now how difficult it is to watch…


Ike Says:

this match was as bad as the one between Nole and Murray Aussie Open Final…


Queen Says:

LONG LIVE KING NADAL, MADE ME SO PROUD TODAY!!!!


Daniel Says:

Awfull. Worst match of their career. RG 08′ Fed had mono and it was on clay, buit this?!?!?!
Congrats Nadal! Sent an statement to Djoko and once again raised his level when the stakes are the highest.


Dory Says:

Nope I’ve never played. Why? :) Does surface make such a huge difference that there is such a one-sided change in the match??


Ike Says:

today was the first time i EVER rooted for Roger…


jane Says:

Off night from Fed. He played better than this at IW, imo. Just not his day. Rafa, meanwhile, served very well. And hardly any errors. Hope Nole can find some energy and make it at least a little more competitive in the finals tomorrow.


stu Says:

Dory, how would you explain why Sampras never went too deep at the RG?


puckbandit Says:

Daniel,

Rafa often hits the “moonballs” his spin so dominant that he can swing really hard and have the ball rise and then fall so quickly that it seems like the ball is picking up speed instead of slowing down. Did you ever see him in person? Unreal.


dari Says:

Holy shit. F* that.
Will have to dance and drink this one away, Roger should do the same, its Mirka’s bday.
Will.cheer novak in the final, but Rafa looks to be the man.
That was bad, I do not like Rafa no more :)


Daniel Says:

No Ike, Fed once beat NAdal in Shangai WTF 07′and less than an hour. Nadal looked desperattly in that match looking to the clock, with that look of: I didn’t even make it an hour.

Thank you Ike! This question of yours just bring me back this memory, to make it easir to sawllow this loss!:)


Ike Says:

hey Queen

ur King will be dethroned by Nole :)


stu Says:

While I feel terrible for Roger, I’d be happy if this were a sign of things to come this year – Rafa vs. Nole in the finals!


Polo Says:

Did anybody expect a different result? I was hoping but I knew it would not happen. However, I did not think it would be this bad.

Federer does not move as well and as fast as he used to. That definitely affects his shotmaking ability. It is enough to beat lesser players but not a Nadal and now a Djokovic. The rest, he can still handle.


Dory Says:

Federer has double the winners than Nadal and 4 times as many UEs!


puckbandit Says:

Stu,

Exactly:
Connors, Johnny Mac, Sampras – never won the French.


Polo Says:

I could not imagine Rafa losing back to back and consecutive finals to Djokovic.


Ike Says:

Daniel

sorry but i think beginning of the end has begun for Roger…unless he takes a sabbatical for a season and comes back with something different …


Daniel Says:

Djko will have one day off to regroup and he better start full force. Nadal looking good to his first Miami title. If he wins, he will enter clay even more confidant, if that is even possible!


jane Says:

Congrats to Rafa; Uncle Tony is like his good luck charm. ; )

Oh well, if Nole loses tomorrow, his streak ends versus the numero uno, Rafa. No shame in that, certainly.


Ike Says:

Polo

“I could not imagine Rafa losing back to back and consecutive finals to Djokovic.”…it’s gonna happen this time!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Wow, that was just… awful from Fed. His first set was hideous. He fought back a bit in the 2nd but the few times he did Rafa had the answers.
Rafa looked very strong in a few spots, but he didn’t have to do too much. Sunday should be a slobberknocker of a match.


jane Says:

^ Oh yeah, the final is Sunday so that’ll help; little extra time.

Ladies tomorrow.

Congrats on Rafa’s win Kimberly, zola, aleish17, queen & other Rafa fans. it was pretty dominant.


Ike Says:

jane

i said it before and saying it again…Nole WILL beat Rafa in the Final!


puckbandit Says:

Dory,

Yes, a surface can make a huge difference. It used to be more pronounced when there was a greater difference between the surfaces. The grass at Wimby used to be lightening fast and the French mud-like slow. Which is why so many “clay court specialists” as they were called could go deep and win the French.

But they have slowed all the courts down considerably so there is more of an even playing field across toureys now than before.


Polo Says:

The finals on Sunday will tell us who’s the boss.


Ike Says:

i wonder if Rafa vs. Nole is more personal for Uncle Tony and Marian Vjada than the players themselves?


Daniel Says:

Jane,
Not a problem, even so, Fed made 13 staright semi-finals dating after Wimby. If he sticks around and pray for an off day from Nadal or Djoko, he may have a shot. He just has to do his part: beta the other guys and be in position to fight for a big title, which he is doing. The problem is that Nadal and Djoko are just in peak form.
I don’t know if 2 players have ever made the finals back-to-back in IW and Miami.
Djoko may join Fed and don;t know who eles who had win both masters back to back.


C!P! Says:

well not even Nole believes you Ike


Daniel Says:

Actually, this days with Fed, I just expect him to play some of his magic. If he doesn’t move on.
I am already excited to Sundays match, the ssame way I was in this one this afternoon.
Tennis is just too good, even with Roger fading!:)


Queen Says:

Ike, You do not really know who you rooting for, do you? You seem to be confused with your answers. LOL Anyhow,Nadal will be the winner on Sunday.


puckbandit Says:

Stu,

Funny post earlier about match being ball between two walls. You may be right.:)


stu Says:

Daniel, I think Agassi has won the IW-Miami double. And Roger in 05 AND 06…


Ike Says:

puckbandit

Aussie Open is my most favorite…i think that’s the surface that gives many players a chance to win GS….plus i m a Nole fan :)


jane Says:

Daniel, you must think Fed played a better than that at IW; tonight he was just making too many errors and Rafa was getting a lot of spin and high bounce too. Maybe grass is Fed’s best shot at another slam – do you think? Or USO? Faster, and lower bounce, is better for him I suppose.

Well, i will probably be watching my fave take a Rafa-beating Sunday, but I hope he finds some energy and his best serves deep down and makes it competitive, come what may.

If Ike is right, I will be thrilled!


Daniel Says:

Yeah stu, I wasn’t clear enough. My question was if the same pair of players reach these two Masters finals in the same year, like Nole and Rafa back to back. Fed I know won back to back 2 times. I was in doubt between Agassi and Sampras. Thanks!


Ike Says:

Queen

i root for underdogs, when Rafa was up and coming Roger was dominating everything (except of course for French Open) thus i rooted for Rafa…but i m not a huge Rafa fan because of his way too counter-punch, less winners style game…when u think about Nole, his game is between Rafa and Roger when it comes to aggressiveness and defense…thus i root for Nole, plus he is more of entertainer…watch this….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtroAInG-1A

LOL!!!


puckbandit Says:

Ike

Love the Aussie and US Open

I’m a Murray fan first, then Nole. Like them both.

Jane,
Can you believe that I am both a Murray and NJDevils fan? Not much to cheer about lately. :(


steve-o Says:

Congrats to Nadal and all his fans.

Federer has some homework to do, no timing on the forehand at all tonight. On to clay season!


Daniel Says:

Jane,
I still think Djoker has 55% shot in Sunday. It will be played during day time and his returns are just too good. Nadal made a lot of first serves in, but they weren’t powerfull as IW. Right now, Nole is the man on Hard, and I think he will enter clay unbeatable.

Yes, Fed’s best shot is Wimby, always will be. Him and Nadal had won Wimbledon since 2008. 8 years of dominance by these 2. One thig is for sure. One of them will be on the Wimby final. It’s a place where you just don’t have 2 upsets.


Daniel Says:

“since 2003″..


Ike Says:

jane

i will be right…i believe Nole is highly motivated to beat Rafa this Sunday…he wants to make a point…no one can beat him on hard-courts…i think he already has an eye on USO!


Ike Says:

puckbandit

i do root for Murray, i hope he can bring some positive tactics to his game, he is just way too defensive…i feel bad for him / his fans, two in a row knocked out in opening match


Ike Says:

puckbandit

root for Boston Bruins!!!


jane Says:

Feel for you puckbandit – at least Murray is tweeting some jokes so must be in fairly good spirits.

Ike, yes, Nole is “mentally motivated”; he said that after beating Fish. But he also said he’s physically tired.


Ike Says:

Daniel

watch out for Nole in Wimby…


Ike Says:

jane

even if Nole is “physically tired” he will give his all (which he is not known for) on Sunday …


Polo Says:

May I be so bold as to predict that Nadal will win in straight sets on Sunday. Nadal is a proud man. He wants no doubts to his being number one. He had been number two to Federer for so long and now that he has ascended, he would want to stay there for a long time. Djokovic is about his age. He would like to prove that he is indeed the best in his age group. And Nadal has the ability to do that. He will. We will see that on Sunday.


puckbandit Says:

Ike,

I do root for the Bruins . . . when they’re playing the Flyers or the Rangers.


jane Says:

Daniel, methinks 50/50 at best, more like 60/40 Nadal. But I will be here cheering.

For now, think I am going out for a drink or two.


puckbandit Says:

I call Nole in three on Sunday
7-6, 2-6, 7-5


puckbandit Says:

Jane,

Yes, Andy fooling the world today with his “new coach” tweets.


Dory Says:

I am just glad that Nole has peaked at a time when Roger is down. We need two big ones at a minimum and the more the merrier. With RF gone, Nole is my next hope. And JMDP, stay healthy this year and you will be back to your winning ways. Anyone, please stop Rafa this clay season. I’m going to download Miami 2005 final to appease my ruptured heart. Bye for now guys and gals.


Ike Says:

Polo, jane,
Nole to win in three tight sets.

puckbandit
i m not much of a Hockey fan, i follow lot of NFL, little bit of baseball, basketball…mostly playoffs…one thing though…i hate NY sports teams! especially the evil Yankees!

well gotta go…c u guys Sunday
…so long


puckbandit Says:

Looks like everyone’s going out drinking and dancing!

Not sure if I’ll be around Sunday to post, but it’s been fun tonight.

Ike – I guess your a Redsox fan too? I’m pure Yankee blue, sorry.


puckbandit Says:

Ha!

I posted same time as Ike. Had a feeling about his Yankee hatred. :)


Polo Says:

Guys, see you all on Sunday! I am scratching out tomorrow…don’t want to go deaf.


Kimmi Says:

Yikes..glad i did not watch. federer will never beat nadal and djoko again. so sad!

congrats rafa. let the best man win!


grendel Says:

everyone’s saying how bad Federer played, and yet in some of the longer rallies, especially in the first set, Federer looked truly one of the great players of all time – only trouble was, you looked at the other player, Mr.Nadal, and he was even better. Everything – almost – Federer threw at him, Nadal dealt with easily. It was uncanny. Even when in trouble from a great deep Federer fh, Nadal would put up a lob which sailed to the base line, effectively restarting the rally. Although once, unbelievably, Federer tried a spinning overhead which landed weakly in the net.

There was some panic, I think, from Federer, which may have accounted for some of the more outlandish errors. But this whole business about whether Federer is in decline seems to me a bit academic (although he is surely slower). Because if he isn’t in decline, then it has to be said that both Djokovic and Nadal have improved to the point where they comprehensively eclipse him.

Nadal is now a much better player than Federer, and if his health, his interest (Peter Fleming was funny when he said that anything can happen, maybe Nadal will wake up day and think “Nah, I don’t like tennis any more”) and his motivation are maintained,he will surely easily reach 17 slams. Unless, of course, somebody new suddenly emerges.

I think Daniel is right and that Fed’s best chance is to take advantage of any lapse by the top two. But for such a proud man as Federer, that’s not much of a prospect. I can’t see it myself. The day Federer believes he can no longer beat Nadal and Djokovic, I believe he will retire. True, he’ll take rather longer than most of the rest of us to come to that conclusion, but I’d be surprised if he’s still playing after the Olympics. It’s true he loves tennis with a passion; but he also, like any champion, hates losing to the same players again and again.

Should be a great final on Sunday. The control which both men have, and which Federer so sadly lacks, is extraordinary, but for my money, Nadal is just a more outrageous talent. So I expect him to win a tight match.


fedeRER Says:

only one comment: I just sat there waiting for the match to start


WTF Says:

Polo Says:

“May I be so bold as to predict that Nadal will win in straight sets on Sunday. Nadal is a proud man. He wants no doubts to his being number one. He had been number two to Federer for so long and now that he has ascended, he would want to stay there for a long time.”

I don’t know what he thinks inwardly but outwardly he would never admit anything like that. He is as humble as he can get, whether disingenuous or not. Only he knows. He’s never come off as being “proud”. Every time he wins something, no matter how small the hurdle, he would call it a “dream” and say things like “I never imagined I could win this x times in a row. It’s a dream come true.”

I’ll chalk that down to limited vocabulary. But between Fed and Rafa, we all know who is by far the more proud player.


tennis coach Says:

Novak will win in two, 7:5 6:3.


andrea Says:

wow. as a long time federer fan, this match made me want to hand in my membership card to his fan club.

i’ve seen the ‘death camp’ stare on roger’s face before once he has resigned himself to losing to nadal, but never have i seen him as flat and emotionless as tonight. LACKLUSTRE. it’s as if he was fighting not to let anything show – good or bad. made you want to rattle him around and say ‘do a fist pump fer christs sake!’

there were some good moments, but first serves were poor and so many errors. nadal was there at every turn…anticipating everything.

grendel, i know the decline talk is inevitable, and i agree that we haven’t seen the last of roger, but the competitive fire within has to match the talent and interest to stay on the tour, and that friends, is what was missing tonight.

congrats to nadal who played a very strong match. his spins bedevilled roger yet again.

may the best man win on sunday.


tennisfansince76 Says:

ahhh what a gut shot. that was not fun to watch. Fed has taken losses to Nadal before but this was the worst ever on a non clay service. he lost 2 2 break sets. nadal was solid on his serve while he consistently put pressure on Fed’s serve. of course people are speculating as to why. i put most of it on Fed. i don’t see Nadal really playing at a much higher level than he did at 2009 AO. the only thing maybe is he is serving better. but i really noticed how much of a problem Fed had covering his FH side today. contrast that by watching a youtube of the 2009 AO where he really covered his FH side well. w/ Fed being a player that likes to cheat off to his BH side he really has to be lightning quick to cover balls that go to his FH. lose a 1/2 step and things go from sublime to fugly in a hurry.
also Nadal has always taken Fed out of his comfort zone but i have never seen him look as out of sorts, indecisive and at a loss as to exactly what to do ( except maybve 08 FO and the first 3 sets at miami 2005).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvj7MtLiiAI

chk out the FH coverage here and compare it to today. you’ll see i’m not wrong


stu Says:

“I don’t feel invincible,” Djokovic said. “What I feel is big confidence. What I feel is that I’m playing best tennis of my life.”

you go, Nole!


tennisfansince76 Says:

re Grendel. respectfully i disagree w/ you about 17 slams for Nadal. i think it may be hard. he is in his prime now that is true. but there is always the danger of straight line extrapolations. i think the next 3 years are the crucial years for Nadal. he has to win 8 of 11 slams to pull even. that is not going to be easy. he has competition and its not like his margin of error is that great on non clay surfaces. he is a finely tuned machine but lose a 1/2 step for any reason or get injury problems and it gets much harder. Roger’s best years were 24 to 27. after that it got harder. will it be any easier for Nadal?


Skeezerweezer Says:

If Fed gets continuous beatdowns in the future by R & N he will retire, can’t disagree.

Fed used the dropper ONLY twice, and won both. Watched enough of these two to know that when Fed decides to duel it out from the baseline Rafa wins. It’s an easy observation. Fed has so many more shots than the rest of the field, so where is it?

The match up is the same old same old already, and it is Fed’s fault. Rafa has the formula to hit exclusive to Fed’s BH with his high Topspin and dictact his play from there. Everyone can see this. Why not Fed?

Well, either Fed can and he can’t do anything about it or he gets stubborn enough to think he can beat Rafa ( one day, wishful thinkin ) from the baseline. At 29, it ain’t gonna happen.

If anyone watched the match on ESPN 2 there is not one thing the commentators said that wasn’t spot on. If you DVR’d it, watch it again if you want to know the analyses.

Fed is either stubborn, don’t know any better, or can’t handle it. Either way it is clear that Rafa owns him now, his best chance may be grass, but who here is gonna think Fed has a Fly’s chance of beating Rafa on Clay?

Furthermore, whatever Annacone is doing is fruitless, or Fed is not buyin. I suspect he is a great coach, but Fed for whatever reason is not fully bought in to his strategy, as I saw alot of the old stuff pre – Annacone.

Sorry, peeeo’d at the moment.

For Rafa, he played exactly how anyone would have played. Kudos to him. If it ain’t broke, why change the strategy? And another kudos to him givin the Fed respect by not fist pumping himself into the sky like he does sometimes, class act throughout the beatdown of the match.

I suspect I will get flac from the Fed fans, and I am a student of his game, no doubt. Yes he did make it to the Semi’s of a 1000 event. No complaints there. But his lackadaisical movement and assumptions of “I just hit a great shot, so I don’t have to reset” is …welll….ugh! Fed needs to watch his hey day matches!

out


Huh Says:

Better Luck Next Time Fed. WeLove You. Fed’s soon gonna beat Rafa again when they meet, no doubt about it.
Moreover sometimes a loss is a loss, be it 6-1 6-1 or 7-6 6-7 7-6. Fed’s moreover 29, so not a shame exactly to lose to a fit, in-form n great 5 yr younger player like Rafa.

GO ROGER, TAKE HIM DOWN NEXT TIME!!! :D


Huh Says:

Or may beFed-Rafa decided to make d fans april fool by givin such anincompetitive match on april fool day! ;)


Daniel Says:

I missed a booty call to watch Fed lose miserably. Nos she doesn’t return my calls. My April’s fool is no getting any better!:)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Novak vs Rafa should be a great Final…..if Novak has the gas…no doubt imho Rafa will have a lot more things to deal with than his match with Fed…


Skeezerweezer Says:

just saw the Rafa interview on court after the match….mucho class…thanks Rafa for givin Fed a nod even though your new rival is Novak….hope for a great final tomorrow!


tennisfansince76 Says:

@skeezer. if you are going to play a long time as Fed has claimed he wants to you simply have to except that you will no longer be the favorite to win majors and you may no longer be able to beat the top guys in their prime and you have to be able to take some beatdowns ( a good example: 32 year old Jimmy Connors made a nice run to the finals of the big W in 1984 including a nice victory over Lendl in the semis. in the finals a Mac in his prime lost only 4 games to Connors. connors came back and gave Mac a 5 set classic at the USO. in my opinion one of the best matches i’ve ever seen).
when you get older you have to accept that a few nice victories, a nice run is the best you are going to do. i don’t know if FED is there yet but it won’t be long. i agree w/ everybody here that W/USO are his best chances although the Sat/Sun SF/Final format of the USO makes it hard for players of a certain age.
as to attacking the net i don’t see hwta he could have done differently today. in today’s game you can’t chip and charge. you have to set yourself up by taking control of the rallies and finishing pts at the net. if you can’t control the rallies what are going to come in on? w/ Nadal dominating the groundplay there wasn’t a lot to come in on. when he did come in he looked out of sorts and had trouble handling teh pace and spin of Nadal’s ball.
as to Annacone it seems like Fed hasn’t internalized the new direction. he looked really tentative and conflicted not instinctive.


Huh Says:

Nadal will beat Nole in the finals, for sure!
Sorry Ike, ur final prediction’s gonna be proved wrong! ;)


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Daniel. you are a true fan! Fed should feel proud to have a fan like you!


tennisfansince76 Says:

i like Nadal in the heavy Miami conditions. if he serves at least 60% i don’t see him losing.


Daniel Says:

Tennis has many shifts, what Fed did is remarable, Nadal is in the what can he achieve phase?!
One thing is for sure with Roger, he is not gonna fold just because this last too losts, call him in denial or whatever. He is the clear n.3, 13 straight semi-finals appearances with 5 titles and 3 runner up (8 finals in 13 tourneys), and if one of Djoko or Nadal is out (not needeing to dealt with the 2 of them), he will always have a shot. He will be what Sean used to say of Nole, winning titles when Nadal or Djoko aren’t around, forget the term! :)
They won’t play all clay and grass finals in a row, that has never happen and never will. Federer will be there, like a patient stubborn manace just around the corner. All he needs is a good week, he had one in Doha this year and another one in London not long ago. Djoko was a differnet player, but Nadal wasn’t that much different.
Onto Sunday, hope it is a good match. The 2 semis didn’t live to the hype


Daniel Says:

Tennisfansince76

He better be, cause now I only have beer with friends!:)


madmax Says:

Fed made 13 straight semi-finals dating after Wimby. If he sticks around and pray for an off day from Nadal or Djoko, he may have a shot. He just has to do his part: beta the other guys and be in position to fight for a big title, which he is doing. The problem is that Nadal and Djoko are just in peak form.

enjoyed this daniel.

just waiting for the post mortem from ben, and more of the decline. *yawn*. I think it was skeeze or perhaps kimmi,a while ago saying that it is easier to digest the fed losses now adays and it really is. I don’t know whether it is good or bad?

One thing for sure, I would rather see Fed still playing some great tennis against the top players than retire for good. He still has a lot to give. We know – I know – that federer is in the right spot on this type of court – no.3, can’t ask for more than that right now. He has improved so much more from last year at Miami – the infamous racquet smashing event, usually that award given to roddick or gonzales – to me, showed that roger still cared and tennis means a damn to him.

It was a formidable display by roger last year when he beat rafa, but a different court, a different time.

The last thing roger needs right now is pity.

I am glad to see nole and nadal face off – this is the new era – they were no.2 and no. 3 for 4 years. That’s long enough. Federer will always symbolise the salad days of tennis with his style of play. He will continue to be amazing.

I’m not sure if he had got through the final, he could have beaten nole who is on a volcano hot streak – so another semi final is fine by me. If he had gone out in the fourth round against a baggy or some other player, he would be worrying me more.

But he has played better this year than last and he was “over” last year (if you look at Ben’s comments). Wrong ben.

Just different.

Move on to the final sunday – should be fantastic.

Federer – on to clay – let’s see what you can do there!


steve-o Says:

I don’t know. He played a lackluster final against Murray in Shanghai last year, losing by the same score as tonight, only to demolish Murray in London.

No one gave Federer any credit for playing well there, only complaining that Murray “choked”–though he won his other two round-robin matches handily and played a very high level semifinal against Nadal.

Federer demolished the entire rest of the field (consisting of the #1, #3, #5, and #7th ranked players in the world) for the loss of only one set, so he must have been playing very well throughout the whole tournament. But the idea that he could have beaten Murray because he was playing very well, and not necessarily because of any lapse on Murray’s part, seems to be the one notion that’s hardest for others to countenance.

If he beats Nadal during the clay season everyone will jump to suggest that Nadal was tired or injured, and be very stingy to credit Federer with good play or tactical adjustments.

The guy can’t prevail in the media battle. When he loses it’s decisive, irrefutable proof that his game is a sham and all his sixteen majors and years at the top were merely a fraud, a result of some kind of Jedi mind trick he cast over every other tennis player on the planet until Nadal came along and was somehow too clever to be fooled.

When he wins it’s because his opponent was mentally weak, tired, hurt, sick, distracted by fan noise, off his game because of the wind or weather, pick your poison. Any other reason besides “Federer outplayed him.”

The more he wins the MORE he has to prove himself. How ridiculous is that?

Federer is not a faucet that you turn on and off. If the tennis ain’t flowing, it’s ain’t flowing. Obviously it wasn’t flowing tonight.

Nadal’s shots were heavy and very spinny and Federer could not get his timing right to drive the ball through the court, nor did he make adjustments to alter the rhythm of the rallies.

We saw nothing new from Nadal tonight, only the same game plan he always uses against Federer:

1) Hit forehand to backhand.
2) Hit forehand to backhand.
3) Hit forehand to backhand.
4) Go to step 1), and repeat.

It worked this time. That don’t mean it’ll work next time.


madmax Says:

great post steve-o

exactly right


tennis coach Says:

Little bit of history:
2007 – Nineteen-year-old Novak Djokovic of Serbia becomes the youngest men’s singles champion in the history of the Sony Ericsson Open, defeating Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the championship match in Key Biscayne, Fla.. The title is the first “Masters Series” title for Djokovic, who reached the final at Indian Wells two weeks earlier. Djokovic also wins the title without dropping a set, becoming the first player since Ivan Lendl in 1989 to turn that trick. “Every time you win something or you are the youngest player or you make any record, it certainly feels great,” says Djokovic. “It means that your name is in the history of the sport. I am very proud of that.”

I AM SURE HE WILL DO IT AGAIN! GO NOLE!!!


grendel Says:

“We saw nothing new from Nadal tonight, only the same game plan he always uses against Federer” – But why should there be anything new? Nadal is just too good for Federer. If it ain’t broke….And incidentally, I think there is a tendency to downplay Nadal’s talent. All I can say here is, Federer wouldn’t agree. About Murray at O2, Federer played very well, but it is just not correct to say that Federer simply outplayed him and that was it. Murray certainly contributed to his own downfall on that occasion, I don’t think anyone who watched can have any doubts that Murray’s performances at the O2 were bizzarely inconsistent.

Tennisfansince76 says:”there is always the danger of straight line extrapolations.” Yes, that is absolutely true, and you make a very good case for why it will be hard for Nadal to reach 17.


MMT Says:

I think the slow court and humidity favor Nadal, but Djokovic’s form is really good at the moment. My prediction is a tough three set victory for Djokovic. Nadal had trouble with Berdych when he put him on the defensive, and Djokovic is hitting as hard as anyone these days.


margot Says:

All I can say, reading these comments, is I’m glad I didn’t stay up for that one!
Daniel, what a bummer ;)
Should be a gr8 match on Sunday.


Kimmi Says:

“Novak has been playing great this season. Yeah, I think Rafa is going to give Novak a run for the money, and I’m going to pick Rafa.”

hmmmm, federer picking rafa to win, interesting. I didn’t see their match so don’t know how rafa played but if rafa who played with berdych comes up he will lose.


Polo Says:

Painful as it was to watch Federer get demolished last night, I just have this feeling that Federer has one last great victory left in him. Something to put the final exclamation mark in his glorious career. Therefore, I will keep watching him play in anticipation of that valedictory victory. It will happen.


Kimmi Says:

polo – we hope it is the slam. go fed.

Now for tomorrow match, nole needs to win before the start of clay..a loss today means rafa is back on top. so go nole!


dari Says:

Rafa was subdued in his post matxh interview, not over celebrating, who knew it wasn’t a good night for roger.
He just said all the right things, congratulations to him on getting to.back to back IW Miami finals. And to novak the same!


dari Says:

Just read Rogers interview- they always make me feel better.
Absolutely agreed and felt the same way about what Daniel said about how you take things as a fed fan in this stage and how he’ s there and we just wait it out, semi after semi till he gets his chance!
It was disappointing the stubbornness and flatnesa of Rog last night, but now its time for the next. Next match which will ne a great final, next surface- clay ah!
And roger outright picked Rafa in the final, they have each other’ s back!
It’s gonna be two great finals the next couple days, cant wait.


Polo Says:

Nadal-Djokovic, that is likely to be the next great rivalry in tennis. They are almost the same in age so that is an even better match-up. Unlike the Federer-Nadal, when Fed beats Nadal in the beginning, the argument was because Nadal was very young and Federer was at his peak. Now, when Nadal beats Federer, the argument is because Federer is old and Nadal is in his peak. We would not be hearing those arguments in the Nadal-Djokovic match-up.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimmi, yes, if Rafa plays as he did against Berdych he will lose, but if Djoker plays as he did first set against Fish, Djoker will lose! I think it should be a great match, as both are highly motivated here. I agree with Polo that Nadal is looking to prove his #1 status. There is all this talk about Nole challenging Rafa on clay, and I think Rafa needs to take Nole’s confidence down a notch before clay season starts, and get himself in the winning frame of mind.


madmax Says:

and the head to head against novak for rafa is 16:8 (just a comparison to fed’s 8:15 against rafa) – the old rivalry and the new rivalry.

Looked at the match again last night. Look at federer in the FIRST game of the FIRST set. Brilliant. Why didn’t he have more belief? no fist pumping, and no come on’s. something NOT right. Annacone simply has to work on this side of fed’s game. This serve to his back hand every single time is getting on my nerves! Federer, should know this by now and do something about it. As skeezer said, TWO wins from TWO dropshots, so why didn’t he drop shot more? It’s whats between the ears right now with roger, nothing else. And it’s about time he realised that he is capable, only five months ago, it was so different.


Kimmi Says:

These players know the danger of their opponents. so i hope they both come to play. i remember djoko playing so bad with everybody else in dubai but brought in his best game when playing federer in the final. I am sure rafa will do the same.

i am not a fan of both players but a big tennis fan. what i am hoping is good tennis. imo nole needs to win this match just because we are going on clay where rafa has proven to be the man to beat. novak winning today will bring excitement to tennis fans that there is finally someone to challenge rafa on clay.

so, for tennis sake nole please win.


zola Says:

Jane,
thanks for the congratz. Congratulations to u and all Djoko fans. He is playing fantastic tennis. Reminds me of Rafa on clay.
I think the final will be a great match, regardless of the outcome. I just hope it is not a very long match. They have a long season ahead. two finals with two same champions back to back! very interesting.

about last night’s match, it must not have been easy for Fed fans.But it is a defeat. Thse things happen. It was not a competetive match, but saying it is the nd of Fed or he shoud retire, is a bit too much. As someone wrote here the last thing Fed needs is Pity. I think the best quote is the one from Roddick:” Anyone who is criticizing Federer, better ber very, very good at their jobs!”


Lulu Iberica Says:

Hmmm… I am not sure that the dominance of one or two players is bad for the sport. It was Fed’s dominance and news about all the records he was breaking that got me, and many others I am sure, to begin watching tennis.

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