Super SFs In Dubai: Djokovic v Murray, Federer v Del Potro; Tomic Takes On Isner At Delray
by Sean Randall | March 1st, 2012, 10:54 pm
  • 235 Comments

All that’s missing from a fabulous Friday of tennis on two continents is Rafael Nadal. But who needs the Spaniard when we have another US Open champion, Juan Martin Del Potro, as a replacement in the desert. The Argentine meets Roger Federer in one semifinal in Dubai, the other? As good if not better as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray clash in a rematch of their Australian Open slugfest.

Djokovic won that near-five hour match in Melbourne in five tough sets. Thankfully for both guys tomorrow’s test is just best-of-3. And even though Djokovic hasn’t looked great this week – he was patchy in two straight set wins over Sergei Stakhovsky and today in a 6-1, 7-6 victory over Janko Tipsarevic, he’s still the favorite in this one and he’s still riding that confidence high.

“Every time you play, especially top four, it’s a big challenge for both of us,” said Djokovic. “Especially after that Australian Open thrilling match that lasted for five hours. It’s going to be a good match. We both look forward to that. We always try to win against each other and it’s a great rivalry.”

The numbers are again in Djokovic’s favor against Murray. Djokovic has won 18 straight matches in Dubai taking home the last three titles on the way. He’s undefeated on the season at 10-0 and he’s 7-4 against Murray, winning three of their last four losing only by retirement at Cincinnati last summer.

Murray, though, has played exceptionally well this season. His only loss came to Djokovic in Australia and in that match he did take some risks, and that’s what he’ll have to do Friday to beat Novak.

“Before the Indian Wells/Miami stretch it would be good to see exactly what I need to work on, where my game is,” said Murray who breezed past Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals Thursday. “I had a great match with him in Australia, and hopefully can reverse the result tomorrow.”

So I give Murray a real good chance here, but until someone can beat the Serb on an outdoor hardcourt I’m picking Djokovic. And the quick court speed also favors the aggressor and we all know who that is. Hint: It’s not Murray.

In the second SF, it’s the third meeting in as many tournaments for Federer and Del Potro. The previous two – Australian Open and Rotterdam – were both won by Roger and overall the Swiss has surprisingly dominated this series 9-2.

Del Potro did beat Federer at the US Open in 2009 and later that season in the London finals, but looking at the scorelines those pre-wrist injury wins are looking more and more fluky.

“All the matches are different, all tournaments are different. I’m trying to find a way to beat again him,” Del Potro said. “His game is really difficult for me. He plays slices, dropshots, and he’s one of the best in history. So I just want to be ready for fight and to see how I’m going to play against him.”

There again Del Potro admits Federer gives him a lot of different problems. It’s almost as if he acknowledges Roger owns him!

With his size, power and length, Del Potro, who just whipped JW Tsonga today, should give Federer problems, especially by directing that ferocious forehand to Roger’s backhand. He’s done it before why can’t he do it again? But mentally Federer seems to have Delpo wrapped around his finger. And until Del Potro can get a convincing win against Swiss I’m going against him.

Plus, I think the faster court exposes Del Potro’s poor movement. Federer, who’s also been serving great all week, should be able take advantage and sneak through.

What I like about the Dubai final semifinals is that all four guys are playing really, really well. Murray and Del Potro are coming off quality wins over Berdych and Tsonga, respectively. Federer, while he hasn’t played anybody that formidable, has taken care of business and Djokovic just keeps winning even though he’s not at the jaw-dropping level we’ve seen from him before.

So anyone one of them could walk away with this key early season title, although Del Potro may be faced with having to beat Federer and then Djokovic on back-to-back days to win! What an effort that would be, and he’s done it before.

I just wonder if Rafa will be watching and if so who he’s rooting for? Federer?

Top flight tennis isn’t limited to just Dubai. Here in the U.S. there are a couple of good quarterfinal matches on tap in Delray Beach.

Top seed John Isner takes on 19-year-old Bernard Tomic in an intriguing matchup. Tomic certainly has the game and guile to beat the big man off the ground, but can he return Isner’s serve? And might the Florida heat and wind get to Isner giving Tomic a crack?

And Andy Roddick, who’s trying to shake off an early 2012 slump, goes against a fellow big server in Kevin Anderson. With his ranking down to No. 30 this week, Roddick, a revenge winner tonight over Denis Istomin, desperately needs to pick up points and confidence this week before he really faces the fire at Indian Wells and Miami later this month.

I have to lead to both Americans winning, but really the two matches are near toss ups.

Down in Acapulco, we have a Fernando Verdasco sighting. Spain’s semi-version of Ernests Gulbis reeled in his biggest win in months defeating countryman Nicolas Almagro today in Acapulco. Fernando now meets Stan Wawrinka tomorrow. David Ferrer was also a winner.

In totality, look at all the players in action Friday: Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Del Potro, Isner, Tomic, Gulbis, Verdasco, Roddick and Ferrer. That’s a lot of tennis personalities for one Friday!

Tennis channel will have live coverage of Dubai starting at 8am ET. They’ll have Acapulco coverage at 6pm ET.

FRIDAY DUBAI SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
J Knowle (AUT) / A Peya (AUT) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Bopanna (IND) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [3] A Murray (GBR) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[8] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [2] R Federer (SUI) – ATP

FRIDAY DELRAY BEACH SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 11:00 am
[5] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs D Sela (ISR)
Not Before 1:00 PM
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) vs E Gulbis (LAT)
Not Before 3:00 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs [8] B Tomic (AUS)
Not Before 7:15 PM
[4] A Roddick (USA) vs [7] K Anderson (RSA)
Not Before 9:00 PM
R Farah (COL) / T Huey (PHI) vs M Elgin (RUS) / D Istomin (UZB)


Also Check Out:
Roddick Rallies In Delray, Avoids Third Straight Loss; Djokovic, Federer, Murray Return In Dubai
Bernard Tomic: Taking A Set From Federer More Exciting Than Taking One From Djokovic [Video]
Murray v Berdych, Tsonga v Del Potro Thursday In Dubai; Roddick Out For Revenge In Delray
Davydenko Deserts Dubai with Wrist Injury; Djokovic Wins, Murray Plays Later Today
Djokovic Ahead Before Desert Rain Halts Dubai Final; Gulbis a Game From First Final

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235 Comments for Super SFs In Dubai: Djokovic v Murray, Federer v Del Potro; Tomic Takes On Isner At Delray

Michael Says:

Quite an interesting line-up for the semis. Novak Vs Murray should be humdinger of a contest and go the distnace. I expect Novak to sail through although you cannot count Murray out. Novak in three is my guess.

Regarding Roger Vs Del Potro, may be Roger has the edge but Del Potro will be very eager to avenge the recent defeats against Roger and he is playing well. Roger in three is my guess.


Wog boy Says:

I just checked with Mr Google and he said that word “humdinger” is pretty tricky to use, depend where, what and to whome you are talking. It is very new to me, I wiil give it a miss, I get to often in trouble experimenting with my english.


Tennis Tipster Says:

If anyone can stop the Djuggernaut, it’s Murray, who has a disruptive game and in 3 sets, anything can happen.


jane Says:

Tennis Tipster, “a disruptive game”, ha, nicely put!

Wog Boy, you are too self-deprecating when it comes to your English usage; it’s mighty fine sir, mighty fine. :) However, avoiding humdingers is entirely your prerogative. Not sure if I’ll be awake for Murray/Nole but I hope to watch the other semi. Arrgh too much to do tomorrow though. Will have to watch with one eye only.


Michael Says:

Wog boy,

English is a very tricky language and the word you use need to jell with the situation. I thought the Humdinger here was the right word to use to describe this match which is played between two of the best in Tennis today. It is an extraordinary and remarkable match which is the dictionary meaning of Humdinger. Not that you do not know the meaning, I just wanted to clarify the planting of this word here. It was extempore and not any means of experimentation. Anyway thanks for pointing this out. It means you are not only concerned with the Sport but also English and its right usage.


Wog boy Says:

Jane,

Thanks, I am just cautios “once bitten twice shy.”

I wiil be watching Andy&Nole for you too, my cat wiil be with me, she loves tennis, she is watching a ball until she falls asleep. The only problem, she takes over half of the lounge so I can’t really strech, she thinks she owes me :) the other famile members don’t watch it, good thing she (the cat) doesn’t comment and agrees with me.

Michael,

I knew you are not using that word wrongly, I was doubting myself :)


Wog boy Says:

family not famile


margot Says:

Liked that write up Sean, seemed pretty fair/accurate :) Yes, I’ll go with a Nole/Fed final too. I don’t think Andy has been playing particularly well, that blooming split knee cap was clearly twinging yesterday but, more importantly, dear Mr Lendl won’t be court side ;)
Wog boy: your English is fine and “humdinger” is a gr8 word. Don’t be shy, use it :)


Michael Says:

Margot,

Just to make it clear, it was I who used that word “humdinger” and Wog Boy had some reservations about it.


margot Says:

and? *scratches head*


Kimmi Says:

Had murray beaten any of the big boys recently, ah yeah, he beat rafa in tokyo.

Murray is due. i love the sound of that carlo


Brando Says:

Would love a del potro- Murray final, BUT I think it shall be nole and fed winning in straight sets. They’re playing better than the other 2 right now.


dari Says:

Big matches! Should be able to watch Nole and Andy a bit. Cheering for roger and Murray!


dari Says:

When was the last time fed and Andy played? It feels like forever, did we get then at all in 2011? All the more reason to cheer for them ;)


Colin Says:

Wog Boy, I’m glad to hear your cat has got you properly disciplined! You know the difference between dogs and cats? Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Brando Says:

Nole looks DEADLY already in this match. Ominous looking.


Polo Says:

This is a good “don’t blink” kind of match between Murray and Djokovic.


racquet Says:

So deadly, he’s trailing 2-5 in the 1st set.

- sorry couldn’t resist ;)


Colin Says:

Wow! Andy leads 5-2 in the first set. Anything can happen, but it’s looking good right now for Murray.


Polo Says:

Deadly, can have different connotations.


van orten Says:

40:40 and 4:2 murray serving wide and djoker netting the forehand i remember when he crushed the ball on the line at flushing meadows vs roger…


van orten Says:

surface speed is out of this current tennis world ..incredible performance by murray


Polo Says:

Wow! I never expected that first set to end that way after the way Djokovic served his first two games.


racquet Says:

Wow! Andy takes the 1st set 6-2 with some nice aggressive play. Who saw that coming? Nole started well but all out of sorts the last 3 games.

The 2nd set will be a different matter I suspect.


Colin Says:

Well, who’d have thought it? 6 flaming 2!
I’d never write off Nole, but at the moment he’s lost his form.


Brando Says:

What an attacking display from andy there! I’m impressed and surprised! Nole trying to be aggressive and going to the net but IMO he’s easily the WORST one of the top 4 at the net! He’s best staying at the baseline in this one I feel!


Skorocel Says:

racquet: “Wow! Andy takes the 1st set 6-2 with some nice aggressive play.”

I don’t think so. When Murray got the 1st break, Djoker helped him with 2 or 3 UEs, and the same happened in the last game, where Djoker hit a very bad dropshot and then missed an easy baseline shot.


Brando Says:

What a EASY miss by andy, a la v nadal at wimby!


Polo Says:

Still a “Wow!” I must say.


racquet Says:

@Skorocel

I meant the last 2 points to win the set.


alison hodge Says:

hopefully andy can keep this up,although nole been nole,you get the sense he can always raise his level,after all hes not world no 1 for nothing,anyway go andy.


dari Says:

yeah, this speed suits Murray and how aggressive he was I think surprised novak.
Way to go Murray, you better believe novak will pick it up now, so Andy must stay Sharp


Brando Says:

Tha LAST game , to me, shows that andy has improved mentally! He could have dropped his head there, but he fought on!


racquet Says:

Nole was much better at the net last year.


Brando Says:

Another miss by nole at the net there!


dari Says:

It’s like novak can’t control the ball?
Andy handling it so well though- whoops


Skorocel Says:

Djokovic’s shots are all over the place right now…


racquet Says:

Another break!


Brando Says:

Vamos Murray! Nole’s 2 weakest shots, IMO, got exposed there: the overhead and at the net!


Polo Says:

That last game won by Murray is worth another Wow!


van orten Says:

come on folks watching that match..no matter who is leading right now..but is is so cool watching them…look how fast it is out there..they have less time to react but still play beautifully ..hope to see more of that in the us open series later that year ..this is tennisssss


racquet Says:

I wish there were more fast courts on the tour.


Colin Says:

3-0 in the second. You know what – I’m enjoying this.


Brando Says:

3-0 in the 2nd set- GOOO ANDY!!!


Brando Says:

Murray starting to miss…


Brando Says:

When andy’s serve is on: it’s amazing!


Brando Says:

That was close, 4-1 to andy


racquet Says:

I was going to say, when the serve is around the 70% mark – it’s difficult to beat him. I just want to see if he’s improved mentally to ride this out.


Brando Says:

Very good serve out wide by nole there


Polo Says:

Does anybody think Djokovic still has any chance?


Brando Says:

Great hold by andy there- showing character here!


racquet Says:

Here we go. Can he serve it out? Never write off Nole.


Polo Says:

I think Andy does!


Skorocel Says:

There’s that “aggressive” FH from Murray…


Polo Says:

If Andy loses this match, he will be scarred for life.


Skorocel Says:

3 mistakes from Andy and Djoker’s back…


racquet Says:

Andy handed that to him. tsk tsk


van orten Says:

love djokers attitude …but murray chokes as always hahaha


dari Says:

Fricking frack! Hold on Murray! Don’t let novak turn it all around


kriket Says:

Ouch. Murray choking.


van orten Says:

djoker is unbeatable hahahhahhahah


Brando Says:

What a mental collapse by andy there- nole did nothing other than wait for andy to choke:-(


Brando Says:

This match/ situation shall show if andy’s got it or not…


racquet Says:

You couldn’t serve like that last game? grrr


Brando Says:

Andy’s playing so well, making nole look ordinary, YET you just know when the heat is on… Andy hands over to him. Come on andy!!!


Skorocel Says:

Djoker got very lucky with that lazy FH volley there…


Skorocel Says:

And the errorfest continues… 2 MPs for Murray!


racquet Says:

The unbeatable just got beaten! Well done Andy.


Brando Says:

Phewwwwwwww …. Had that gone on nole would have won!


Polo Says:

That was a good way by Murray to end the match. This should give him a lot of confidence. This tennis year looks like it is going to be a good one.


racquet Says:

Margot, you can come out from behind the sofa now ;)


Brando Says:

Nole’s net play, overhead needs alot of work I feel. His forehand a times let him down also.


Brando Says:

It was nice to see nole smile and laugh with andy at the end- hard not to like the djoker- if he let’s my fav win a few against him then I shall:-)


Skorocel Says:

And Novak ends with a symptomatic FH error… Boy, was he off today!


Mark Says:

Hope this is the start of many many many many defeats for the Djokasssss!!!


Colin Says:

The big question was, could Nole have a winning run like last year’s? We now know the answer, though it’s perhaps come earlier than might have been expected.


jane Says:

Congrats to Murray; now win it all!!


van orten Says:

i m in for an upgrade for dubai to a masters 1000 tourney ;-)


bstevens Says:

It just was not Djokovic’s day today. Spraying errors left and right. Murray played conservatively, and on this day it payed off. Murray did serve well was able to finish the match before the tiebreaker. I still think that in the bigger matches (slams), Murray needs to be more aggressive to win against the big boys.


margot Says:

Am in total shock and thought for one awful moment Humbled Rafa was going to be right but No!
Hooray!


skeezerweezer Says:

Well tegardless of Andys “moments” and Nole’s error fest, it is a good win for Murray.

margot come out come out wherever u are ;)


skeezerweezer Says:

Ooopsa, and there u are….congrats ;)


Brando Says:

Nole’s fine. hes got no issues at all. everyone’s out to get- such is the burden of being no.1. a privilege he’s earned- and deserves.

BUT ANDY, whilst im happy he’s won, he really needs to run towards the finish line as opposed to faffing around and giving his opponents another final chance…

Work needs to be done – STILL- but for now he’s heading in the right direction!


margot Says:

racquet: behind the sofa, oh no far too close, out in the garden..;)


margot Says:

Cheers skeeze, where’s the alcohol..;)


Sean Randall Says:

This season just got a whole lot more interesting.


Brando Says:

Sean: ‘This season just got a whole lot more interesting.’

Completely agree with that statement.


malher Says:

at 0-3 in the second set I thought Djoker gona retire – thats what he last did played in a final against murray


racquet Says:

It’ll be even MORE interesting if Delpo wins today. Although I’m eager to see a Murray/Fed match (it has been over a year), I’m curious to see how Delpo matches up to Murray.


Brando Says:

It would be brilliant for del potro to beat roger- just to make things interesting in that matchup.

BUT murray-federer is WAYYYY OVERDUE!!


Polo Says:

Very glad to see Murray win. Very well played and well deserved victory.

I may add that the AO final must have taken a lot from Novak and Rafa. Novak has not been playing great since then…and Rafa has taken into modelling.


Dave Says:

Murray simply outplayed Djokovic. The Lendl effect on Murray: Murray has not yet maximized his potential under Lendl’s tutelage — they still need another 2 to 4 months and Murray will likely get mentally stronger. With Lendl, Murray could be a threat even on clay, not just to Djokovic but possibly even Nadal (and I’m not joking) because of the experience of Lendl who won 28 clay titles (young Lendl gave Borg his toughest French Open final over five sets in 1981). Lendl is probably the smartest coach out there in terms of strategy/tactics, opponent analysis and an organized approach to wining. Lendl won 8 grand slam and 7 year end championships from reaching 11 major outdoor hardcourt finals, 5 major clay finals, 3 major grass finals, 7 major indoor finals. We’ve seen how difficult it has been for both 25 year old Nadal and 25 year old Federer to deal with a younger rival… yet Lendl was able to maximize his potential and mental strength to win 7 (of his 8) grand slam titles after age 25 and dominate the field for 3 to 4 years second only to Federer’s 2004 to 2007.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Lendl_career_statistics

It’s unlikely Djokovic is going to have another year like last year. Or that Nadal will be Novak’s key challenger. The pressure on them is probably going to come from Federer, Murray, Delpo and one or two others who step up.

The Dubai courts are apparently playing much faster compared to recent years. Interesting article on risk, reward, consequences and pleasure of fast court tennis.
http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2012/03/fed.html
http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2012/03/fed.html


jane Says:

I think Murray vs. Fed would be more interesting to see. Murray is 5-1 over Delpo and 8-6 over Fed. Murray and Fed haven’t played for a while but it’s been even longer since Muzz and Delpo played. Still, the match I’d like to see is Murray/Fed. It will show us a lot about both methinks. If Murray beats Fed in straights, who knows? Maybe this’ll be his year to climb the ranks.


dari Says:

Great win for andy! hope he keeps the aggressive play and confidence up!

Love both the guys in next final, but GO ROGER!_
I wanna see fed and Murray play in the final!


jane Says:

Cheers margot: are things blooming in that garden of yours? Or is it still to cold over there?


grendel Says:

Murray upped his level dramatically from the error-fest of the Berdych match. That shows a champion’s mentality – half of one, anyway. How would he be when the finishing line was in sight?

Well, the signs were good at first. At 4-2, 30-15, Murray had a second serve. On the previous point, his 2nd serve had been dismissed with ease. Now in the first set, Murray had executed a superb 2nd serve, finding the service line – but then couldn’t handle Djokovic’s fierce return. So what was he to do? What he did was to send down an even better 2nd serve than the earlier gem, right into the corner. Djokovic was bamboozled, and after all it turned out to be an easy hold.

But Djokovic weren’t going away, he held on comfortably to his serve to force Murray to serve it out. So: unforced error from Murray for 0-15, followed by double fault. Djokovic is doing nothing – doesn’t need to, his reputation is doing the job for him. Mini retrieval for 15-30, and then an aweful mishit over the base line for 15-40. What can you do about nerves, eh? Damn things won’t behave themselves when it counts. Finally, a respectable (but no more) return from Djokovic is dumped into the net. Murray in purgatory, Djokovic roaring,cue for Mama and Papa to take the stage, screaming and shaking their fists and generally signalling that the situation, as it currently stood, met with their approval.

And so the match starts again, but Murray is gritty. He may find being up hard to handle, but put him down, and he’ll bite your ankle and won’t let go – at least, not till he’s up again, and then – well, that’s another story. In the final game of the match Djokovic – who was all over the place, today, which means he was good as well as bad – was serving at 0-30, and played a purposeful point, gradually driving forward until he gained the put away volley. However, the volley was mediocre – this man will never be a great vollyer, at best he can be competent – but Murray, presented with this reprieve and the chance to go 0-40 up, blinked again. Being up is tough job. Still, Murray makes a dog’s dinner out of the situation, signal for him to strike back – and so he did. Two match points, and the match finishes with a weak shot from Djokovic into the net.

The jury must still be out on Murray. Petchey claimed that Murray coming back to win having failed to serve it out was a real bonus in terms of boosting his confidence. I am not so sure. The fact is, Djokovic was unable to force the match into the pressure hell of a tiebreak, and circumstances were such that Murray did not have to serve it out to win. Fortune will not always smile so kindly on him. I am not saying Murray won’t eventually make it – I actually think he will, for what it’s worth. But I think he’s got a lot of work still to do in that head of his. The game is looking good.


Brando Says:

‘But I think he’s got a lot of work still to do in that head of his. The game is looking good.’

I agree with you about that grendel.

Andy’s game is definitely there- the FH especially has improved.

BUT his mind, im not convinced yet that he’s improved….


jane Says:

Murray has always done well in best of three, even over Rafa and Fed. What Andy *needs* to do now is beat one of them, well really two of the top three, in a slam. That will be the corner-turn for him – when he wins his first slam. Then he can shake off any doubts. These wins will help too of course.


tennisfan Says:

Already one can see the Ivan lendl effect on Murray! What a change it has been for the Scot.
The old whining kid is gone and a new determined man has emerged!
A fool gives vent to his anger whereas a wise man keeps his anger in control! A lesson now well learnt by Murray courtesy Lendl!

The Ice Cool Lendl Effect! http://bit.ly/zl71qp


jane Says:

Delpo can hardly get a first serve thus far – 38%.


margot Says:

jane: garden “springing” to life, crocuses, snowdrops, daffs, primroses, so full of promise. Love this time of year, unlike Elliot.


skeezerweezer Says:

Dave,

from Bodo

“Slow-court tennis is like an automobile race in which every car is fitted with a governor that keeps it from going faster than any of the other vehicles. Someone will still win and everyone else will lose, but I prefer to see what happens when risk is rewarded.”

Me too :).


jane Says:

^ Nice. Have seen no daffs or crocuses yet: cold here for this time of year. Muzz is full of promise too. Maybe Ivan isn’t so terrible after all. ;)


racquet Says:

Fabulous rally just now. Delpo hanging tough.


jane Says:

Wow, Delpo double faults then? Hmmm.


jane Says:

Delpo is slow between points too. Definitely takes his time. Tiebreak…


skeezerweezer Says:

delpo plays a Big game at 5-6 to go into a TB. If he pulls this out, that would be a key game there.


jane Says:

Delpo making errors in the tiebreak: shots long and into net. 4-1 for Fed.


racquet Says:

I think Fed is on course to win but at least Delpo is playing much better than in Rotterdam.


dari Says:

Keep the commentary going guys, can’t watch right now :)


Brando Says:

Roger gets the 1st set, should win BUT much better from delpo in comparison to Rotterdam. Hope he wins 2nd set.


skeezerweezer Says:

Well Fed takes the first set 7-6, but me thinks Fed has a battle in front of him today. Delpo is playing tougher as the match goes on. However, Fed as usual, pulls out shots out of the bag when he has too.


margot Says:

To beat Delpot you need to take ball really early and take time away from that mighty forehand. You also need to slice and dice. Dolgopolov has pefect game to do this, unfortunately he couldn’t execute it last time.
Fed not really doing either?
jane: indeedy, new nick name is perhaps “Ivan the lovable?” :)


jane Says:

Agree that Delpo is playing better than Rotterdam. On return, Delpo has won 2/22 on firsts and 4/13 on seconds; Fed has won 8/26 on firsts and 5/19 on seconds.


racquet Says:

Delpo saves 3 breakpoints. Steely stuff.


van orten Says:

federer sucks in converting break points …!!!


jane Says:

Yes, he’s been good on saving the 6 break points he’s faced thus far, but Delpo can’t do anything on the return, seemingly; he hasn’t generated even one break point yet in the match. Fed’s much more likely to win at this rate, as he’s at least getting into Delpo’s service games.


carlo Says:

my comment is awaiting moderation due to mis-spelling the pseudo lol


carlo Says:

Vamos buddy. you can, yes, you can.


jane Says:

Looking like another tiebreak. Not one break of serve.


carlo Says:

Maybe not. Federer is too good for Delpo.


racquet Says:

Uh-oh. Another tiebreak.


van orten Says:

come on fed…i like delpo but fed clearly better today and missing his chances as always


carlo Says:

come on delpo, remember US Open, vamos. 3-0 tb


jane Says:

From Nole’s twitter: “Congrats to@andy_murray for finals and good luck! Special thanks to my #bestfansintheworld for supporting me all the way!” – sweet. :)

Delpo with a great start in this tiebreak: 4-0.


van orten Says:

some things with fed never change…impressive how only he is capable of not converting chances like that


racquet Says:

hmmm…5-0 to Delpo.


carlo Says:

Whatever happens now, this is progress!

Win a set, vamos por favor


van orten Says:

one of the worst tie breaks ever by fed…no focus at all..credit to delpo for taking advantage


carlo Says:

OMG no . don’t blow this lead . crying


van orten Says:

tranquilo carlo esta jugando bien


carlo Says:

Heartbreak …..


van orten Says:

oops


jane Says:

From 5-0 to 6-6!! CHOKE?


racquet Says:

Delpo, delpo, delpo. Horrendous. 6-6


van orten Says:

what a point by roger…so fast so good defensive tennis….i love this court folks


carlo Says:

*Face Palm* !!!!


Gannu Says:

MY GOD my heart was in my mouth ;-) Ghossh Fedddy baby …now a great match against Andy Murray


jane Says:

Wow, mega choke from Delpo. cough cough. That’s not going to sit well.

I called both finalists! ;) Fed versus Murray it is. I look forward to it. Go Murray!!


racquet Says:

Would you believe it. Delpo wastes 4 set points and loses.


van orten Says:

wow wow ..he won that tie breaker incredible performance in the end by fed ..hats off as always to delpo …


the_mind_reels Says:

Wow. That’s the definition of hanging in there. Clutch playing from Federer.


dari Says:

what the flip happened there ? It was 5-0!


jane Says:

I know racquet, and on his serve too. Ouch.


skeezerweezer Says:

Fed in ANOTHER ATP final? Really? keep makin records Fed!

Feel for Delpo, but am enlightened that his form is finally looking like the monster he was pre wrist injury. He is starting to scare the top 3 again, and can’t rule him out to win a slam this year, no way , no how.


carlo Says:

lol, jane. your picker is the sharpest knife in the drawer! loool so jealous ;)

my congratulatory post is still awaiting moderation because I was so nervous about Delpo losing I spelled my username wrong logging in.

Congratulations Maestro.

omg delpo. what a disaster heart break tie break.


Colin Says:

I don’t do predictions, but I reckon this looks good for Murray. Apart from the famous US Open occasion, Fed has usually handled Delpo pretty well, hasn’t he? Two tiebreaks suggest the Swiss is not in great form. Murray is much more mobile than Del Potro, and if his serve remains in good order, he has a more than even chance.


jane Says:

All told, it was an improved performance from Delpo, but he used to be better on the return game, which complemented his serve and forehand combo well. He used to be top ten for return games won; now he’s down at 18. (He was 20th for 2011). If he can get that back up then he’ll be a force. He is now, but he can’t rely on winning tiebreaks all the time. He has to be able to break serve.


Gannu Says:

This is what i call double standards…federer never gets his credit for hanging in and fighting…just because he desnt keep shouting and jumping like some djoker or a$$picker, it doesnt mean he doesnt have a heart….Otherwis ehe wudnt be the GOAT…If Fed wins it because Del Po choked is the immediate conclusion and not becaus eFed fought backl…pls have a look at how fed won the last 5-6 points and then tell me whether Del po actually choked or not…at age 30 fed still is a force to reckon with….


Fot Says:

I thought for sure we were going 3 sets – but I’m glad Roger won it in 2! Hard fought match by Del Po and Roger.

Now I hope Roger can get his H2H with Murray at 8-7 tomorrow! Go Roger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Brando Says:

Murray should be fav in the final.

I hope he wins also. He looked more impressive than federer today.

IF he serves like he did today then he shall win in straight sets i feel.


carlo Says:

I think it’s confidence at this point. Delpo demolishes Berdych – humbles Tsonga. But he doesn’t have the swagger vs Federer. Credit to Federer, he played beautifully but Delpo SO CHOKED the heart breaker tie break! He would not have done that with such a lead vs anyone but the top 4, imo.

Not quite there. Shh, anti-Delpo’s.


Brando Says:

my comments must be awaiting moderation, but anyhow..

Delpo is back i feel. how many would have thought the following:

1- He plays rotterdam, marseille, dubai back to back?

2- His results read: RU, WIN, SF?

3- His results for the year so far: QTR, QTR, RU, WIN and SF?

Hardly anyone i imagine.

By the time of the USO he should be close to the top 6, and be primed for an assault on his favourite slam. VAMOS DELPO!!!!


jane Says:

Gannu, of course it takes two to tango, but seriously, from 5-0 up in a tiebreak, with 4 sets points, all the way to losing it – and some of those set points on Delpo’s serve? If Fed did it, I am sure you’d see it as a choke too? However, as you note, a player can’t choke if the other player isn’t hanging in there for the fight back. So it does work both ways. But really, Delpo should have forced a third set with that much of a lead in the tiebreak!


grendel Says:

I wouldn’t say it was a choke, that’s just not giving credit to Federer . In particular, delPo’s last serve – it was a cracker, and Federer’s return was Djokovic like, it was magnificent. The entire rally, actually, was superb – from both players. When Federer plays like that, it is incorrect and unfair to disparage his opponent.

del Potro is unquestionably a class player, and all the time he is getting closer, closer to his 2009 form. That is why it is exciting to watch him against Federer. You know he’s just a blink away from turning the tables, you know it will happen – but you don’t know when.

I was struck with one of Federer’s late service games – 3 serve and volleys, I believe. That’s worthy of comment, no? I don’t know why he doesn’t do it more often. I doubt if he’ll do it tomorrow at all against a player as fast as Murray.

Federer wasn’t at his best, and Barry Cowan put Murray as slight favourite tomorrow, especially if he serves as well as he did today. They haven’t met for over a year, apparently. Federer will have to play his very best to win, I think that is certain.


El Flaco Says:

Delpo was crushing some of those backhands, but Fed handles those better than heavy topspin shots.


Brando Says:

He’s the new world no 9 now (i think), so hopefully he shall be within the top 8 very soon.

once he is, and is protected from the top 4 until the QTRs, he’ll really launch from there i feel.

I love his all out attack style of game :-)


andrea Says:

nice win roger! scores look close…could not watch. seems like a better performance from juan, but he’s got to be bummed with all these consecutive losses to roger. but as grendel says, tables will turn eventually.

congrats to murray for the win as well. nice to see rog and andy face off again…they always seem to have great best of 3 matches.


Gannu Says:

agree with grendel…Jane if Fed had dumped that return into the net which was very well possible considering that amazing serve, u wouldnt have said Del Po choked..doesnt matter 5 set points or on set point..if he ha dconverted no one would have said delpo choked by squandering 4 set points and winning the 5th one….Does any one say fed choked in the first set??? NO…becaus ehe won that 4th set point…i he had lost you all would have said Fed choked,,,.matter of perception and the way we look at things…


carlo Says:

Pardon me but that 2nd TB Delpo choked. The 1st set TB, no. Federer flat out too good.

Federer fans sometimes don’t see past his brilliance to the opponent, imo. And I should know, because I am one! :D


Polo Says:

That guy Federer, he’s quite good, isn’t he?


jane Says:

Gannu, I am not neglecting Fed’s great play; he was better today and I think the better player won, and if you look at my posts, they note how he was getting into Delpo’s service games throughout the match. Plus Fed moves better than Delpo, imo. He’s great. He has a 50-50 chance with Murray tomorrow. But I still agree with carlo that Delpo choked the second set TB. He should have taken it. He blew some chances.


Brando Says:

Delpo did choke… 5 points lead come on now!

That’s a perfect example of choking:

when you have it in the bag (set) and then screw it up badly!

and im a fan of delpo’s (2nd fav)!


Nims Says:

Gannu: You have a point. It’s ridiculous to say Del P choked. Roger just played calm and excellent tennis to pull back. It’s was his silly errors in the first place which got him to the situation, not Delpo’s superior play. The guy did not even goto deuce in his service game. He was much better played in the second set than Del Po.


Nims Says:

And to all the Murray fans who are super excited, let’s wait till the FO comes. He has done this so many times in 3-setters, I’m not sure what is the difference now.


Nims Says:

I think it’s getting bit tired to watch Roger repeatedly play against Tsonga and DelPo. I wish we get some changes in IW and Miami. I think other guys also need to get chance to play these big hitters. I would be interested to see Nadal vs Delpo in IW (though the court is a lot slower) which will help Nadal, but it would be a nice changeup.


Polo Says:

Would it be preposterous to think that Federer may have played better during all those set points again him instead of claiming that del Potro choked? That is rather disrepectful of Roger’s tennis skills.


Brando Says:

Who cares if it is federer on the other side of the net or winnie the pooh!

Delpo, just like any of the big 4, should have sealed the deal at 5-0, especially when he had chances on his own serve.


Mark Says:

Fed looking to get his butt kicked by Muzz. Go Muzz!!!


carlo Says:

Exactly. Brando.

Not that Delpo played better throughout the 1st two sets; they were very close. It was a better match than Llodra, Lopez, or Youzhny by quite a ways. That 2nd tie break was a delpo choke and it is no disrespect to Federer to say it. Delpo got weak knees at the idea of a 3rd set. He needs to fix that if he’s going to go higher than #5.

Federer would likely have won in the decider. Delpo should have won the 2nd set TB. He had the set on his racquet choked.

It was an improvement from Rotterdam though. Still, little consolation atm.


skeezerweezer Says:

Delpo is not the only guy on tour who has had some weak mental moments. Feds had a ton. But still, Fed IMO was playing well enough to win regardless.


Humble Rafa Says:

Congratulations to the fans of Mr.Lady Forehand. He did a good unchoke job today. there is still time to choke. But then again, he is the master of the minor league. Choking is best reserved for the big occasion.


Brando Says:

@ Carlo:

Yep, im also pleased with delpo’s performance aside from the TB.

Fed was no doubt the better player.

The final, for me, depends on murrays serve. IF he serves anywhere like today (88% 1st serves points won, when 1st serve is in) then he should win.

At the same time, i liked what i saw in rogers match. He really does seem to have ‘spring in his step’ moreso this year than last year. He’s getting around the court much more swiftly than this time last year IMO.


carlo Says:

That is probably true, skeezerweezer. And I love Federer. He likely would have won in the decider.

It would have been called a choke from Federer though if it went to a 3rd set and Delpo won in the tie break when/if Fed was up 5-0 and Federer blew his lead. I have seen Federer choke a lead in a TB and called it just that – a choke . No argument followed.

Delpo lacks the swagger i see in him when he beat Tsonga and Berdych. He has been clutch serving. It wasn’t there in the 2nd set TB when he needed it. Confidence vs Federer and perhaps the other top 3 is still shaky. Maybe it’s something Delpo can change, I don’t know.


Brando Says:

I think delpo needs time. Like i said in an earlier post i feel that if he keeps the trajectory of his progress continuing at this rate, then by the time he gets to USO he should be in top 6, have faced the ‘other 3′ and be primed for an assault at his favourite GS.

You must remeber that he was ‘pretty much’ out for a year- during which nadal, djokovic, murray all improved, and fed won a slam and YEC!

So delpo is playing catch up and i think all in all he is doing an excellent job of it!


carlo Says:

:D thank you Brando :D


marrisv Says:

Delpo’s return of serve is really a big problem for him. His return position doesn’t suit his style of game.
I really feel he doesn’t have enough fallback plays against the top guys and it gets exposed every single time. He may not have reached his pre injury peak yet but even in his peak i never felt he was a great returner.


skeezerweezer Says:

Carlo,

He’ll get over it. How? Just keep playing and getting through the tourney into these types of matches. Reality is he is playing pretty darn good right now. It will get better.


grendel Says:

The trouble when you bring the “choke” idea up is: you ignore the tennis.

You might as well say:Federer choked to get so far behind. Doesn’t sound quite right, though in fact, you never know, you can’t be absolutely sure. Federer had been unable to break through on the delPo serve, so it is conceivable he was deeply concerned about the possibility of a 3rd set, and this put extra pressure on him to take the tiebreak – hence a choke.

Even so, this is implausible, although it is not implausible to think nerves had something to do with Federer’s poor showing in the first part of the tiebreak. Then again, maybe not, perhaps he dropped his guard just a touch – that’s all it needs – in anticipation of the win.

Or perhaps there was a combination of factors, including del Potro playing a little the better. It’s not a lot of points we are talking about.

And then, you could say that del Potro may have been a little complacent – understandable, with such a lead. Perhaps, too, he was a bit nervous. Are we always to use the “choke” word in such a contingency – frankly, that sounds ludicrous to me. Much more plausible is that del Potro was defeated by superior tennis over just a few points – yes? comprehendo? just a few points, this sort of thing happens all the time, the rhythm momentarily shifts. And Federer, more than anyone I’d say, can play magical tennis in the crunch – and that is exactly what he did.

So sorry, I don’t buy the “choke” idea for one second. I’m not saying it is inconceivable, but I do say that the word “choke” itself is imprecise and tends to be used either as an insult or as an expression of devastated disappointment. And kindly recall del Potro’s final serve – it was a brilliant serve, Federer’s return was outstanding, and the subsequent play was terrific; if Federer hadn’t been rock solid, del Potro would have held.


Polo Says:

Had Federer lost the second set, some here would say he choked. But he was able to catch up, therefore, he unchoked. If he did not win on his first match point, he would have rechocked. Then when he finally won, Federer reunchoked. I guess every point lost in this match is called a choke.


Twocents Says:

Ok, Fed choked on many break points in 2nd set, and JMDP returned the favor, with a bonus (on set points)… Depends how you define choking.

Fed, you really should save your luck for slams, imho.

Murray in 2 tomorrow, although he should save his luck for slams too.


carlo Says:

So you would also deny Federer blowing a 5-0 lead in a TB ? (playing nervous, mental wandering, shanking, ect)?

Read your own words, grendel:

“Even so, this is implausible, although it is not implausible to think nerves had something to do with Federer’s poor showing in the first part of the tiebreak. Then again, maybe not, perhaps he dropped his guard just a touch – that’s all it needs – in anticipation of the win.”

All about Federer.

You allow that it’s not implausible to think nerves (choking) had to do with Federer’s poor showing but NOT del Potro’s?

Implausible for Delpo and plausible for Federer, eh, sir?

All about Federer this match? Or, does magical tennis get an assist from an opponent shaking in his boots. Delpo choked the 2nd tie break. It is not implausible, ludicrous, insert exasperation and indignation, to believe nerves had to do with his performance.

I think you ignore part of the match in favor of Federer – but that is very common.

Delpo was far from complacent. That is a ludicrous idea.


Angel Says:

Oh my God, I’m choking right now with so many chokes over her.


Polo Says:

I predict more chokes coming our way tomorrow. The loser will definitely choke. That’s the way you win tennis nowadays, have the other guy choke and voila, you win. The game does not matter anymore. It’s all about the choke.


jane Says:

grendel in the past I remember you saying something about everyone choking, and it being natural, or somethign to that effect. I am surprised that now you are saying the term is imprecise almost suggesting (??) that no one chokes?

I do take your point that it’s always, always two in a tennis match – and had Fed sat back and thought to himself “it’s over, he’s two points from forcing the 3rd set” then maybe it would’ve gone that way. However, when a player has a lead like that, including 4 set points, in a nerve-wringing situation especially — let’s not forget that Delpo had lost the last 3 matches and 7 sets in a row to Roger, so nerves on his side would’ve, arguably, been stronger than for Roger — then Delpo makes a mistake, even just one, everything can come unraveled, and the lead is squandered. Usually that’s what’s called a choke. How many times has one missed shot at a key moment caused a player to lose the set and/or the match?

Maybe chokes and clutch go together? But that doesn’t discount the choke.


marrisv Says:

jane@4:31 pm Agree with your post about the one missed shot leading to a choke or mental walkabout..

Murray wimbledon semi – after winning the first set, he lead the second set 2-1 up missed a sitter of a forehand at 15-30 i think and his game unravelled from that point.


Fot Says:

Well I hope Roger “chokes” to a win tomorrow! lol! Go Roger!


jane Says:

carlo, did you see that Gulbis lost, as did Tomic, quite straight-forwardly, to Isner. Definitely looking forward to the Dubai final; I hope it’s a good match. I can see either one of them winning. Hope Murray can get the win.


grendel Says:

carlo – certainly it was not all about Federer, I was simply positing a scenario where, in the tiebreak, you might want to argue Federer choked – implausible though it really sounds. I suggested nerves might have played a role with Federer’s initial poor showing – now you equate nerves with choking. I don’t – it is a question of degree, after all. Like most things. And of course I allow that del Potro might have been affected by nerves. Why call it choking? Or perhaps there is choking degree 1, choking degree 2, etc etc. The word “choking” is derogatory and probably should used pretty sparingly. As for del Potro possibly being complacent, I was just throwing out possibilities basically to suggest that all kinds of scenarios (including that of choking) are imaginable. Like you, I think it is unlikely that del Potro became complacent.

jane, nice to have an amanuensis who remembers everything I say. Yes, I did say that, and I am sure it is the case – loosely speaking. Of course the word “choke” is imprecise, and of course the role of nerves is both important and it varies very widely indeed. Now you want to say that just one mistake from delPo is sufficient to justify the charge of choke. That is disingenuous. Almost every match would entail a choke of some degree or other. Mistakes are made all the time, and you don’t actually know what exactly lies behind them.

You were very vociferous with your choke charges, employing capital letters and what not. That’s absolutely ok, of course you are entitled to your opinion. I strongly disagree with you – that’s my entitlement – and in particular I noted that – at the time, which is what counts, belated tributes cut no ice – you had no thought to give credit to Federer for a remarkable recovery. That too is ok. I think your perspective is clear enough, and we all do more or less the same thing. I mean by that we are instinctively fairer to some players than to others. That’s certainly true of me, and I believe it is true of you, too.


carlo Says:

For the 1st time in my tennis posting life jane, I am finding out what it’s like to be on the receiving end of defensive and mocking Fedfans. Never would have paused to wonder about calling a very obvious choke in the 2nd set tie break from del Potro for what it was would slight even the least sensitive Fed fan. My bad.

sheesh. I had my days, months, years arguing with Nadal fans, defending Federer and I’m familiar with how pointless that can be, but it really is the same pointlessness on both sides. I’ll stay out of it and keep my distance.

Gulbis, sadly can’t put together a run like he did spring 2010 and win Delray. Maybe by summer he can try to defend LA?

I’ll be hoping Murray can win as well.


jane Says:

I’m out of it too carlo. It doesn’t even matter much to me: had nothing invested in the match, though I kind of wanted to see a Murray/Fed final and called that yesterday. I was watching Delpo curiously, though, to see how close he is to being “back”. Mostly, he’s convinced me that he’s close-er. The return is still not up to where it was in 2009, and I don’t think he’s mentally as steely as he was, but he’s on his way. Sad about Gulbis: I agree. Especially because he’s come out and said he’s going to throw in the towel if he can’t make anything of this season. :( Bummer.


jane Says:

grendel, I don’t remember everything you say, ha ha. :) But I remember that comment because it was recent and the discussion was about Djoko choking set points during the USO in 2007, and you said how Nole learnt from those and that everyone chokes, etc.. That made me glad because, well, he’s my no. 1 guy, so I remembered it. That’s all. Anyhow. You’re right that we all see the way we see, and we’re all entitled to our views.


skeezerweezer Says:

carlo,

don’t take offense.
grendel is very sensitive of words that start with “ch”. (now don’t take offense grendel…just teasing here)

Choke & Cheat or two that he has in the past contested with vigor.

Some may feel that nerves(or being nervy ) is just that, nothing else. Others may think being nervous and choking are in the same territory. Or then grendel may just have a issue with words that start with ‘ch”.

Others like me, think the “uh oh” and choking are one and the same. As an example, a ball comes to your solid FH, you take the racket back to strike it as your opponent comes into the net. There is a space 2 million miles wide to hit the passing shot. You see it. You have done it before. Easy. You will hit it and win the match.

However, as you start your swing forward you start thinking, “uh oh”, what if I don’t hit it hard enough?,”uh oh” what if I am not good enough?…”uh oh” I can’t do this! “uh oh” what I am doing here, I can’t hit this shot! And then…you dump it into the bottom of the net. Chicken winged it. Yipped it. Froze it. Whatever……

I hate “uh oh’s”. Ugh. But now…..the NIke man.

That is why I am a Nike man. Only thing in your head at that moment is thinking about where your going to put it, and “Just Do it”.


tennis coach Says:

Congrats to Andy and his fans! His win is well deserved! However let’s not get too excited here. Novak was rusty and has not practiced for 3 weeks. Let’s see how he does in IW and Miami.


Dave Says:

The word “choke” has been used almost 60 times above! Most of Djokovic’s wins in 2011 and Nadal’s wins in 2010 were also due to chokes — if you apply the same standard to every player. Since we can’t see inside the mind and body of these players, those posters jumping to conclusions that delpo choked are probably drawing on their own personal experience when they choked away matches… and presumed that Delpo must have choked as well, right? Not necessarily. In fact, given the facts and bigger picture, it may be a mistake to presume Delpo choked.

All the points Delpo played in the tiebreaker during the setpoints from 6-2 till he lost at 6-8 were relatively quality points — he was outplayed, outlasted, made good errors (barely) on risks taken or off forcing shots. Arguably Delpo made only one true unforced error (at 5-1) in the 14 points of the tiebreak — but it did not happen during the setpoints. It wasn’t an “obvious choke” by delpo as some are speculating.

There is a logical reason why Federer won the tiebreak: compared to Delpo, Federer is far more successful in winning tiebreaks… and thus is more likely to win a tie break. If Delpo could win 5 points to get to 5-0 against the Tiebreak GOAT… why can’t the Tiebreak GOAT win 6 points in a row? Being 2-6 setpoint down is exactly when a great clutch player springs to life — and Federer is arguably tennis’s greatest clutch player at crunchtime. Consider also that Delpo played so well despite being exhausted from playing 13 straight matches in 3 straight weeks.

Federer has played the most tie breaks (471), won the most tie breaks (312) and has the best winning percentage (66.2%) in tennis history.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Tie-Breakers-Career-List.aspx

As the Wall Street Journal’s numbers expert Carl Bialik assessed: “Reality: Federer is the most dominant player of all-time in the most pressure-filled situation tennis players can face: tiebreakers to decide sets… Federer’s prowess in tiebreaks is the real deal, though: Against Top 10 players in his career, he has won a staggering 62% of tiebreaks. Nadal has won 57% of career tiebreakers against Top 10 players.” Compared to the other top players, Federer is much stronger mentally than he is given credit for, just because he doesn’t need to thump his chest or whip himself into a frenzy to pump himself up and intimidate his opponent.
http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2012/01/25/mythbusters-federer-nadal-edition/

The UK Times’s chief sportswriter Simon Barnes, one of Britain’s best sports writers (who has covered many decades of the world’s best athletes from various sports), described Federer’s ability to raise his game at crunchtime as the best in tennis history.

- In 2005, Barnes wrote “Nobody else plays like that. Nobody else could. Racket-head control is only an aspect of it. Hidden behind that mostly serene manner is a ferocious competitive will. It is deceptive, because it is invariably expressed in a beautiful form. It looks as if Federer is hitting his opponents with a flower, but the opponents get knocked to the floor just the same… He has plenty more raises available to him should he need them. He is not just Leonardo (Da Vinci), he is also Sergey Bubka, the pole vaulter who made a career of raising the world record centimetre by centimetre. If his next two opponents raise the bar, Federer has it within him to raise himself that little bit higher. He has more raises within him than anyone else in tennis.”

- In 2009, Barnes wrote “Roger Federer really is the greatest tennis player of all time… every bit as much as his wonderful racket skill, is what Federer does best. He can raise his game and then raise it again. He has more raises than any one else in history. In the second set yesterday, Soderling kept pace. Federer had given us a first set close to perfection, but the appalling security lapse that allowed an intruder on court to frolic unhindered for 18 seconds broke the spell. Soderling then went toe to toe with Federer until the tie-break, but then Federer made one of his epic raises and that was the match. It was in this passage of play that we had a sudden, piercingly clear vision of the real secret of Federer’s greatness. Federer raised as only Federer can. In the eight points of the tie-break, he served four times and served four aces. He also dismantled Soderling on his own serve, winning 7-1. After that, it was just a matter of counting down the games and keeping pulse and respiration under some kind of tenuous control.”
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/roger-federer-is-the-greatest-of-all/story-fna7dq6e-1225729875877

Federer’s tiebreak record, single digit annual loss record from 2004 to 2007, and 22 major titles won are testimony to Federer’s performance at crunchtime during his prime. Even at age 30, Federer is the only player who has won 76 consecutive matches against players ranked outside the top 19. Federer’s consistent results is not luck or due to his opponents choking. Tennis great Jack Kramer noted “Roger is a complete player. What he has, and it’s not luck, is the ability to change his game slightly as to what his opponent’s doing to him.”

Composure: “This one has a couple of connotations,” Cohn says. “The first is: Can you keep it together under pressure at crunchtime? It’s the last minute of the game, and you’re trailing by three: It’s how well you can stay under control emotionally and can perform when you need to. “The other component is how well you deal with mistakes. Can you stay composed and forget about them? Or do you get upset and frustrated and thrown off your game? Athletes who are composed don’t get rattled and compound one mistake into many.”
http://www.peaksports.com/pdfs/soul_of_champion_USATODAY_article.pdf

Delpo’s level today was enough to beat Nadal (who struggled against Juan Martin at Wimbledon) and maybe even Djokovic. Not sure he can beat Fed or Murray yet, these are just bad match ups for him.

finally carlo, not all the replies you got came from “defensive and mocking Fedfans”.


carlo Says:

Oh Dave. Let some wind out of your hot air bag for once.

And read my post right if you can possibly condescend to it.

finally carlo, not all the replies you got came from “defensive and mocking Fedfans”.

Did I say all the replies? no. You exaggerate. But that’s not anything new coming from you.


carlo Says:

skeezerweezer, thanks for the insight. seriously. :)


grendel Says:

carlo – no one mocked you that I am aware of. What was “obvious” to you was not obvious to others. That’s often the way of things. We all want the truth, but don’t happen to agree on what it is.

Maybe you are right about the choking. I don’t think you are, and I don’t see what being “defensive” has to do with anything. It is a matter of opinion. It is a perfectly legitimate position to maintain that del Potro was simply outplayed for those last few points. Of course you can disagree with that, but it is impolite to imply that those who disagree with you are not serious or are not debating in good faith, but instead suffer from a peculiar condition known as “fedfanitism”.


jane Says:

Delpo’s most “chokey” shots were at 6-2 and 6-5 imo. At 6-2 he hit a good serve, Fed hit a backhand return right to back him, not hard, and he overcooked his forehand, long, maybe wide too. At 6-5, he hit a forehand he’d been making all match into the net. At 6-6 Fed’s return was good, but not deep at Delpo’s feet or anything; it was basically right back to Delpo and just passed the service line; hence Delpo was able to get into quite a sustained rally during that point, but when he tried to change direction on the ball during the rally, he hit a backhand into the net, really it seemed to clip the top of the tape. You could argue that that point was a forced error, possibly. Or else it was another bad miss as he saw the thing getting away from him. The points where he couldn’t do much were on Fed’s two serves at 6-3, and 6-4. Delpo hit the first one into the net, and the second one mid court, which Fed put away for a winner. Delpo’s return is not as good as it used to be. So those weren’t choke points really, Fed just served well and Delpo isn’t returning that well, in my opinion. But, at 6-2 and 6-5, both on his serve, he hit UEs/choked.


carlo Says:

Well, I am fine with disagreeing about what happened in the match. But you did insinuate a comprehension problem, “comprehendo?” and your use of “implausible” “ludicrous” etc. in that post at 2:34 isn’t exactly polite itself. Your posts are mostly above the fray and entertaining as you defend your points gracefully. I guess you had me at: “if you ignore the tennis.” grrr. that set me off lol


carlo Says:

above post is to grendel


grendel Says:

Postscript to the above: The trouble with the word “choke” is that it tends to be all embracing. Meltdowns do of course happen – there are famous ones we all know of, Coria, Djokovic, McEnroe – although the Coria one was in a league all of its own. It seems to me to be heavyhanded to characterise every manifestation of nerves as a “choke”. No doubt we can all agree that del Potro was not in the most serene state of mind as he served for the match. But he was still playing good stuff, and might very well have pulled it off – despite not playing at his absolute best. His opponent had other ideas, however. That is the point.


Polo Says:

I simply think that choke is a very condescending term to apply to these players who are so good. They would not have reached such high rankings if they are such wimpy nervous wrecks. No victory is assured no matter how much of a lead you have especially when very good players are pitted against each other. Most of these players have won after being seemingly out and vice versa: lost when they seemed like they would win. These had happened playing against the same player. There is always some degree of nerves when playing high level tennis. It is an inherent human trait. But losing to somebody who plays well is not choking, regardless of how much of a lead he may have had. That is the nature of sport. To call the loser is a choker demeans both the loser and the victor.


jane Says:

At 5-1 Delpo also hit a wild error and you could see it was bugging him.


jane Says:

I know what you mean, Polo, but it is true that choke is used here all the time. Murray chokes, Berdych chokes, Nole chokes…people say it all the time and I don’t recall the word being seen in such contentious terms before. I am sure when Fed went from 5-2 in the first set of the final versus Rafa to lose the set, people said he choked.


grendel Says:

“I don’t recall the word being seen in such contentious terms before.” So far as I am concerned, it was the tone you employed at the time, spontaneously, which got my goat, jane. I disagree with most of your interpretation at 8.17 – I replied to it, but somehow the post got lost. Not writing that lot out again. But you have a point – I am sure I have been guilty of very loose abuse of other players. And of course it happens quite a bit.

Even so, distinctions can be made – Murray has clearly been held up by mental issues, but he seems to be making headway; Djokovic obviously had all sorts of issues – which he has resolved. del Potro is generally rather strong, but you can qualify this by saying his self-belief is still not where it was in 2009, and that is bound to affect his play in crunch moments. Real melt downs rarely happen, but they do of course. Today was not one of those occasions.

carlo – those comments were general and not aimed at you; that said, they were over the top. This boy lacks self-control.


Dave Says:

carlo, now yours is a “defensive and mocking” post. Perhaps you need to look in the mirror to consider your own sensitivity, defensiveness and mocking tone… before accusing others.

As my post indicated, even some posters who are not “fedfans” took issue with your arguments.

Your conjecture that it was “a very obvious choke in the 2nd set tie break from del Potro” is ludicrous. Why? You cannot possibly know what was happening inside delpo’s mind and body to know for sure that it was a choke. Second, you have no qualifications, competence or rational argument to assess it as an “obvious choke” as if there is absolte certainty there was. Third, there are no news reports about Delpo admitting to choking or nervousness. On the other hand Andy Murray admitted “I got nervous when I was serving it out.”

You expect others to agree with you, otherwise you disparage them as defensive and mocking. If you cannot argue rationally and with facts, don’t bother replying.


jane Says:

Agree grendel: there are distinctions. Agree also, we can all be fast and loose in the heat of commentating. Re: your interpretation of those points, would love to hear them but respect you not wanting to write them out again. Didn’t mean to push your goat off the roof or anything.


Nims Says:

Dave: Federer is arguably tennis’s greatest clutch player at crunchtime

I would like to see his tiebreaker record against Nadal. Also wondering how if the above statement is true, Roger lost so many matches after having Matchpoints, esp 10 and 11 USO.

I will agree to the above point when Roger beats Nadal in a GS final.

Dave: Delpo’s level today was enough to beat Nadal

Another abstract assessment. How can anyone conclude with this statement?


Polo Says:

If you don’t like Federer, you are more likely attribute his win to a “choke” by del Potro.

If you like Federer, you are likely to attribute his win to his improving his level of play towards the end.

The same goes with every player who has even won or lost a match.

It is as simple as that. Choking is in the eyes of the beholder.


Dave Says:

jane: “At 5-1 Delpo also hit a wild error and you could see it was bugging him.”

At 5-1, Delpo hit a sensational return and played an excellent rally. Federer hit a half volley — either to bait Delpo to come forward or it was to screw up Delpo’s rhythm or it was a mis-hit — that landed inside Delpo’s ad service box and bounced about net height. Delpo’s subsequent backhand error was a bit wild but it was the right idea — to put away that ball in Fed’s backhand corner. Like Federer said, Delpo just didn’t hit that ball cleanly. It happens. But yes, that was an unforced error.

However, that error bugged Delpo for the next three seconds only (based on his bodylanguage). My expert analysis of Delpo’s body and mind proves this — I say this without any doubts, cuz I’m such a good mind reader and psychic. Furthermore observation of Delpo’s body language and facial language and facial expression indicates that he immediately put the point out of his mind. ON the next point, as delpo started his service motion we can clearly see grit and determination on his face — he hit a good serve and played an excellent, aggressive 14-point rally until Federer unluckily hit the tape. Delpo’s response to win the next point proves he was not bugged by his UFE at 5-1.

jane: “Delpo’s most “chokey” shots were at 6-2 and 6-5 imo… at 6-2 and 6-5, both on his serve, he hit UEs/choked.”

Nah, they weren’t chokey shots. It wasn’t as if Delpo made UFE’s hitting safe rally balls to the center of the court. In both instances he was trying to force the play and took risks. What we don’t perceive is what players tell us — Roger makes subtle changes to the speed and spin of the ball all the time which tend to disrupt his opponents rhythm

At 6-5, Delpo played a good 9-shot rally. He chose to run around and take the ball with his forehand to hit a forcing shot and draw Fed out of position. So delpo hit relatively flat and the ball unluckily clipped the top of the net. Otherwise he hit the right shot to try to get the angle to Fed’s backhand side.. He took the risk and it was a good error, even if it was scored an UFE. Too bad he didn’t have Nadal’s or Fed’s topspin.

At 6-2, Delpo took the risk, on the run, to hit a winner crosscourt to Fed’s forehand corner. It was the right idea, just missed long and wide. Again a good error as he took the risk to make something happen.


jane Says:

“At 6-2, Delpo took the risk, on the run, to hit a winner crosscourt to Fed’s forehand corner.” ? Delpo missed his first serve, hit a second serve, Fed returned a backhand, and Delpo moved to the side literally two steps to hit the forehand. There was no “on the run” because the return was hit to the same corner where Delpo was positioned for the serve; he had to side step only a couple steps to hit that forehand. To me an “on the run” forehand entails running while hitting the forehand. Delpo was not running. Anyhow, you see it your way. And I don’t.

Polo “If you don’t like Federer, you are more likely attribute his win to a “choke” by del Potro.” As far as I know, carlo’s all time favourite player is Fed, so I don’t know if this holds true in all cases. But our biases will affect how we interpret matches, comments, actions, etc. It works both ways. That is true, and with that I generally agree.


carlo Says:

You do know me, jane. But I seem to have lost my Federer Fan identification card (though I still wear my Melzer signed Federer cap) and I’ve failed the re-entry exam for differing in opinion with the Fed experts on the Federer-Delpo Dubai semi-final 2nd set tie break. ;)

I own to the problem. Federer winning more and breaking more records just isn’t as wonderful as it once was to me, though I still enjoy his tennis (most) of the time. And as I type that, I realize, indeed, I probably don’t belong in any fan club. It’s getting less likely that I will see a match, a Federer match, like I used to. So in a way, what Polo says is true. “Likely” being the key word. I likely won’t watch Federer as I used to, but it is certainly not because I don’t like Federer! That is a wrong assumption. How I see a match may, however, be influenced by wanting one or more of his opponents to win. And the number is increasing. Wanting an opponent of Federer’s to win, for me, has nothing to do with being against Federer. It’s about liking the other player more. sheesh, I am definitely not someone anyone wants in their fan club! hahaha


Daniel Says:

choke tends to come associated with the HxH between players. In this case, even acknowledging Fed error free 6 points played, DelPo choked. You can’t squander a lead like that. If his first serve on set point was that good, he should have hit an ace, that’s is how you revert a losing score to a player that is in your head.

If were Nadal recovering from 0-5 against Fed we will all called it a choke, regardless of what Nadal did to win the set, based on the HxH and mental aspect of matches between Fed and Nadal.

That’s why Jane and Carlo are perfectly fine for interpreting it as a choke, it is the third time in what, 6 weeks without Delpo winning a set?!


jane Says:

Daniel, thank you so much for saying it’s “perfectly fine” because I was starting to feel like I am insane and bad for using that word. :)

carlo, it’s the opposite for me; I’ve come to like Fed and appreciate his tennis more in his dotage (just kidding!!) because he is after all an iconic figure in tennis, deservedly so. And he’s kind of like a little kid still, when it comes to tennis; you can just tell he loves it. That’s just the truth. Sure, he flubs matches up more now, but somehow that has made me like him more because most of us like a flawed hero more than a perfect one, at least that’s the case for me.


margot Says:

Polo: “reunchoked” lol! U nearly had me choking over my cornflakes..;)


margot Says:

jane @8.30 2/12: a most excellent point :)
carlo: I’m in YOUR fan club :)


Sienna Says:

Del Potro’s level is good enough to reach these latter stages of tourney and with Fed not around he might win the whole thing.

SO I am very much looking forward to the final. Fed want to make a statement against Murray. He”l take this final very serious.

BTW last year when Murray won his Asian tour there was a lot of stuff because Fed actually dare to raise questions about the other top 4 not available for Murray. He then went on to dominate the indoorseason. Act 2 is upon us.

The way Murray an dFederer are looking Djoker and Nadal better not get to comfortable and think they will have all those finals again for the taking.


thark Says:

without question, the word choke is inherently 1. derogatory, and 2. unilateral (ignoring the other player). it is a deeply flawed word, but it is used for a very simple reason: convenience. it describes an incredibly complex series of events using only one syllable. you could say “i’m tremendously disappointed in the way that the balance of power swung away from the player with a commanding lead, both because i felt that he/she was in a good position to win the match, and because the opponents level did not seem sufficiently elevated to make them victorious when playing a hypothetical match in my head involving the player who was leading, playing at the level they had attained prior to the lead, and the player who ultimately won, playing at the level that cinched the match during the period that i perceived the leader’s level of play to drop” OR you could say “umm, choke?”

i fully recognize the imperfect nature of the term, but it is human nature to simplify that which cannot be simplified to reduce their own cognitive dissonance and save a bit of time.


Dave Says:

Jane: There is a simple, factual way to resolve this She Said, He Said. Go to 2:04:00 of this clip of the full match to see exactly what happened at 6-2 in the second set tiebreak. Contrary to your claims “literally two steps”, “same corner where Delpo was positioned for the serve”, “Delpo was not running”… the truth is clear: Delpo’s serve follow through took him into the center of the court and then he had to run about four steps to hit the returned ball at the sideline (Delpo’s running clearly meets the dictionary definition of “run”). Federer has hit such backhand returns in that same way to a similar spot against Delpo and other players (e.g., Youzhny), and Delpo has missed similar forehand shots from similar spots earlier in this match.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn77LNdHGJ8

You’re welcome to you see it your way. The rest of us can see the facts. Now that we have video evidence we can examine what happened in all points of the tiebreak.

It’s not “perfectly fine” to interpret such things as a choke for the reasons we have explained above. Losing 3 times in 6 weeks without winning a set off the greatest player of all time who is a bad match up for Delpo is no evidence of a choke. Above all, it is ludicrous and hubristic for a layperson to imagine that he/she can — over TV or monitor — see inside the mind and body of a pro player to presume to know that another player is in Delpo’s head (and other “mental aspects”) and conclude that Delpo “choked”.


Dave Says:

Nims: “I would like to see his tiebreaker record against Nadal.”

Instead of pontificating about what you would like to do… just do it and check the Federer-Nadal tiebreak record.

Then report to us that Nadal has failed to win more tiebreaks than Federer despite winning 18 of 27 matches.

Nims: “Also wondering how if the above statement is true (“Federer is arguably tennis’s greatest clutch player at crunchtime”), Roger lost so many matches after having Matchpoints, esp 10 and 11 USO.”

Instead of wondering (and hyping abstract generalizations such as “Roger lost so many matches after having matchpoints”), report to us:

- exactly how many matches Federer lost after having matchpoints

- exactly how many matches all other great players lost after having matchpoints

- exactly how many matches Federer won after having matchpoints

- exactly how many matches all other great players won after having matchpoints

Nims: “I will agree to the above point (Federer is arguably tennis’s greatest clutch player at crunchtime) when Roger beats Nadal in a GS final.”

In the spectrum of “arguably”, I do care when great sports analysts (such as the person I quoted in my March 2nd 7:30 pm post) consider Federer tennis’s greatest player at crunchtime. On the other hand, I don’t care whether or not you agree, honestly.

In any case, your test has already been met — Roger has beaten Nadal in two grand slam finals. Federer also has a better record in winning tiebreaks, beating top ten players, winning finals, winning grand slam championships and winning World Tour Finals than Nadal.

However, your test is irrational because you apply unilateral standards to Federer without applying the same standards to measure Nadal and other players. After all, a person is tennis’s greatest clutch player at crunchtime obviously relative to all other players. When we apply the same test to Nadal, we realize he has failed to beat Djokovic in all three consecutive grand slam finals they have met.

Nims: “Another abstract assessment (“Delpo’s level today was enough to beat Nadal”). How can anyone conclude with this statement?”

I guess you couldn’t. But if you want to quote me, then quote me in full: “Delpo’s level today was enough to beat Nadal (who struggled against Juan Martin at Wimbledon) and maybe even Djokovic. Not sure he can beat Fed or Murray yet, these are just bad match ups for him.”

Don’t question my conclusion without doing the homework I suggested. Nadal struggled to win 5 more points than Delpo did over a four hour battle at Wimbledon. Already in trouble in the first set, a desperate Nadal calls for a late first set medical time out at 6-6 that delayed the match by 8 minutes before the tiebreak (like he has done against Federer and others) that led Delpo to reportedly complain to the umpire that Nadal was lying — start from 10:00 mark in this clip.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD7KlmOsT0Q

Delpo is a better player today than he was 8 months ago. Delpo’s level today was enough to beat Nadal at the level he showed against Djokovic in the AO final. By the end of this year, we’ll know whether he has actually done it.


Mark Says:

We will see exactly where Fed is at with his game IF he beats Murray today. He is a champion at beating lower ranked players, not top 3.


Nims Says:

Dave: Your statements are quite funny. I had mentioned the matches ie both USO finals where Roger lost after having Match points. He was not even good enough to take Nadal to 5-setter in the AO12. He lost the final set in AO09 tamely to Nadal. He has set point in FO11 against Nadal which he could not convert. What about Wim QF against Tsonga after leading 2 sets to love. How did he lost the greatest match ever being the greatest clutch player?

Yeah, he may beat many Top 5-100 players with clutch play. But who cares? What about the Top 2.

Infact Roger himself admitted few days back he lost matches because of lack of confidence (clutch play is basically player with high confidence).

Many of the statements made in those online stuffs were true from 2004-2007. But let’s not care about them. Things have changed dramatically in the last 2 years. Let’s be more relevant.

Just because Roger is the greatest player ever does not mean he would be the greatest clutch player ever.

Your argument on DelPo vs Nadal also does not stand. You say DelPo of y’day would have beaten Nadal of Wimbledon. But how did you conclude NAdal would play like Wimbledon. He was playing much better in AO compared to Wimbledon, so we could expect a higher quality match from Nadal too.

Dave sayd “After all, a person is tennis’s greatest clutch player at crunchtime obviously relative to all other players. When we apply the same test to Nadal, we realize he has failed to beat Djokovic in all three consecutive grand slam finals they have met.”

I never said Nadal or Novak are the greatest clutch players. How did you conclude I’m defining different standards for Roger.

I personally believe the greatest clutch player could be Sampras, though he was not great on clay. But on fast courts he could take the claim. But it’s only an opinion.

Dave says “In the spectrum of “arguably”, I do care when great sports analysts (such as the person I quoted in my March 2nd 7:30 pm post) consider Federer tennis’s greatest player at crunchtime. On the other hand, I don’t care whether or not you agree, honestly.

You don’t have to care, just like I don’t care about you. I’m not sure how much of tennis technical skills these analyst have.


Steve 27 Says:

Roger is done in slams. Who cares these smalls tournaments?. Yes, his fans. But the “Bigs Ones” is not for him anymore. Two years like Sampras and counting. Slamless for the rest of his career.


Steve 27 Says:

See ya fed fans until IW and Miami. The hunt will be hunted.


jane Says:

This is a “running forehand” imo, which is not when a player has to skip a few steps to get to the ball, but when is on one side of the court and he has to RUN to hit the forehand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q442oHhPJ0&feature=related


rogerafa Says:

If we go by the way how frivolously “choke” is used by many persons(a bit like “hater”),I imagine every player chokes, unchokes and reunchokes multiple times in a match. Ha ha! At this rate, we shall have to find new terms to describe a Jana Novotna type of nerves. Maybe, horrendously monumental and epic meltdown will be an apt description in the new scheme of things. I guess it depends on usage and how a vast majority of people treat it. There are many terms which get abused so much that the distorted meaning becomes the “norm” over time.


Nims Says:

@Steve 27 : I think it’s Ok for Roger to go slamless, as long as he can play the quality of tennis he has been playing in the last 7 months.


carlo Says:

The use of “choke” in tennis has become common. And thark makes a good case for its place as a shortened way of describing what happened in that 2nd set to del Potro. The problem came with assigning that (problem) to del Potro and not giving more credit to Federer. This is, after all, still a majority Federer fan blog.

Personally I cringe when some dripping commentator uses “delicious” describing a shot or, “massages the ball”.

Also I used to be offended by “beatdown” and “ownage” or “own.” Over time, one becomes desensitized and realizes even Andy Roddick would admit he is owned in the Federer-Roddick H2H. Still, I don’t like it and it is on the disrespectful side. Generally, in sport forums the descriptions and terms are more coarse, that’s how it is.

If your method of watching tennis is relegated to live-streaming and you read the chat, which I can’t resist, you become desensitized to a whole lot worse than “choke.” “Hater” is also common and I’d say it has lost it’s edge – no longer derogatory there, though I don’t like it and prefer “anti” as a better alternative. Chat rooms being the standard bearer of etiquette as they are, lol.

Back to “choke.” I streamed Verdasco-Ferrer last night. It could be said that Verdasco was so nervous that he came out choking and continued to choke his way to a speedy defeat to Ferrer 6-1, 6-2. However, commentators were not calling it a choke situation. They were saying it was a disappointing performance from Fernando because he wasn’t trying, wasn’t into it, didn’t care, ect. They didn’t use the word “tank” however it was inferred. Tanking is intentional and worse than choke isn’t it in tennis? “Tanking” a match would mean getting a fine as well.

And I disagreed with the commentators, anyway. It was a subjective call. Verdasco, was in tears in the award ceremony, not from losing, according to what he said in his speech, but for disappointing the fans. His explanation was that he couldn’t play his tennis because Ferrer was too good and didn’t let him.

As far as choking being unilateral? I’ll agree to (mostly) unilateral. But if used when as is said when, “a player snatches defeat from the jaws of victory,” and it’s quite a clear case, “choke” can apply as well. Though, as is right too, the one who benefits from the choke will have their protests.


Ajet Says:

I’m choking too, after going through all this chokeslam stuff!


Tennislover Says:

Carlo

“The problem came with assigning that (problem) to del Potro and not giving more credit to Federer. This is, after all, still a majority Federer fan blog.”

Do you realize that this presumption/conviction of yours could also be part of the problem especially to those who were arguing in good faith? You brought the ‘problem’ of arguing with Fed fans on at least two earlier occasions as if all of them are fanatics or have double standards. You are a Fed fan and so is Daniel. That makes at least two Fed fans agreeing about the “choke” although both of you probably meant it in the way it is used these days. Now count the number of Fed fans who have disagreed with you and they probably had the conventional definition in mind. Is that an overwhelming majority against you on a “majority Federer fan blog”? Is that even relevant unless you are convinced that even the better Fed fans are hypocrites? What really matters is what arguments one brings to justify calling it an “obvious choke”. If blowing a 5-0 lead in a TB constitutes an “obvious choke”, then it indeed was one.

If you think about it, he had “only” two mini-breaks, both on poor play from Fed (Did Fed also “choke” there :-)), enabling him to go 5-0 up. Now, on another day and with slightly better luck – we are talking of small margins here – a great server like Delpo could well have won the TB but if the other player is able to somehow get those breaks back, the TB is back on even terms. Surely, Delpo is entitled to make some errors too. Just because a few of them took place after a 5-0 lead, it doesn’t necessarily, therefore, follow that it must have been due to “choking”. I am going by the conventional definition and also the context of the points/set/match.

It really does depend on how one defines a “choke” and if we can see some obvious external manifestation in terms of body language or unusually poor play compared to the rest of the set/match. A string of poor serves or unusual DFs or UEs like dumping easy shots into the net or hitting them wide or long by a mile. TBs can make the best of them extremely nervous and Delpo probably was much more nervous than Fed given the background of prior losses against him and the gravity of the match situation. However, I didn’t see any external signs at least – only Delpo knows what was going on inside him – to say that it was an “obvious choke”.

You also say “He would not have done that with such a lead vs anyone but the top 4, imo.” Does that mean he is likely to choke against Djoko, Raf and Murray too? You have insinuated quite a few times that his respect for Fed was somehow affecting his play. What explains your assertion about his “likely chokes” against the other three? Is he a choker? Does he respect all of them too much? The guy beat Fed at a huge stage making a great comeback when most would have folded. He is an excellent player but you almost sound as if he has no business losing to Fed or the other guys in the top-four and only choking and/or respect explains his losses to them. I am not shocked by his losses to the big-four and I will not be surprised if he beats any one of them. He just needs a lot of tough matches to get into the groove and gain some real confidence. I have always considered Delpo to be a very tough player mentally and it is this attribute that separates him from a Berd or a Tsonga. He showed a lot of grit saving those BPs. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be discussing the TB. Of course, winning always helps and the best of them have their weak moments.

I hope you do not see this as another “go” at you from a “fanatic”. We have had some pleasant interactions in the past. That is why I felt like sharing my thoughts with you even though it may sound jarring and repetitive. I am sorry if anything I said offended you in any manner.


carlo Says:

Thanks for your response Tennislover. No, I don’t feel you are having a “go” at me and if you are, it’s fine too. Grendel’s post @ 2;34 pm, March 2, set me off in the heat of the moment right after the match. I think we are okay now, grendel and me.

When I say this is a “majority Fed fan blog,” it’s not a slam or a digg. I quite respect the fedfans and other fans here. The numbers fluctuate, but how a match is viewed, from what perspective, will go along with who is here. Federer has a lot of support, more than others. It’s very incredible what he brings to the sport and that with 72 titles, so many, even the sensible, want him to keep going. There are a few “fanatics” here but it’s a reasonable forum overall. Helps that I toned down my own fanaticism, but maybe I’m in the process of transferring it to Delpo? :/ lets hope not, hey?

Again I apologize if it’s a problem with my wording and meaning. To me using fedfan isn’t meant in a negative way. Anti-delpo, anti-fed, anti-nadal, ect… isn’t to me a slam on the poster either, but an acknowledgement of their position. A little bias in a position isn’t a bad thing – how bland without passion! I am usually anti-nadal watching a tennis match and can’t help not wanting him to win. I certainly I don’t hate nadal, that’s not what I feel. Perhaps I am changing toward him as he loses more, to be honest. Is it unsound? Maybe. Or maybe it’s sort of that liking the flawed hero more in defeat that jane describes above.

That’s my 1st installment, Tennislover. Have to go, but will be back. You gave me a lot to consider in a match I have put behind me. But I want to come back to your post and respond. TBH, I am not sure I want to read again what I wrote in those moments after Delpo lost the tie break and the 2nd set, but I will. : )

Big Congrats to Kevin Anderson winning Delray!


grendel Says:

carlo – I thought Tennislover made some very worthwhile points but, like you, I think it is time to get away from all that. As a matter of fact, I am fairly bewildered now that I felt so strongly at the time. It is all about feelings, isn’t it – and they are not really intelligible, maybe not to anyone. We then use reason in an attempt to justify these visceral feelings. I am not saying it’s all a farce – though there is definitely a farcial element in almost any dispute imo – and truth indeed matters, but some things matter more, I suspect. Or why is so much heat generated? You can’t say it is all in the service of truth. That is just pious nonsense. Apart from anything else, those who really are in pursuit of truth don’t set out to hurt people, settle scores and so on. It’s natural, of course, to want to settle scores – but it has nothing to do with seeking truth.

Still, I can’t resist one final comment – I think rogerafa at 4.42 put it well. The word “choke” now covers such a multitude of sins that, to say the least,its usage has become more of a hindrance than an aid to communication.

I was amused by this comment of yours:” Perhaps I am changing toward him [Nadal] as he loses more, to be honest. Is it unsound?” Amused, because I am very aware of this tendency in myself. It becomes even more convoluted if you have made a mistake. That is, you assume someone is on the way down, you feel sorry for him, even a sort of affection – and then the bastard goes and lets you down by winning everything in sight, and you go back to hating him. And this sort of thing can yo-yo back and forth, you can imagine. It can even happen within a single match, I have found. You can swing from one extreme to another and then back again all in one match, and by the end you are wondering whether you might not be a candidate for the schizophrenic ward.

But so far as Nadal is concerned, I think you may be premature in having this sympathy based affection for him. My suspicion is he is going to have one helluva year.


carlo Says:

Wows, Tennislover, upon second and third reading of your poat, I’m guessing what you are really mean with that post is more of a general taking me to task and reprimanding than actually wanting me to respond. Very well. There’s too much in your post for me to parse and even attempt a response, atm, really. You have a right to your opinion, I respect that as it stands and have taken your points.

grendel, well, I do wish for an edit button – a lot.

As to Nadal, I am feeling warmly about him post AO, and have actually been missing him the past month. I was planning to pick him for the IW bracket. And I’m starting to suspect the same as you about him going on a run. All I know right now is I’ve got a headache and at least learned not to post during Murray-Federer after the Delpo-Federer Dubai semi.

Cheers, grendel/ Tennislover.


grendel Says:

carlo – just one point, to avoid any possible confusion, on this business of “truth”, “settling scores” and so on, I was absolutely not alluding to you. More to myself, if anything, but others generally, too.

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