Raonic Spoils Fedal, Plays Federer; Djokovic v Murray; Indian Wells SF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | March 21st, 2015, 10:05 am
  • 137 Comments

The Madness finally hit Indian Wells yesterday. After a relatively boring week of men’s tennis, we finally had some pulse-pounding drama as Milos Raonic shocked Rafael Nadal, saving three second set tiebreak matchpoints to win 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 in the quarterfinals.

“At the moments when I was playing those match points, it didn’t really feel like match points,” said Raonic who had never beaten Nadal before Friday. “It was just like another point that I was trying to get through… [I was] just sort of going through the paces at that moment of what do I need to do now, not really signifying it as a match point.

“I feel obviously all sorts of good,” said Raonic. “Obviously there was a lot of up and down through that match, and all I could ask of myself was just keep competing and hope to find a way. I got fortunate a few times and it worked out.”

We knew Raonic had the monster serve and we knew Rafa doesn’t like playing those type of players – big servers that don’t give him a lot of rhythm – but I didn’t see that 5-5 break coming and I didn’t see Raonic ever breaking Rafa period on that court. But full credit to the Canadian who kept pounding serves and cracking that cross-court inside-out forehand. He really went after Nadal’s forehands.

What’s more impressive is I thought Nadal played pretty well actually. Much better than he did in that loss to another big man in Australia, Tomas Berdych. A few minor blips here and there (stands far too back at times), but otherwise a solid match from Rafa.

“I think I did well,” said Nadal. “I enjoyed the fact that I felt well with myself on court again. I felt competitive. I felt strong, with the right energy. I lost that match thinking much more positive things than negative ones.”

And early on it looked like Nadal would cruise to a straight set victory. But that darn tiebreaker.

Instead of Rafa, it’s now Raonic who now has a semifinal date today with Roger Federer after the Swiss blew out Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0. That’s Tomas for you.

“[It’s] not just another win, but another win against a Top 10 player; against Berdych, who has played me tough in recent years,” said Federer.

“I think I really played well off the baseline,” said Federer. “Because I was serving well and moving well, so maybe there is not going to be that many chances for him on the return as it is. But at least he could have stayed with me longer, and as the match goes on maybe he would have also found his groove better.

“But for me, I found it quickly. I felt like I was hitting the ball well but also playing the right way. When those two things happen, it was always going to be tough for him.”

Now to my semifinal picks:

Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray
Here we go again. Since returning from that back surgery at the start of 2014 Andy Murray just hasn’t been the same guy. He plays well, won some titles at the end of last year, but just can’t beat the upper crust including Novak Djokovic. He’s now lost to his friend last 5 times and he’s down 16-8 overall. And based on that trend and the fact he doesn’t play his best tennis at Indian Wells (only made the final once), it’s hard not to pick Novak here.

Djokovic is the defending champion and really other than Federer, he’s been unbeatable on hardcourts since the US Open winning Paris, the ATP Finals and the Australian Open.

He also plays well in the desert winning the event three times prior and so for this week he hasn’t lost a set.

If Murray has hope, and a man of his talents always does, he can take comfort in the fact that he played well for a while against Novak in Australia and at the US Open last year. Also, Novak did get a walkover in the quarterfinals, so maybe the Serb isn’t in his usual tournament flow. The pressure to win won’t be as intense as it was in Australia, so that could help Andy who will be the prohibitive underdog. And maybe Novak isn’t use to 11am match starts, like Murray often gets and is accustomed to.

So some hope.

“11:00 a.m. is significantly cooler,” Murray said. “Ball is not as lively and bouncing as high. So it really depends. Depends what the weather is like when we get out there, but, you know, if it’s anything like it has been, you know, in the sort of mid‑80s, low 90s, it’s going to be a tough physical match. You know, they are quite slow courts, so it’s hard to finish points. And, you know, in these conditions, when it’s this hot, you know, you play a few long rallies, it’s tough. So I expect that to be the case on Saturday.”

The key with these two will again be the second serve and I expect that edge to end up in Djokovic’s favor both serving and in the return game. And Murray’s got to play aggressively, but I don’t think it will be enough in the end.
The pick: Djokovic in two

Roger Federer v Milos Raonic
Roger has to be quietly relieved he’s not playing Rafa because I don’t think he beats Nadal on this Indian Wells court. But hey, he should beat Milos.

After that emotional 3-hour win yesterday over Nadal, I have to wonder how fresh and ready Raonic can be for Federer. So to me, with so little rest and recover I cannot see Raonic doing it again.

Plus, unlike Nadal, Federer doesn’t mind the big serving guys, just ask Andy Roddick. Roger’s not as quick as reading those serves as he once was, but he’s still great at it and I expect him to slice those big bombs back and find the backhand. That’s the start.

“I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do against Roger,” said Raonic. “Obviously that’s the easiest part, understanding it, rather than doing it. But I think the last three times we have played I have sort of been able to change course a little bit, especially when it was important to me in Paris. Even the other two I didn’t play well at the start of the matches, in London and in Brisbane, but I was able to find a way to fight myself back into those matches and give myself some opportunities.

“I’ve just got to keep calm, keep collected, and just try to figure out solutions and adjustments as they come.”

The key will be Milos’s serve. Since I don’t see Federer dropping serve here, as long as Milos can force tiebreaks, get a little luck like yesterday, he’ll have a chance.

But I look for Federer to use the slice, the dropshot, attack the net, etc and keep the Canadian off balance en route to victory. But because the Raonic serve keeps him deep in so many sets, it should be a nailbiter. Unless he’s exhausted from Friday.
The pick: Federer in three

The drama wasn’t done after the Nadal match. It was in fact getting better as would you believe Serena Williams withdrew from the event. Fourteen years ago Venus ignited the Indian Wells controversy withdrawing from her semifinal (w/ Serena), and now Serena does it herself.

Hollywood can’t make up scripts like this.

Serena did the right thing making the media rounds, and the stunned crowd acted properly when Serena addressed them. But it’s just surreal how sports, and especially tennis, works sometimes.

As 33, knee troubles and the accumulating withdrawals are more and more evidence that Serena’s on borrowed time here. And like Federer, the end is near. So enjoy it while we can.


You Might Like:
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Murray v Wawrinka, Nadal v Thiem; French Open SF Picks And Pans
2016 Finalist Milos Raonic Withdraws From Indian Wells
Fedal Wars: In The GOAT Debate, Are Nadal Fans Rooting Against Federer To Win His First Davis Cup?
Fedal Wars: Agassi Puts Nadal Ahead Of Federer On The GOAT List, Is He Right?

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137 Comments for Raonic Spoils Fedal, Plays Federer; Djokovic v Murray; Indian Wells SF Picks And Pans

Margot Says:

@the DA
Just seen a sensational second half from Wales in 6 nations. Hope it’s an omen. ;)
Think Andy’s gotta win the first set, whatever.


metan Says:

Sean strikes again, except for Serena. 😄😃


skeezer Says:

Don’t think Fed was “relieved” that he is not facing Rafa. That is not him. And his form with the re tooled game is running well atm. Would have loved to see them play. Too bad. Fed in the past at IW has beaten Rafa.
Agree Fed has a better shot at Milos vs Rafa, his serve should be the difference.


contemperory Says:

I have a strange feeling about today’s matches. Am I sensing upsets? Atleast one of them, perhaps?

As well as Roger is playing, Jane once mentioned that it all depends on the day for him, now a days. More often these days, Roger is having off-days. After 3-4 good matches, he tends to slip a bit. There is a high chance that his level may slip and Raonic is more determined.

One thing particularly striking is Roger is hitting the backhands really well, especially when he constructs a point, he is making use of his backhands a bit more than he used to. This is a different style of play when compared to his past.

If Andy plays well, we are going to see a thriller today. Novak is always consistent so it depends on Andy on the result, really.

Thoughts?


Markus Says:

Le même.


Hippy Chick Says:

I was dissapointed with the outcome of the match initially because im a big Rafa fan, and obviously it stung as he had three match points,on reflection though i suppose his fans should be happy that he is back moving well and playing great tennis again,TV and Michael made me smile when they both said that,and Ben just made my day when he said Nadals moving like a gazelle lol,sometimes you have to look at the glass half full rather than the glass been half empty i think?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Madmax thanks for the article,when these two greats meet tennis is always the winner regardless of the end result….


sienna Says:

oliegal.
are you serious?
How old are you? trying to make about something which is not there. pretty sick
Stay focussed. otherwise stay out.

it is in 3 set match totally irrelevant who wins first set with these top players.
to claim Murray must win first set is totally onacceptabLe.

Murray can take breaker in second and going steamroling djokovic.
To claim hè needs to win first set.

in best of 5 first set winner has bigger advantage among top players then 3 sets.

but not everybody understands sports logic. you have to have aan sportsbrain.
You my friend fail at that departement.


Dan Says:

This Raonic-Nadal match (best of the tournament so far) reminded me a lot of the Federer-Raonic final in Brisbane, except Federer was able to pull it out late in the 3rd set there. Could this be a shift and Raonic is starting to catch up to the top players? I don’t think fitness or endurance is going to play a big factor here (Raonic is used to playing 5 set matches that are long, so 3 is a picnic…), so if Raonic can come close, I think it is a sign he now top 5 level. In any event, he appears to be gaining on the top guys.


Humble Rafa Says:

I hate losing to ping pong players. I assume that the “borrowed fans” that Canadiavic gained yesterday have now gone back to God Himself.


Okiegal Says:

A nice quote from Roger on Rafa…….”In the beginning clearly I tried to fight it, to not accept it that he was my rival, because I was playing so well in 2004 and then 05′. But very quickly did I realize of course when he beat me the first time in Miami that this wasn’t just a fluke. This was probably a legend in the making. He’s been around forever. He’s created things that are just mind blowing. Monaco record, FO record and many others. I think it’s actually been very cool playing against him over all these years and I’m sure it made me a better player throughout. I hope I did a little bit of the same against him”.

I’m sure Rafa would agree with that last sentence. Rafa has never had anything but good things to say about him either. These two have so much respect for each other. Love to watch these two guys duke it out. I so wanted to see a SF between them….but not this time!!

I think he will win against Milos today…..can’t wait! I just want to see an exciting close…….but C’MON ANDY!!


Okiegal Says:

^^^ an exciting close match….should say…..


Tennis Fan Says:

Glad Sean picked Federer … he actually is playing extremely well and will be a big challenge for Raonic today. This one could go either side. If you look at Raonic’s draw it has actually been the most difficult of any player … no easy matches … no walkovers .,, has to beat every top guy to get through ridiculous. And yet if any player can do it I think Raonic can.


the DA Says:

@Margot – The first set is key. Think he knows it and will come out of the gates full on. His one advantage is having played 3 day matches – this will be Nole’s first – so he has to use that. We’ll see. Just want a good match – no expectations.


Okiegal Says:

@the DA

No, you are so wrong about that…..2nd set is the most important set…..according to Sienna…lol
She said so on another thread. She comes up with comments I really don’t understand. I wonder if anyone else on TX gets her drift?? I sure don’t.
Andy needs to take that first set to put the pressure on Novak. GO ANDY GO!!


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie lovely post,these two great rivals have nothing but respect for one another and their respective achievements,so what if ones greater than the other,the point is they have transended the sport that no others ever have,they have indeed brought out the best in each other,and made each other better players,theres enough room for both these greats,and the sport is all the better for it IMO,long may both continue to play,as it will be a sad day when they are gone….


Hippy Chick Says:

No Okie i dont get her either,shes entitled to her opinion but she doesnt make sense to me,still i suppose some might think the same about my posts?….


the DA Says:

@Okiegal – I tend to skip her posts nowadays. I need a decoder ring or something to decipher them.


Markus Says:

I, on the other hand, read hers. They make me feel good about myself. :-)


Okiegal Says:

I want to take a poll. How many out there thinks it’s in a player’s best interest to win the first set in a 3 setter? Just curious.

@Sienna What does my age have to do with anything? I I am aware that you can lose the first and still win the match in a three setter. I also know you can lose 2 sets in a 5 setter and win the match. I just think logic would tell you that any player likes to have the first set…..but they can still lose the match, but having the first set under your belt might put a little more pressure on the opponent.
You know what? I don’t have to stay out of here as per your suggestion. You need to stay focused…..what is onacceptable? You need to check with Webster’s dictionary……your posts make no sense for the most part…..but you did say one thing I will agree with…..”but not everyone understands sports logic”……you sure don’t, my friend……and its OKIEGAL fyi…..


Okiegal Says:

I was slow getting that post on……because of my age and all…..whether or not I’m a teenager or whether I’m old and senile……as per Sienna’s question to me. I see some have already given your input w/o having to be prodded. Thanks goes to the DA, Chick and Markus……I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in trying to understand what she is trying say…….maybe she’s 10 yrs old?? Oh, also Margot wants Andy to win the first set and someone else on another thread thought so too……I still hopes he does and if he doesn’t I hope he wins the 2nd and 3rd set…….C’MON ANDY!! Time to start!!


calmdownplease Says:

So fellow Muzzans, is THIS the match when we can say, finally, that Andy is back or not?
It simply has to happen at some point, right?


mat4 Says:

Tough match in front of us.


Okiegal Says:

@Chick 1:35

I thought you would appreciate that quote from Roger. I agree this sport has been blessed to have them and their great rivalry. Not intended to take away from anyone else, there are other good ones out there too. But this one has just gone on so long, it can’t be ignored!

I want to wish each respective fan base best of luck today……if there is such a thing as luck???

Here we go!!!


calmdownplease Says:

@okiegal

I want him to win the first set too
And then the second set after, alright?


calmdownplease Says:

`every time Murray has beaten djokovic he has won the first set`

That’s the stats and the presenter, so take that to Sienna for me will ya!
However, the first set is not the be-all either
Novak has been coasting with Andy for long enough, as have the others. It’s time for a brutal show from the Muzz!


Humble Rafa Says:

This was probably a legend in the making.

Now, only if his so called followers (not supporters, supporters are for lesser mortals) would agree and bow.


Markus Says:

Let’s put it this way, win the first set and you are left with only one more set to win, Lose it and you have to work for two sets. That’s if you even survive to get to the third.


Okiegal Says:

@calmdownplease

Yes I do. Since he’s already been broken this set, he’s gonna have to buckle down and hopefully get that break back!! If he can’t…..Well the pressure is on…….


sienna Says:

no a sportbrain would live and think in the moment. win second set and your equal with both needed one more set.
and to win second set after losing first is again equal chance so there is no uphill climb for 2 sets is 2 sets.


Okiegal Says:

@Markus 2:25

That was the point I was trying to make to Sienna. I can’t believe there is not one player on the planet that would not want the first set in any tennis format?? Mainly because of the pressure aspect…


sienna Says:

Murray is being schooled and left for some nitwit player.

Where is your pride? Bagles and sticks is what they hand out.


Hippy Chick Says:

Unless Andy wakes up soon this match will be over pretty quickly,ominous signs,thankgoodness its not a final :((….


mat4 Says:

The balls are uncontrollable. Murray has to play with more spin, just to keep that in play. The stats are ominous.


Daniel Says:

Okiegal is right, in this match up first set is crucial as Murray never beat Djokovic after losing first set. So until he does beat Djokovic after losing first set. Match is pretty much over as Murray just lost serve for the third time after getting one break back.

Djoko have won last 3 sets, 6-3, 6-0 and now 6-2. Murray missing way to much.


Hippy Chick Says:

I think repeats of Friends might be more interesting than this match,sorry guys….


mat4 Says:

@Alison:

No hard feelings… I always watch repeats of Friends when Rafa is playing…

;-)


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 fair enough i suppose i asked for that,nothing against Novak hes an amazing player yada yada,i just thought we might have had an interesting match for once between these two,so no smiley faces im afraid from me,not all of us are feeling particulaly happy sorry….


calmdownplease Says:

`The stats are ominous…`

Er yes, if you mean 37% First serve.
Novak is playing solid enough
Dreadful, the basics have to be on for Andy at least to have a chance FFS
Poor old Andy never seems to get a break
The best have become too good for now it seems…


Daniel Says:

Nice FH exchange from them, Novak BP


calmdownplease Says:

The Mentalist has truly returned!
And its a bad day for tennis as well.


Daniel Says:

The problem for Murray is that last 2 matches he played great for a few set and still lost, today he is not playing great and seems will lose with a bad score.


Giles Says:

“The balls are I controllable”. Lol lol. Who says so? When Rafa complained the whole forum jumped down his throat.
Just play I say!
C’mon Andy, what the hell are you doing? Don’t let this Serb beat you again please!


sienna Says:

to even win a set against top 3 is a bridge too far.


calmdownplease Says:

Having said that, I’ve seen a similar match between the 2 in Rome and Andy came back, almost winning.
Doesn’t look likely at the moment, however…


calmdownplease Says:

He should never have had that f**king surgery in my view….
Better to retire early with more slams than this…


calmdownplease Says:

It’s easy to play your best against an opponent that you know is flakey…..


Humble Rafa Says:

When Mr. Lady Forehand lost a bagel set to the Arrogant One, I had hope. Now I have none.


calmdownplease Says:

Novak has moved on now from Andy
He is clearly superior, but the distance is purely mental.
Having said that great point!


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 sorry if i sound bitter,but im afraid ive just about lost all faith now in this rivalry,CDP is right hes never been the same since the surgery….


mat4 Says:

Who is “flakey”? What does it mean?

Who plays his best? The stats of both players are very bad.


calmdownplease Says:

Well Mat4, it is crystal clear one players stats arent quite as bad!
But if he could just break back now…….

praying


Okiegal Says:

@Daniel…..Thank you @ 2:54…. :)


calmdownplease Says:

Im sorry, but Novak will win this tournament
No one else has a chance.


calmdownplease Says:

Larry Ellison and his slow, high bouncing courts can get stuffed!


chris ford1 Says:

Glad Serena came, glad the crowd understood she was there to play and not for drama. The media tried to make it like there was this aggrieved black person and only she had the black person moral authority bestow forgiveness on those who apologized enough and thus turn Indian Wells into a legitimate event.

The truth was that Indian Wells was turning itself into a gem for both Tours, a near major, with tons of legitimacy no matter what any Williams did during their informal boycott. And Serena Williams coming back was just a nice thing for both camps, turning the corner. If she had never gone back, she would have shortchanged herself, her fans, and left an open sore in her legacy. Indian Wells was a coveted entry for the rest of the Tours players..white, Hispanic, black, Asian – regardless of the Williams Family’s largely failed boycott. But they wanted Serena the Great Champion back to dispel the small cloud blocking some of the golden rays bathing Indian Wells.

The questions about what was going on with the 2 sisters facing each other at matches were in open discussion well before IW. The Brit tabloids ran with it at Wimbledon the year before as the favored Serena seemed to take a dive for Venus there. It was commonly discussed by players and alluded to by them in interviews..not just Dementieva. And the broadcasters had talked about it and even asked Serena, Venus, Richard directly what was going on and why both sisters seemed to dread facing one another and wanted it over as fast as possible.
Things changed after IW…and the controversy. The sense one sister was holding back, or making a timely withdrawal went away for good. Except one last minute Venus injury withdrawal from doubles that happened at a Major last year that happened right at a point when it was clear that Serena was tired and sluggish and could use a day’s rest before a big singles match, but doubles was scheduled before it. But it had been 10 years of it not happening and 10 years of matches where both fought hard so no questions were raised.

And it is tough being family and compete against a sibling in any sport. Even players who are just friends with another say it is tough to try and go out and thrash their buddy, their longtime doubles partner…in singles play.

Serena came, played well, left on a big positive note. The owners, the staff, other players were pleased she returned. The media walked away disappointed they could not blow it up into a grave national issue..


Giles Says:

I just can’t believe how lucky the Serb is. He never gets injured, his opponents play like cr@p, he gets a cushy draw and everything is laid out for him!


Markus Says:

Don’t blame the surgery. The difference is that Djokovic has continued to improve while Murray has remained just about the same, maybe even regressed a bit. I think that physically, Murray can still get better but his mind maybe suspect.


sienna Says:

okiegal
couchpotato is easier then actually play a game of tennis.
Try it, maybe when you play enough matches. you understand winning first set in best of three is irrelevant.


calmdownplease Says:

there isn’t a big 4
or a big 3 for that matter
There is Novak, and the rest,
for the time being at least…


mat4 Says:

I tend to agree with Markus. The main difference is the serve. Andy used to get a lot of free points from his serve, while now Novak serves better.

Anyway, the second set is much better than the first one.


calmdownplease Says:

`Don’t blame the surgery. The difference is that Djokovic has continued to improve while Murray has remained just about the same, maybe even regressed a bit…`

What a stupid post
Wasn’t there something THAT STOPPED ANDY FROM IMPROVING?!


Markus Says:

Okiegal, when you argue against anyone and he/she starts insulting you instead of expounding on his/her argument, that’s the time when you should quit. When logic is thrown out the window, you know that he/she is not worth your time.


Humble Rafa Says:

None of these midgets can stop the Egg Lover from winning all 4 slams this year. Humble is your only hope.


calmdownplease Says:

47% First serve

Never enough, just shows you too, that the top 3 clearly are so ahead of the rest
Andy can beat the rest now, but it is quite the leap to the next level!


Markus Says:

CDP, you probably read my post for Okiegal. You are not worth my time.


mat4 Says:

So… there’s no hope…


jane Says:

oh mat4, lol, i would never subject myself to repeats of “friends”! no matter who is playing.

andy hasn’t played as well as he can but i liked how aggressive nole was with court positioning, and i am loving his lobs. he hit an amazing one versus isner too. perhaps he’s been working on this shot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAvlx_JqaWU

commies to andy’s fans – margot, the DA, and cdp.


calmdownplease Says:

The feeling is mutual, I suppose..
Who are you actually?


Hippy Chick Says:

I hope Roger beats Raonic,i dont think Raonic would have a hope in hell….


Margot Says:

Well played Nole!
Andy was p*** poor in the first, a bit better in the 2nd but you can’t let Nole get up a head wind.
And where oh where did Andy’s serve go. Nerves? Andy fans know he’ll never win matches with 1st serve % way below 50%.
Like Hippy getting a tad fed up with these massacres :(


calmdownplease Says:

I mean this Markus, who are you?
Oh yes, we shouldn’t consider the surgery
Right, got it
:)


calmdownplease Says:

`Andy wasn’t close to his maximum`
`His FS allowed me to be aggressive`
Well said Novak
2015 Indian Wells Champion!


Daniel Says:

Djoko in the final. Hope for another Fed x Djoko final to see if Fed will play like Dubai to Djoko will win when matters most (big titles).

He is set to defend his IW titles and tie Fed for 4 titles as co leader.

Ver interesting is that the race for Masters titles is now a 3 dog race. Nadal has 27, Fed 23 and Djoko 20. Djoko has being winning 3 or more every year since 2011. Nadal only won 1 last year and Fed 2 after none in 2013. By the end of this year they could all be above 25 titles depending on results.

Again Djoko showing why he is on his best 52 weeks stretch, another Masters final and keeps in contention for every big title since US Open last year. Inly final he missed was Shangai.

If Fed indeed is to face him in the fina they would have share all the big titles since US Open: Beijing (500), Shangai (masters), Basel (500), Paris (masters), WTF, Davis Cup, Australia, Dubai (500) and now IW. All tournaments with the deepest fields.


sienna Says:

Murray is gone. he will morph himself into David Ferrer when it hasnt been done already.


calmdownplease Says:

One clearly cannot beat Novak unless you play your very best
Sign of a great champion.


Hippy Chick Says:

Same old stoty,anyway congrats to Novak and fans Jane,Mat4 etc,he is certainly the man to beat ATM,it certainly is a case of Novak and the rest,like it or not,all fans of other players better get used to the idea im afraid….


calmdownplease Says:

was it 7 times in row that Novak beat Nadal before Rafa turned the tide?
Let’s hope it’s similar for Andy
Why has Novak not won Miami as much as IW, it is also slow no?


Markus Says:

I hope the Federer-Raonic match would not be as disappointing. Murray has a lot if things to work on, his serve foremost. He looks physically fine after the surgery so he must find a way to get better.


Ben Pronin Says:

When Murray was serving 0-1 in the second set and got broken and then the 3-1 game when Djokovic was down 15-40 were, to me, the most telling games. Murray played good points, got into good positions, but Djokovic stepped up when he needed and outplayed Murray and won those games. The rest of the match, imo, was fairly sloppy. Even from Djokovic, who really just played well enough. Certainly some great points but Murray served horribly and couldn’t get anything going to play a tactically purposeful match.

My point is, Djokovic is better than Murray. It’s not “purely mental”. He’s a better player. He has a more consistent first serve, a much better second serve, a steadier and more variable forehand. I think they’re equal in the backhands although Djokovic plays it smarter, constructs his points better from that side and is more willing to go down the line – unlike Murray who waits until he’s down a set and a break to unleash. And I think Djokovic has become a very competent net player whereas Murray doesn’t seem to realize volleying is a legal play.

The rivalry is currently dead. And it’s unfortunate because Murray is definitely capable of more than this.


the DA Says:

@Margot – Andy’s worst serving day since sometime in 2014. You can’t beat Nole with 45% 1st serves and 29 UFEs. Hell, most can’t win with 55% 1st serves. But Nole was a defense machine today. Some of those balls wouldn’t have come back from most players. Credit to him. I still feel optimistic. If he keeps putting himself in positions to play the top 4, he’ll learn from each match and figure out what needs to be done.

Oh and Mauresmo and Bjorkman – work on Andy’s serve immediately please.


Okiegal Says:

@Markus @3:41…… Yeah, you are probably right. This old spud will continue to loll around on the couch and watch tennis…..No, I’ve never played. Said this many times. I don’t see playing in my future, especially with my knee I twisted before Christmas. I can relate to Serena atm. But Markus, I’ve got to ask her one more question. Lol

@Sienna How many have you played? Are you a former pro?? Just curious…..


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic has 4 Miami titles to 3 at Indian Wells.

I think everyone’s jumping the gun declaring Djokovic the champ already. Federer handled him pretty good in Dubai and narrowly lost in a third set tiebreaker when they played here last year. He definitely has a better chance against Raonic but relax guys, he only beat Murray.


calmdownplease Says:

I think it is mostly mental
He was playing great until he had to do something special and flaked out, he was shit again by any objective standard, that’s a mental thing.
Andy has the goods to beat Novak, even after this lower level omnishambles, I have no doubt of that for verily when Andy plays well Novak shall be in all sorts of problems
And Novak knows this too.
And, it really depends on what you consider `good` also.
Or better, the stats clearly show that Novak is better, but if the real Andy showed up (ever?), that will be all out the window in my opinion…


Markus Says:

Agree, Ben Pronin. Djokovic is clearly better than Murray in almost all aspects of the game but the latter could and should have done better than that. Federer and Nadal remains the only players who can realistically play at par with him. Yes, those top 3, again. Nadal haters, don’t complain by saying he’s already out, because that’s only for this tournament.


Daniel Says:

Agree Ben,

Seems nowadays Djoko is more confident against Murray, whereas against Federer or Nadal you sense there is still some “respect’, or “fear’ or whatever. They are the 2 players who handed him most defeats so they always have a chance. If Fed is in the final, Djoko will be favorite but just slightly.

Of course, Fed could have a bad day and lose awfully but if he keeps his good play of late, serving and attacking the net, it can be another high match. And last player to beat Djoko in important tournament where Federe, Shangai and Dubai.


calmdownplease Says:

`I think everyone’s jumping the gun declaring Djokovic the champ already..`

You’re funny, for a Novak fan :)


calmdownplease Says:

On this kind of surface, short of a Novak implosion, it is a serious leap to think Fed will win.
But if he does, we really have to sing his greatness, one more time..


jane Says:

“Why has Novak not won Miami as much as IW, it is also slow no?”

i see ben already answered cdp, but yes, novak has 4 miami and 3 indian wells titles. so he’s about equal at both, really.

“If he keeps putting himself in positions to play the top 4, he’ll learn from each match and figure out what needs to be done.”

the DA, this is precisely right. that’s what i like about these guys. they continually put themselves in positions to try to win.

the commentators i listened to said andy may’ve been overcompensating on the second serves, since the first wasn’t working, which accounts for the 4 doubles.

also, nole’s return was really dialled in today. it’s rare that he gets back as many of andy’s *first* serves as he did today (he won 50% of those points for the match, but 77% of them in set one), which put more pressure on andy’s serving generally, and it was already an off serving day.


the DA Says:

This from Nole’s on court interview:
“Andy wasn’t at his maximum, made a lot of unforced errors. When he won Wimbledon, US, he was serving really well”

*bingo*

“but relax guys, he only beat Murray.”‘

Ha, good one. I remember you something in a similarly derisive vein after their Miami 2012 match, and then the Olympics & USO followed. I just love when that happens :)

@Okiegal – Is she a former pro? At what, using a hookah?


Hippy Chick Says:

Makus agree,Rafa has alot of respect for Novak,and hes wary of him more than he is against any other player,Novak will always be the favorite on HCs but Rafa still has a pretty good record against him beating Novak twice at the USO,once in 2013 where he also beat him in the Toronto Masters,BTW i left you a post on the other thread,just wondering if you had read it?….


jane Says:

cdp, ben is a longtime fed fan but also a no1e fan. so he sees these 2 from a fairly equal perspective.


calmdownplease Says:

`and it was already an off serving day…`

You don’t say
I’m thinking for the big 3, Andy needs minimum 60% and they have to be searing serves too.
Got it about Miami Jane, and I do believe Andy has stopped him from a 5th
But even Andy’s teenage achievements seem unattainable now.


Margot Says:

@the DA and CDP
Like the cut of your gib folks, but am depressed. Andy can’t beat Nole playing Nole’s game, needs plan B. Was right behind that damn baseline again. Hope Jonas can bring out Andy’s inner Conor The Barbarian!
Ace trolling, if nothing else from Sienna.


calmdownplease Says:

I think the IW tarmac is actually better than this years Ao for a player like Novak…


Margot Says:

Oh and BTW Fleming said Nole moves better on a hard court than anyone he’s ever seen. So Andy’s not going to out run him. Must out fox him…somehow.


calmdownplease Says:

I think it is clear at this stage that the serve is a pretty good barometer for Andy’s confidence when he plays against a statistically better player
Under, say, 55% and the game is up!


Hippy Chick Says:

Congrats to Novak on making the final,but Andys a great and proud champion,so can we call a spade a spade,and just say he was poor,no hard luck stories please i dont think Andy would want them anyway?…


jane Says:

margot “Was right behind that damn baseline again. ” yeah they showed this court positioning shot during the match. definitely a factor:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t34.0-12/11036042_947508268627323_2354754096957328240_n.jpg?oh=8b4aa23bc70830b375034a6134cff12c&oe=55107F55&__gda__
=1427147946_05859b8adff94e12267aa4b7aecd2576


chris ford1 Says:

And this STILL was not Djoker playing at his maximum best(1 ace?). But holy darn smokes – higher winning percent on his 2nd serve (69%) than on his 1st serve (60%)???

Novak Djokovic continues to weaponize – a very improved serve from just 2 years ago, net play far better. His forehand getting stronger and crisper and done a la Fed at midcourt with a fast, could go in any direction at the last split second, half swing. And we are seeing more and more of the attacking lob, and I am afraid Federer will be as well as it appears something Nole, Marian, and Becker are working on to counter Fed’s aggressive net charging.

Andy had a bad serve day against a familiar opponent who has continued to improve while Andy has stopped getting better. But even if Andy had served well, Nole just seems the better player. Healthier. Stronger. Smarter and with better execution. I hope this rivalry isn’t over.


calmdownplease Says:

`Andy can’t beat Nole playing Nole’s game..`

No one can beat Novak doing this
Andy had to be aggressive,
But THAT would have required confidence.
Which would have come in the form of a good FS,
first and foremost.


akin keskin Says:

you are fan of djokovic and nadal! besides you do not like federer! and usually you are wrong!
that s so funny, go on this kind of writing ok! it s sooo funny


Okiegal Says:

@the DA

You may have hit on something…….I’ve never thought about a hookah……..Lol That’s funny!!

Hot one going on now. How nice would it be to have a serve in your arsenal that you could depend on in a tight?? But I think Isner and Milos might be rather boring……sort of like Isner and Mahut at Wimby that time. I did not miss one point of that match. Was glued to the TV for three days. I would watch Milos/Isner too……boring or not!

Who will draw first blood??

I’m for banning all players over 6’5……the tall guys serving skills are ridiculous!! Lol


Markus Says:

To Hippy Chick: If that post has the word “fantastic” then I have. Thank you.

While this Federer-Raonic match which is already better than the preceding match goes on, let me digress with something frivolous. Whenever I see your name I picture you in varying ways (all PG-rated): as a flower child with flowers in her hair, a a mother with big hips strolling in the park with four kids in tow, a supermodel strutting on a runway show, and as Big Bird.


calmdownplease Says:

@akin keskin

Are you conversing with me?


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus lol thankyou err i think?….


Tennis Fan Says:

Federer in really on form right now … Raonic is also playing extremely well and demonstrating he can go toe to toe with the best in ground strokes.

game of inches that so far has gone Fed’s way


Hippy Chick Says:

Gwen Seffani of NO DOUBT fame watching Roger,just wondering where her hubby Gavin Rossdale of BUSH fame is?such a cute looking guy….


Bob Lewis Says:

Raonic is fun. Can’t help but love the perfect hair and arm sleeve. He has worked hard to improve his game, too. Love his coach. Wish him well.


Ben Pronin Says:

We can discuss this all day. And I like that, because that’s why we have this forum right?

But it’s more than just the serve and being aggressive for Murray. Here’s the thing, Murray served horribly today, no question about it. Forget the stats. If you watched the match, even the serves he got in weren’t doing him any favors. At the same time, Djokovic clearly does not mess around on Murray’s second serve anymore. He’s inside the line, running around backhands, and just obliterating Murray’s second serve. As a Djokovic fan, you gotta love that. He’s being assertive and executing the right game plan. But for Murray, man, you could see it in some of the serves he hit how aware he was of Djokovic’s return prowess.

Let’s move away from the serve, though, because we all agree Murray’s serve was abysmal today. The ground game. Murray can’t beat Djokovic at his own game? Which game is that? Being steady and selectively aggressive? He absolutely can. That’s how he beat him all those other times he beat him. Going for broke on all his forehands? Unsustainable. Being super passive? Djokovic will wear him down. But being calm and steady and not freaking out after losing a long point? That’s how he’ll win.

DA, the h2h is 8-17 now. It was like 8-8 when he won the US Open and Wimbledon. It’s not like I’m going to be surprised if Murray beats him again. I expect it. I mean seriously, this can’t last, right? But to give Djokovic the trophy after beating Murray in the semi? C’mon. I don’t know if you guys are building him up just so you can tear him down later or if you’re really that ignorant about Federer’s form and especially the way he’s played Djokovic the last year and a half.


Margot Says:

@CDP
Yes, that damn serve! But why oh why has it become so unreliable? Guess it must be residue from back op. Hope it’s a bloody residue that will soon disappear!
Yep first serve = confidence. Andy was serving so well when he won Wimbledon. Sob.


skeezer Says:

“Roger is One of the greatest athletes who have ever lived, and one of the nicest players who ever lived
-Wayne Gretzy
Hockey GOAT.
—–
Fed playing brilliantly so far…


calmdownplease Says:

@margot
it was always unreliable dear..
Okay maybe worse now
This bjorkman dude better get it f**king sorted out or he can f**k right off back to Iceland or wherever!
:)


Bob Lewis Says:

Djokovic is better than Murray in most aspects of the game. Credit to the Scot for getting those big h2h wins, but I think those had more to do with Djok’s head. Perhaps feels guilty about beating up his friend. That’s just my take.


calmdownplease Says:

`That’s just my take..`

We know it is, and other fans of other players think the same too..
NEXT!


Okiegal Says:

After watching Fed so far in this match, I might have to change horses in the middle of the stream. I now think he will win the whole shooting match. He’s playing lights out today!! Don’t mean to be jumping the gun, but he’s got this, I believe.


Tennis Fan Says:

Federer will steam roll Djokovic if he is playing at this level tomorrow. Raonic played great and showed everyone that he will be a force to reckon with this year.


jane Says:

federer versus nole #38 coming up. phew! good luck to nole; he will need to be at his best.


Hippy Chick Says:

Congrats to Fed it was a better match than the first one much more competitive,no horse in the race so just hope for a great final,may the best man win….


jane Says:

i thought milos seemed a bit weary today. but he had some chances that he flubbed too. definitely a good showing overall for him.

now i hope popsicle/sock win doubles!


Humble Rafa Says:

Congratulations for those of you having an orgasmic experience.


Margot Says:

@CDP
Lol here we go…Andy only won cos Nole was being “kind” to him. ROFL.
Think first serve is more unreliable now, tho, 2nd always a liability, but lately showing signs of improvement….says she doing mega straw clutching……
And Fed beats Brylcream Boy. Looking good and moving like a bloody gazelle!
Feeling sweary tonight…can’t think why….;)


Daniel Says:

Tomorrow may be a real class, because both are on get form. Federer doesn’t seem tired, running on court as long seen before.

Agree that Djoko’s serve, both first ads second are way better than last year and that’s what is making him more dangerous.

Toss up per tomorrow, Fed with a really shot,

One going to tie the record of 4th and the other going to a fifth.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

I was a fallen early-believer in Raonic, but he’s won me back. He looked awesome today, and yesterday in the 2nd and 3rd sets.

He is so improved. His bh is much better, but he runs around it so much its a problem. he’s really putting himself in bad positions, backing up, too often.

Fed looked fantastic. Wow. I did not expect him to solidify his #2 position, you know, I thought he had some hot streaks and some injuries to Rafa to get there, but he’s really backing it up this year, looking very close in level and consistency to the #1– except in the Slams.


calmdownplease Says:

`Feeling sweary tonight…can’t think why..`

Oh, you know why alright ;)


mat4 Says:

Just to add my 2 cents.

1. From what I have seen, Murray’s second serve, since his back operation, deteriorated. He avoids to bend and play kick serves, and that leaves him vulnerable. Today, Novak also returned the first serve very well, a serve that used to bring Andy’s a lot of free points.

In the rallies, Novak is much more aggressive. His patterns after the first serve worked well, and he adapted better to the changing balls both in the first and in the second set.

He is much more aggressive, he plays closer to the lines, his shots are extremely deceptive, played not only with depth but with extreme pace. He has improved indeed his game a bit in every segment, from the FH (quite obvious in the second set) to the transition game.

Then, he was a bit lucky with breaks at the beginning of both sets, and it helped him play better.

Against Federer: since last year, Roger doesn’t give Novak any rhythm. He is even ready to go to the net in unfavourable circumstances just to avoid rallying and letting Novak find his groove.

But this surface is slow, and you can’t expect that Roger can put 6 aces to erase 6 BP the way he did in Dubai. Roger won their encounters on fast courts the last three times (I don’t count Monte Carlo), so I don’t see a favourite in the final.


Daniel Says:

mat4

Now that you bring those BP’s actually, Fed used the court advantage to the fullest in Dubai, can’t see it happening again here.

The good for him is that he was not broken in his last 2 matches against top 10 players while Djoko was today serving 5-1 first set.

I expect another three set tomorrow as last year final. May the best man win.

If Fed wins, he would have beaten Djoko back to back tourneys in finals and with 3 titles this year entering clay where he can relax and practice other stuff.

For Djoko he would have won the 2 most important tourneys of the year and get a win over current #2 as a revenge and to take full control of the year. Seems this match does’ carry a lot of weight for either of them but in fact it does. It can influence grass and HC after clay as Fed is not playing Miami next week.


jane Says:

“The good for him is that he was not broken in his last 2 matches against top 10 players while Djoko was today serving 5-1 first set.”

true, although clearly andy is a better returner than berdych or especially raonic.


Bob Lewis Says:

Yes, winning a tour final like Indian Wells can plant seeds later on. It can give a slight psychological and confidence edge, should they meet in a major.

Djokovic and Federer have rarely met in finals. When they have, it feels as if Djokovic tended to win most of those. It’s not that Federer’s wins in semis weren’t important, but finals are the ones that count most. I think that was a factor in last year’s Wimbledon.


skeezer Says:

Happy Fed is in another Final. His records in making semis and finals, will it ever be broken? The guy is still a stud, even @ 33 to be competing in Agassi’s “Golden Era”.
Hope Nole/Fed entertain the fans, thier matchups have been just that so far. IW has been a very entertaining tourney.

@mat4
You nailed it summary. If Fed plays against Nole from the baseline and parks there he is doomed. Feds best chance is mixing it up on the exhanges and continue to hold service games.


jane Says:

in particular fed used the block/chip return very well today to take control of the rallies as well. he was very patient.


Bob Lewis Says:

Interesting take from the British tennis channel announcer with regard to the Djokovic-Murray matchup. He mentioned that during the Wimbledon final, it was a very hot day, and it did not appear that Djokovic gave it his all. It was almost as if he was happy that his good friend was able to win that title.


sienna Says:

still trying tot get little nitwit friends to agree so we feel more secure.

the point I make is that those guys go out to win 2 sets. It doesnt make aan rats of difference in 3 set format which set it is.

obviously everyone wants to all sets but that is not the point.
to claim a player must win first set to have chance is completely unlogical.
furthermore it shows your own lack competition in sports.
which I do have. Fyi You dont need to be pro to be in competition.
Probably another reason for plus sizing the US.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

@Daniel, I’m surprised to know that Roger has not been broken yet. Also it’s a surprise that Novak got broken against Andy, specifically with the quality of tennis Andy was playing y’day. Maybe be was too frustrated to play against such poor tennis.


metan Says:

Wow! papa Fed is in the final again. Hope he will win.

Top story: Zverev Upends Federer, Will Face Dominant Djokovic For ATP Finals Title Sunday