rogerfedererfan

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Federer reaches Dubai QFs the hard way

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roger-federerLate night roller-coaster match + long day at work the next day = no time for a proper post. So I will make this my fastest recap ever. Roger Federer defeated Radek Stepanek in 3 sets, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 in a little over 2 hours. He will face Lukas Rosol in the Dubai QF in a few hours from now.  These were my take-aways from the match:

  • Roger got broken in his first service game of all three sets. He also got broken while serving for the match, just to keep things interesting.
  • Roger hit 5 double faults.
  • Radek won his first set against Roger since 2008.
  • Despite all the ups and downs, Roger hit some seriously amazing shots when he was cruising.
  • Roger started slow, in the first set then rapidly picked it up and got a double break to take the set.
  • Very surprisingly, the momentum died right away with the beginning of the second set when he got broken out of nowhere. Yet again the Swiss went up another gear and stayed there till Radek, serving for the set got broken to level the scores at 5 all. The set went into a tie-break and then Roger uncharacteristically fell apart and lost the set.
  • A despondent looking Roger got broken right away in the third set which was the lowest point of the match. That game reminded me of 2013 for the first time this year.
  • Then, I told myself, enough with the negativity, and I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath and said out loud, ‘I Believe’. Yes I know it’s all cheesy, you can laugh, but that’s really what I did. Whatever works to keep my sanity right?
  • And I think somehow, thankfully Roger had decided the same thing at the same time. He decided to dig his heels in and fight.
  • In the third set I saw a Roger of 2012 that not many remember. We tend to think of 2012 as a glorious year since he won all those titles including Wimbledon. What we forget are those matches where he was on the brink of a loss and then somehow pulled through. I give you the Del Potro matches in Dubai, Roland Garros and of course the Olympics, the Madrid final with Berdych, the Raonic match at Halle and the Benneteau match at Wimbledon. Those were all very tight matches with Roger often not playing at his best. But he won because talent and form are not the only ingredients of a great champion. He won because he fought, hard. Compared to his younger rivals he is always criticized for not having enough grit but yesterday, in that third set, grit, will, drive, focus and determination are what ultimately won him the match.
  • We saw how he had multiple match points last year against Berdych in Dubai before squandering them and losing. That same scenario could have happened yesterday too, but it didn’t. Not even when he was broken serving for the match.
  • More than anything, this mental fight that he was able to win will help his confidence a great deal and that, even more than the match win itself, is my most positive take-away.

I was very happy to hear that he had already analyzed his game from the match by the time of the presser. He said,

“I started to understand what I was doing wrong, which made me maybe play a little bit tentatively from the baseline, what made me not make enough shots [and] why I wasn’t playing as aggressively as I wanted to. I couldn’t find the right balance between offense and defense.

It was almost a bit too late for everything, but I kind of hung around and I took the positives out of the match. Radek did a good job of putting the pressure on me and mixing it up. From that standpoint, it was a really difficult match. I’m very pleased to come through.”

Here’s a clip of his post-match interview and here are the match stats.matchRoger’s next opponent is Lukas Rosol of the Nadal-Wimbledon match fame. They have never faced each other and I hope Rosol doesn’t get it in his head to use this as an opportunity to get another big name win on his resume. The form Rosol was in for that match against Rafa was ridiculous. But the good thing is Roger is definitely aware of the potential danger Rosol can bring to the table. So I hope this tough match with Radek, with the mental victory at the end is just what he needed to push things up to another level.

Fingers crossed for the Maestro! Only a few hours to go! Allez!  

***Photo from: http://www.sportsmole.co.uk/***

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10 thoughts on “Federer reaches Dubai QFs the hard way

  1. Many thanks for the sharing, didn’t watch last night as it was too late for me, but couldn’t help climb out of bed middle of the night to check the result, and went back to bed feeling relieved that he advanced to QF. Had I watched live, would have been very nervous and might not be able to stand the roller coster emotion. Really admirable that you kept your faith in him, maybe that has helped him somehow.

    Really hope he can win this tournament and get past 77! Looking forward to your celebration post!

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    • Thank you for reading! I was so exhausted after the match! It had so many ups and downs right till the very end. Since the beginning, especially when I saw the draw, my goal was for him the reach the SFs. After that, everything is a bonus. If he really does win it however, that would be beyond amazing. I will probably be a teary mess and squeal for 30 minutes straight! Here’s to hoping that wish comes true. Do visit the blog again sometime!

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  2. I was at work and when I checked, they were beginning the second set tiebreak. when he lost it and got broken in his first service game, I was having that 2013 dialogue in my head. So glad he made it to fight another day. Thanks for the great write-up!

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    • Hi Deborah! Thanks for reading and commenting! When he got broken so easily at the beginning of the 3rd, that was when I thought f 2013 I swear. But then he decided to start fighting and that break back was the beginning of the road back up. In many matches of 2013, he couldn’t stop the rot or reverse the trend. That’s why I thought this mental win was important than the actual match win. And as we saw, this messy match helped him in the next match too. I will begin my write up of the QFs tomorrow morning (need some sleep!). But so happy we get to see him dance on the court once more! cmon tennis goods! Make magic happen!

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