Roger Federer won his 40th Dubai match as he defeated Lukas Rosol in just 58 minutes to reach the SFs 😀 After the gripping (read nausea-inducing) match against Stepanek the day before I was prepared for anything. Rosol was not a threat on paper but we all know what he can do if his stars align so I braced myself.
And sure enough, just like the day before, Roger got broken in his first service game. But, as he would later say in his post-match interview, get broken all those times the day before helped him to not panic. 0-2* down, he took control of the proceedings. He broke back to love immediately and got on the board. After that he won the next 5 games in a row, securing a double-break on his way to a 6-2 set win in just 28 minutes. The Swiss was in supreme form after the first two games while the Czech just looked flat and uninspired. A look at the stats tells you the picture. Federer’s winners to unforced errors ratio in this set was a crazy 10:2.Set 2 and strangely again Roger had a blip in focus at the beginning. He double-faulted to give Rosol his only break point opportunity in that set. But unlike the previous match, and similar to the first set of this match, he regrouped quickly and held to level the score at 1 all. After that it was FedExpress all over again. He broke Rosol twice and held his own serve to go up 5-1*. Rosol finally held a game to force the Maestro to serve it out. The Czech pushed it to 30 all but a great body serve and a cross-court forehand winner sealed the match. Here are the match stats.The Swiss was clinical in the match except for his first service games in each set. He had a great winners to unforced errors ratio of 21:9 and a healthy first serve percentage and a second set percentage that improved as the match went on. He seemed more confident on court from the beginning, even when he was down a break. Of course such a performance would include a shot of the day, so check it out. I expected a tweener so I loved it even more when it wasn’t. The number of tricks this man has up his sleeve is truly endless 😀
Rosol was an unknown opponent Roger had never faced before. We go from that to a Serbian guy known as Novak Djokovic, someone Roger has faced a staggering 31 times so far. This SF will be their 32nd match and everything points to Novak running away with a win to even up their H2H. Currently it stands at 16:15 in favor of the Swiss. Here’s a clip of the post match interview and a link to his comments from the presser where Roger talks about Novak.
However, despite the grim outlook I am not worried today for two reasons. First, my personal hope was that Roger reaches the SFs, especially after I saw the draw. And now that he has reached the SFs, I am proud of him. A final, and 2 SFs in the first 3 tournaments of the year; not bad for someone who was losing at earlier rounds a few months back. Second, Novak has much more to lose in this match than Roger, so who knows what magic Roger might produce as the underdog! I am hoping that Roger takes it to Novak and makes it a tough match. Their matches always tend to be exciting and tense anyway and they both know it too. Less than 5 hours left so I’ll sign off now – Wishing you all the best Maestro, give him one hell of a fight!
***Photo from: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/***