Roger Federer has reached the QF of the BNP Paribas Open and he did it with his best performance yet; by winning his 50th match at the tournament. After the previous two matches of struggling to find rhythm, everything seemed to click in this round for our champ. He was able to serve well, return well, do better at the net and hit a ton of winners while his movement was back to sublime levels. Best of all, I didn’t seem him sniffling or coughing either so it seems he’s back to being 100% healthy too.
The first set was the more competitive of the two. Roger had 3 breakpoints but converted 1 and that was all that was needed. The set was 38 minutes but the first 4 games alone took 22 minutes. Jack brought his best level in the match in the beginning and Roger kept pushing him to the limit. Although Sock held on then, he ultimately got broken and an imperious Roger took the set, 6-3.
Riding on the momentum from set 1 he kept up the pressure on Jack in set 2. Meanwhile, after fighting so hard at the beginning of the first set but losing it nonetheless made Jack a bit listless. Roger had 3 breakpoints and converted on the 3rd to start the set with a break up. He consolidated to love and then broke Jack again as the American looked done with the match by then. Another love hold and Roger was up 4-0*. Roger had a few more breakpoint chances to go up a triple break but the Maestro’s concentration wavered and Jack got on the board. Roger held again and it was up to Jack to serve to stay in it. A bit more loose play from Roger and Jack held for the second time in the set. It was up to Roger to serve for the match which he did without any problems. 6-3, 6-2 in 69 minutes. Here are the match stats.Roger looked good throughout the match. Thankfully he is peaking just in the nick of time because from now on, the tournament goes up a whole new level of difficulty. Up next is none other than an annoying old nemesis, Tomas Berdych. I hate their match ups. Berdych is all about power and force and somehow he causes Roger grief every time they play. Though their H2H is 12-6 in Roger’s favour, the Czech has won 3 of their last 6 hardcourt matches. Berdych has been very playing well this year, especially with his new coaching set-up. The QF match is the first one of the day, and while that is easier on me in terms of time-zones, it means Roger gets a match in conditions he hasn’t played in yet at this tournament.
So in summary, this will be one of those nail-biting, nerve-wracking matches that make you question why you are such a masochist to do this time and time again. Here’s hoping we all come out of that experience with a smile on our faces. In the meantime, check out Roger’s presser, his post match interview and his Tennis Channel interview to keep your mind off the QF. C’mon Roger! Chum Jetze!