Oh Yeah! Without a shadow of a doubt the best feeling Fedfans have had in a Grand Slam since the French Open last year and what a feeling it was seeing Roger defeat the defending champion, Novak Djokovic, to make his 8th Wimbledon final. (yet another record!)
Now my excitement has died down a little bit and I can look back on the match without fist pumping or screaming Allez at the TV, it was actually a pretty weird one. It was so fast paced and all the points were over extremely quickly especially in the first two sets.
Set 1 was basically just serve, return, error and the person who played 1st strike tennis tended to win the point. It was Roger who played the more aggressive as you'd expect early on and he took his first break point chance at 3-2 in the first set with a backhand pass which Djokovic attempted to volley but slipped on his split step (he wouldn't have reached it anyway). With Roger serving exceptionally well he took down the set with no trouble at all 6-3 in just 24 minutes. I think for Roger this was a very important set to win, it was almost essential that he got off to a good start and didn't have his confidence knocked early in the match. I think it also helped that he was able to win the set without playing at a JesusFed like level, he was solid on serve yes but apart from that there was no rhythm or long rallies and he wasn't realy returning that well. It was cagey to say the least and these are good sets for Roger to win as they ultimately give him more confidence when he does find his A game.
Set Two – Djokovic Hits Back
As we've seen many times after winning the first set Roger got broken immediately at the start of the second and was soon 3-0 down as Djokovic consolidated easily. Like the first, this was another cagey affair that flew by in a mere 30 minutes.
There were few chances in this set for Roger, his return game wasn't on fire and Djokovic was able to hold comfortably to level things up at one set all taking the second 6-3. You couldn't really have too many complaints and when I was watching I never felt like this set was a huge deal or one that decided the match because still both players weren't producing a consistently high level.
Set Three – The Match Catches Fire
As it turned out Set 3 was the set that decided the match and it was where both players finally came to life. More rallies, better returning from Roger and Djokovic creating his own chances to break.
It was Roger who had the first chance to break at 3-2, 30-40 but he went wide with a forehand down the line after a sustained rally. This game was full of lengthy exchanges and the one at the third deuce if I remember correctly where Roger sealed it with a backhand up the line was immense. Even though Djokovic held serve that game you felt like Roger was gaining more and more momentum, his timing was so sweet and his cross court forehand to the Djokovic forehand was really working well by this point.
At 4-4 Roger faced his first real mental test of the match where he slipped to 30-40 when a forehand went wide, he saved it with an accurate first serve down the T that Djokovic blocked back way beyond the baseline.
5-4 and Djokovic serving proved to the crucial game of the match and Roger got off to the peRFect start winning the first point and moving to 0-30 with a cross court forehand followed by a forehand up the line. At 15-30 Djokovic missed an easy overhead and for the first time in the match he looked tight. I wasn't getting carried away as we all know how good Djoker is on break points these days but you just felt like Roger could take it this time after wasting an earlier opportunity and take it he did. It was a great play from Fed, an aggressive return, two great cross court forehands, a forehand up the line, a great backhand volley and then the overhead put away to take a two sets to one lead.
How Roger played on that break point was the key to match, he played aggressively, yet patiently if that makes sense. He traded cross court until he got the upper hand and then went up the line. It was great point construction and meant when he pulled the trigger he had a great chance of winning the point. I also have to stress how well played that backhand volley was to setup the overhead, Djokovic got a lot more on his passing shot than I expected and for Roger to control the ball deep and back in behind the Serb was scarily good.
4th Set – Roger Closes it Out
At the start of the 4th Roger quickly moved into a 3-0 love lead. Djokovic was leaking errors and looked like a broken man, which of course we know all too well can also mean he's at his most dangerous because he has nothing to lose.
At 4-1 Roger created 3 break point chances I was seriously hoping he got the double break for security, but as you already know he wasted them. This time though there was no stopping Roger as he was now almost bullet proof on serve, even a drop shot from Djokovic that trickled over the net couldn't stop him as he served out the match to take it 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-3 in 2 hours and 19 minutes.
What were the keys to the match?
As anticipated my most pundits and Fans, Rogers serve was a key area of where the match was won. He served so well from start to finish and really went for his second serves often red lining them and going for the lines. It paid off though as he won 75% of points behind his first serve and an amazing 72% of points behind his second serve. GOAT stats.
The other key was Roger's aggressiveness combined with his patience. He went for the lines but only committed 10 unforced errors in the entire match, whereas Djokovic made 21 which is almost unheard of. This all happened because Fed didn't go for too much too soon, he invariably made his move at the right time, forcing Djokovic wide and off balance before changing the pace and direction of the ball to great effect. I don't know if it was a preset tactic or just Roger playing his natural, free flowing grass game but either way it worked a treat.
Predictions in the Final vs. Murray
Fed will now play Andy Murray in the final after he beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets to be the first British male player to make a Wimbledon final since 1938.
I watched all of the Tsonga match and really he made it too easy for Murray, he had a lot of chances but his return game was very poor and he netted a lot of easy balls. He did come up with some great shots as we all know Tsonga does but many routine shots went begging which against someone who plays consistent like Murray isn't going to get the job done.
There's a lot on the line for this one, Roger can win his 17th slam, return to number 1 and beat the record of 286 weeks set by Sampras. And on the other hand Murray can win his first slam and be the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry.
As you are probably all aware, I am categorically not a fan of Murray, everything about him puts me off and there's absolutely no way I could ever support him, which is why of course I am cheering on Roger 100%.
I actually hate matches between Roger and Murray because my dislike for Murray is so strong that should he win there is probably no worse a feeling in tennis which almost makes me scared of the outcome. Because of that I'm both nervous and excited for the final. If Roger plays his best tennis then I'm sure he will win. He's clearly got a lot of desire to win this tournament and break some more records and I am hoping all these things come true which is why I predict Roger to win in straight sets.
Allez les suisse!