So as I predicted Roger got past Jan Hajek in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, to setup a Quarter Final showdown with Florian Mayer. It wasn't one of Roger's greatest matches by a long shot but he got the job done and didn't really have too many difficulties out there other than dropping serve once and failing to convert quite a few break points.
I'm just pleased he is winning despite such a big change in equipment, even though he's not playing amazingly well he's sticking it out and finding his way into the tournament which is a very good sign.
Quick Match Analysis
This match was always going to be on Roger's racquet just because Hajek doesn't really possess the weapons to do a lot of damage, he is however quite a clean ball striker which surprised me as I haven't seen him play that much and that was evident from the off as Roger had to save break point in his opening service game.
After holding for 1-0, Roger then went onto break to lead 3-1 but Hajek got an extremely lucky net cord at break point back in the next game to get it back on serve. It was a sloppy service game really from Roger and although Hajek got lucky he probably deserved to break back as he was playing quite aggressively.
After that both guys held serve until 5-4 where Roger had 4 set points yet wasted them all with some unconvincing play before finally sealing the deal on the fifth attempt to take the set 6-4.
In terms of Roger's level it was an average set, he came up with some nice shots but he shanked quite a lot of balls and put some very routine volleys into the net from nigh on unmissable positions.
The second set was very similar, Hajek was playing nicely but you always felt like Roger just about had the measure of him and at 3-2 he broke the Czechs serve setting up break point with a sweet backhand before holding comfortably to take a 5-2 lead.
He then wasted 5 match points in Hajek's next service game before serving it out comfortably 6-4 6-3 in just 72 minutes to move into the Quarter Finals.
I’m just still looking for the timing and the rhythm here, but the longer I stay in the tournament, the more confident I am that I’m going to play better and better as the tournament goes on.
I will be bringing back the “pERFect Tennis Point / Shot of the Match” after a brief hiatus since the clay season, but for this I decided to put in the full highlights as there's actually some really good points although slightly misleading as they make it look like Roger was zoning when he wasn't :D. It will also give you guys a chance to see how Roger is handling his new racquet if you haven't seen him play yet.
Video removed 🙁
Thoughts on the Match
Overall another good performance that ended with a win which is the main thing. It wasn't vintage by any stretch but Fed still played some nice points and had he not wasted 10 of 13 break point chances it would have been even more of a one sided scoreline.
Like I said in my last post I'm just glad he's winning whilst still getting to grips with his new equipment. He still looks like he's figuring things out and seeing what is possible and what isn't possible with it. He will have practiced with it a lot for sure, but there are certain points and rallies that you will never be able to recreate in practice so it's impossible to know how the racquet will react to those type of shots until you step onto court for competitive play.
I guess it’s to a degree some more getting use to, just to see how it reacts on every single shot. Clearly it reacts better to some shots. But it's important not to think of it the whole time, not to talk about it all the time, but more just sort of go with it, fight for every point, have the right mindset, be optimistic about playing here now and wanting to achieve a good result and that’s what I'm doing.
The more matches he plays the more comfortable he will feel with this stick and if he is able to win a tournament with it then I reckon he will be completely sold on it and gain a ton of confidence.
Today's match was ideal in many ways as although it wasn't a dazzling performance it had plenty of long rallies that required lots of different shot making ability be it hitting backhands down the line, drop shots, full stretch sliding slices or a short angled forehands which definitely gives him more of a feel and what he needs to do to keep the ball in play.
One thing I did notice today was the backhand and forehand definitely had some more pop on it when he stepped into the court and ripped it, I think this is definitely a good sign; I mean his forehand has always been a weapon but if he can add some MPH onto it then it aids his cause against the likes of Murray, Nadal and Djokovic.
You only have to look at what Del Potro did to Djokovic at Wimbledon and Nadal at Indian Wells with his forehand when he cranked it up, ok Roger is never going to hit like that but he has more precision, spin and versatility, combine that with some added power and it could be the key to some big matches.
Predictions vs. Mayer
Next up is for Roger is Florian Mayer whom he leads 4-0 in the H2H so I am expecting a win. I don't think it will be easy however as Mayer is a very tricky customer who brings some unorthodox looking shots to the table.
He's playing in front of his home crowd too and does tend to do quite well when he plays in Germany so you can't take him lightly that's for sure. He's also beaten Dolgopolov and Lopez to reach the Quarters which is pretty impressive.
I think Roger will have to tighten up on serve a little bit and cut out a few of the errors but as long as he plays solidly and doesn't throw away his serve then I think he has more than enough to see off Mayer in straights.
As I predicted in my draw post Verdasco also dispatched Janowicz (who I think was injured?) so that has opened up the draw nicely here and Roger vs. Fiasco would be a nice semi final matchup. Allez!