Another quick write up here after Roger made it into the Semi Finals in Rotterdam beating Jarkko Nieminen 7-5 7-6(2). It was an average match and Roger made tough work of it but ultimately had too much for the Fin, extending his record against him to 13-0.
In terms of the write up, I'm struggling to remember many memorable moments from the match, there were a few nice rallies and as usual Roger played some very well constructed points but that's as far it goes. Probably the best part of the match was where Fed was taken to deuce on his own serve at 4-5, held, then broke Nieminen in the next game when the Fin was 40-0 on his own serve. He hit 2 crisp cross court backhands in that game which is always nice to see.
The positive is that Roger didn't face a single break point and won through in straights. Nieminen is a tricky opponent so getting past him without too much trouble is a clearly a good thing.
One thing I've noticed is that a lot of Fed fans are treating this tournament with huge importance, almost as though it's a must win. As I have said previously, this tournament doesn't carry much weight. I think it's kinda obvious why Roger is playing – to help out and boost the profile of tennis in Rotterdam and Holland as a whole. It's already been reported that there were more in the crowd for his 2nd round match than there were in last year final. The fact stats like that are even getting reported proves that's the aim of Kraijeck and the tournament organisers. Basically from what I've seen so far, Roger has more than enough capability to win this tournament, but I can just tell he's not going to go hell for leather to take down the title. If he wins, it's a bonus, if he loses then nothing really changes.
Predictions vs. Davydenko
In the semi's Roger is meeting Davydenko for the 18th time in his career, Roger leads the H2H 16-2 and has won the last 5 meetings, the only stat of note is that the last time they met indoors at the ATP World Tour Finals in 2009 Davydenko came out on top. From what I remember Roger could and should have won that match pretty easily so it's hard to draw any conclusions from it.
I think this match hinges on which Federer turns up, if I'm right and he is playing this tournament in a total casual fashion, then he will struggle against Davydenko due to his consistency. But, on the other hand, if Fed turns up and really wants to make a statement, then he will dispatch the Russian relatively easily.