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Home » ATP Masters 1000 » Federer Defeats Paire to Setup Final with Nadal in Rome
Federer defeats Paire in Rome

Federer Defeats Paire to Setup Final with Nadal in Rome

Hey guys. Another solid match from Roger and he's into the final where he'll meet his old adversary Rafael Nadal who predictably got by Berdscat in today's other semi final.

Today's match wasn't the cleanest from Roger but he got the job done and played well enough when it mattered to progress in just under an hour and a half without really looking too troubled. There were a couple of moments where if Paire had composure he could have made his mark on the match but he ultimately fell short and Federer was able capitalise.

Quick Match Analysis

Federer into Final in Rome

Like I've said in my past couple of posts the first game often sets the tone for the match, against Simon and Starace Roger fired down love holds but today he had to fight off two break points before holding.

That pretty much said to me this was going to be quite a tight match and Roger wouldn't be zoning in like he'd been doing most of the week. That turned out to be the case really as Paire started the match well, striking the ball very cleanly and holding quite comfortably.

It was tactically quite smart from Paire who kept stepping into the court once Roger chipped the return which allowed him to get on top in a lot of the points and hold serve easily.

At 3-2 Roger had 3 break points on the Paire serve but wasted them and then got broken himself in the very next game which was a little frustrating. However Paire isn't the most composed of guys on tour and dropped serve himself immediately before he could consolidate.

The break back was followed up by 2 convincing love holds by Roger and he went into a tie break that I think Paire could and should have won just he choked it away. He twice had the mini break advantage but made some poor errors and kept letting Roger back in. You can't keep giving someone like Roger multiple chances as eventually he will make you pay which he did as he sealed the breaker with a nice combination of shots.

The second set was quite similar to the first in terms of the level but it was Roger who got the break this time around as Paire hit back to back double faults to hand over the initiative. Again mental frailties from the Frenchman costing him dear. From that point on all Roger needed to do was concentrate on his own service games and make sure he held which he did with relative ease and served it out to love hitting his two nicest shots of the match in the process, a sweet lob and then a sick inside in forehand down the line.

Match Statistics

Federer vs. Paire Stats

Point of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer def. Paire Rome 2013

Overall another solid performance from the GOAT, there's no way we can expect him to zone in all the time and Paire was the perfect opponent to have a relatively off day against.

Apart from dropping serve once in the first set I thought Roger served very well again today and he was in control of the vast majority of his service games. The stats don't make the best reading in fact Paire's are arguably better but Roger won more of the important points and he still managed to get the job done in straights which was very nice to see.

There weren't many genius like moments out there tonight to choose from, in fact the match and crowd were quite flat for most of it but he still conjoured up some sweet forehands and was reliable with his overheads and net play which was good to see.

Predictions vs. Nadal

Federer Dancing Shoes Rome 2013
Footwork is Going to be Key

After Djokovic lost to Berdych, Nadal was always going to be Roger's opponent in the final if he was able to hold his end of the bargain. I watched Nadal's match today against Berdych and he looked to be in ominous form, granted Berdych is a mental midget and came in without any sort of gameplan which made it very easy for Nadal but he was moving very well. I also think the tight matches vs. Gulbis and Ferrer have helped him here quite significantly.

It's currently 19-10 in the H2H so Turkey status looms large for Roger and I do think he faces an uphill struggle tomorrow to come out on the winning side of the net, it's not impossible as we know he always has a chance but I think it's very slight. If you're asking for percentages I'm thinking only around a 10% chance he can win.

But anyway forget what chance I think he has, one of they key aspects for him to win his how much he believes in himself and that is going to be very important. Any moments of self doubt and Nadal will capitalise so it's important for Roger to play solidly and if he gets a chance to take it and not relinquish the advantage. That's easier said than done against Dull especially on clay but it's not out of the question as Roger is one of the few guys to have beaten him in clay finals before.

As for gameplan I think Roger just has to go for out and out aggression, he can't possibly emulate the way Djkovic breaks down Nadal so he has to try and recreate what Gulbis was able to do earlier in the week but take it one step further and maintain it over the course of the entire match.

He obviously knows his backhand is going to be targeted so changing up play and going down the line will be an important shot, I particularly like the chopped slice down the line and coming in behind it, it makes it difficult for Nadal to hit with top spin when the ball keeps low meaning he will make errors or leave a relatively easy put away.

The serve is again going to be important as he needs as many cheap points as possible and you always have to back him to create chances on the return so if he serves well then there is always a good chance he can come out of this match with the trophy which would be pretty epic.

Other than that it's going to be a case of staying mentally tough, moving well to run around his backhand and always being prepared to have to play one more shot. You can almost guarantee Dull will be running around like a maniac getting balls back so there's no point looking surprised when he pulls out a ridiculous get, you either have to be in position to deal with it or just say that was too good but next time I'm putting the rally to bed.

Whatever happens I'm quite looking forward to this one, usually Fedal matches have an anti climatic feel about them but this one could be quite good. Roger can play without pressure really as making the final here is a very solid performance and he's made a strong statement in this tournament and will surely be in good shape for the rest of the year.

The only thing I will say about Fedal is that it's just a shame that every time these guys meet in a final it seems to be always on clay, everytime Nadal makes a final on clay Roger is the guy who wins his matches to meet him, but whenever Roger is waiting in the final on a different surface Nadal can never keep his end of the bargain, he's either running scared and out injured or loses beforehand. No wonder it's a lopsided H2H, and Gaurav proved that statistically in his post about it here.

Anyway, here's hoping for a Goderer like performance and I hope you guys enjoy the final. Win or lose I'll be back with a post on it tomorrow. Allez!

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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124 comments

  1. First! πŸ˜€

  2. As Sid said in yesterday’s post, all out aggression, or don’t show up! it could be a good indication of where Roger is now, even if he does lose but puts up a fight, post RG could be interesting πŸ˜€

    • Yeah, I think this has been a successful tournament regardless but a win here would be crazily good.

      I have a question for you guys – what does the outcome of tomorrows match mean for Roger’s chances at the French? I mean does a win make a huge difference to his chance there, and what does a loss mean?

      • Don’t figure a loss does mean much, everyone expects Dull to win. But if a he wins, Dull will have lost at his to fave clay tourneys, to both his “rivals”. I still figure nadal is fave at french until he loses, but Roger would defo gain a sh*tload of confidence, and could only boost his chances, so I think it’s only benificial. what’s you’re take on that?

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        My $0.02? A win tomorrow increases Roger’s chances in Paris only slightly. The problem is the French Open is too grinding and in the later stages, for obvious reasons, Nadal has a huge advantage over the field. A win tomorrow would mean at least a semi final in Paris, where I’m assuming he will meet the GOAD again.

      • To be honest, I am not that worried about RG. If Roger wins I would go crazy.
        Otherwise does not matter if Novak wins it, would have deserved it (if Roger does not win).
        Of course Rafa does not deserve to win, but lets be honest. Novak won MC because it was a three setter. You saw he struggled big time in the second set AND he was extremely lucky that Rafa gave up during the tiebreak.
        RG is a five setter and Novak would not have won that. Rafa HONESTLY does not deserve to win RG for the 8th time, but what can you do.

        The thing that bothers me the most is Wimby. Andy (and Roger) have a little bit given up on RG. Andy has given that up completely.
        But Wimby…….. that will be the most dangerous one. All four have each EQUAL chances there. For Roger to win Wimby for the 8th time, he will have to play like JesusFed and Goderer and Clutcherer and all the other er-names in one.

        RG will not be so nerve wrecking. Neither will USO or AO for that matter.
        No, Wimby will be dangerous, especially this year.
        Andy is going to make himself win it no matter what.
        Novak will make a try for it no matter what.
        Rafa will do almost everything to win it.
        Roger will have to do almost everything to win it.

        One thing I agree with you Jonathan, is that from now on Roger is back. From AO to prior Rome was disappointing, I know, but like I wrote earlier, I think he is going for the later half of the year.

      • Djokovic schooled Nadal in Monte Carlo Katyani. He didn’t struggle in the slightest. And Nadal didn’t give up in the breaker, he was outplayed and mentally beaten up by Novak.

        5 sets makes no difference either, watch the Australian Open final from 2012 πŸ™‚

        I also think USO is the big one this year. Gonna be far more nerve racking than Wimbledon.

      • Yep agree, all about confidence, match momentum, has proved he can stay with the big hitters thus week and has been mentally tougher than in recent weeks which can be a tricky thing as you get older. So if this has helped him banish some self doubt then With a gd draw he cld go v deep at RG. Remember if Dull wins here he will be seeded 4 at the French which means no QF mtg!

  3. Phew! Well well well, it’s now or never to finally get the rome title I feel.

    And for it to be against Rafa after that 2006 final, I think he deserves it. Roger needs to just go for it and stick to his aggressive gameplan. He MUST go for the return otherwise this isn’t a contest. I think he can do it. First set will be key.

    Could a win like this prove to be the one that could give what he needs to make a run at the French? If Rafa gets this one, he is back to number 4. So if Murray doesn’t play, how RG draws will be very interesting.

    Allez Roger, we believe in you!

    • If murray doesn’t play, Roger is not going further than semis: He’d be number 2 seed, ie opposite draw as Djoker. No way Djoker and Dull are playing before final, so Roger gets a rafa semi, and Djoker a ferrer…

      • If you look at the after match interview (presser?) after he defeated Simon I think, Roger already said straight in the camera that he will be in Rafa’s half. He already knows that.
        Maybe that is why he set his sight on the Rome final. He knew Rafa would be there and he wanted to know how he stands with Rafa.

      • So if the seedings hold up like this, assuming Nadal wins Rome and Murray doesn’t play (However, I feel like if Murray’s injury was THAT serious, he would’ve already come to a decision, playing mind games now) it will look like this:

        1. Djokovic
        2. Federer
        3. Nadal
        4. Ferrer

        And the French to get their Djokodal final, will draw 2/3 together. I am 100% sure the draw is being touched by organisers hands.

      • BTW Katyani I totally agree- It’s obvious now that Rome put them in opposite halves as to not make Roland Garros obvious. However if Nadal wins Rome and Murray plays, well then the FO is a bit screwed in terms of trying to get them two in the same half as 3 and 4 can’t be drawn together.

        Rome is lucky they rigged the draw to put them in opposite halves because who knows what kind of crap final they would’ve gotten then.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        I guess then Murray’s “decision” to play, or not, depends on the result tomorrow? Roger wins and Murray is back. Nadal wins and Murray is “asked” to sit out? πŸ˜‰ Da**! I’m the GOAT of conspiracy theories. Though it’s true!

      • Hi Alysha, when I first read your comment about the Rome draw, I thought you were so right.
        Rafa and Roger will be in the same draw at RG, but if they would be in the same draw in Rome it would have been to obvious.
        Afterall, they were in the same draw at IW, Madrid and if it would be Rome and RG it would have raised questions.
        Now atleast they can say that the RG draw was random.

        By the way Roger is not stupid. He KNOWS Rafa and he will be in the same draw at RG, one way or the other.

    • Agreed Alysha, he always creates chances on Dull’s serve but maybe 1 or 2 agressive returns that end the point quickly could make the difference as it prevents him getting draw into a rally where he often plays quite passively just to not be “wasteful” but ends up being the opposite!

      What do you think the outcome of tomorrows match means for the FO in terms of Roger’s chances there? Big factor or has making the final this week almost been enough for him? Obviously he’d like to win but I don’t think a loss should hurt him too much. He is playing without pressure really.

      • Yes it will be a tough ask for Roger but I really liked his interview after the Paire match when he said he just needs to go for it and play all out aggressive tennis. This comment was spot on for his mentality:
        “Someone’s gotta stop him, hopefully it will be.”

        Rome has already been a successful tournament and his season has really kicked off now, so that break really has helped him mentally and physically. He looks much more motivated and focused on court, especially in the last two matches where things got tight, he kept focus and didn’t doubt himself as we have seen prior to Rome.

        I don’t think the outcome of tomorrow’s match is going to weigh on either’s mind too heavily. Federer knows he is the underdog but this match feels different. He doesn’t have any pressure on him, can play freely than before, he knows what he has to do- I saw the same determination in his eyes this tournament as I did in Australia so it’s very encouraging.

        I feel like this match is Nadal’s to lose. Winning this means he gets back to number 4 and would surely cement his FO chances (But if Novak/Rafa meet in Paris, I’m backing Djokovic). A loss to Federer after such a good comeback (8 for 8 finals?, injured for sure) on clay of all surfaces would surely derail his confidence a bit.

        Making the finals I think for Roger has given him the confidence he has missed but his draw opened up a tonne (no Delpo, no Tsonga). A win over one of the big four is what he really needs to give him the belief he often misses in Paris.

        What ever the outcome, I’m just happy Roger is back. And now I am more than confident that he is going to make a solid run at the French. Right now, I am hoping Murray plays so he can get Novak in his semi (if Nadal wins and goes back to 4 after Rome) and make a final there. I can see him repeating 2011 form there after this run at Rome, his form and serving has been impeccable- I think he takes it into the French.

  4. Seriously, 5 already????

  5. Wow Katyani is not going to be a happy bunny. πŸ™

    • I’ve read on some forums Simon has been doping but we can’t prove it. Nothing we can do.

      • Hey!! I Can take comparison to Simon, but I’d rather not be compared to Dull…. πŸ™

        Goat would be a more suitable title I think! No false modesty from me! no modesty at all actually πŸ˜€

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Well, Simon, the pace at which you are picking up these Masters 1000’s is only raising more eyebrows. I mean, nobody wins that often. There is something more here than meets the eye πŸ™‚

      • Something called talent? Like GOAT?

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Yeah, more like GOAD πŸ™‚

      • Simon always knew he had it in the fingers but the question was whether he had it in the mind.

    • All you guys are soooooooooooo lucky I can laugh about this all, otherwise !!!
      What do they say about a woman’s wrath upon you guys and about payback beeing a ??????

      Don’t worry, I will have my day………… stay on your toes !!!

      • You’re not having you’re say if I don’t have anything to say about it πŸ˜‰ Although I officialy announce that tomorow I am traveling and will therefore not win if Jonathan posts before 11PM πŸ˜‰ have fun battling it out without me πŸ˜›

      • Probably will do. Your reign will be over.

  6. Wow, that’s really quick!! πŸ˜‰ Great to read your thoughts. Thanks for putting it up here so soon.

    “There’s no way we can expect him to zone in all the time”, you wrote and I literally thought ‘ThΓ‘nk you!’ Thank you for saying that cause I feel exΓ‘ctly the same and I sometimes wonder how huge and unrealistic some peoples’ expectations are… He played a solid match just like you said. Nothing more. Paire didn’t make it easy for him but he was there when it mattered and I think he was able to channel the frustration (that you could sometimes see in his face) into something good. He delivered when it mattered which to me is what true champions do πŸ™‚

    As for the final tomorrow: if Rog’s tuning in in the zone again, I do think he has a chance. A smaller one than Nadal, but you never know. He might be surprise us completely. He does have to move up a few gears I think to create those chances though cause tonight’s level won’t do it. But I think he will do that. And like you said, if he would be runner-up in the end it would be an amazing achievement too and good signs for the rest of the year. Time will tell!

    • Has to serve brilliantly and take the net on the right shot. Has to keep Nadal off balance and on the BH!!!!!

    • Yeah serving is going to be very important. Can’t afford to let Dull keep picking off the second serve.

      • Agreed on both things. A few have played the BH this week a lot and that was were had the most issues. Cause even though he came out on the other side as the winner every time I do think he’s not a 100% yet, there are def still issues…
        And yes, of course, the serve. If he is capable to up that again to the stats from earlier this week that’ll help a whole lot.

  7. And of course while i was writing this and doing other stuff in between (for some strange reason) a zillion people have already commented!! Always late I am…

  8. I actually felt tonight had the potential to get quite tricky for Federer. He’s been is such Federer like form this week -in other words, out of this world-, everyone expected him to beat Paire with consummate ease, and waiting for him if he won, was the wright to give Nadal another crack of the wip in a clay court final. So, after a relative off day by his standards, I’m delighted he won, and in pretty good time too!
    Tomorrow is a potentially huge day for Roger, should he beat Nadal, it would be massive…in so many ways, as well as so satisfying, to none more so than the man himself! He’s never won Rome, and the stage is perfectly set to make this 30 meeting between THE god of tennis and the ultimate gladiator a classic.
    If Federer’s to pull off one of his most incredible victories of his career, he must have a great serving day, hit his groundstrokes cleanly, keep the unforced errors down, use his head when he attacks in the key moments and not just his talent -because we’ve all seen where that gets him against Nadal-, have a little luck, but above all…BELIEVE IN HIMSELF AND HIS ABILITY TO OVERCOME THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE ON THIS SURFACE!
    I have a feeling Roger might just amaze us all tomorrow, he can do it!

    • My feelings exactly! Paire trickier than JJ! But very interesting to watch Fed work out his game during that first set, keep his focus and basically let Paire lose the plot in the second! Petchey on Sky said it right. These young guys come out swinging from the hip, zero to lose. Mentally a real challenge for the top guys to stay with them, work it out And come thru! As Nadal himself said after beating Gulbis, not about hitting harder, more winners, but about finding a way! And in best of 3 sets, even tougher as goes v fast! So can Fed win? Yes, but will he? He was be vvv motivated, history means a lot to him. Incentive to win where has not will be massive. Think the crowd will back him! Can let rip but as ever on clay, it might be up to Rafa! Come on Rog!!!

      • Susie, I kind of have this feeling the crowd will be for Rafa.
        Saw a lot of his fans with his cap, less with Roger’s cap.

        Also where are Roger’s fans with their flags and banners?

    • Hey Theo,

      Yeah Paire is a tricky customer. He pushed Nadal so clearly has something.

      All about the serve and all about been willing to play one more ball. Allez the GOAT!

      Jonathan

  9. Not gonna say much about the match today as your post pretty much summed up my feelings about it. πŸ™‚

    I got a good feeling about this final, the same feeling I got when Roger was about to play Djokovic in the semis in RG back in 2011… πŸ˜‰

    • Wow, couldn’t be a better omen!

      • For me, it is the look in his eyes.

        I never knew what people meant with that, but there is something with Roger.
        He could have lost earlier to Jerzy, but he did not.
        And today he played good, not like the first two matches but oke.
        I believe he thinks he can do this.

        I would ABSOLUTELY go crazy if he won, but if he didn’t, well Roger did make his first final of the year, he is sending a message to the rest that they should not underestimate him because he did not do well in the previous months.

        From now on, this will be Roger’s year. And I don’t think we have to worry about not making the WTF right????

        Anybody know how much points he gets for winning or beeing the runner up?

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Ahem……….I’m assuming that question was meant for me, the Director of Points and Ranking Permutations? Winning gives you 1000 points while the runner up gets 600. Roger had 360 points from the semi final last year so by reaching the final, he has already gained 240 points. But I hope he can steal 400 more tomorrow.

    • Post match interview with a preview to tomorrow’s final:

      http://www.tennistv.com/video/clip/2209761/

      πŸ˜‰ Priceless comment at the end πŸ˜‰

    • Love your good feelings!

    • Hope your feeling comes true!

      I always thought he was gonna beat Djoker at FO 2011 too. Not sure I have a similar feeling today but we shall see. I’m feeling positive though.

  10. Sid TheCookieThief

    Have you ever watched a movie where the hero loses in the end? You are distraught. You go out, buy a tub of ice cream, gobble it down, come back home and watch the same movie again…this time expecting a different result, hoping that somehow the hero will outfox the villain. Except, the hero loses again. You watch it again, and again, and again, and nothing changes.

    My question is, do you get the same feeling when Roger plays Nadal on clay? πŸ™‚

    • Yes, but sometimes (not many times) you do get out of that vicious circle !!!

      Sid, aren’t you wondering why Batman hasn’t bombarded the site with his ‘Rafa will win’ comments?

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Batman is a mental midget. He never has anything creative to say. He uses his very predictable posts cautiously and sparingly, so as to give an impression of ingenuity.

        We’ll wait for Captain Obvious tomorrow to come up with one of his “water is very important to sustain life on earth” style comments.

        πŸ™‚

    • Nope. Got the same feeling when Roger plays Dull, be it clay or anything else *except for blue clay, cause apparently, it’s not a surface pros can play on…*

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Simon, even you, with all your GOADness, will find blue clay too much to handle πŸ™‚

    • Bummer! Great analogy! Sad but horribly true! However, this time it will be different! There is always hope!!!

  11. Well Jonathan I think is now or never, if Roger wins I am sure his chances on RG will be more, and of course I will loose my mind completely, so I just pray for a victory tomorrow I really do, I just need to see a victory against Nadal before retirement.

    • I need to see him beating nadal at french. that would be the only thing I still ask for….

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Watch this, never fails to inspire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zCy3EWs9Q0

      Let’s go
      Make no Excuses now
      I’m talking here and now
      I’m talking here and now
      Let’s go
      Your time is running out
      I’m talking here and now
      I’m talking here and now

      It’s not about what you’ve done
      It”s about what you’re doing
      It’s all about where you’re going no matter where you’ve been
      Let’s go
      Let’s go
      Let’s go
      Let’s go

    • Hope so Mike.

      This is his best chance since his prime to win Rome.

  12. Yesterday can be considered his off-day as I was expecting 1 bad match from Roger. Not sure if he was thinking ahead about the final. Got a little lucky with Paire being a slight mental midget. Poor shot selections just like JJ cost them at least 1 set. As for Final XXX, Roger has to go out and play freely. Forget about the past and just go all out. If he pulls of a W, it would be awesome. If not, well at least he reached his first final this year.

  13. I think a win for Roger here would make more of a difference to RAFA than to Roger himself. As has been said, Roger has met some important goals here, top among them making a final. In a sense, he’s putting a plus in his column, win or lose. But if he pulls off the win against Rafa, I think Rafa’s confidence takes a hit going into Roland Garros. (Either that, or the bull REALLY wakes up, and we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)
    I agree this match against Paire seemed less “on” for Roger, and I agree that this was a much better place for that to happen than tomorrow. Now, if Roger doesn’t play a competitive match against Rafa, then I think Roger’s confidence takes a hit. As someone said above, it’s one thing to prove you can still beat top-20 and even top-10 players; it’s quite another, still, to prove you’ve got what it takes to take down one of the top 4 (5, but it’s only a matter of time).

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      [In a sense, he’s putting a plus in his column, win or lose]
      Given the quality of his opponents (other than the yet to be played final)?

      I think a loss for Roger wouldn’t impact his confidence at all. Let’s put things in perspective. Roger has what, a 2-13 record on clay vs Nadal? And this final would be Roger’s 8th match on clay this season? Meanwhile, Nadal has made the final of all 7 clay tournaments he has taken a shot at and won 5 of them (Rome could be the 6th). He is more prepared for clay this year than ever before. The Rome final, on paper, should be a disaster for Roger…on paper I said.

    • Yeah Roger kinda has nothing to lose here. He should just go out and swing freely and see what happens.

      He’s way more talented than Gulbis and look what Gulbis was able to achieve.

      • Gulbis has a hell of a lot of confidence playing the big guys. He goes in there with nothing to lose and everything to gain. And it paid off for most of the match against Nadal. If Rog goes in there with the ‘nothing to lose mentality’ like we all said, he might surprise us all… Whether or not that results in a win, I can’t say yet. But there are definitely chances if you listen to him talking about it πŸ™‚

  14. I think we all agree it would be absolutely massive if roger wins this one tomorrow!!

    Interesting about his chances in the French. I think a tough loss in Rome could be damaging but a close match (not necessarily a win) would be very beneficial. Not only in terms of winning a final against dull at the French but of simply progressing further through the rounds to get another bite at the apple if he gets close in Rome.

    A few things I picked up in the comments I disagree with:

    I don’t think federer has in any way sacked off the clay season/RG and has set his sights on the second half. I think the break was purposefully to have a good run in Madrid (to defend his title and points), in Rome (a big title he’s never won) and of course at the French open. Clay or not slams are still his bread and butter. Sure Madrid didn’t go as planned but Rome already has and hopefully RG will too. Remember when he planned his schedule Nadal was still injured with no news of a comeback, why not have a go at the clay!?

    I also don’t agree that the tour is so corrupt that Rome is fixing its draw to cover for the French. C’mon that’s ludicrous. Sure maybe the French is fixed but tbh if you are number 1 you should have an easier semi than 2 or 3, that’s just how the rankings work.

    Finally I really think djokovic can beat dull convincingly in the French if they meet. I remember watching last years and after a lethargic start djokovic was just finding his range when the match was rained off for a whole day. Dull got lucky there and he knew it. The next day djokovic had nothing.

    Allez!

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      [I also don’t agree that the tour is so corrupt that Rome is fixing its draw to cover for the French. C’mon that’s ludicrous.]
      You will never run a successful business πŸ˜‰

      [Madrid didn’t go as planned]
      Madrid went exactly as planned.

      [Remember when he planned his schedule Nadal was still injured with no news of a comeback, why not have a go at the clay!?]
      There is no way Roger would’ve believed that bull from Dull πŸ™‚

      • Tommaso Scarpa

        Haha fair maybe I won’t.

        In what way did Madrid go exactly as planned, do explain.

        “That bull from dull”??
        Sorry are you saying nadal didn’t have any problems with his knees it was all bull? 6 months off from the tour after having just won your 11th slam is not bull mate.

    • When money is involved, corrupt business isn’t far behind. Everyone knows it’s happening. It’s time to accept it.

    • I think it’s pretty likely the French draw will be rigged. They want a blockbuster final and as far as they are concerned Roger would be spoiling the part if he were to make it. Sad but true.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        They will leave no stone unturned…or should I say, leave no clay unswept, to make sure it’s a Djokovic-Nadal final in Paris.

  15. Gud match for Roger before final though Roger didnt played his best…, but his tendency to bounce back has improved which was missing after Australian open…., played well in crucial points….., paire was playing well and returned well…., Rogers back hand is improved well…, his serve has to be accurate to top nadal today…., hope Roger wins Rome the 2masters title wic Roger hasn’t Won yet….., More over i dont want Roger to become Rafa’s Turkey….,

  16. It seems in a lot of the matches on clay Fed and Rafa have met, Fed had the very good chance to win. Plently of break points wasted like the 2007 RG final ( 1/17 converted!), big leads in the set like leading 5-0 in the first set and losing like 7 straight games to lose the set in the clay masters finals back in 2008, think it was Hamburg. And the drop shot at set point at RG 2011, which actually wasn’t a bad choice, but just out unfortunately.

    For this match, returning well is the key and also using a short slice on an incoming topspin forehand from Nadal. I’m surprised Fed hasn’t been using that shot often, he often tries to hit through the heavy whip topspin forehands with the backhand which is almost useless on a clay court. It hurts to watch this time and time again ; he can barely control the direction of his return and it is often placed in the middle of the court, near the the service line, giving Nadal heaps of options – a massive inside out forehand to the deuce court, or another punishing topspin forehand to the backhand side.

    He also needs to serve well and choose the right time to come forward into the net. Too many times in the past he’s come forward to volley when he was impatient or had a weak approach shot – e.g RG final 2008 and he got destroyed that time as well.

    Lets hope all goes well for Roger tonight.

  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF-rgOE43xM

    Good analysis of the match up. Only decent commentators remaining as well. Roger should come in a lot more behind him with the slice, he never utilises that play as much as he should against Rafa. Maybe that changes tonight.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      I’m no expert, but those are exactly my thoughts (I think I commented in the last post) πŸ™‚ He must red line his game, with a nothing to lose mentality and use the backhand down the line (or as they say, up the line) very frequently. We might see Roger going inside out more often than in the past. I get the feeling his backhand cross courts might also be a lot heavier.

      Roger can do it, if the game plan clicks, and Nadal has a sub par day (which almost never happens in a final). But if you put a gun to my head and asked me for a prediction, I’d say Nadal in two tough sets πŸ™‚

      Enjoy the game all! I’ll watch the re-run if the GOAT wins.

    • Shocking Tshirts!

      Backhand slice down the line is the shot that to play.

  18. Sid TheCookieThief

    Jonathan, you’re exactly right that Roger is always keeping his end of the deal on clay and meeting Nadal in the finals. Out of their 15 clay meetings (including the Rome final), haven’t 13 of them come in finals? Will be interesting to know how many of them were title matches.

  19. Can’t wait! Perfect scheduling at 3 pm uk time! Last chance Fed to win Rome! You can do it!!! See you later guys!

  20. Franklin Bernard

    I am hoping for Roger 3.0 to be back today

  21. That was a beautiful choice for point of the match πŸ™‚ Thanks for putting it up there!

  22. Hi Jonathan, this is my first comment on your blog. I’ve been a regular reader. Let me just say that I’ve enjoyed reading your blog very much. I’m also a big fan of Roger and I’ve agreed with most of your opinions. I also love the other 3 of the big four, but love Roger the most, followed by Rafa.

    But coming to this match, I really have a bad feeling about this. Usually I’d get excited when those two meet, but lately I always hope they don’t meet, because that likely ends up in Roger getting obliterated. I just don’t think he can beat Rafa anymore, except maybe on indoor hardcourt. He cannot keep up with Rafa physically anymore. And on clay, he has next to no chance. I think we’re going to see Rafa do to Roger what Roger did to Rafa in London 2011. As a Federer fan it’s a horrible feeling anticipating this match. It’s like your ageing hero is going into the Colosseum that is the Foro Italico and fighting the greatest gladiator the place has ever seen in his prime. He’s going to die a gruesome death. I just hope that he will fight like he has nothing to lose and go down fighting proudly. I will still watch him to whatever end.

    Looking forward to your post-match article, as always.

    • You were spot on with your prediction Johan unfortunately!

      Was a complete demolition job. Zero fight, it was hardly a gladiatorial though, he just got fed to Nadal. As meek as a mouse.

      Thanks for the comment man.

  23. I am way to nervous to watch. Was also nervous yesterday and that was Paire, now it is Rafa !!!

    Roger really deserves to win this. It is starting !!!

  24. If you’re not even going to try, why even turn up? Very disappointing effort from Roger today, no fight whatsoever. Wasn’t unexpected I guess but we were all pretty optimistic weren’t we? I’ve learnt my lesson once more.

    • Alysha, I don’t understand, what is happening? Why is he playing like this?

      FINALLY HE HAS GOT A GAME.

      I love him, but this is so difficult !!!

      • He is breathing so heavy. He lost all confidence. This is torture for him and for his fans.
        He makes it so hard for his fans. Will be never beat Rafa?

        He will be destroyed in the press.

      • Oh Katyani, you are one of the most diehard RF fans to ever be known, chill out.

        Yes Roger has been grunting hasn’t he? don’t know why, he is wearing the undershirt though, he’s been wearing it all week but his serve doesn’t look to be hurt, Rafa is just playing in the zone and well Federer once again mentally crumbled so it’s nothing new,

        I don’t think he will be too upset, he will have a tonne of regrets but that’s something he will have to deal with.

        I too don’t understand why Roger never came to this match, I really am in awe of his effort. Maybe Paire should have gone through to give us a more entertaining final than…this.

      • Alysha, I can’t chill out, Rafa did according to me not play in the zone.
        He just played like he always does I think.

    • Disagree! Rafa just doesn’t let Roger play hits game! He was flawless, pushes Fed off balance and forces Fed to go for huge winners with no margin for error! Vvv tough matchup on clay! Roger has only played 4 matches! Rafa has won 6 tournaments almost on the trot! Gd week for Fed. Predict he will go deep at RG! And then win Wimbledon! Anyone wld hv struggled today v Rafa!

    • Yeah, unacceptable really, played like a pussy.

  25. Why is he so uninterested???? This is not Roger.

    • i think he knows the finish line is close for Nadal. He has looked uninterested the whole match. Rafa starts playing good shots early in the match and Roger can’t mentally deal with it. Really hard to see when you witness Federer playing good tennis all week with a chance to take him out.

      Funny how he had a back injury in IW and still played better than this. Honestly, I want to know what he is going to say in his press.

    • I cannot believe this. 6-1 6-1.

      Well, I still love you Roger, although you make it sometimes so hard !!!

      • Oke, 5-2. Where are you all? I am the only one with Alysha writing.

        Don’t tell me you are watching all of the match.

    • Is interested but doesn’t hv a solution!

  26. Oke.

    Disliked the smile on the Great Uncle Toni’s face when Rafa had to play the last matchpoint.

    Kudos for Rafa for not making a very big deal about losing to Roger.
    Like he always does the falling on his back part.

    Kudos for Roger for atleast making it 6-3.

    This was not Roger playing. Did he beat himself today? Rafa did not do anything out of the ordinary.

    Why can Zaballos, Gulbis, Tsonga, Dimitrov, Novak and even Ferrer do it, but not Roger?

    I am hurt, but I am not giving up on the guy. NO WAY. No matter how difficult he makes it for his fans.

    20-10 and 24 titles and 8 finals winning 6.

    Roger will get so burned by the critics.

    • Rafa knew that Fed wasn’t in it so it was classy of him not to make big celebrations.

      The only good part of this match was the one game Fed broke in the second set to get to 5-2. Low-percentage shots but just shows that’s how you have to play to beat Rafa. He couldn’t touch Nadal’s serve at all. I don’t know, this match was a huge disappointment. But can’t be thinking about that now, I actually have gotten over it very quickly, more because I know that Fed wasn’t even in the match but hey that was his own doing not Rafa so Roger is going to have to be content with his final run and get geared for Paris which brings me to my next point.

      Ahhh Roland Garros. I still feel as Djokovic is winning it this year so Nadal winning Madrid/Rome doesn’t really change anything for me. What I am interested is the draw. Seeing as Murray plays, Roger is guaranteed to stay Nadal-free until the final so he can have a pick at Novak. He’s done it before so he can do it again. I’m expecting Roger to make semis in Paris so he should have the confidence despite this last match to do something there. Would have been interesting to see Nadal and Djokovic get drawn together but that has the same chances of pigs flying. ANYWAY good tournament Roger, good form, take it into France now. Allez!

    • Katyani, Roger has been getting burned by the critics since 2008. When have they ever been right?

  27. Guys this thread is going to get very long and complicated.

    Please save your comments for my dedicated final post that will be released this evening πŸ™‚

    I might start match threads from now on for big matches to comment on throughout.

    • Oh damnit Jonathan, wish you had told me this a minute earlier.

    • I got the message Jonathan, you have to forgive me for the comments of today, but I did not think Roger would play this bad, after this whole week. I thought he might have a small chance of winning or losing in atleast three sets.

      But I will wait for your post. Katyani, over and out.

  28. Nadal thrashes Federer in Rome. Bring in RG…. Vammooss!

    • Funny how you always spew your shit when the thing’s done and you don’t risk getting burned. I didn’t see the match so I can’t relate (read the comments and visibly it was a bad match), but why don’t you keep your nonsensical shit to yourself?

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