Oh yeahhhhh! Very impressive match from Roger today to get the job done in straight sets against big serving American John Isner. I thought it was going to be a pretty easy match for Roger but it was actually quite a bit closer than I expected, perhaps because of the tough windy conditions or maybe because Isner played pretty well and in the end the match only boiled down to 1 or 2 points.
First Set; Roger Focuserer
When you're playing someone like Isner who can serve bombs at will, it's really important you keep focused because a break of serve is virtually a set point and that's exactly what happened today and focus was exactly what Roger did.
There was little to talk about in the first, both players served well and Roger was as always putting together some really nice points that make his game the best to watch on tour by a country mile. At 4-4, the business end of the set, Roger fashioned 2 break points at 14-40 on the Isner serve, Isner saved both of them with aces to make deuce but then on the third break point he blazed a forehand long. I guess really it was a bit of choke more than Roger's great play but it just shows that if you focus on your own serve and don't get broken, get plenty of returns in play and give yourself chances then you're bound to be rewarded.
The first set was really just showcasing how solid Roger can be at the business end of sets and he rarely needs a second invitation (of course there are exceptions I'm just talking about 90% of the time) to get the job done. He was able to play a really solid return game and get the all important break. There was a little drama when he was serving it out as he slipped to 30-40 but a big serve and a netted return saved it and he won the next 2 points to take the set 6-4.
Set 2 – It's All About The Serve
The second set, which was kinda predictable, was dominated by both players serve, I think Roger had 1 break point and Isner had 0 (he only had 1 all match) so there was little really to get excited about. A couple of 30 alls and some nice shots in between but really you could tell from the first game this was either going to be a tie break or another 6-4/7-5 set.
As it turned out this one went into a tie break, I didn't think it was must win for Roger but it would definitely have been a bonus to get the job done in straights. It's tough to say who the breaker favoured, Isner obviously has a huge serve but Roger has an uncanny ability of getting through breakers against big servers as he's done against Roddick (prime Roddick) and Karlovic in the past.
Surprisingly Roger got the mini break instantly to lead 1-0 but handed it straight back to Isner and the breaker went on serve until Roger brought up match points at 6-5 albeit on Isner's serve. Isner as usual served a bomb but Roger got a racket on it and a net cord worked in his favour as the ball trickled over the net for him to get the job done 6-4 7-6 (5). Allez!
You just feel bad really, but relief because it's finally over, the whole big serving, not knowing what's going to happen next, so obviously it was a big relief,” said Federer, describing what it felt to win the final point in that manner. I felt I hit the return actually well. I hit it perfect. I don't remember if I thought it was going to go over or actually straight in the net, but I had a good contact. I played well throughout, so maybe I just got really lucky today. I don't know how fortunate I am. Overall I felt I played a great match, and so did John. Conditions were tough with swirly winds. It was hard for both of us to maybe find some rhythm, but overall I think we tried our best, and it was obviously a nail-biter at the very end.
Really you have to say that Roger fully deserved this victory, ok he may have gotten a tad lucky in places, especially on match point but sometimes you make your own luck. Over the course of the match he was by far the better player and whenever a point developed into a rally he was winning the majority of them. Isner's serve can carry him through matches but Roger just stayed in there, got the balls back in play and eventually found a way to break through, so really you have to credit Rogers focus and patience to find a way to beat guys like Isner.
Predictions vs. Del Potro
Interestingly this is only the second time these two have met on grass and the first time just happened to be their first ever meeting way back at Wimbledon in 2007 in the round of 64. Del Potro was only 18 then and as you can imagine lost in straight sets 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 without creating a single break point. I guess the fact he took 5 games in the second set even way back then shows he is a talent and not to be underestimated as he could have easily folded after losing the first set 6-2.
Much like 5 years ago I think Roger will beat Del Potro fairly convincingly, if he serves well and uses plenty variety then he's not going to get outgunned by Del Potro and will ultimately out manoeuvre him and boss the rallies. Roger knows not to underestimate someone like Del Po so I think he's going to focus hard and play some stellar stuff.
Every time these two meet a major talking point is the US Open loss in 2009 but to be honest I'm kinda bored of that match, let's face it, it was just a joke match from Roger, yes Del Potro played well and won, but no way Fed should have lost that match in a million years. It was just self destructerer when he got broken serving for the second set and then had a hissy fit with the umpire over a challenge. I'm not trying to discredit Del Po in any way there either, I actually like him but it's just fact it was a bad match from Roger. I think he's capable of beating Roger again for sure if he can belt the casing off it consistently but 9 times out of 10 it's going to be Fed who trumps him just because he has too much guile and court craft to fall victim to someone like Del Po.
It's 12-2 in the H2H to date and Roger has won all 5 meetings between the two this year. There maybe a few hairy moments and it's going to help if Roger wins the first set so he's not playing catch up against a guy who can accelerate through matches but I think he will get the job done in straights again (6-4 6-4) and probably face Djokovic in the final.
I think this is the sixth time we're playing this season already. Just came off of a tough five-setter at the French. Yeah, we ran into each other very often now this year already. I'm not surprised he makes it to the semis here again. He's played a lot of tennis this year. Always had sort of a momentum going, good confidence. I think he took advantage of a draw here, and then was able to just come through convincingly. I have my hands full with Juan Martin. He's obviously beaten me in the biggest match we've played against each other, the finals of the US Open. I'm aware of that. He's a big player with a big serve. That makes it obviously tricky on a fast court like grass.