Hey guys, I'm back after a short break and Roger's disappointing loss in Madrid at the hands of Nick Kyrgios. His early exit prompted him to play Rome which he had long planned to skip and surely would have done so had his visit to the Caja Magica lasted longer than a day 🙂
Rome is of course one of the titles Roger has never won so playing at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia event presents a good chance to capture a pice of silverware that has so far eluded him. But it certainly won't be easy; The draw, the surface and Roger's own clay form are all potential stumbling blocks but I have a feeling he'll better his performance from Madrid here and make the business end of things. You can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Pablo Cuevas
- Round 3: Kevin Anderson
- Quarter Final: Tomas Berdych
- Semi Final: Rafael Nadal
- Final: Djokovic / Murray
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is the man Federer defeated in the Istanbul Final 2 weeks ago, Pablo Cuevas. The Uruguyan defeated Italian Paulo Lorenzi in straight sets yesterday and he's anything but a straightfoward match. Roger handled him fairly easily over in Turkey but I don't think Cuevas played at his best in that one. I still give Fed the advantage in Rome but he'll need to be sharp and take his chances. Hopefully the confidence is still high after 3 titles in 2015 and the losses to Kyrgios and Monfils on clay haven't knocked him too much.
The third round could then be against big serving Kevin Anderson, the South African's form has been patchy this year and although he can be dangerous I think Fed's stature and just all round game is too much for him to get to grips with. He can certainly have an amazing serving day and win in two tie breaks but in the clutch Anderson hasn't been the best at getting it done so I think Roger wins that one without too much hassle like their previous 2 encounters.
In the quarters Berdych looks likely to be Federer's opponent; the Czech is now at a career high number 4 and has been a model of consistency lately. He's made the latter stages at pretty much event he's played but just can't quite get it done in the big time matches against the Big 3. Nadal made him look like an amateur in Madrid but he's a dangerous opponent especially against Roger where the matchup works more in his favour. Always tough to pick a winner in that one and it usually depends on how Fed approaches it, if he's in Indian Wells mode then Berdych gets exploited but if he lets Berdych manhandle him then his odds go down.
Should the Swiss make the Semi's then Nadal is the seed that could await him. Nadal made the final in Madrid playing reasonably well but was a complete flop in the championship match and couldn't find the court with some routine forehands. Quite a surprise that he failed to deliver and capture what would have been a pretty easy Masters 1000 clay title for himself but writing him off in Rome is never a good idea. I think he might be vulnerable in the earlier rounds but if he makes the latter stages then he's always tough to beat. Can Federer do it? Historically no but Murray played quite a clever match against him so maybe Roger can take some inspiration from that.
The final would then likely of course be against Djokovic who has been in imperious form this year and after skipping Madrid he should be feeling fresh phyiscally and ready to win a 4th Rome title. Murray could also factor but he's still unsure whether or not he's playing Rome and will decide after practising this week. I'm not sure I see him making back to back clay finals at M1000 level though and the conditions in Rome aren't going to be anywhere near as quick.
- Djokovic to win the title
- Simon to take out Wawrinka and trouble Nadal
- Federer to make the semi finals
What do guys think? Did Fed make the right decision to play Rome?