Allez! Vintage/Majestic/JesusFed performance from Roger today against Mikhail Youzhny, I think we all expected Roger to win but not in this type of fashion and the most positive outcome was that were no repercussions of the back injury that plagued him in the first set against Malisse two days earlier. The fact he was able to serve at full tilt and move freely, especially to his forehand side definitely shows the back problem isn't an injury and more an intermittent problem that can flair up in cold conditions but comes and goes in almost no time at all.
Back to the actual match and this was a JesusFed match from start to finish with winners, breaks and genius galore. I guess you have to say the matchup helped quite abit today in Rogers favour because Youzhny is almost his whipping boy (now 14-0 in the H2H) but regardless, Roger had to get the job done and I think it was the perfect preparation for the semi final against Djokovic.
It's always a good sign when Roger is able to break and consolidate early and when he was 4-1 up in no time at all you just knew it was going to be a good at the office. There was a slight rain delay after that but he came out in the same vein of form and took the first set 6-1 in just 28 minutes.
I was pretty confident Roger's back wouldn't be a problem today but I still watched very closely early on to make sure there were no signs of it and fortunately there were none. He served big in his opening service game and then chased down everything in his first return game to break and get off to a flyer.
The second set was more of the same with Roger quickly into a 2-0 lead with some crips hitting. By this point it was curtains for Youzhny, Roger might have lost a couple of matches from 2 sets up, but when he's front running against a guy he's beaten 13 times in a row you can almost put your mortgage on him coasting over the winning line.
Third Set Formality
With a two sets to love lead Roger was now able to play with total freedom, Youzhny looked a broken man and when he failed to capitalise on a break point chance the match was done. I was hoping Roger would finish with a bread stick but to his credit Youzhny held from 0-40 down and made Roger serve it out, which he did, hitting a sweet touch volley on match point to seal it 6-1 6-2 6-2. What else is there to say? A great win and another record of reaching 32 Grand Slam Semi Finals eclipsing another of Jimmy Connors records.
Yeah, I’m happy that things were fine out there today. Like you mentioned, today I didn’t have to call the trainer. It was straightforward. I could focus on tennis again, on tactics I wanted to play, instead of focusing on, you know, how to manage little issues or big issues, whatever you want to call them. So for me it was a good match and I’m happy where I am right now. My back is holding up.
Predictions vs. Djokovic
Well we now have the semi final we have all been waiting for, I said before the tournament started it's about time these two met on grass and now it's happening. The grass GOAT vs. the defending champion, surely this one should be epic. Of course the key to the match will be Roger's first serve and his forehand. He will have to get 65% or more first serves in play and win the majority of points behind it. His forehand must also be in tune much like it was today against Youzhny.
I think Federer matches up well to Djokovic in all other areas and will be able to dominate a lot of points but he has to be able to serve well over 5 sets. The way Djokovic plays means that often sets will come down to 1 or 2 points so in the clutch it's essential Fed is able to find the corners of the service box at 120MPH plus.
Even though the French Open Semi final was very one sided, there were still moments where Roger was able to dictate a lot of the plays. Especially in the second set where he went up a double break by serving well and playing very aggressively. If he can mirror those plays but keep them up for the duration then in my mind he has to come out on top in this match.
I've had good vibes about Wimbledon for a while now, I think I said even as far back as January that this was the one tournament I felt things could happen for Roger and I still feel like that now. Sure the 4th set against Benneteau and then the medical time out against Malisse worried me but I never felt like I was about to be condemned to sulking for the rest of the day, there was still something saying this match is still on Rogers racket and that turned out to be the case.
Understandably the bookmakers will make Djokovic the favourite for this match but there's no way I can go against Roger here so I'm picking him to win through in 4 sets. Allez les suisse!