Hey guys, clay isn't finished just yet but the good news is the grass court season is imminent and the draw for Halle was released today. After getting an easy one at the French this one looks pretty tough for Roger and he will have to face some serious contenders if he is to make the final or win the title.
I think after the disappointment of the loss to Tsonga most fans have taken a hit to their confidence so the draw was always going to look tough no matter what who landed in his quarter but there's certainly no gimme's here and best of 3 sets on a surface like grass gives just about anyone a punchers chance.
They do say you're only as good as your last match so it's not easy to have belief Roger can coast to the final here but I'm just going in with an open mind. Maybe the loss to Tsonga wasn't indicative of his form at all, or maybe it was. Maybe he comes out and plays sublime tennis and makes the final, maybe he doesn't but whatever happens I'm looking forward to seeing some grass court tennis where skills, anticipation and ability to make quick decisions come to the fore.
Roger's Potential Opponents
- Secound Round: Stebe / Qualifier
- Quarter Final: Petzschner / Goffin / Janowicz
- Semi Final: Haas / Raonic / Gulbis
- Final: Gasquet
It looks like it starts fairly easy for Roger as he faces Cedric-Marcel Stebe or a qualifier in the first round. I've not a seen a lot of Stebe but he's a young left hander playing in front of his home crowd so could be motivated but at 161 in the world I can't see him posing too many problems.
It's in the Quarter Finals where it get's interesting and it really is wide open here and all the guys in this part of the draw are dangerous.
I think Roger will probably face Phillip Petzschner in the Quarters who is a competent grass court player with a big serve. The German first has to get past Jerzy Janowicz who could be tricky but I have no idea of how he will handle grass.
Janowicz is quite good indoors so maybe it suits him so it will be interesting. There's also Goffin who performed quite well at Wimbledon last year and he is a very clean ball striker that takes the ball early so his style could lend itself well to grass.
The semi's is where it gets even trickier and it looks like he will either have to face the guy who beat him in last years final, Tommy Haas or the big serving Raonic. Both those guys are not to be underestimated, Raonic took Roger close in Halle last year and Haas is arguably in better form now than he was last year when he won the title.
Out of those two I'd probably prefer him to meet Haas because Raonic could potentially serve his way through on grass. Haas has obviously beaten Roger before here but I'd fancy Roger's chances of beating him this time around.
I also haven't even mentioned both Gulbis and Monfils who are both lurking in this section of the draw too who could easily play themselves into contention. There's a big queue of players who are capable of causing upsets and winning titles so really anything could happen in this part of the draw, I fully expect some interesting matches that go to the wire.
The final is seeded to be against Gasquet whom Roger beat in Halle back in 2006 in a very exciting match (see highlights below). Much depends on how Gasquet is holding up after his crushing defeat to Wawrinka at the French last week but he's probably the best grass courter in that section of the draw although both Youzhny and Kohlschreiber can't be counted out.
Anyway as always it's the cliche of taking it round by round, the draw is mere paper right now and nothing is certain as to who Roger will face. I don't have too many expectations from him but I'd certainly like him to win it, even more so because I'm there for finals weekend.
I think if he can get get through the tough matches early then he has a very good shot at winning the final. He should have a lot of confidence if he is able to win his Quarter and Semi Final which I think makes him a favourite for the title should he be involved in the match.
Roger Already Practicing on the Grass
Roger obviously didn't stick around in Paris for very long after his loss and has already got a couple of practice sessions under his belt on the grass which he tweeted about yesterday. It's good to see he didn't stick around for long and he also timed his practise session for when Djokovic was squaring off against Nadal, just another sign the French Open is dead to him.
He's not the sort of guy that takes long to adapt to different surface (they're all so similar anyway :P) but it won't hurt him getting a feel for the ball and how it's playing.
I think his first match will most likely be on Tuesday or Wednesday and I'll be back blogging about it with a match report. Allez les suisse!
P.S. Roger is also teaming up with Haas in the doubles at Halle! Should be good.