This one was not for the light hearted. Those who thought that the best tennis games of our times can only be played between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were proved wrong. It was a tense game of high class tennis, rich with creative strategies and shot making. The Swiss champion remained calm throughout the game but it was the Serbian who lost his temper frequently. As it happens so often, that reflected in the score line.
For me there were many interesting little plays in the four setter. The first was when the duo broke each other at the start of the match, thereby giving a good indication of how closely they would match each other in this semi final. They both came out of this even. Then came the tie breaker where the experienced Roger sneaked ahead by a thin margin and looked like the better player to win it and so he did. Afterwards came the shocker of a set when Novak lost his cool, his father from the support team and his complete rhythm. It looked like this is one more of those straight sets-walk in the park games for the Swiss maestro. But the match started taking another turn for the better at the end of that second set, when Djoko fought back valiantly and Roger almost gave away the advantage.
The Nole onslaught then continued through the 3rd set and brought him right back into this match. Fed-ex started tiring a bit as expected. It became evident that a fifth set would no doubt favor the younger legs of Novak. And thus began the best set of the match. Both players brought out every trick in the bag including the drop shots. Novak made Roger run hard to fetch his powerful forehands and Roger in turn trying to slow the pace down. In the end, a player with better nerves prevailed but it was a very closely contested game.
Of special interest was Federer's improved service - a weapon that would come so handy against the mighty Rafael Nadal come the finals. The dream run of Novak had to come to an end some day and though the end was disappointing, he can be proud in his achievements on the tour this year. For Roger, it was a very important match, since a loss would have meant that the talks of him aging would have gained more weight.
Fast forward to Sunday to the final of Roland Garros 2011 and the mouth watering contest of another grand slam final between the best players of this decade awaits us. Given that it is on clay and looking at Roger in that 4th set in the semis, my money would be on Rafael. But Roger Federer continues to be my all time favorite player and I will continue to cheer for him :-)
4 years ago