Federer fans were in for another unexpected surprise today. After having watched him come back from two sets down last week in what could have been his earliest exit in a major in many years, his fans felt incredible relief when he pulled it out. I think we were all expecting and longing for an easy match today. What everyone was unprepared for was a back injury of some type or another that started to bother him early in the first set. The scary part was when he not only called the trainer, but actually went off court to receive treatment. It was obvious watching him serve, move tentatively around court, and hit his forehands with less authority, that he was struggling. Somehow, though, he managed to pull off the first set in a pretty easy tiebreak, along with a 2nd set that he cruised through. He was starting to look better as the pain medication was most likely kicking in. I was unprepared though for the 3rd set loss, and when he got broken in the 1st game of the 4th I started having unpleasant daydreams of last year's Tsonga match. Once he managed to break back he seemed to take more control of the match again and managed to pull off a victory.
What does this mean going forward, though? Here's what he had to say in his press conference regarding his back: ''Honestly I'm not too worried,'' he said. ''I've had bad backs over
the years. They go as quick as they came. But, of course, I have to keep
an eye on it now. Two good nights' sleeps, and I'll be 100 percent on
Wednesday. I'm pretty convinced, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to
pull out the match the way I did today.'' While I'm happy to hear his positivity, though, I'm not so sure. While I think he will be able to get through his quarterfinal match again Youzhny, who he has never lost to, my optimism of his taking his 17th grand slam trophy just went down tremendously. After watching how well Djokovic was playing today, Roger would need to be at his best to beat him. While he may be feeling better, will he be able to be at the level necessary to beat the current #1? Feeling some serious disappointment about this new development.
If you would like to hear more of what he had to say in his press conference, here is a transcript of it:
It was too bad they were only able to get three of the men's matches completed today. Definitely a disadvantage for those who will have to play three days in a row. Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative tomorrow.
In women's news, they were thankfully able to complete all of the Round of 16 today. Surprisingly Maria Sharapova went out in straight sets to Sabine Lisicki, meaning she will lose her #1 ranking, while Serena was able to hang on in a tight three setter. The biggest match in the quarterfinals, in my opinion, will be Serena vs. Petra Kvitova. Wow, that one could certainly go either way!