Saturday, May 18, 2013

A dream final in Rome

So the dream final is set.  Rafael Nadal cruised through his semifinal, hardly troubled at all by Tomas Berdych.  Rafa has played better as he has gone through the week, having lost a set in each of his previous two matches, but today he hit his stride and started playing the type of tennis we are used to seeing from him on clay.  Amazingly he has now reached his 8th final in a row since his comeback after 7 months away from the game with injury.

On the other hand Roger Federer started out the week amazingly, losing only 6 games in his first two matches.  Though he is still yet to lose a set, in his semifinal against Benoit Paire he was severely tested.  Down a break in the 1st set he managed to break back thanks to some errors from Paire and it went to a tiebreak.  But, to be honest, each man played a pretty terrible tiebreak, both of them seemingly want to give it away in errors.  Federer somehow managed to walk away with the 1st set, however, and the second turned out to be a bit easier, getting an early break and somehow able to hold on.  There were many more errors than I was comfortable with, but in the end he was able to close it out with little problems.  So regardless of how he got there, Federer is now going to be playing his 111th career final, the 1,100th match in his career after passing the 8,000+ ace mark the night before.  Not too shabby for this "aged" 31-year-old.

I must admit I would have preferred to have a Djokovic-Federer final, as Federer would have a much better chance at the title than he now has, given his dismal record on clay against Nadal.  But that certainly doesn't mean that he doesn't have a chance.  I would imagine the motivation will be very high and it is just unwise to write off Roger Federer, no matter the odds against him.  So while I'm not expecting him to win it, I will certainly be hoping that somehow he might be able to make a dent in Rafa Nadal's incredible clay statistics and win his first trophy in Rome.
A quick side note into the women's side of things - Serena Williams has made it to the final losing only 10 games so far!  It would seem her intensity on clay after her 1st round loss at the French last year is fierce.  It will be interesting to see if Vika Azarenka has any chance of stemming the tide.

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