Saturday, April 19, 2014

Two Swiss buddies will battle for Monte Carlo trophy

Who would have believed at the beginning of the week that we would be having an all Swiss final in Monte Carlo?  Especially with the presence of Rafael Nadal, who has won it eight times, and Novak Djokovic, the defending champion.  But Nadal seems to be struggling with some confidence issues since his loss in the Australian Open final to Wawrinka, Djokovic has been having an issue with his wrist, and the Swiss guys have completely taken advantage, more than proving their worthiness to claim the title.

Federer and Djokovic played a tough first set in the semi, with no signs of any wrist injury from Novak in spite of the heavy taping.  They each played some beautiful points, and each had chances for breaks that they weren't able to take.  It looked like it could likely go to a tiebreak when out of the blue from 40-0 up Roger was able to claim his first break of the match, then served it out for a 7-5 set.  That took the wind out of Novak's sails and suddenly the wrist issue reared its ugly head in the second set.  Sometimes playing against an injured opponent can be tricky, but Roger was able to stay calm and play his game, winning it at 6-2.  The wrist was obviously a big factor in the second set, but not so in the first, definitely making this a victory without an asterisk next to it.

Stan was able to earn his way to the final by beating David Ferrer in the semi, who seemed a little jaded after his win against Rafa Nadal the day before.  But Stan showed the great tennis he has been playing this year and really took it to him, playing with aggression and authority.

So this sets the stage for the first all Swiss final since 2000.  In spite of the 14 matches Federer and Wawrinka have played (13 in Fed's favor), none have been in a final.  In fact, in spite of the fact that Stan won the Australian Open for his first grand slam title, he has never won a Masters 1000.  It will be a very interesting final indeed.  In many matches they have played against each other it was easy to see that Stan struggles with the high respect factor he has for Roger and just isn't able to play his game.  So how will this play out in an important final now that Stan has proved himself as a champion in Australia, beating both Djokovic and Nadal to claim the title, along with the fact that he is now ranked higher than his good buddy Roger?  This will make for very interesting dynamics indeed.  Not to mention the great relationship these two have, reportedly even having dinner together the night before the final.  How often does that happen?

I would love to see Roger add this title that he hasn't been able to win in the past to his incredible resume, and I will be cheering for him with everything I have.  But if he isn't able to come through with the win, what an exciting time it will be for Stan Wawrinka to claim his first Masters 1000, and for the Swiss in general to have two of their guys in the final of such a prestigious event.  And I know Roger would be thrilled for his great friend Stan if he ended up being the one to hold the trophy in the end.  But as a Federer fan to the very core of my being, 100% of me will be saying "Go Roger!"

No comments: