Sunday, June 08, 2008

...not this year!

Nadal prevails for yet another year! Sublime display by the lean Spaniard yet again and surely this must be the highest high of his career with the sheer brutality displayed against the world no.1. Nadal must be oozing with confidence going into Wimbledon and must be really fancying his chances on the grass on which Federer has ruled for a long time.

So Federer has to wait for another year to have crack at the title which has eluded him much like the roadrunner has proven elusive to the wiley coyote. Coming into the tournament, Federer did dig deep into his supply of Acme "Win the French open" toolkit and hired the services of Jose Higueras, a man with a great knowledge of the clay surface. The way in which the draws panned out, Nadal was always going to be the one that Federer would have to worry about. To be fair to Jose, all he could have done in 1 month was give Federer insights into Nadal's game, point out possible weaknesses and come up with a strategy to combat Nadal.

Throughout the match, one could see that Federer had a gameplan and it was a good one. Push Nadal on the backfoot, open up the court and then finish off the point with a strong approach shot or a precisely angled volley. But sadly, he couldn't execute it to perfection. A key to this plan was getting a high percentage of first serves in. But Federer struggled with his serve, right from the first game and was broken time and again by Nadal. Federer's points conversion on the second serve was even more miserable and he managed to win just 5 points on the second serve in the whole match.

On the times when he did push back Nadal and went for the kill, the net seemed to get in the way of his volleys every time. Federer, well aware of the speedy Spaniard's quick court coverage, tried to be Euclidienly precise with his angles, but sadly the shots just didn't seem to come off. Nadal was ruthless on his own serve and gave Federer few chances. Federer did stage a momentary fightback in the second set but Nadal was well in control and by breaking his serve in the second set dealt a major blow to Roger's confidence. Federer gave up after 2 breaks on his serve in the third set and Rafa finished him off 6-0.

So, will the grand old tradition of Rafa munching on the Roland Garros trophy and Roger adding more pockets to his jacket at Wimbledon continue? Will Rafa, Djokovic and Roddick stop Federer from making a style statement of adding a pocket on the back of his shirt or will the Federer express roll on the grass? My money is on Nadal this time. He came close last time and has hit a purple patch this time around. Ofcourse there are 2 more weeks to go but if he carries the same form into Wimbledon, Roger's task will be cut out. Hopefully Wimbledon will be more interesting than the French open. One can only hope!

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