WTF Day 1: Would the Real Roger Federer please stand up?
Who was that guy that turned up in the first set to play Fernando Verdasco in London yesterday? Seriously, who was that?!
We all have different names for him – Fred, Federror, the Evil One, Ferd the turd – you know?! That guy who lives in Shanksville, double faults on important points, forehands flying into the stands, backhands falling in love with the net…
Roger, please banish Ferd. Extradite him to Mallorca. I do not want to see him for the rest of the tournament.
Luckily for us, the psychic hold Ferd had over the Real Roger Federer started to lapse in the second set. Roger settled into his service games and began to find his range.
Nando had a small opening at 5-all 0-30. A missed pass, some solid play by Federer. “C’mon!” He yelled as he held. It was the first sign of positive body language from him all match.
Then at 15-all in the very next game, with shanked overhead, Verdasco was Verdasco again. Not the guy who was threatening to hand Roger Federer his third consecutive defeat, but a man who was only too aware his mortality, too daunted by the prospect of success.
As Roger put it,
“My first break points, I think I could have had them earlier if I played a bit earlier, but they came for set points, and it was a crucial moment for me because I knew the longer the match went, the more my belief was going up and his was going down. Then in the third, I was able to play more freely.”
With a break to start the third set, Roger’s tennis became more intuitive, making only 1 forehand unforced error in the last set compared to 14 in the first two sets. Meanwhile, Nando’s mind was ticking loud enough for me to hear all the way on the other side of the equator. With a total of 30 winners and 29 unforced errors (to 18 winners/31 unforced errors by Nando), Roger wrapped up the last set with a breadstick.
That’s tennis for ya. One minute, Fernando Verdasco was 2 points away from serving out the match against the top seed, a few blinks later, he had lost 7 games in a row.
Oh, don’t forget to say hi to Monkey. Hi Monkey, long time no see!
‘Twas a day of shoddy, tired tennis over in London, as Andy Murray also needed 3 sets to get by Juan Martin del Potro.
It was a scrappy match in which the momentum see-sawed between Muzz and Poop, but much like the Federer/Verdasco fiasco, the longer it went on, the more comfortable the higher ranked player became. It was Andy Murray who raced to an early lead in the decider. It was Andy Murray who kept applying pressure and ultimately closed out the match with a double break.
Del Potro is 2-4 since the US Open, and one of his wins was by ways of a retirement. Yeah I’m not bitter at all. I’ll be even less bitter when he goes all “Ana Ivanovic” on us.