You’d be foolish to make this into some kind of scintillating performance inspired from above. There are days when Roger Federer plays like he’s reigning down on you from the fourth dimension. Yesterday was not one of them. Federer came out, he played a measured, controlled game, not free of the usual shanks, nor did he shy away from the exhibition stuff either (5:05-40). Bless the boy.
But let’s be fair, the 6-1 6-1 double breadsticking came as the result of Soderling simply blanking out of the match. He couldn’t out-serve Fed (continuing the trend from the US Open). He couldn’t stay in a rally with Fed. He couldn’t out-manoevre, out-muscle or out-run Fed.
Federer’s own analysis was spot-on too.
I think Robin couldn’t really stay in the rallies. He missed early or just didn’t serve so well. I was able to read his serve really well. Obviously for a big guy, if that’s not really working well for him, he’s not going to be able to be so dangerous. I think that was his biggest problem today. Like I said, I anticipated well. I had good shot selection, I think.
Of course we can speculate as to the reasons for Zod’s no-show yesterday: year-end burnout, some minor injuries or pain, or just one of those inexplicable bad days we all have now and then. But I wonder what it feels like to be Soderling facing Roger Federer these days: he snapped one of the greatest sporting streaks in the history of mankind, he acquired himself the title of the breaker of hearts and dreams. And now? He has a legacy to live up to. He remains before the doors of the slam-winning, ‘serious contender’ echelon. What does it all mean, if he can’t find a way in?
As for this next match, Federer said it’s more about tactics.
I think it’s in the details, obviously. I usually take it to him. He knows that I try to play aggressive, take the ball early. Because I’m doing that, he has to do it, too.
I have to play differently against him than I have to play against most any other player. He has to do the same thing because he knows maybe the regular rally ball isn’t going to be enough. That’s why sometimes it sounds more difficult, but it’s more simple. You know exactly what you need to do. You only get one shot in the rally sometimes. This is where you have to pull the trigger, otherwise you’ll be jerked around. Next thing you know, it’s like you’re running always after the ball instead of taking control of it.
That’s all folks.