RG2011 Day 13 (by PJ): Still got it, baby
Yanno, in the light of Rafa struggling throughout the first week, with tears appearing in his once-formidable bull matador cape – I’ve been telling myself: don’t ever ever count Rafa out in RG. Whatever form he may seem to be in, if he’s still the tournament, he’s IN the tournament and he wouldn’t stop until he gets to the end.
That proves to be true, with his demolishment of Andy Murray – toothaches and dodgy ankles and all – in comfortable straight sets.
But what I have NOT been telling myself enough is: don’t ever ever EVER count Roger Federer out. In ANYWHERE, ANYTIME and in ANY situation.
And yesterday, Rogie McFed proved exactly why no one should ever discount him, and why he’s the one holding 16 Grand Slams, and why he’s the hottest of them all. He put up a totally spirited, amazing and determinedly hot potatoes display to boot Novak Djokovic out of the a tournament that he was HUGELY favoured to win – in four very intense and very high-quality sets.
I remember in Australia – I was pretty devastated over his loss, because the way I saw it, it could’ve gone either way. It was a few points here, a few points there – the tiebreaker, the breaks. It was teetering on the line and it tipped over to Djokovic’s side of the court. This time round, however, it was Federer, who capitalised more on those few points, who played with more aggression, who really went for it with all he’s got.
When he was on the brink of losing the 4th set – and possibly needing to return the next day to play that one lone set that, in all sense, would’ve diminished his two-sets-to-love advantage to nothing – he held nothing back on Djokovic’s serve. Sticking with Satan shot-for-shot in two long rallies to draw errors, and he then sent a backhand screaming down the line – a shot that Satan could only smile wryly at – to set up three break points. Two breakpoints were saved – and on his last chance, Fed whacked a sizzling forehand to deny Djokovic the fourth set.
As the man himself said in his presser:
Q. In any time of the match did you think you can lose this match?
ROGER FEDERER: Honestly, I was very confident, you know, especially once I was up 7‑6, 4‑1. I kind of felt like this match is not gonna slip out my hands, even though I probably missed another 10 or 15 break points at the end of the second set.
I just felt you don’t give me such a lead and then think you can crawl back into the match. I knew I was probably gonna close this out. That was just a feeling I had.
And yes, Federer just doesn’t allow you a second look when he feels that he’s got it. Serving brilliantly in the tiebreaker (which sort of echoes that ridiculous tiebreak in the 2009 RG final where he served FOUR ACES against Soderling) and taking his chances on Djokovic’s serve, he earned three match-points, and converted the last on his own serve – fittingly, an ace down the T.
And he was through. He had done it, broken the streak, capulating himself into the final on Sunday to resume what undoubtedly was still the greatest rivalry in tennis at the moment (naysayers and haters to the left), facing off against best bro and best rival Rafa Nadal.
I’ll admit it. I didn’t think he could pull it off against Djokovic. All odds seem to be on Djokovic’s side. I was happy that he kept the quarter-final streak alive (man has not lost in before the quarters in 28 consecutive Grand Slams. That’s SEVEN FRIGGING YEARS. Crunch on that like a crunchy chocolate chip cookie!) although given his opponent was Monfils, I had hoped he would get to the semis. On getting to the semis, I hoped for him to give a fight against Djokovic if he were to end up losing the match. And I’ll still be happy and proud that he got this far – yanno, after last year.
But then Roger Federer came out in full Roger Federer mode. I have not seen him this pumped and this fired-up for the entire tournament. He wanted this win, this match. He wanted it as much as I want to be in his pants, and hence he did what he does best: exceeded expectations, defied all odds, came out on top, shut the critics up. Not bad for an old bag of creaky bones on his way out, no?
He has a mountain to climb on Sunday – Mount Rafa Nadal (climbing Rafa muaahha *cough cough*). Rafa was solid in dismissing Mandy, save for the few patches of dodgy play and the random moment of unable to consolidate a break. But other than that, it is a general consensus that Rafa IS back to his best. It’ll give him a boost of confidence to face someone he has beaten on the same stage three times, as opposed to facing someone he has lost to for four consecutive times this year.
Sunday’s battle will be a huge one. Federer is the underdog, and that will suit him just fine. If he brings what he brought against Djokovic yesterday – the serve and that backhand and a one-track mind zoned in on Coup de Mousquetaires – then anything can happen.
I won’t say anymore, because I am superstitious and lame and believe in jinxing and all that jazz. Plus I (and the rest of ya) really just want to enjoy this wonderful moment because this win feels enormous. But I will say this: never have I been prouder, and happier, and more honoured to call myself a Roger Federer fan. He never gives up, never gives in, and never expects anything less from himself, and as always, conducts himself with grace, eloquence and the demeanour of a truly great champion and an awesome person.
And also, he’s totally gorgeous and sexy.
P.S. Read Dootsie’s PARTAY POST here. The party’s there, folks. Go join in with confetti and poppers!
P.P.S Apologies – not much of a Day 13 wrap overall as I’ve neglected poor Rafa but got carried away with Fed. Naturally.