Saturday, 4 June, 2011

The match that I wanted my favorite player ‘Federer’ to lose

I was and still a big fan of Roger Federer ever since I watched him beat Pete Sampras in a 4th round match at Wimbledon in the year 2000. However, for first time in the last 11 years, I wanted him to lose the semi-final to Djokovic at the French Open 2011.

The reason, I can’t see Nadal pulverizing Federer as has been the case in three French Open finals so far. With Nadal already having booked his berth for the final on Sunday, I wanted Djokovic to beat Federer as he (Djokovic) has bettered his game and is lot more confident facing Nadal as compared to Federer. Djokovic has proved it recently by beating Nadal in back-to-back ATP Finals at Rome and Madrid.

Even though Roger Federer is often written about as the greatest men’s tennis player of all time, it’s Rafael Nadal who is the most dominating between the two in head-to-head match-ups. In fact, even though the two men are closely tied to one another as the top players in the sport for the last decade, it’s Nadal who holds a decisive 16-8 advantage in decisions over the course of their career.

Federer, 29, is currently the No. 3 singles player in the world while Nadal is the No 1. Both Djokovic who is World No.2 and for that matter World No.4 Andy Murray face Nadal better both on Clay and Hard Courts with double-fisted backhand. One of the biggest drawbacks for Federer against Nadal is his single-handed backhand which just gets nullified against the topspin ground strokes of Nadal. Federer’s lack of footwork while playing back-hand shot against a rising topspin shot from Nadal adds to his deteriorating confidence level as the match progresses and the 16-slam champion just looks like a pedestrian on the Centre Court after an hour long battle.

Nadal has won both of this year’s match-ups and three of the last four. In fact, going back to 2008, Nadal has won eight of the last ten, including their last match-up in Roland Garros in 2008 — a straight sets victory for Nadal and a nightmare finish at the French Open for Federer that year.

Still Federer is obviously playing well and knows how to win at Roland Garros. In Grand Slam finals, Nadal holds the advantage 5-2, which makes him even more of a favorite heading into Sunday’s final. Federer wasn’t supposed to take out Djovokic, however, and did so quite convincingly. For once, Can he do it against Nadal this time at Roland Garros 2011?

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