Monday, May 21, 2007

Federer v. Nadal, Vol 11

Update: Good Steve Tignor recap of the match

UPDATE Thankfully my prediction was wrong on the winner, although I was correct that it went 3 sets. Fed won his 1st match against Nadal on clay in 6 times, 26 62 60. By losing today, Nadal ends his record clay court streak at a ridic 81 wins. That record might stand for decades.

Fed's win sets up a fascinating Roland Garros, as now Fed v Nad Vol 12 seems inevitable as the RG Final, with either player capable of winning. Fed's win helps him justify his decision last week to fire his Coach Roche, as he got his first Clay Masters title since 2005 without any coach.

The RG Final will have historical importance:

For Federer
1 winning will probably enable Fed to achieve GOAT status, as it will be GS#11, only 3 behind Sampras' 14 GS, which is "tainted" due to Sampras never winning RG. It is assumed that Fed will easily win 4 more non-RG GS to pass Sampras.

2 winning will give Fed an non-calendar year Grand Slam (06-Wimbledon, 06-US, 07-AusO, 07-RG). No player has won a Grand Slam, calendar or non-calendar, since Rod Laver in 1969!

3 winning will give Fed an excellent shot at a 07 calendar year Grand Slam, as he would've have won on his 2 worst surfaces, with his 2 best surface (Wimby & US) remaining.

For Nadal
4 winning will give Nadal a 3rd consecutive RG at age 21, and put him in a great position to challenge Borg's open era record of 4 consecutive RGs & 6 total RGs. Note - the Fed implications have been covered well by the media, but apparently I am "breaking this story", ala Cenk from The Young Turks, about Nadal.

Another great thing is that TC is teaming up with DESPOT (aka ESPN) to cover RG, so there will be massive coverage available.

SteveG has some commentary on the match in this week's rankings.

The next few weeks will be a very exciting time for tennis!

Federer & Nadal will play for the 11th time, this Sun morning at 8a ET (5a PT/WestSide time) on Tennis Channel (Dish channel #400), in the Masters Hamburg, GER final.

I saw the semifinal match where Fed beat Carlos Moya in 3 sets. Fed was struggling, hitting too many errors, especially on the backhand side. The South African commentator Robbie Koenig made the great observation that Fed was making too many approach shots to Moya's forehand side. Well I guess if Fed just keeps hitting approach shots to the left side of the court today, that will be fine, since Rafa is a lefty.

I feel that for Fed to have a good chance at winning Roland Garros, he needs to beat Rafa here at Hamburg. Fed will have the crowd behind him, with many Swiss fans in Hamburg in the stands. Of course, Rafa has a historical & ridic 81-match win streak on clay, going back to 2005. Peter Bodo basically says the same thing here.

I'm rooting for Fed, but I predict Rafa will win in 3 sets. Rafa might be playing the GOATest anyone has ever played on a clay court, & Fed is struggling. Having said that, Go Fed!

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