Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wooo!

Yay! Federer's mind wandered (as it inevitably does) near the beginning of the second set and, inexplicably, when he was trying to serve it out. But, he played really well in the first set and his break at the end of the second was about as good as it gets.

So, that's 5 straight US Open's and 5 consecutive Wimbledon's. This may be Federer's most lasting record I don't think it's an arbitrary stat, though it's not necessarily the most significant either. Aesthetically I think it's pretty striking.

If you'll indulge me while I ponder non-French majors; Federer has won 13 of the last 17. Of those 4 losses, only the 2003 US Open is a pretty anonymous one (4th round loss to Nalbandian). In order, the other three involved an injury and a match point not taken, glandular fever and a gut wrenching epic, in two semis and a final respectively. My point is not to say that he deserved to win 16 of the past 17, just that 13 of 17 doesn't quite capture just how brutally difficult he is to beat over 5 sets.

Similar tales cannot be told of the French Open, but even here, only Nadal has beaten him in the past four tournaments (3 time champion Kuerten beat him in 2004) and Nadal is not your run of the mill French Open champion.

Given his style of play and the way he suddenly burst on the scene after underachieving for several years, I always worried that his bubble of greatness would dramatically burst sometime. Losing the Australian and French (the only French Open he was legitimately favoured to win) in 2005 would have been a good time, and now was a perfect time after Wimbledon. But matches like the last two are the best for Federer, he feels deep in his bones that he's got his opponents number (unlike against Nadal) and his mind is focused but the significance of the match.

Nadal is clearly the best player around right now but I really think Federer needs to miss at least one semi-final before people start claiming that he's a spent force (actually, even then, surely he'll be capable of winning majors for a few years. Who knows when things will suddenly just click like they did this time?).

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