Federer's volleys and Nadal running out of gas...

04-03-2005, 08:26 PM
This was certainly an entertaining match and there is no dobut that Nadal will be in the top 5 by year's end barring an injury.

Some observations:

1. Nadal frustrated Federer by getting balls back that most players don't touch and by putting them in neutral positions on Federer's side. Usually only Federer does this. I think this caused Federer to hit a lot of errors--he was going for perfection.

1b. There was a negative side to all the balls that Nadal got back. Federer controlled the majority of the points and there were a lot of points that Nadal got some amazing gets but wound up losing the points. He ran side to side nearly exhausting himself for the next point. I knew he had to finish it in 3 or there would be big trouble because he just wouldn't have enough to go 5 sets. That and the fact that Federer had his confidence back. Nadal barely moved his feet into proper position in the 5th and had his head down and looked lethargic while returning. He was totally spent.

2. Federer changed his game plan and came into net a lot more than I have ever seen him other than on grass. He volleyed really well for the most part missing a few easy ones.

3. Federer never believed that he would lose. He knew that he needed just one spark and he got it after a winner in the 2-4 game with Rafa serving. Having watched Roger for the past couple of years, Roger needs just two really good points out of 3 to get himself back. If he hits the ball cleanly in a couple of rallies with a good finishing shot, he gets back in his groove.

3b. Federer was never out of it because Nadal's serve allows Federer to be in most points and at least start a rally. This cost Nadal.

Overall, a pretty darn good match. Overall, Federer didn't play that well, but I think a lot of that had to do with Nadal's defense and ability to hit from defensive positions. Federer's serve was pretty weak for most of the match as he was hitting a lot of first serves under a 120 mph and bouble faulting left and right. Nadal needs to improve that serve to put matches like this away.

04-03-2005, 08:29 PM
Rogi is really strong mentally:D! After a heartbreaking 2nd set, he always believed he still could win, and even at 3-5 in the 3rd set tiebeak:D! Rogi:worship:!!!

04-03-2005, 08:31 PM
agree with most of what u said. the best part of roger's game is his ability to adjust to different styles of the opponents. u can see that he was trying/varying different strategies until he got into the winning groove in the 4th set. in the beginning he was just so not used to nadal's serves and forehands and cost him a lot of errors and became tentative.

04-03-2005, 08:34 PM
in the beginning he was just so not used to nadal's serves and forehands and cost him a lot of errors and became tentative.

Exactly. Federer was also trying to get to used to the Nadal lefty-spin. Nadal hit a LOT of weak second serves at below 90 mph that were in the middle of the box that Roger returned either to a neutral position on Nadal's site, a disadvantaged spot on Nadal;s site or just plain hit it into the bottom of the net.

04-03-2005, 08:40 PM
Yes, Rogi was very tentative at the end of the second, while Nadal was VERY aggressive and made awesome shots! But I noticed that everytime Rogi tried to attack at the start of the 3rd, he was always missing, so it was probably in his head for a while...

04-03-2005, 08:44 PM
Actually it was Federer's volleys that got him into trouble a lot of the time, my commentators were rightly giving him hell for that in the third set (citing the first setpoint at 5-4 in the second - Nadal drilled the backhand pass and Federer, right on top of the net, dumped the volley). They observed that Federer doesn't move his feet enough at the net, he tends to do it all with his hands and is therefore in poor position, unlike an Edberg or a Rafter who were technically perfect volleyers. And sheesh, the number of times Federer approached on an absolute prayer and was passed with ridiculous ease... Peter Fleming noted with amusement that he was guessing Nadal's passing shots, not reacting to them, and then watching them fly miles past him but still well inside the lines.

At the start of the match Federer was trying to play aggressively and was ballooning forehands long, for a brief period in the second set everything suddenly clicked and he was playing with the perfect mixture of controlled aggression and variety, then when he blew his chance he got sucked into these draining, passive cross-court rallies where Nadal was just working him over and then punishing him with the forehand. I have to admit, I haven't seen Hewitt make some of the gets that Nadal did in this match, he hit a number of outrageous passes and forced Federer to hit more shots than he wanted to finish the point many times.

04-03-2005, 08:51 PM
But Roger's net game got better like everything else in the match. Roger adapted to his style not so much as changing his game plan. I think he should have hit more flat deeper shots to make Nadal pay for staying so far back. Roger's approach shots were like his ususal ones but he was paying for them this time.