A couple of interesting matches today. Probably the one most people are looking for comes this evening when Nadal takes on Federer.
I’d say none of the matches has really gone the way they were expected to although the results came out as predicted in 3 of the 4.
Tsonga v Fish:
They have only played once before which was in this year’s US Open. Fish was leading 2-1 but it was Tsonga who came through to win in 5 sets.
Fish started his match against Nadal very nervously which was to be expected as its his first visit to the WTF. He was able to take the match to 3 sets and even though it was partly due to Nadal’s sickness the American will have taken a great deal of encouragement from the way he played.
Tsonga was outplayed in the first set against Federer but when Fed’s concentration went AWOL in the second set Tsonga took full advantage and levelled the match. Normal srvice was resumed in the third set and Feder took the win.
I think this will be a very tight match and a great one to watch. Both are capable of spectacular tennis but I give a slight edge to Fish. Now that his first match is out of the way he will relax a little and hjust play his own game. He will fight to the bitter end and Tsonga will have to serve well to get any easy points. Fish himself has greatly improved his serve this season and Tsonga doesn’t always perform well against another big server.
The O2 is an impressive arena and the crowds have been both large and noisy. I have a feeling that Tsonga could get caught up in the atmosphere and perhaps try to showboat a little which would play into Fish’s hands. Fish plays no nonsense tennis and even though he starts as a real underdog today I can see him taking the win.
Update: The first set went to a tie break after the players were both broken twice. Tsonga took the set. Fish broke in the first game of the second set but wasn’t able to hold his own serve. He then pretty much fell apart.
Tsonga won 7-6, 6-1.
Nadal v Federer:
Head to heads are 18-8 in Nadal’s favour. He has won their last 4 matches including 3 in 2011 ( although the last 2 were on clay).
Federer has, by his standards, had a below par season. However his form improved in the latter part of the year and he is favourite to take the title as he did last year.
He won the first set against Tsonga convincingly but as I said above his concentration suffered a severe drop in the second set. Its possible that having beaten Tsonga in straight sets in Paris a couple of weeks ago he was a little complacent after a 6-2 first set win.
Nadal also controlled the first set in his match with Fish but suffered stomach problems and had to run to the toilet early in the third set. However he was still able to fight for the win.
Federer starts as a very strong favourite here which I feel is partly due to his recent form but the price also factors in the Nadal sickness. I have read today that as he hasn’t played for over a day he has had time to recover with no loss of energy levels but he looked terrible when he returned from his toilet break in the Fish match so it could be a little more than a simple stomach bug and will reduce his energy to some extent today.
There will be no loss of concentration from Federer and I expect him to move Nadal around as much as possible and to take the match in either 2 tight sets or perhaps in 3.
Update: If I have ever seen a better display of tennis skill then I don’t remember it.
The first 3 or 4 games were close with serve dominating. Then Fed moved up a gear……or 5.
Federer broke serve for 4-2 and held on for the set. In the second set Nadal just had no reply as he was completely outplayed. Federer his stunning shot after stunning shot and made it all look so easy.
Federer won 6-3, 6-0.