That's great, Rog, but damned if you didn't play like shit. When Nadal lost one set to Querry, they ran a story about it in the papers with a headline something along the lines of how Nadal had to struggle to win or whatever. I guessed that the story about Roger's five-set victory over Andreev was going to feature a headline even worse than that...and I was right. Something about a "scare" for the Swiss. Roger said that he had fun playing the match because he always wins easily and hardly gets to play five sets, and he was pleased that his fighting spirit broke through; and the Reuters piece basically said that the amount of fighting he had to do just to get to the quarter-finals was a sign that he's even more vulnerable now than ever.
WTF. But then again, it's not exactly false. Yes, Roger fights for his right to win and he won because his fighting spirit prevailed over the other guy's. But why was he even in that vulnerable position in the first place? Against Andreev, World #23? I'd say kudos to him if it'd been a match against Nadal or someone else but it wasn't, and Andreev was just average.
Roger simply didn't play well at all. He opened the match with a double fault and Andreev broke him in his opening service game. He made numerous - and I mean, numerous unforced errors in the first set and went on to lose the first tie-breaker. The tides appeared to have turned in his favour for the next two sets, but in the fourth set during which he should have sealed his victory, he went haywire again, delivering overhead and backhand shots that were too long. More unforced errors.
It was quite frustrating to watch so thankfully it was taped or I really would have suffered a heart attack. And thankfully he broke Andreev's serve in the beginning of the fifth and final set. That was definitely the best moment of the match. Andreev hit the ball to the bottom left corner of Rog's half of the court. Roger scrambled to hit it back and in the process almost tripped, but he steadied himself and brought himself closer to the net to receive Andreev's return...and Andreev, probably surprised that Roger even managed to return that, hit it out of bounds.
Roger's reaction at having won that point and breaking Andreev's serve spoke for itself. He knew he had to win it, and he won it. He was the most frustrated I've seen him so far (thankfully I didn't watch him lose to James Blake at the Olympics), shouting out loud in frustration at least twice. And he's usually so composed and stoic. He broke Andreev's serve and reacted like it was the biggest point he'd ever won, and then he went on to win and he was jubilant - and it was only making it to the quarters.
He's Roger Federer, four-time defending US Open champion, World #1 for four years and a half. I refuse to believe that he's already peaked and that he's on the decline. How can he be declining when I've just started following him? This is so unfair. No one else plays tennis like him, I swear. Granted, I'm pretty much a n00b when it comes to the sport, but I'm not blind and I've watched a variety of players play, and no one plays with the same grace and ease that he does.
He has to pull it together and win the bloody US Open. He just has to.
But you know what? It actually gets worse. He's facing GILLES MULLER in the quarter-finals, and Muller is about the only other player that I'm following. Muller is a qualifier, he's ranked #100-something in the world, and he just beat the fifth seed to advance to the quarter-finals to face Roger. On the one hand, I really want to see Muller go far because I am so behind his Cinderella story; but on the other, I don't want him to advance at Roger's expense. At all. Beat Nadal for all I care, but don't you dare go anywhere near my Federer. And the thing about Muller is, it seems like the tougher the going gets, the harder he plays. For fuck's sake, he was down two sets to love to Tommy Haas and the guy he played after Haas, and he bounced back from that two-set deficit to win. If Roger plays as shitty as he did against Andreev, I think it's very likely that Muller might just pull off the biggest upset of his career. And that? That really scares me like hell.
Shit, why do I even care? Why? On the obsession scale of one to ten, Roger registers at about, 6 or 7. David Cook was off the charts. And yet I'm invested in his US Open title anyway, dammit.
Sigh. Anyway, I'd like to talk about something else but I'm ten minutes to watching Ugly Betty, so I'll just end off this entry by saying that I had fun with Kenneth at Sixth Avenue today. I tried convincing him not to go for exchange but obviously it was all futile on my part. I'm gonna miss him.