I swear, if that had been this year's final, I would have had so many freaking heart attacks that I would have just died. Died. For one, Roger didn't play his best; I lost count of how many times I cringed watching him make errors on shots that I've seen him make perfectly before, and overall, except for a brief few minutes when his serve was on fire in the third set, he was really, really lackluster.
And yet he managed to win. In straight sets. Novak Djokovic had five set points in the first set, all of which he lost - and only one of which Roger saved with an actual winner. The match was tied 5-5 until Djokovic broke Roger to take it to 6-5 Djovokic, after which Djokovic was serving out the set. He was chugging along swimmingly, scoring himself three set points with a 40-0 lead...until he completely choked. Two unforced errors lost him two set points, and Roger saved one with a winner. Then it was deuce, Djokovic had two more set points, and at the second set point, he double-faulted and let Roger stay in the set.
Like I said, he completely choked. During the tie-break, Roger had a couple of set points and Djokovic was serving, and he double-faulted again to give Roger the set. Roger played the tie-break pretty brilliantly though; he was up by quite a bit, 6-3 I believe.
The first set wasn't so much won by Roger as it was lost by Djokovic, to be honest. The second set, though, is more aptly credited to Roger. Djokovic had two set points after breaking Roger and Roger was down 15-40 on his own serve. He took care of the first set point with an ace, and on the second, Djokovic's forehand missed the line by the barest of margin. But even if it had been in, Roger would've been there to return it anyway.
Seven set points against Roger Federer is no joke, and Djokovic squandered all of it. But he was only twenty. And as predicted, Roger won the championship on Djokovic's serve.
I love his poker face; I really do. Djokovic was having a serious melt down on court, what with throwing his racquet and splashing water all over the floor after the first set, not to mention screaming out in Serbian and talking to his racquet and holding out his arms in a "what the fuck" fashion whenever he made errors. Roger, on the other hand, despite being broken by Djokovic early in the second set, despite facing five set points in the first, barely batted an eyelid. He showed absolutely no emotions - not on his face, not in his body language, and he's left his racquet throwing days far, far behind him. He's truly unflappable, and I don't know what the commentators were creaming their pants over this US Open with talk about how he's showing more emotions on court blah blah blah. I don't get the big fuss. I like my Roger emotionless and only letting it rip when he breezes past his opponents to victory. Sure it's amusing to hear him scream out randomly, but his cool and confidence reassure a fan who's way too invested and can't help but freak out at every unforced error made, every break point given away, every set point faced - even if they are during a match that she already knew he won (as does the rest of the world).
He was also respectfully silent when Novak double-faulted in the first set to give him the set. No fist pump, no yell of victory, just an acknowledgment of his first set win and walking silently back to his chair. Then when he clinched the second set with this amazing backhand winner down the line, he cheered like he ought to.
On another but related note, I've decided that Novak Djokovic is my #2. I suppose it helps that he loses to Roger where it counts (AO semi-final this year notwithstanding and yeah I'm not watching that), but quite apart from that, he's interesting to watch. He changes up his shots and gave Roger a very hard time at last year's US Open final. Not to mention - he's cute. And he's hilarious. I still can't get over those impersonations he did last year. And he has this peculiar way of bouncing the ball several times before he serves; the commentator even counted and said, "Sixteen times." It's not an OCD thing like Nadal and his water bottles though; I counted too, and the numbers were never consistent.
He needs to stop wearing lime green though. His outfit last year was so much better than the lime green disaster of this year. And if he really wants to be World #1, he can start by beating Nadal first, and then clinching the ranking after Roger retires. No one can be #1 as long as Roger is still playing. He's going to get it back by the end of next year. He will.
Oh and I just found out that the last three rounds of the Stockholm Open is during the precise weekend as my Law, Governance and Development in Asia take-home. ARGHHH WHY WHY WHYYYYY. WHY SO BAD.