Hoping for a bagel in the second set, and after a long service game, Roger finally gets a double-break. Up 3-0!
BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!!!!
NOOOOO ROGER JUST GIFTED ZVEREV ONE GAME! MY BAGEL HOPES HAVE BEEN DASHED!!
Wahhh I didn't get a breadstick either! Roger had match points on Zverev's serve but couldn't convert. If he had, I would've gotten my breadstick!
Roger took a while to warm up to Mischa Zverev, which was to be expected considering Zverev is a qualifier whom Roger has never played before. I didn't think I expected Roger to take one whole set to get used to his opponent, but when he steam-rolled through the second set, I could finally relax and dislodge my heart from my throat. I swear, when Roger lost the first point of the tie-break on his serve, I had paranoid flashes of him losing the set which would've been pretty catastrophic.
I'm glad he didn't. I'm glad he remains the guy who takes out qualifiers who's had a good tournament, getting deep enough into the draw to meet The Federer, and taking out higher-ranked, sometimes seeded, opponents in the process. I was really stoked when Zverev beat Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-1 last night; even though I still have a soft spot for Gilles (though Nole Djokovic has replaced him on my Top 5 'cause I'm tired of his boring game), I didn't want Roger to play him. At all. Roger lost to him twice last year, and I wasn't confident of Roger's ability to remain patient through the long rallies that would definitely have been inevitable with Gilles. Once Roger's patience goes, his game also goes; and when his game goes, his match goes, and he loses.
At first, though, Zverev looked like Simon Lite, running down every. single. fishing. ball, and hitting back would-be winners, which was super annoying. Unlike Simon though, Zverev pulled a Stepanek and serve-volleyed like crazy. Unlike Stepanek, he was really, REALLY effective. That was the reason why Roger couldn't sniff at a break point at all for most of the first set, until he squandered a set point on Zverev's serve at 5-4 when he missed an easy pass. I was afraid the rest of the match would be like that, with Roger being unable to execute his passing shots, but once he successfully passed Zverev at the net in the tie-break and won, the match became cake for him.
Also? I was SO happy to see how well he was serving, especially in the first. Yesterday he said he knew he wasn't serving well, but he wasn't too concerned because he was winning; hence, he felt free enough to play around with his serve (he talked about taking away the kick on his serve and putting some spin into it, and I'm sad to say I have no idea what he's talking about), and that was also why his first serve returned when he was facing break points. Today, he wasn't winning in the first set, and so he made sure he put those first serves in - and that was SUCH a joy to watch.
Once again, I got shades of Vintage Federer in this match. Once his first serve is working, the rest of his game clicks, and when his forehand is on, his opponents would be lucky to escape without getting bagelled. Some of his shot-making today and his shot-selections were out of this world. And the oh-so-trusty combination of a serve out wide followed by a lethal forehand either down the line or inside-out worked perfectly for him. And so did the forehand. Especially the inside-out forehand.
I LOVE watching him so much. LOVE. I love the way he slides into his shots, making it look so easy and effortless, so fluid. He's just a sight to behold, and I still am not tired of watching him play. Watching him play also makes me excited about doing the actual playing myself, because he's that inspirational.
Despite his brilliant two matches so far though (Karlovic doesn't count; that was a serve-fest), I won't say that He's Back just yet. I'll only say He's Back when he beats Djokovic decisively, and gives Nadal a run for his money in the final, hopefully - though this is fragile, poor hope - beating him. IF he beats Nadal, Roger will be back FOR GOOD. Until that happens though, I will remain cautiously optimistic. He's turned in brilliant performances in this tournament so far, but his losses this year have put me on guard a little. Really hoping Vintage Federer shows up tomorrow and beats Djokovic as easily as he's beaten Stepanek and Zverev, though Djokovic is definitely a much harder opponent. He's been playing really solid tennis lately, and he has to defend his Rome title or Murray will take the #3 spot (Noooooooooooooooooooooooo) so he's extra motivated to win.
But then, if Vintage Federer steps onto the court tomorrow, not even Djokovic's desire to go down as the one and only Greatest of All-Time will deny Roger his victory. I've always maintained that no one can beat Roger when he's playing his best tennis. So far, he's played somewhere close to his best tennis, and if he steps it up even more, the semi is going to be another cake match for him, Djoke or no Djoke.
Anyway, I'm really happy with the match today. And I must say that although I was severely irritated with Zverev in the first set, in the second I started feeling bad for him. It doesn't look good at all when a player is demolished by Roger the way Zverev was practicaly demolished today, and I felt kinda bad for him.
But I was still cheering for a bagel/breadstick though hahaha. Roger is way kinder than me.
Okay need to shower! So glad the paper is done! Will not talk about school stuff; can't be bothered right now.