It was also weird not seeing Mirka at all. I don't even know when was the last time she wasn't at one of Roger's matches but her presence was definitely missed, most of all by Roger, I'm sure.
Oh yeah, the tennis. To be honest I'm kind of disoriented right now. I couldn't sleep the entire night because of this cup of coffee that my mom bought from Koi Cafe (the Taiwanese bubble tea franchise) that turned out to be OUT OF THIS WORLD potent - and I don't mean it in a good way. It was awful. It was definitely the most potent coffee I've ever had, to the extent it kept me up all night. I went to bed at 3 after giving up on my paper and setting my alarm for 6.30 a.m., thinking Roger's match would start somewhere then. I couldn't fall asleep for the first hour and only fell half-asleep all the way until 6 when I woke up and couldn't go back to bed. So I decided to go out and see what was going on and when I saw Tsonga instead of Ana Ivanovic like I was expecting, I quickly went online and checked out what was going on.
I forgot that SuperSports only carries ATP matches and the two matches before Roger's were WTA ones. All the same, I found out that Elena Dementieva, the #3 seed, crashed out after three sets which dragged on and ate into the next match. When Ivanovic started playing, it was like, 6.27 a.m. - the time when I expected her to be at least halfway through. But nooo. I should've known better than to rely on WTA matches to wrap up ASAP.
I decided to go back to sleep and set my alarm for 8. When I thought I was finally falling asleep, I changed my mind about waking up at 8 and got up to turn off my alarm. I thought it'd be better for me to sleep so that I could focus on my paper; I was even quite ready not to watch the match because of that.
But guess what? After I turned off my alarm, I COULDN'T SLEEP. LIKE. COULDN'T. SLEEP. I ended up getting up AGAIN at 7.50 a.m. where I saw the last bit of the first set of the Verdasco match, and shortly after Ivanovic finally finished her match, SuperSports switched over to Roger's after Verdasco won the first set. THANKFULLY THEY SWITCHED OVER OR I WOULD'VE BEEN DAMN PISSED. I guessed they might since Federer is, well, Federer and Verdasco is just Verdasco, and thankfully I only missed the first game and a few points of the second. From a point from the highlights that I didn't remember seeing, it looked like Roger did some fantastic net play in the first game.
So that's the long, roundabout way to say: I am really disoriented, and I'm not sure at what capacity my brain is currently operating. I highly doubt I'd be able to sleep though so I'm just gonna try and do my paper after I post this.
(On a sidenote: I kept being chased by my paper the whole time I was trying to sleep. The thing about caffeine is that it keeps your mind alert even when your body is dying to rest. The whole time, I was SO tired and just wanted to sleep, but all I could think about was my paper. I didn't even think about how awesome it'd be to watch Roger again; all I thought about was how to organise the stupid paper. And the best part? I've kind of forgotten what I thought about already. SHIT. I knew I should've got up to write them down.)
You know, despite following Roger for quite a while now and having watched a few of his older matches played in his hey-days (gee, which year should I choose from out of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007?), all the same he played a couple of points this morning that literally made me gasp. Not only did I gasp, I went, "OH!" David Foster Wallace coined the term "Federer Moments", i.e. moments in which he plays points that you didn't think were humanly possible, that defies logic and the imagination, and which are only possible because he's Roger Federer.
Am I exaggerating? Maybe. I haven't seen the original Federer Moments (played during the 2005 US Open final against Agassi) but all the same, I was definitely blown away a few times today. A lob that I thought was going to be out suddenly landed in, giving Gicquel absolutely no chance to even attempt to run back and get it back into play; his amazing down-the-line forehand winner that I haven't seen in a while; his second serve ace down the T; and above all else, his utterly beautiful inside-out forehand. The commentators have said that the inside-out forehand is his favourite shot and I can certainly see why: he executes it with his usual grace and deadliness, but he does so with just a slight hint of greater confidence than the other shots. It's absolutely breath-taking and right now I think watching him play tennis will never get old.
I hope he and Mirka have a son so that 20 years from now, I'd have another Federer to watch! Hahahaha.
Anyway, Gicquel actually played really well, to the extent that I got really frustrated that he kept making his first serves in the first set and a half. Roger had no break points at all in the first set and whenever it looked like Roger might have a chance to take the lead in a Gicquel service game, Gicquel dashed my hopes with an ace or a strong first serve. Roger played a better second set though; in the first, he played a few shots that were quite obviously just him testing out his shots, like an aggressive forehand that 1) didn't have to be so aggressive; 2) was aggressive solely for attacking purposes; and 3) eventually missed the mark. A couple of backhands also went down along the same line. His control seemed much better in the second set, and not so much because he was content just playing defensively. He was also aggressive on a few points, getting himself three break chances in two Gicquel services games before finally breaking for 4-3 (to be fair, Gicquel gifted him the break point with a double fault which, of course, I was really happy about).
Above all else, he easily took care of his own services games. Gicquel couldn't even sniff at a chance to get a break point. In the first set when Roger was down 0-30 on one of his service games, I was legitimately afraid for maybe 30 seconds that he might be in trouble. 30 seconds later, Roger casually fired an ace that just skidded the line, and then another (that I didn't even see because the commentators were using Hawkeye to check if the first ace was in), and then a minute later, it was over.
Same for match point. Up 40-0, three match points, I was gearing up to watch some brilliant play, but a split second later, it was over. An easy ace down the T, as if it cost him nothing.
He served well today, all things considered. Perhaps this is an indication that his back is at, or near, 100%. I certainly hope so; I want him to win this title. He totally deserves it for being awesome.