Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will play in final of ATP World Tour Finals
The Djokovic-Nadal semifinal at London was hardly competitive. Too bad for Nadal. He has come a long way, but is still not confident and misses more than previously. It was hard to tell why in this match because Djokovic was in control of virtually every point and Nadal had to press his game to make any impact at all.
In fact, he was totally defensive in the first set and relied only on Djokovic missing to win points. He tried to play more offensively in the second, it was better but Djokovic was still in control of most of the points and Rafa had to press his offense too hard to make a dent on Novak, and, consequently, he missed too much, in addition to not being able to get control anyway.
The excessive topspin Nadal puts on his weapon – his topspin forehand just doesn’t match up well against Djokovic’s flatter strokes. Novak is simply more accurate and hits harder. That’s a bad combo for Rafa, and leaves Djokovic in control and Rafa running all over the court. All he had in today’s match was heart and legs. Admirable, as usual, but it wasn’t enough. To make matters worse, he is still not as confident as before and makes more unusual (for him) mistakes, especially off the forehand. But the problem has certainly gotten better, luckily for him and for me, (a big fan of his heart).
Federer-Wawrinka: great attacking tennis. Federer won, but it was certainly a competitive match and a dangerous one that could have turned in an instant. Federer’s big edge was in his serving and his various volley attacks. Mixing in serve-volleys and serving-staying back is a great play because the good returns in both cases are so different. When the server comes to net behind the serve, the best returns are low and wide. When the server stays back, the best returns are higher and deep. These are two opposite returns and having to decide which one to use as a receiver is a problem that leads to confusion and missed returns. In any case, Federer was magically effective coming to net, which he did whenever he got a chance – which was often.
The other aspect of Federer’s game that held him in good stead against Stan was his backhand topspin. He was very aggressive with it and missed very few. This nullified Stan’s biggest usual advantage, and that was/is his ability to blow through Roger with his topspin backhand crosscourt. I have previously seen Stan bully Roger around in the backcourt. Today this didn’t happen. Roger kept even in the baseline rallys and was often able to get control of the points and attack at net.
All in all, it was a good day for us older people!
Dr. Allen Fox wrote the tennis best sellers, “If I’m the Better Player, Why Can’t I Win?” and “Think to Win,” and most recently, “Tennis: Winning the Mental Match.” His website is http://www.allenfoxtennis.net/