Google Down the Line!: Regal Rog beats A-Rod, reaches fourth Oz Open final

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Regal Rog beats A-Rod, reaches fourth Oz Open final

Roger Federer reached his fourth Aussie Open final and fourth consecutive Grand Slam final when he defeated Andy Roddick 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals.

The pair played a high quality match but Fed held the edge in all categories: 51 winners against only 15 errors, 16 aces, 66% success on first serve deliveries, and 17 of 27 net approaches. A-Rod held 3 break points in the match but was unable to convert any of them. Bad luck.

In his post-match presser, Fed was asked about the continuing expectations he faces in his career:

Q. Last year you said you had created a monster of expectations. Has that faded for you given how you played in the year since, or do you still feel that weight?
RF: I'm still surprised how quickly the mood swings with the media, with the fans, with everybody.

If I lose a set or two sets against Berdych, everybody is like, Oh, my God, he's not the same anymore. And then you beat Del Potro and everything is back to normal. It's just not the way it's supposed to be, I don't think.

You don't lose your edge that quickly. It's just not possible. I know I'm playing well. I feel good. I know sometimes you can always run into a player that's hot and you can lose. I've been able to control my opponents, and definitely got close against Berdych.

I still think I fought hard and deserved the victory in the end. Came up with two great victories now against Del Potro and Roddick, and usually that's when I start playing my best: Towards the end of the tournament. I think this is where you should judge a great player.

Q. You obviously heard the criticism after the Berdych match. Do you get motivated by the swings you're talking about?
ROGER FEDERER: I don't think that it's criticism, just opinions. Everybody can have an opinion and everybody can say what they feel like. I know I didn't play the perfect match, otherwise I would have been able to beat him more easily.

But I can take criticism, no problem, any day.

"Watch that hand. Mirka's looking."

And who would he prefer to play in Sunday's final?
I'd like to play Fernando because he's never played a Grand Slam final before. I have an edge there. Playing Rafa is obviously, you know, more exciting because of the history we have playing in so many Grand Slam finals.

Him being the best player in the world at the moment, it would make it a very intriguing match.
Interesting statements from the 13-time Grand Slammer, especially that he's still surprised by the scrutiny after all these years. What's also surprising is Fed didn't say he'd prefer to play Rafa over Nando because, let's face it, a match against the world's top baller and his biggest rival would be the ultimate test and a more satisfying win.

Maybe this time, though, Regal Rog just wants his 14th Grand Slam.

(images via Getty)


  1. "Him being the best player in the world at the moment, it would make it a very intriguing match."

    Is this a small breakthrough for Federer, actually saying outloud that Nadal is the best player in the world (though qualified with "at the moment")?

  2. His play was impressive today, and I think he will do well in the final.
    Andy was really annoying with all of his talking. It looked like he had already given up and was just joking around. I had the feeling that he would do better if he was more serious..

  3. Sabine - I thought the same thing. He was so annoying. And he always does it. It's like he really enjoys hearing himself talk. Uuuuggghhh.

    All the best to Fed. Let's hope for a cracking final, ppl.

  4. I didn't see this match but I'm def not surprised Fed won. Andy was playing great during the tourney but I think he just has a hard time against Fed, no matter how he's been playing up until the point they meet in a match. BTW, what was all the talking Andy was doing? Like talking to himself or getting mad at the ump/linesmen??

    RiCH: I'm also surprised Fed didn't say he'd want to play Rafa because he usually likes to pick the more challenging player, if you will. Maybe he's still bummed about Wimbledon. It is the last time they've played a match.... right??

  5. Johanne :

    Shameless plugging, I know. Forgive me.

  6. It just seems to me that regal Rog has been hitting his forehand much better the last two matches particularly the running forehand and the short-angle crosscourt forehand (which i don't know why he doesn't use it more often). With his forehand working, it really sets up the rest of the points nicely for him to finish it off. Anyway, i just really hope fed will win in the final, doesn't matter who he plays against.

  7. Babz: gracias! heading over there now...

  8. Well, another final for Fed. Spectacular achievement for sure, I just hope Rafa is there in the final and takes him out in spectacular fashion.

    Congratulations to Serena as well, 3rd straight Grand Slam final.

  9. Actually, Roddick played even below his level: pitiful first serve, no forehand to talk about (when his backhand is a better shot then you know how bad his FH was), and the main gameplan being to rush the net in which he's notoriously awful. No wonder he got beaten easily.

    There's no need to waste words on Del Potro "challenge".

    So, these two "great" wins speak very little about Federer's own game. All we could see was that his serve was a bit less erratic than recently.

    He will need that serve in the final, otherwise either Spaniard will beat him at his present level.

  10. To Anon at 12pm: I don't think hitting 38 winners and 18 unforced errors can be called playing below anyone's level. Like you said about his poor groundstrokes, he is not going to force the play with them and the only way else is to come in and make roger come up with a passing shot. If he does then you simply say too good. Otherwise, he would have just been beaten from the baseline.

  11. alright rafa now you gotta beat verdasco, vamos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I love the classy way in which Roger handles the press. Most of us would be telling them off and showing them a certain middle finger if they treated us the way they treated him last year. Especially considering that Roger had never been anything but nice to them, last year was a shame for the media.

  13. These two have a profound respect and, it seems, admiration for each other. I'm loving the hand.

    If only they were French.

  14. Roger's "class" is so overrated. He takes jabs at people, and is so arrogant. His passive aggressiveness is annoying. And this business with not wanting to be introduced as World No. 2 because "it doesn't feel right" is some shit. Get over yourself. You respected the ranking system when it said you were No. 1. Respect it when it says you're No. 2. My god.

  15. The only way Roddick CAN force the play against Federer is through his own strengths (ubreakable serve, blasting FH) and not through his weaknesses (hopeful approach shots right to the opponent's FH, unreliable volleying, wonky BH, desperate running). He did the former in Miami and managed to win. Now he did the latter and lost.

    Too many of his winners were from his BH or achieved after some desperate heroics, which only tired him and made his serve worse.

    I'm afraid he got wrong advice from all of his recent coaches, he went for the all-out change in his game, tried unsucessfully to improve his weaker sides and neglected his strengths in the process.

    He should have blasted Federer off the court with his serve and FH, and wait for the tie-breaks. Instead he missed too many first serves and fed him meek groundstrokes right to his FH and made him look better than he is.

  16. Anon 1:41

    couldn't have said it better myself. it's sad how all that talent is attached to his smug head.

  17. Congrats to Roger. I wonder if Rafa will be in Fed's head that way Fed is in Andy's head?

  18. In my opinion Federer deserved to win by the way he played, Andy admitted it himself today, he played the decisive shots when it was important. No serve will help you there, even not his. In this way we should have a very interesting final, a 3 time winner against a first timer in OZ Open Final. I am not so sure that Rafas desire to win Oz Open is as big as Rogers to get to 14 Grandslams.
    The 13 GS is what Roger ment under saying Rafa is NO 1. right now and the best player right now, certainly not the best last few seasons, just the truth. Why does everyone here believe that stating the simple truth is being arrogant?

  19. The truth is Rafa is No. 1. All this hypothetical number one talk is bogus. Fed had no problem talking about himself as No. 1 when the system said he was. He also had no problem denying Rafa was the better player last season, even before Rafa officially captured the number one ranking in the middle of August. But now that Fed is not No. 1 according to the ranking system he so willingly accepted when it was kind to him, he's more than willing to dispute Rafa's position. If that's not arrogance I don't what is.

    Rafa has a much better head on his shoulders. Fed's pettiness leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

  20. ^^^ Imagine the taste in your mouth on Saturday when Federer will spank Rafa's famous ass.

  21. Anon 3:09

    How anyone could question Rafa's desire to win ANY match, let alone a Slam title, is beyond me. Both guys are hungry.

  22. Don't you mean when he kisses his famous ass?? Wait, he wouldn't do that. He'll prob just blame it on mono.

  23. Roddick choked too much and made too many easy errors to call this match "high quality".

    Federer definitely cannot take any criticism of him whatsoever. He's so used to having everybody kissing his arse all day long that when they began to lob tougher questions his way last year he cried "Please dont do this to me!" What a wimp.

    Of COURSE he'd love to have another fluke finalist to play, it would make it all the easier to win his 14th slam. Nadal would deny him that and he knows it.

    Federer is such a phony, I'll never understand why so many people think he's a class act. He was never a class act. And winning matches against chokers and mental midgets, combined with favorable scheduling by biased TDs doesnt make him GOAT either.

    VAMOS RAFAEL!!!!!!

  24. i don't think he's saying he'd rather play verdasco. fed is just giving reasons why he would like to play each one.

  25. Can people just respect that the better player (during that match) won? Sheesh. When Roger started to come out with these wins, people seem to be "oh he's such a great player". Then those same people -- fans or media or otherwise -- say "aw, he thinks he's all that, all cocky and annoying".

    get over it.

    He has been like that all along, critiquing his opponent's shots, praising their abilities, being passive.


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