This is late. Didn’t have time to write this preview, but have started thinking about my Nadal Melbourne eulogy and will post that tomorrow along with reaction to this last QF.
Like Nadal, we’re having a tough time reading Federer, but from what I’ve seen the tennis hasn’t been lights-out; but neither have his opponents, so perhaps he’s just playing to the competition, not over-exerting himself, etc.
Berdych has been practically embarrassing opponents. He took one of the hottest young talents of the new year in the first round, Alex De Minaur, split two sets (63 36) and then dropped the hammer 60 61.
Next was the Spaniard Garcia-Lopez: 63 26 62 63.
Then Del Potro: 3 3 and 2.
Fognini: 1 4 and 4.
No tie-breaks and has dropped only two sets.
Of course, Federer hasn’t dropped a set.
Go watch the Del Potro highlights. Berdych’s ROS is a big weapon. Federer probably schemes to neutralize this with his precision serves and hopefully, for Federer, a solid service game throughout. Berdych has easy power and as we have already clarified, the power game is ruling these blue tennis courts. Del Potro of all people sat there and just watched. Berdych is hitting the ball deep, DTL from both wings, serving well (with power) and looks overall like the 2017 Miami Berdych (on hard courts) more than he does the 2017 Wimbledon Berdych.
He held match point on Federer in Miami last year. On the lawns last July he could only forge a couple of TBs in a three-set Federer SF win.
Is this tournament Federer’s to lose at this point? Sounds like an echo from a statement made about London back in November. On paper, looks like #20 (just like in London it looked like #7).
I can’t quite picture anything easy tonight for the Swiss 2-seed. Rich would be a final four narrative that includes Federer waving his wand. He’s yet to be tested, but tonight we have ourselves quite the candidate. Hopefully Federer is awake because the big guy with big thighs is going to come-out fast, heavy and violent.
My truest sentiment: Good luck, Roger.