Roger Federer’s literal home court advantage playing in the Davidoff Swiss Indoor finals didn’t help as his opponent Novak Djokovic took home the trophy with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win.
Djokovic only lost two points on serve in the first set which he finally won after enduring a ten deuce game at 5-4 and blowing seven previous set points.
Djokovic appeared to run away with the match when he jumped out to 2-0 lead in the second until Federer hustled at net to win a deuce point to get things to 2-1. In the next game, Federer hit a forehand fade drop shot to break back at 2-2. It was then that Federer found his rhythm and got the crowd going finally allowing him to win the second set 6-4.
But that momentum was short lived as Federer dropped the opening service game in the third set after dumping a backhand into the net. Up 2-0, Djokovic endured a vicious 30 stroke rally that Federer won to get to 40-40. But Federer dropped that game down break point when he hit a backhand long allowing Djokovic to jump out to a 3-0 lead. By then it was too late for a rally and Federer’s 30 unforced errors, mostly from his forehand, allowed Djokovic to serve it out earning him his fourth ATP title this year.
This is a big win for Djokovic after losing to Federer in the U.S. Open where he seemed mostly in awe at times. Djokovic displayed his old “in your face” attitude but just tempered enough so it wasn’t borderline militant. It’s nice to see “Nole’s” fire back after being absent for most of 2009.
In other tourney news, Andy Murray easily defeated Mikhail Youzhny in Valencia 6-3, 6-2. Despite the loss, Youzhny will get back into the top 20 continuing his impressive late season run.
Gasquet Returns Isner's Serve at Basel (AFP/Derungs)
It was nice to see Richard Gasquet of France display all his gifts in his 4-6, 7-6 (9), 6-2 win over John Isner in the second round of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors at Basel.
Despite his travails earlier this spring with the “cocaine kiss” incident, Gasquet appears to have put that all behind him and is playing with inspired confidence and his backhand, probably the best in the game, is once again a thing of beauty to watch.
Gasquet has a good shot at finishing 2009 on an upswing and if he continues his stellar play, I like his chances of not only getting back into the top 20, but maybe even top 10 again next year. Gasquet can display Federer-like artistry on court but seemed to never have real belief especially on the big stages. Perhaps his time off has actually done him some good and, at age 23, he still has plenty of time to achieve great things.
As for John Isner, this was another early round match that he should have won. He was up a set and almost a break in the second and despite falling behind early in the second set tiebreak, had match points on Gasquet’s serve but failed to convert. Once the third set got underway, the “moping” began again and it was all downhill. Isner has got to start making moves in these bigger 500 and 1000 events and 2010 will be the real test for him to make that happen.
(Note: Of course after I posted this, Gasquet lost in the next round to wildcard Marco Chiudinelli 6-1, 6-3. So what do I know?)
The opening round match between Roger Federer and Olivier Rochus at the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel played out to form with Federer winning 6-3, 6-4.
What was more interesting to watch was the pre-match event which consisted of a full symphony orchestra and opera provided by famed Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé.
The event’s website explained the performance as a celebration of both “artists”, Caballé and Federer, as they both began their careers, albeit in different fields in Basel. She in a performance of La Boheme in 1956. Federer as a ballboy.
I’m not sure I would compare a great soprano to a great tennis player but to each his own.