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Some Rotten Tennis in Rotterdam, but Fed survives Davydenko

Faces Delpo in final


February 18, 2012 | 03:22 PM

Fed had a reason for entering this tournie for the first time in seven years. If Joker is going to win the big points in the majors and leave him, Rafa and others competing for 2nd place, maybe Fed figured he has a chance to be #2 if he gets a head start over Rafa in hard court events neither the Majorcan or the Serb are playing (Murray's not at Rotterdam either). It wouldn't take much of an improvement on hard courts in 2012 for Roger to match the points that Rafa harvests from clay events that Joker doesn't enter (Monte Carlo, Barcelona). If Fed doesn't win the 500 points for a title this week in Holland or next week in Doha (when Joker is also scheduled to play), he'd at least be better prepared than Rafa for the two ATP 1000's in March (Indian Wells and Miami). Since '07 when he won IW, he hasn't entered those events as sharp as he might this year, when Rafa - by contrast - will be coming off 6 weeks of rest for his shoulder.

Fed's semi-final match today against Davydenko is a case in point. The rotten tennis he played for a set and a half could have cost him the match if Davydenko hadn't lost focus. The opening was given to Fed just as faced a point to go down two breaks in the 2nd (at 1-3), and it allowed him to get his forehand on track (it had been misfiring badly). He reversed the momentum and took the set 6-3. At IW this match would have been a first or maybe a 2nd match for Fed, and losing it there (as he lost a close one in his first match to Baghdatis last year) would have cost him the opportunity for more points than it would have in the semis here. As it was, Davydenko rediscovered his form in the 3rd set and nearly broke Roger to take a 5-3 lead, holding an 0-40 edge that Roger erased with two aces after the Russian missed an open court winner with his trademark backhand down-the-line. In the next game, Rog broke him at love, and went on to serve it out 6-4 in the 3rd with a forehand winner.

IN THE FINAL tomorrow (8am EST) on the TC: Federer v Del Potro

Delpo made quick work of Berdych in the other semi today, 6-3, 6-1. There was no opening for the Czech, who like Roger started out slowly, un able to find the range with his forehand. Delpo controlled play and took 62% of the points, facing only 3 break chances and converting 4 of 8. Berdych won a total of 112 points on Delpo's serve, and won barely 50% on his own serve. Delpo is now 3 and 1 life time with Berdych. The Argentine hasn't beaten Rog since a pair of wins in '09, his only two in 10 meetings. Rog didn't drop a set to him this year in Australia or last summer in Cincy.

At Indian Wells and Miami, among other big men Rog will have to deal with on hard courts is Isner, who stunned Fed in Davis Cup and is a ranked a career-high No. 14, says he is peaking. "I do feel like it's my time," Isner said. "I think my career best tennis is ahead of me, and I hope it's here in 2012." Isner, who will play Memphis next week, is currently only 645 points away from the Top 10 and only has 315 points to defend through Wimbledon.

Rick

ATP 2.18.12 Rotterdam ATP 500


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