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Rafa Ousted; Fed Survives Another Big Man Close Call; Novak & Rafa: The Rivalry

Raonic gives Fed another close call this year (their 3rd 3 setter)


June 15, 2012 | 07:26 PM

On the grass that looked like it had been the venue for a tractor competition, #34 ranked Philip Kohlschreiber moved a step closer to defending his title and won his 8th straight match at Halle with a 6-3, 6-4 win over RAFA in their 9th encounter (first on grass). He saved 3 break points and converted 2 of 8 he earned against Rafa, who won only 43% of his 2nd serve points and failed to win more than 40% of 2nd serve return points.

In their 3rd match this year, Federer beat Raonic in 3 sets for a third time, 7-6 (3), after losing the 1st set. Rog did the same thing at Madrid, and lost the first set at Indian Wells in a breaker just as he did today 6-7 (4). As thin as the margin is in these matches, Roger seems very confident and comfortable playing them. Part of the reason: he served well (69%, winning 82% of his serve points) and never faced a break point. Raonic also served well with 25 aces and 66% 1st serving. Controlling what he can control, and recognizing what he can't control, Rog plays his best tennis.

In tomorrow's Gerry Weber semis:

- Fed v. Youzhny (a 3 set winner over Stepanek)

- Kohlschreiber v. Haas (the 34 year old upset #3 seed Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-4)

At the Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club:

- QUERREY v #6 seed Cilic

- Nalbandian v Dimitrov

RAFA V JOKER: THE Rivalry

This became THE Rivalry last year at Wimbledon when Joker took a Major title from Rafa and won his 2nd of the year. While Joker's 4 consecutive final wins on two surfaces in ATP 1000 level tournies before Wimbledon 2011 clearly teed up this rivalry as Major, the two had had sort of a rivalry for some years.

Before 2011 began, Rafa led their lifetime H2H 16 - 7; Joker had been a dangerous but inconsistent #3 in the world. After he assumed the #1 ranking last summer and evened their balance to 16-13 by the end of 2011, it was a completely different thing.

Federer, on the heels of his #1 year in 2009, still looked like The Rival when 2011 started - he was defending The Australian Open from 2010. By the end of 2011, Roger looked like the dangerous #3 Joker had been in 2008 when he won his first major in Australia. Fed still looks like that: brilliant, but inconsistent in the big matches in the big events.

Read about the history of their encounters below:

Novak & Rafa: History of their 33 matches

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/Rivalries/Nadal-Djokovic-Rivalry.aspx

Halle; Queen's (ATP, 6.15.12)


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