Lest we doubt the essential rectitude of a winner?
It seems 5 weeks out of the game really do show at this level.
For the best part of the first set Rafa could find nothing. And I mean squat. Nothing other than a forehand that was fully flatulent and a serve that was about as souped-up as the slosh you get served in an M25 service station.
Ever since before the event began Ferru, Berd and ARod have been cast as everyone’s favourite whipping boys.
Difficult to argue in Ferrus case that there’s not a very real danger of him being comprehensively outclassed – particularly with the group he’s been drawn in.
And after yesterdays pitiful performance one wonders what, if anything, will extricate Berd from the pooey pigswill he’s wallowing in right now.
But to write off anyone at this event is to effectively ignore the eccentricities of the three set Round Robin format.
The beauty of this format is that Ferru can still, in principle, qualify by defeating Sod tonight (he’s already beaten him twice on hard this year) and somehow wangling a three set win over Muzz (not impossible).
But ARod as the butt of your worst ATP jokes? Really?
Drawing Rafa in his opening match was always going to have been his best chance of beating him – and it’s no fluke he came so close.
He obviously came out primed to shorten the points and smother the net at every available opportunity – that Rafa won around 80% of rallies longer than 8 shots confirms the moral rectitude of this approach.
But it was his near-flawless execution of that strategy that underlines how daft I think those anti-predictions really are.
He clearly benefited from that deliriously poor start from Rafa, but if it hadn’t been for an especially acute-angled pass from Rafa during that second set tie break, one I’m not fully convinced he meant to strike so sweetly, Roddick might just have been looking at a straight sets win.
As it stands, he’ll now have to get through Novak (somewhat likely) and Berd (wholly likely) to stand a chance of qualifying – uncertain yes, unlikely no.