He did it on hard courts and now he's done it on clay. To come back from a set and a break down to beat Roger 46 63 63? He definitely benefited from the 70 minute rain delay in the second set, coming out after that and upping his level of clay. I'm sure that people will say it's not as much of a shock that Fed loses these days but to me it still is. As much as Roger's mechanics may go wonky I just don't expect him to mentally lose matches. But with these two rough losses, I have to wonder if Nole's starting to get into Fed's head. You know he hates to lose to Nole, and the manner in which he's lost has been pretty spectacular.
Anyway, I don't want the story to be all about Roger. More so than in Miami, this win was a tribute to Nole's focus and maturity. Sure he had a lapse there in the first set, but I was really impressed by his ability to fight to win that second set. He faced so many break points and was constantly under pressure. I genuinely thought he would wilt.
Needless to say, I was more than happy to be wrong on this one.
And so we'll have a Monte Carlo redux, as the two players who have pretty solidly dominated the clay court season so far will go at each other again. But Nole's already staked his claim as the #2 player on clay. As a Nole fan it's just so nice to see. It was also, for whatever reason, nice to hear during the match that he is third in win/loss record this year, behind Rafa and Andy. For whatever reason, with all the criticism and negativity thrown his way I had forgotten that.
See Nole? More wigs, less blaming of the racquet. A recipe for success.