Roger Federer must forgive me - I missed his absolute beatdown of Tomas Berdych in the Paris Masters semifinals. Roger won the match 64 63 in fine fashion, completely destroying Tomas in superb Federer form. For Roger, getting to the final in Bercy means that he has now made the final in EVERY Masters 1000 event - Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati, Shanghai, and Paris. Congrats Roger! It is quite outstanding that Roger keeps breaking records and is still able to play elite tennis at this stage in his career. His consistency is unmatched in the game of tennis, and in all honesty, many of his records will be very difficult to break.
As for the match itself, I literally only saw the final two points. I could not believe it when I woke up to find that I had missed the entire match. Believe me, I was devastated, but I was also very relieved to find out that Roger had manhandled Berdych the way he did. I was confident that Roger was going to win anyways, but Berdych has always given him trouble throughout his career and with the patch he was on post-USO, anything could have happened. Roger showed his very best tennis however and never gave Berdych a chance to get into the match. I so very much look forward to watching the match tomorrow in full high definition so I can witness the glory first hand. It should be beautiful.
When Roger is showing that kind of form, he is still the best player in the world and undoubtedly the most talented, even at 30 years old. Roger is so dangerous right now because he has something to prove, not only to himself, but to the doubters who think he will never have success again. He absolutely loves holding back the younger, stronger foes and showing him why he is the all-time Grand Slam singles champion. He is also gaining momentum for the start of 2012 by playing lethal tennis at the end of the year, just as he did last year when he won Stockholm, Basel, and the World Tour Finals. Likewise this year, he could finish the year with wins in Basel, Paris, and the World Tour Finals, especially if he continues playing the lethal tennis that he has played recently.
In the other semifinal, Jo-Willy Tsonga defeated John Isner after saving three match points at 5-6. Tsonga won the match in the end, but Isner can't be too disappointed with the result. He had a great tournament and turned in his first ever Masters semifinal. I like Isner a lot, but it is sometimes frustrating to watch him. He has such an amazing serve and wins so many service games so easily that he takes his big weapon for granted. Though he has improved wonderfully in all other aspects of his game, he is still a very inconsistent player from the ground, at the net, and on returns. He also cannot move for many balls while he is in a rally because his height causes him to be relatively immobile. Of course with his size he won't get to as many balls as the regular-sized players on tour, but sometimes he just gives up free points, and that hurts him. Having said all this, I wish Isner much success in 2012 and hope that he can finally push through to a great run at one of the Slams. He is a good kid that I believe just needs to find his way, and maybe adapt a better work ethic to the other parts of his game.
So the final is set: Federer vs Tsonga. The crowd was very crazy and loud in Tsonga's win over Isner, but I highly doubt it will be like that for the final. The French crowd has so much respect for Roger, and he will get his fair share of admiration from the audience. Roger is the fresher of the two, but Jo will have all the adrenaline flowing and he will try to engage the crowd as quickly as possible. Roger must start fast and not give Jo or his fans any hope of winning the match, exactly like he did against Berdych (though Berdych had few fans in that match). The bottom line is, it will be fantastic match with two fantastic indoor players in Federer and Tsonga. I expect a close match, but I think Fed will prevail 64 36 64 in the end.
PS - quick indoor courts rule. I love the clean hitting, the ripping winners, the stunning reflexive defense, the accurate, fast serving, and the fact that playing conditions remain the same no matter what. The thing I hate in tennis the most is the changing weather that can affect your game. Just recently I lost a match that I should have won just because the wind screwed up my game. But anyways, back to talking about indoors....I wish there were more indoor tournaments, or AT LEAST, more tournaments played on faster courts. Fast-court tennis is exciting, fast, skillful, and it really brings out the best in the most talented players. Gruelling baseline tennis is boring.
Double PS - if Roger had played in the 90s he would have had more than 16 Slams, because every surface barring clay was fast as lightning. Imagine having a year's schedule of fast courts in 2012? Roger would undoubtedly be the best player and all the counterpunching baseliners would be at a total loss.
But enough of that talk, there is a final tomorrow. GO ROGER!