Roger Federer wasted no time on court in his first match of 2012, thoroughly beating Nikolay Davydenko 62 62 in under an hour to start his Doha campaign. The Fedster definitely put to bed all the assumptions that his lackluster play against Djokovic and Nadal was a sign of things to come, which was always a crazy assumption to make. Roger now plays qualifier Grega Zemlja in the 2nd round.
Right from the start of the match, Federer was in no mood to play around. He broke the Russian's serve at love, and looked very sharp all throughout the first set to take it 6-2. In the second set it was much of the same, and he won it by the same scoreline, 6-2. Roger was not tested at all in the match and was completely focused, but that is not to say that his performance was indicative of his opponent's level of play. Granted, Fed was playing a Nikolay Davydenko who has fallen great
lengths from the form he was displaying last year at this time, but that
is not to take away from the dominating display of tennis that Roger
put on. Davydenko is a counter-punching baseliner, and he gave Federer a
great chance to get into rhythm on his groundstrokes. But even if
Roger wasn't firing from the ground, he would probably have won easily
anyways. When he is serving at 85%, I'm not even sure Djokovic can beat
him. He was also RAZOR sharp on the return, especially on the backhand side. So overall, his serve was clicking, his groundstrokes were silky smooth, his movement was gazelle-like, and he was playing very much like the Roger Federer of old. If he continues in that form, he will be very hard to stop this week.
In other action, Rafa Nadal got through Philipp Kohlschreiber in three sets, 63 67(2) 63. Kohlschreiber was up a break in the 3rd set in the first game but Rafa quickly broke back and then took 5 of the next 7 games to win comfortably. I did not see the match, but from what I have heard, Rafa played pretty well and he said that he was happy with his level. I guess we shall see what the rest of the week holds in store for him and his health. He plays Denis Gremelmayr next. In the match previous to that, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got by Malek Jaziri 76(5) 67(5) 61. I was a little surprised that Tsonga was tested like that, but nevertheless, going three sets won't affect him that much as he won the 3rd 6-1.
So overall, I think Federer topped the field in level of play, followed by Tsonga and Nadal. All three should get by easily in their next rounds. The only thing bothering me about Roger right now is that thing on the right side of his face. Hopefully he isn't sick or anything (didn't look bad today from a physical standpoint), and he can continue with business as usual from here on out.
Until next time,