Time to start freaking out.
Fed failed to show up today against a revived Gulbis, who was hella impressive despite some understandably crazy nerves. Curls’ backhand particularly impressed me, really penetrating considering the slow clay, and he was able to push Fed around and keep him off balance. Oh, and the first serves. 71 percent of them in. Not to mention, he’s got a new team and a new approach.
“I just started concentrating more on tennis, treating it more like my job,” Gulbis said. “Last year I didn’t take it as a job. It was more like a hobby. I didn’t have a system.”
Believe in the power of curls.
Let’s be honest though, Fed played like crap in what was his first second round loss in a Masters event since 2002. Yes, 2002. Fed served 56% for the match, and a disgustingly low 46% in the third set. Shades of the US Open final against Delpo. At times he looked angry, upset, or just down right complacent and the first serve was more than passive.
“My serve was not working at all. On clay you can lose the feeling sometimes. At one point I tried to go three-quarters speed but that didn’t work, either. So I just kept going for it and hoping that it would come back eventually, and it didn’t unfortunately.”
The really crazy thing was that Fed saved match points at 4-5 and broke to get back to 5-5… and then basically gifted The Power Of Curls a break and another chance to serve it out, which he did. Not only incredibly un-Fed like, but just a real plain lack of concentration. Weird. I’ve really felt like this might be the year that Fed finally loses that slam semi-final streak… we’ll see.
Muzz beat Seppi today in straights, but dear lord, who is coaching this guy? Not hard to see why he sucks on clay. Muzz often takes the initiative and is aggressive by counterpunching on hard courts. On clay, at least today, he was satisfied by sitting a mile behind the baseline against a weaker opponent, hoping that something might happen. Dude, come in, play a drop shot, mix it up. You’re too good to not make things happen. Yeesh.
Nole beat Jeremy and Hanescu took out my poor, injured Pico in other second round action. Rusty Lawnmower upset The Youz, and Nico, Feli, Troicki, Stan, Ferru, Bolelli and Belluci all won in other first round action. So pumped for tomorrow.