Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Here we go again: On the cusp of another Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal battle, this time in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
They've both been very impressive this tournament with only one set dropped between them up to this point. Federer has been particularly devastating, blowing out Juan Martin del Potro and Bernard Tomic (future Aussie champs?) like candles on a birthday cake.
That only seems to be par for the course with the way he's been playing the past few months: his only loss in tournament play for ages, it seems, coming when he had to withdraw from the tournament in Doha.
Still, I hadn't been convinced of his form, mainly because he hasn't caught the other members of the "Big 4" at their best. Federer blasted Rafael Nadal off the court at the World Tour Finals, but was that a matter of being in the zone or Nadal being off. Beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga however many times in a row that he has now hadn't convinced me of Federer's form.
All that being said, tonight's the night where all that can change. Of course, I'm always going to look at Federer as a Slam contender and I'll think he'll win at least two or three more before he's done. But as far as showing me that the recent run isn't a bit of an aberration and that he can tag his younger opponents at the biggest stages, this is the perfect opportunity.
And I don't want it to sound like I'm rooting against Rafa: I'm actually quite impartial on this one. I just think this could be the best opportunity for fans and Federer himself to assess where he really is and how far he can go.