I had been fussed over this match – feeling it was a risky one for Roger Federer. And I tuned in for the last bit of the first set – which Federer lost in a tiebreak – which never happens.
I was tempted to turn off the TV and just get started on my writing, and then felt I couldn’t just abandon Roger to fend for himself. When I went back to the TV, it was second set: 4-0 Federer already. The entire set took just 26 minutes.
Federer used the first set to learn Isner’s game, test out various shots, try out possible strategies. He lost doing that (and you can see by his face that he hates to lose), but he learned.
There was drama on the court after that when Isner got as far as 30-all, which is not very dramatic in general, but since few players get there against Roger, it had to do. Isner kept working until the very end – a game and smart kid, which I haven’t seen in most very tall (6’9-1/2″) players. But there was no way for him to win.
Which is just how I like it when Roger is playing. He was definitely not his best in Cincinnati a few weeks ago, though he took the trophy home. Good to see him looking much better today!