Tsonga just kicked RN's ass. RN was always shaky on any surface other than clay in a best of 5 setter, and he struggles with any player who have a flat and hard game compered to a loopy ground stroke game more associated with clay courters. Thats why he looses to James Blake all the time and to players like Berdych and Youzhny. Tsonga is fresh and going for broke so he is in my book for right now, just a flash in the pan... a refreshing one though nonetheless. ND will give RF a scare but if it goes a long distance he wont last, for reasons of pressure as well as stamina. He has some breathing issues. It could still be close with potential to go the other way. The point is this, RF gets into a different zone of focus when he comes to play these championship matches at the grand slams. I knew that he needed to survive the first week because of his lack of practise pre tournament as well as the fact that this surface is new and a tad slower than one where his skills are at their best display, i.e. grass and deco-turf at the US Open. But to that point this plexi-cushion surface is expected to get faster as the week progresses, another thing that will weigh in RF's favor.
I really hope RF can pull this off. It will set the right tone for the rest of the year for him as he is chasing a golden grand slam and Pete's record. It will also be great that he can pull this off with what seems to be a semblance of competition in the field. The lack of competition is something Pete and other detractors always talk about and hence imply that RF's dominance is less meaningfull compared to Pete's run of 14. But then again is he remains as the last man on the top of the mountain on Sunday, the detractors will go on saying the same thing...there is no competition.