A high quality encounter here as Federer took down an in form Julien Benneteau 7-6(4) 6-0 to book his spot in the Shanghai Semi Finals.
Without doubt Roger's best match of the week and Benneteau threw the kitchen sink at him in the first set but Roger matched him all the way.
The tie break was a bit of an epic and momentum kept shifting between the two before Fed sealed it with a ripped cross court backhand. Stunning shot that he lent into with all his body weight to control it peRFectly.
Quick Match Recap
Benneteau won the toss and elected to receive. Strange choice at this level and it didn't work out for him as Fed fired down back to back Aces en route to a love hold. The Frenchman then comfortably levelled and Roger got into an early argument with the Umpire over a challenge.
With a 2-1 lead the Swiss then created a 0-30 on the Benneteau serve but couldn't capitalise. Both players then exchanged holds and the scoreboard move to 4 all.
In the 9th game with Roger serving at 15-30 we had a huge moment. Benneteau hit two perfect shots to get a short ball with Fed in no mans land. He hit back behind Federer who guessed correctly and hit an awesome forehand pass down the line before going onto hold for 5-4.
3 games later and it's a tie break. Fed lost the first point on serve but immediately got the mini break back then won the next point with an extremely lucky net cord.
Benneteau then came up with 2 flashy points to lead 3-2 with a minibreak but Federer won both points on the Benneteau serve to lead 4-3.
Roger then hit 2 brilliant serves to move 6-3 in front and then closed out the breaker with a stunning cross court backhand to take it 7-4. Huge set to win considering Benneteau came at him full pelt.
Into the second and Benneteau's will immediately faded has he dropped his opening service game to 15. Looked like the tie break had rattled him and Fed took full advantage holding then securing the double break with a well disguised dropshot.
3-0 was soon 4-0 and Benneteau dropped serve for the third time to fall 5-0 behind. No mercy from Roger here as he closed it out to love with an ace. 6-0. Allez!
|R. Federer||J. Benneteau|
|1st Serve %||77%||75%|
|1st Serve Points Won||34/37 (92%)||25/48 (52%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||4/11 (36%)||8/16 (50%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/0 (0%)||1/4 (25%)|
|Service Games Played||9||9|
|1st Return Points Won||23/48 (48%)||3/37 (8%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||8/16 (50%)||7/11 (64%)|
|Break Points Won||3/4 (75%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||9||9|
|Net Points Won||9/11||14/26|
|Total Service Points Won||38/48 (79%)||33/64 (52%)|
|Total Return Points Won||31/64 (48%)||10/48 (21%)|
|Total Points Won||69/112 (62%)||43/112 (38%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Very pleasing match for both Federer fans and the neutral today. These guys really went at each other and made it very fun to watch. It wasn't a real mental battle or tactical duel, just two guys playing aggressive tennis and coming up with shots. The crowd inevitably got into it too and that made a really good atmosphere which translates onto the TV too making it more fun to watch.
I said in my prediction I wasn't sure why Fed has trouble with Benneteau but I realised why in the first set; he takes the ball stupidly early. I'm quite shocked he hasn't won a title really with his game as he plays some real eye catching tennis. I guess he's just mentally terrible which looking at the stats has to be the case losing 10 straight finals.
In terms of players who are fun to watch though I rate him pretty highly and he can mix it with the best as we saw tonight. I mean look at Fed's net approaches, he only made it in 11 times, he's been coming in at least 3 times more usually and that's just testimony to Benneteau who steps in the court and takes the ball on the rise meaning Fed would most likely be playing his first volley from behind the service line.
As for Fed well what can you say, he played nicely against Bautista Agut yesterday but cranked it up a notch today. His backhand was bang in form which will be an important shot vs Djoker tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it.
Not much else to say really, just watch the highlights and enjoy. Like I sad in the recap the key moment was when Benneteau had that 15-30 at 4-4. If he manages to break serve and take the set then he might just have been able to ride the crest of a wave. Fed however came up with the goods and then played clutch in the breaker when he needed to.
Benneteau losing the breaker clearly effected his mind and he dropped his opening service game. His legs went after that and Fed was able to pile on the pressure to get it done with a tasty bagel. Fun stuff 🙂
Predictions vs. Djokovic
Next up is the form player Novak Djokovic who took out Ferrer in straight sets. I hear Ferrer played well but Djoker was just too good in the end winning 6-4 6-2. Always going to be case really and Novak is a bit of a beast in the Asian Swing.
But there's one guy who can give him some trouble and he's going to be the one standing at the other side of the net tomorrow. Based on what I have seen so far I think Fed has a decent shot here if he can bring his A game to the table.
It's a real good matchup for both guys and much will depend on if Fed can put the ball away when he needs to. Not easy on these slow-ish hard courts but if Fed's ground game and variety are firing then he definitely has a good chance of doing some damage.
As we all know the Wimbledon final was a real close one but I think the one shot that didn't quite work for Fed that day was his forehand. It just wasn't quite the potent weapon it's been over the last 10 years. I think over the hard court swing and in Cincy though he's looked more confident in the shot. If he hits that well I like his chances.
So keys to the match will be how many backhands Fed can transform into forehands by camping in the ad court and if he does have to hit a backhand how well he can stay on the offensive. As for Djokovic I'd go with his backhand down the line being one of his key shots to stop Fed only having to play half the court and his return of serve.
Too close to call. Djok in 3. Should be good.