ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererShanghai Masters

Electric Federer Defeats Benneteau in Shanghai

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

Federer forehand vs Benneteau Shanghai

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!

Match Stats

  R. Federer J. Benneteau
Aces 11 5
Double Faults 0 1
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
Winners 34 17
Unforced Errors 14 17
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

Federer Soaking up Benneteau Pressure

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 πŸ™‚

Predictions vs. Djokovic

Federer Djoker

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.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. Back with my first title in some time(longer than Cinci I believe!) On a personal note, thank you again for doing the free t-shirt contest during the USO; Laurent has sent me the tracking code so cheers!

    Amazing tournament so far. We have many Rogers: The mentally-strong fighter one (against Meyer), the dominant one (yesterday), and the controlling one(today). I honestly believe Roger needs to bring all 3 against Novak tomorrow. I agree, it looks like NOVAK in 3, but if anyone can beat him in China, it’s Roger(the last guy to beat him in China I believe).

    A few stats (which Roger leads tour in):
    β€’11th SF of the year(8-2)
    β€’59 Wins (43 Hardcourt wins)
    β€’24 M1000 wins
    β€’12 Top-10 wins (hopefully 13 tomorrow)
    β€’7 match points saved in last 4 matches

    Also, don’t forget to vote Roger a record 12th consecutive “fan-favorite” via πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for the stats Brandon!

      And oh yes. Voting. Just did it. Trying to do it again from my other email id πŸ˜›

      1. Voted three times for Feds – doubles, Pospisil and Jack Sock for their Wimbledon win which I thought was absolutely fantastic; no one saw that coming!

      2. I went back & forth between Pospisil/Sock – as you said Utch, just a phenomenal run at Wimbly – and the Bryans, especially with the 100th team title, and their long term commitment to the sport & conducting themselves with integrity on & off court.

  2. Hey Jon, great article. Really. I cannot watch the match tomorrow, so here is hoping Roger puts Novak in his place and wins.

    Isn’t it just INCREDIBLE, one of two players who can make Novak’s life miserable is the new world number 2, a 33 year old guy, who started from nr 8 and was asked constantly when he would retire, because they did not believe he could keep up with the big 3 and the new young guys πŸ™‚ How Karma is a payback….

    By the way, can anyone still remember the BR article where they were saying that these years would be the Novak/Andy-era, because Rafa would be too injured and Roger would be too old?? πŸ™‚

    1. I also like to remember Andy’s comment that Roger used to but is not that good anymore, about year and a half ago.

      1. And where is Andy now! Forced to play Vienna in an attempt to improve his ranking for Aus Open!! Say no more !

    2. I remember that article Katyana: they just never learn do they? Back he comes time and time again to poke them hard in the eye. Love it, what a incredible champ he is…

  3. Didn’t realise this was so new, or I’d have posted when I originally got on here! Wish I’d seen the second set – it sounded magic!

  4. Isn’t it a joy to see him play like this! Moving beautifully, seeing the court well, executing well – what a difference from the match with Mayer! (Thanks goodness he pulled that one out…) It sounds like he still has the cold – an ominous omen for whenever he starts to feel better, if he’s playing like this & not feeling his best. Here’s hoping that day is tomorrow. Djokovic said it, really – it’s always exciting when they play, and they both have to bring their A game.

    Sure feels like a final, doesn’t it? Kinda like Dubai earlier this year….

  5. Couldn’t watch it live but managed to catch up later in the evening. Excellet post as always, Jonathan. “Fun stuff”, you simply summed up peRFectly. The BH on the SP in theTB had indeed a WOW factor. I enjoyed the match even better, knowing the result πŸ˜€
    Fancy Fed’s chance but Novak looks on fire, judge by his OTT celebrations. As long as I don’t have to see him ripping the shirts off….

  6. Good roundup J! Love how Fed has played himself into form and looks like he’s ready to take on Djokovic now. Really showed the testament of Rog’s game plans and how he hardly approached the net- nice spot on noticing how early Benneteau takes the ball early, he’s quite an aggressive player and the fact that he is 0 for 10 titles is so shocking, proving how significant the mentality of a player is probably the key factor in stepping up in the big moments. Overall, a decent quality match and it’s been so great watching Roger turn it up each round, especially since he was a mere point away from being thrown out in his first match! Another great tournament for Federer this year, I’m pretty sure he’s made it to the SF at least for all tournaments this year except for Miami, Rome and RG.

    So the penultimate match of the tournament I think, deserves to be the final because it’s no.1 vs. no.2. Roger has played some awesome tennis so far but I’m not if it can stop Novak just yet. Haven’t watched any of Djoker’s matches in Shanghai yet but he’s been unbeatable in this part of the world for a consecutive 20 something matches now, crazy. I’m always amazed at how Novak is able to back up the end part of the year consistently for the past few years so he’s definitely got the edge. Roger as you said needs to bring his FH game otherwise Novak will just keep on attacking the BH. Just hoping for another excellent match to add to this rivalry and that Fed leaves it all out there. Allez!

    Also how awesome are those Chinese fans? First that hilarious Free Wifi sign and now the superhero ones- keep em coming!

    1. Cheers Alysha.

      Yeah Fed’s Chinese fan base are quality. Awesome when they shout out, out, out when an opponent challenges. Or in in in when Fed challenged πŸ˜€

  7. Funny, isn’t it? I said somewhere earlier in the week I thought the draw was going to fall apart, and now we have a final with one guaranteed non-seed. I’m even more annoyed at the imbalance in the draw now: the next match really would deserve to be the final. Hope it’s a good one – and of course I hope Fed wins – but I expect the final will be a bit of a letdown.

    I couldn’t believe it, watching the live scores while I was at work: that second set, I just assumed that Benneteau had got injured, because I couldn’t believe someone could play such a tight first set and then fold like that.

    1. Benny is not quite fit enough, blew himself out in that first set and his legs went! Has also played a lot of dubs! Doesn’t pace himself well at all! You cld see he was over adrenalised early on!

    2. Good point about Benneteau, he was like cat on a hot tin roof first set. Put loads into it, not as economical as Fed either in his shots, throwing his body into backhands. I think he is good to watch though, got a nice mix of shots and volleys well too…

  8. [So keys to the match will be how many backhands Fed can transform into forehands by camping in the ad court]

    I think trying go inside out too much would be a mistake. He just can’t make very good shots consistently against Djokovic from there. Federer will have to show an improved backhand if he is to win this. What he does on the Djokovic second serve will make a huge difference tomorrow.

    Don’t wanna miss it, but it’s a 7:00 AM start for me.

    1. I’m just basing it on Feds previous hard court wins over Djoker, they’ve all been won by the forehand and Fed’s tactic of trying to turn BH’s into FH’s… he only really plays one half the court and it puts pressure on Djokers backhand down the line as he has to play it near perfect to avoid getting burnt cross court. Usually puts the shot into its shell…

      1. True. Roger when rallying plays predominantly inside in, or out. To beat Djokovic consistently though, he has to win some difficult backhand rallies. I didn’t watch the game earlier today so I’m not sure how he did it. The statistics give a picture but that don’t necessarily tell the true story.

  9. I will try to watch it, probably won’t on live chat though unfortunately πŸ™ 11pm is on for me!
    Hopefully it will be a repeat of their semi in 2010! The scoreline didn’t really show it, but Federer played some jaw-dropping tennis, including a well disguised forehand dropper, a beautifully angled backhand off a brilliant return and an unbelievable backhand flick shot that even shocked the Djoker himself.

    1. Yeah, that Bh flick at 5-0 was simply beautiful! I had to slow mo it several times to gasp at just how difficult it is and how easy he made it look! Sky commentators were lost for words!! For a change!!

    2. I think Conal was talking about the 2010 one. Fed hit a open stance backhand down the line a bit like the one vs Murray, except not as clean. Dropped in. Was a good match that in 2010 for Fed, dictated play very well.

  10. Well, I’m close ;), i can’t bet against Fed not winning, So, I will follow my starstruck heart and say Federer wins tomorrow. At least i can watch it Live.. Won’t say anything so I won’t jinx this

      1. Hey Brother Jonas, you can mock me for my predictions and make fun of them, but they will come true πŸ™‚ Wait and watch πŸ™‚ Roger is not done yet πŸ™‚ I have believe and faith in him to make them come true πŸ™‚

  11. Great stats! V clean hitting and tidy match! Let’s hope the BH stays as good and the spin control he has seemed to gain on the FH comes out v Novak! Nice write up J, working overtime again! I think it helps Fed slightly that it’s a semi and that most people are picking Novak! He can play ultra aggressive as Kukushkin did and hope he catches a break! Has to serve as he did today!! Huge factor v Novak as he cannot just stroll into net as he sometimes does…!
    Wld love a Feli v Fed final but Simon on a horrible roll here and think he will hv too much consistency for Lopez!
    Allez Fed, big chance to get this title and he knows it! I also think if he does win it, he wld miss Paris!
    Ps if I were French DC cap, I wld play Simon! Def in Stans head!!

    1. Spot on with your comments Susie. I would also give Simon the win against Lopez, but I do hope Lopez can get the better of the sparrow-legged Simon: can’t stand the guy. He’s often been troublesome to Federer as well as Stan, so I think you make a good comment re DC.

      The only worrying part of Feds’ stats is points won on second serve, and I’ve noticed this a few times lately: at one time these were excellent but of late, they’ve slumped below 50% – is this a slight drop in power, or are players reading this one better?

      Federer needs to be at his best of course – and Djokovic has had a few tricky matches, but yesterday against Ferrer he was viciously efficient. Let’s hope Feds brings his special RFmagic to the court.

    2. Yeah Simon vs Stan could be interesting. Maybe clay gives Stan that bit more time to play his shots though. Although I wonder what the French team will be?

      1. You guys are hilarious! First, we had a problem that he wasn’t winning enough points and titles. Now, we are stressed that he won’t be able to defend them πŸ™‚

      2. Yes, every time he’s gone out at, say, SF level I’ve consoled myself by thinking that it’ll be easier to defend points next year that way πŸ™‚ Hope I don’t need to be doing the equivalent tomorrow afternoon.

    1. I’m not big on this whole notion of “defending” points. Every year, there are so many points to go round, and every year, any one player wins some of them and doesn’t win others. They don’t lose MORE points if they don’t win the same number they won last year. It can make a difference in ranking, & thus in seedings for tournaments, IF the people behind you are close; but we’ve had quite a few years here where the gap between 1-3, or sometimes 1-4, and the rest, is huge. So if you’re one of those top 3 or 4 players, the only difference is the size of the gap, even if you don’t ‘defend’ some of the previous year’s points. But your task is always to win as many points as possible; you don’t have have to win any more just because you had a good year last year.

      Plus, agree with Jonathan – let’s enjoy the rest of this year! Back up to #2, woo-hoo!

  12. One reason why I don’t give much weight yo the H2H is because should Federer want to conserve his lead against Djokovic, all he has to do is lose in the match prior.

    Is a loss to Benneteau going to effect his legacy. Never.
    Is a title in Shanghai going to effect his legacy. Nope.
    Opponent. In prime, best hard court player currently, n a court that he enjoys playing on, slow conditions
    Nothing really to gain out of this match. Only to lose.

    Technically, Fed should just tank his match prior to this and wait to fight on a court that suits him more like a certain player out there who is so good at this. You have to give it to that guy and his schemey coach. Boy do they know how to plot. I’m willing to bet his coach would be the ideal go-to person if one wanted to plan an uprising.

    This is why I respect Fed so much more. He has rEVERYTHING to lose from tonight’s match. The odds are against him. He knows that. But he still won’t game the system. That’s why he’s the GOAT.

    1. Precisely. Greatness is also defined by how well you take care of the riff raffs, then man up to face the big guns. Roger kept playing through a very difficult 2013, and went 0-4 against Nadal, who took every opportunity he could. Federer is not someone who will chickens out if he is not playing well, or completely disappear. That’s why Federer has what Rod Laver calls, “a more complete body of work”.

      We never see Dopal all year round, so we never get to see how he would play with fatigue, or under the duress that his game keeps getting figured out. It’s a strategy, sure, but it inflates his H2H significantly, and also gives him better match win percentages. Look, if you are going to play only when you are feeling your best, it’s imperative you will rack up great numbers.

      All those stupid idiots who talk about how Nadal has a winning record against almost everyone should shut the fuck up!

      1. Couldn’t agree more Sid – ‘winning record against almost everyone’ – I’ve heard that time and time again: but if you pick when you play, then it’s very easy to conserve that winning percentage. Anyway, Feds has just put all those ‘weak era’ detractors in their place!

  13. What a wonderful match here’s hoping Fed plays as well today, it would be lovely to see him win he will need to be aggressive and if his serve is working as well as yesterday he certainly could do it – allez Roger Apparently Rafa was on the golf course yesterday!! Golf and appendicitus!!!

      1. [“A large part of it is on Fed’s racket”]
        Is that really still true?

        Couple of years ago I would have agreed, A game Fed beat A game Djoker. But now, Fed’s A game is a little less than before, and less consistent and frequent as well. Fed has to bring his A+ game to beat A game djoker. So I agree that Fed is the one who decides points by being aggressive, but to me I think he just needs a bit more now to beat djoker (if that makes any sense hahaha)

      2. I think so yeah. Fed is always the player forcing the issue. Djokovic’s game is more about defending well whilst still staying reasonably aggressive, as in not just retrieving it but getting there and putting something on it. If Fed puts away the balls then he wins.

        2-2 this year H2H.

        Maybe this court gives the edge to Djoker or it’s just a leveler, not sure…

  14. Expect an electric match from both sides guys. I’ve stayed up to the early hours of the morning to watch every single Federer vs Djokovic match this year and have not gone back to sleep thinking it wasn’t worth it.

      1. I just got a phone call from a venue asking if I want to play a one hour opener tonight. The only reason I’m not quite certain is because I’ll miss the match. Oh Federer. And I can’t even tell anyone cause they won’t understand. Hah!!

    1. Was wondering what you decided Gaurav. I was leaning the other way – after all you can watch replays of a match, but you can’t replay that particular gig. Hopefully you’ll get more offers to play, & glad you felt it was worth it – it was sure some match!

      1. I wouldn’t have missed it if it was an important show πŸ™‚ It was a last moment call, and I wasn’t in the frame of mind to go down and play in a few hours. Had already made plans to watch the match. Plus, a few hours was too short a notice for me to be ready.

  15. The old geezer is doing pretty good! πŸ˜€ Fantastic win, Novak played some very very sound tennis as well. Great match!

    Hey, if he wins this tomorrow, he’s giving himself an option on year end nr one. If he decides to play Paris. Still far away, but given how he is playing right now…

    Hope the playing night sessions all the time won’ t bother him tomorrow during day time…

  16. Wonderful – Fantastic – Brilliant – Superb – And a big poke in the eye to all his detractors. Weak era….pfff…Feds still showing them how to play perfect tennis!

  17. Allez! Roger seems to be the Djoker party spoiler. Djoker tries so hard to win fans over but they are all for Roger. He just didn’t win in any department today.

      1. Good one Wanda – he’s broken a few streaks in his time – remember Hamburg when he broke Nadal’s 81 (I think) clay match streak?

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