ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Avenges Raonic Defeat in London

Hey guys, sweet revenge for the GOAT here as he defeated Raonic 6-1 7-6(0) to get his World Tour Finals campaign off to a perfect start. Raonic was bidding to be only the third player ever to defeat Federer at back to back tournaments (Canas, Indian Wells & Miami, 2007 and Djokovic Paris, WTF 2013) but fell way short as Roger took control early and then closed it out comfortably in a second set tie breaker.

Not the greatest viewing but Roger played a very smart match especially in the first set where he made a high number of returns and took advantage of Raonic overcooking his inside out forehand which was lethal in his Paris victory 10 days ago.

The win means Roger tops the group thanks to a better game differential than Nishikori who defeated Murray routinely 6-4 6-4 earlier in the day. A poor start from the Scot who will now have to beat Raonic to have any hope of qualifying for the semi finals.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Raonic Round Robin London

Roger won the toss and elected to serve and started with high intensity, holding and then breaking for a 2-0 lead. He made peRFect use of the challenge system on break point too, correctly challenging a first serve that was called in and then capitalisd on Raonic's second delivery to convert.

The early break gave Roger the cushion he was looking for and he played with freedom on all his service games before breaking again at 4-1 and then serving out the set to take it 6-1.

Coming from a set down was always going to be a big ask for Raonic but he dug in well at the start of the second and began to dictate plays with his forehand into Federer's backhand corner. Roger did fashion an early break point in game 3 after Raonic had missed all 9 of his last first serves but the Canadian held firm with some big serving.

With Roger serving with 1-2 he somehow managed to let a 40-0 lead slip and then had to save 2 break points to level for 2-2. The same happened at 2-3 with Roger again letting a 40-0 lead slip and having to save a 3rd break point with an immense top spin second serve.

Midway through the second and Roger's intensity had dropped off considerably which allowed Raonic to push the Swiss behind the baseline and he held his remaining service games from 3-3 onwards comfortably to lead 6-5. Roger then had to save a set point at 30-40 but did so with an unreturnable serve before going onto hold and force the tie breaker.

Roger's record in tie breaks of late has been very impressive, winning 14 of his last 17 and in this one Raonic got off to a terrible start, missing a forehand on the first point and allowing Roger to get into a 3-0 lead. That proved costly as Raonic's game went completely off the boil, losing both his service points before Roger closed it out 7-0, winning a tie break to love for the 6th time in his career.

Match Stats

  R. Federer M. Raonic
Aces 5 10
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve % 56% 47%
1st Serve Points Won 32/42 (76%) 22/28 (79%)
2nd Serve Points Won 20/33 (61%) 15/32 (47%)
Break Points Saved 4/4 (100%) 4/6 (67%)
Service Games Played 10 9
1st Return Points Won 6/28 (21%) 10/42 (24%)
2nd Return Points Won 17/32 (53%) 13/33 (39%)
Break Points Won 2/6 (33%) 0/4 (0%)
Return Games Played 9 10
Winners 24 29
Unforced Errors 14 24
Net Points Won 7/10 6/17
Total Service Points Won 52/75 (69%) 37/60 (62%)
Total Return Points Won 23/60 (38%) 23/75 (31%)
Total Points Won 75/135 (56%) 60/135 (44%)

Thoughts on the Match

Fedberg London

I think I played really well for probably one and a half sets. It was good to get off to a good start like I did against him at Cincinnati and Wimbledon. I broke in the first game and sort of never looked back.

A solid match from the Swiss here and always nice to set the record straight after his loss to Raonic in Paris a couple of weeks ago. I think Roger played the first set at a very high level and made enough returns to cause Raonic problems. In Paris Raonic never really missed his forehand but at the o2 it wasn't as reliable and that made the difference in the first few games.

Roger contributed to that shot breaking down by hitting his backhand well in the early stages and continually making Raonic play the ball whether he was on the baseline or up at the net volleying.

The second set was obviously a lot closer and it's one Raonic should really have won but unlike Roger he didn't pose enough questions on the big points or make Fed play that one more ball on any of his break points.

Roger said in the Sky Pad after the match his legs weren't moving as well in the second set and that's why Raonic was able to make it closer and dictate from the back of the court. Seems a fair assessment to me and Roger's level of play did noticeably drop but fortunately his mental focus was sharp to save the break points and play a solid tie break when he needed to. Job done πŸ™‚

Predictions vs. Nishikori

Federer Nishikori

Next up is Nishikori who defeated Murray 6-4 6-4 in the day session in a low quality encounter where both guys made quite a lot of errors. Murray went up a break in the first set only to hand it straight back and then capitulate at 4-5 with some very weak serving.

Nishikori then got himself into a 3-0 lead in the second set and had an easy forehand to make it 4-0 but missed it. He then got pegged to 4-4 but just like the first set Murray folded serving to stay in the match, going long with a routine forehand on match point to hand Nishikori the win on debut. A routine win really for Nishikori and he was by far the better player, bossing Murray from the back of the court throughout and taking full advantage of Murray's club level second serve.

Nishikori looked solid enough but I think if Roger can play with the intensity he showed in the first set of the Raonic match then he'll have too much for the Japanese on Tuesday. Nishikori's serve was a bit of a liability vs. Murray so Roger will need to take full advantage of that and pile on the pressure when he gets a look at the second delivery.

Nishikori has great foot speed and hits well off both wings but as long as Roger is the aggressor and is prepared to put together 3/4/5 shot combos to end points then I see him coming through comfortably. Fed in 2: 6-2 6-4.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Out of running for the year end No.1 spot, but nevertheless a very satisfying 2nd title of 2014! I equal Roger’s GS slam title count today! LD

    1. You should have been a bit more generous on Wawrinka vs Berdych Conal! Just watched that match – absolutely fabulous from Stan – 6-1,6-1 – incredible. He has got a very positive h2h against him it’s true, but it looks like Stan has found his form just at the right moment which is great. πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah I updated it just now, forgot I’d included it in the opening sentence.

      We talked about it in live chat as Koenig asked about it. I thought Djoker straight away but then Canas cropped up. The question on Tennis TV was who was the only player to do it. But there’s actually 2 so the question was wrong.

    1. That’s correct. I just looked it up. Semi in the Paris Masters 2013, followed by the first RR match at the O2. Dilemma solved!

      1. Are you sure? Jonathan? I thought that David Nalbandin did it as well in 2007, when the Madrid Master was the hard-court event and was schedule before the Paris Master. In that year, I vaguely remember that he beat not only Roger back-to-back from Madrid to Paris but also beat Rafa back-to-back in the same two tournaments.

  1. I couldn’t get on to Live Chat for most of this match for some reason. I was logged in okay but the live screen just didn’t appear. Maybe it’s my internet connection which has been playing up a little lately.

    Anyway, it was good to see Raonic put firmly back in his place. Roger played a brilliant first set I thought. Second second worried me a little but he got the job done. The tiebreaker really surprised me because I was expecting Raonic to win it given the serve he has. He really went to pieces there, didn’t he. I’m glad Roger didn’t have to waste too much energy on a third set. Let’s just hope his legs have recovered by tomorrow for the match against Nishikori.

    1. Either give it some more time, or refresh the browser. Sometimes closing all browser instances helps too. I mean, you will have to open one for the chat πŸ™‚

  2. Good to see him with that fluid movement again. Was he as good in the first set as against Djokovic in Shanghai?

    Granted, Raonic wasn’t as impressive as in Paris; but our guy didn’t slump in response, either.

    Hope the “legs not moving as well” in the 2nd is just getting used to the venue. As he said, we expect them to play at the level of a final from the 1st match at this particular tournament, and it’s just not realistic.

    Apparently the crowd were even wilder for him than usual when he entered the arena? (Of course WTF makes more of a production of said “grand entrance”; not something I’m really a fan of. It’s a tennis match, not a GUESS what start we have NOW!!!!)

    Great start.

    1. Getting used to the venue won’t really come into it πŸ˜• He meant his legs were tired in the 2nd set, will happen at some point in most matches really especially after he made a fairly explosive start. Would have probably got a 2nd wind in third set.

  3. I thought that was an excellent match from Feds. And actually those stats don’t quite do justice to him in the first set where he had 100% return of Raonic serves – unbelievable. There’s a big difference between 21 aces and 10 – he certainly wasn’t serving anything like as well as in Paris, and Feds took full advantage. I’m liking the 100% break points saved…this is one area where Feds has improved massively of late. And of course excellent serving once again is obviously helping him here. I think also this is the first time (unsurprisingly) that Raonic has lost a tiebreak to love!
    A little worried about the ‘legs not moving as well’ on second set comment. Nishikori is another one who gets one more ball back, and he has a way of making his opponents run. Fitness still a big of a ? with him: he had some taping on his wrist. The important thing is Federer’s solid serve will make him difficult to break, whereas Nishi’s relative weakness here will leave him open to attack. Feds certainly didn’t waste too much energy so he should be fine against Nishi so I reckon he could do it in two. Great write-up Jonathan, thanks. πŸ™‚

    1. I think tiredness in the legs is natural at that stage in the season, it was also Fed’s first match after 10 days so bound to be a little rusty. Should be fine for Nishikori.

  4. Sweet sweet revenge! Really pleased to see Fed get this done in straights, since his level dipped quite a bit in the second set, but it sure was satisfying watching him get Raonic on the ropes in the opening set. And yet, despite Raonic making a number of improvements to his game, I still don’t think he has ‘it’. Without that monster of a serve, what does he have really? The forehand can sometimes be lethal, but it’s not hit like that with consistency.

    Anyway, back to Fed – he’ll get the win against Nishikori, just needs to up that level. I didn’t realise just how much of a liability Nish’s serve is! So many double faults…and as for Murray – I doubt he’ll win a single match if he carries on playing so poorly.

  5. Great too see Federer back to the normal behavior of a warm handshake at the net, and a pat on the back πŸ™‚

    1. After what you said about his handshake in Paris, I found a short youtube bit on the match. Have to say Sid, there was nothing wrong with the handshake there, and Rog smiled as he shook his hand. No pat on the back true, but Raonic, as the winner, gave him one!

      1. You call that a smile? Compare that with when he beat him yesterday. Roger’s behavior was so pathetic in Paris at the net, it’s like a slam dunk!

  6. Having watched highlights of the match, it seems that Roger gave Milos a lot of mid-court balls in the 2nd set, which Milos did not hesitate to blast them away. Jonathan, you re-capped it very well but I thought that Roger didn’t hit balls cleanly enough in the 2nd set before TB. The court conditions are a bit better than the Paris but they still seem to be slow. His blocking backs often ended up being short and got being punished.
    I hope that Roger will play Kei in the same manner as he did with Milos in the 1st set.
    Allez Roger!

    1. Fed said they were slower than Paris. It’s hard to say, Murray said they were faster so who knows.

      I thought Raonic got the upper hand in the 2nd set, Fed’s shots were landing short because he was defending rather than attacking.

      1. Then he had better take a leaf out of Novak’s book, because when the Serb defends he sends his shots back to the baseline. Fed was barely making the service-line during routine rallies. That won’t do, if he wants to win this thing.

      2. I also felt he lost some power in that second set – he did give Raonic a look at several mid court balls, and was punished. Wawrinka is like a bull and has the strength to power through from the back of the court; Federer does not have this option, or only for a short time.

  7. Happy Roger got his revenge, he needs to play a lot better against Nishikori. Stan dished out double breadsticks today. Hopp Suisse

  8. Could’ve sworn I checked this site well after 11.30 this morning: I get the feeling it doesn’t always update well for me when you post something new, Jonathan!

    So I see Fed’s playing tomorrow afternoon after all: just when I’d got plans to go up to the O2 in the afternoon and see if I could catch him practising. Now I assume he’ll be using the main arena and I won’t be able to get in πŸ™
    Anyone know anything about his practice schedules/general practices?

    1. I don’t think he practices at the O2 at all. Always at Queens Club. Maybe he does 1 or 2 in the venue but I haven’t seen his name on the practise schedule that is streamed live on the Tennis TV YouTube Channel.

      1. He’s surely going to practise there tomorrow before his match, which probably means 11 am or so, I’d guess, but on the main court. Expect Djoko does the same.

  9. Well, I’d feel a bit miffed if I’d paid loads of money to watch Wawrinka/Berdych this afternoon. Just as well I’m stuck at work and wouldn’t have been able to go!

    1. For the last time, Djokovic has already sealed the No.1 ranking. With this win, he stands at 10,210. Roger, even if he wins the WTF, can only make it to 10,200.

      Get over it already! πŸ™‚

      1. Sid, apparently Roger gains points from Davis cup should he win his singles ties and the Swiss win the entire thing- plus has Novak’s points from DC last year already dropped off? But yeah Utch you are right, should Novak win all his group matches, the battle is over but the war aint lost yet, I’m sure Fed will get to no.1 one more time in career if he keeps playing at this consistency.

      2. I thought Roger’s Davis Cup points don’t count towards Year End No.1, but will be considered for the ranking next year.

        Jeez! This is even more complicated than the US Tax code.

      3. No Sid I already told you number 1 is decided after the Davis Cup. If I need to be more precise there are actually Challengers a week after Davis Cup and it is only after that week that the number one is decided. The reason number one is given during WTF’s is that most of the time the guy who is number 1 has had an unassailable lead during it. And if need be it can be given after it as well !!

  10. Gd win, gd warm up and shld up the level against Kei, now he has got used to the match conditions of the court. Needs to increase the first serve % as he goes! I was surprised how little he came in against Raonic! Didn’t feel the need or court speed? Hard to work out from the telly!
    I am going to see it live tomorrow so will let you all know about the court/bounce/balls if I can!
    I think it looks slightly faster than Paris but that may be the balls which do go thru a bit more.

    Cilic looked v out of place tonight but the newbies are unused to coming out and basically playing a final first match up and it showed. Berdych had an ultra bad day at the office but his game (?) was very exposed as was his lack of movement.

    To all those who were excited for new faces? Hmmm! Ferrer and Dimitrov wld hv provided more resistance and entertainment I feel!!

    I am also going for Fed to win in 2, and Raonic to beat Muzza but he has to get off to a better start!
    Kei’s serve is clearly slightly compromised post Paris and his serve bit underpar! Hoping Fed takes advantage big time!

    1. As usual Susie there seem’s to be contradictory comments from players (and coaches) re the speed of court. Some are saying it’s a little faster, some are saying the same as Paris. The bounce on some of those serves seemed high, but when playing it seemed like a lower bounce – Federer’s slices were working well, as were Wawrinka’s against Berdych.

      Agree with you about the ‘new faces’ – so far, a real disappointment, particularly Cilic. I also think that Ferrer would have provided more entertainment, and probably Dimitrov also, so long as he didn’t also suffer from stage fright.

      Looking forward to your comments on today’s match. Have a great time Susie. πŸ™‚

  11. Hey guys, I know it seems like Novak is unbeatable, but Roger can take him. Novak seemed unbeatable and unplayable when he “destroyed” Berdy in the Beijing Final, but then Roger beat him very convincingly at Shanghai. So… I think this will happen this year too. Maybe it was a good thing that Roger didn’t play Novak in Paris, so he can beat him here.

    By the way….WHAT is wrong with you Berdy?? Don’t you want to win matches??

    Ps: Some super duper smart writer/critic really should write a piece about why on earth players ONLY play the match of their life against Roger……

    1. You guys are totally exaggerating Djokovic’s performance. First, he has always owned Cilic. Second, when was the last time Cilic played a match? That’s right!

      1. Totally agree. Cilic looked so rusty, made Novak look better. Cilic didn’t even look as tho he had practiced on the court. Poor value!

      2. You’re right Sid, Cilic played like shit. The serve was non-existent and he barely got to a ball. Should have been 6-0, 6-0: I think Djokovic felt sorry for him and let him have a couple of games.

      3. Yeah agreed, Djoker is the man to beat on this surface but his match with Cilic was a done deal before they stepped on court. Never in doubt so makes no difference in this tournament.

    2. Novak isn’t in God form or anything but he has the edge in his group, seems like the only player who was in form before the tournament started. But Wawrinka looks to be remembering he won a slam this year, so if can bring that attitude with his match with Djoker, he definitely has a chance. But, right now, it would seem Djoker makes it out of his group on top.

  12. Ps Jon, on a totally different note: Yesterday I saw Judy Murray in Strictly Come Dancing. She was wearing a red dress… To be perfectly honest….. wow….. when she has make up on, done her hair, wears a nice dress…. she looks mighty mighty fine for a woman of her age πŸ™‚ Go Judy πŸ™‚

    1. Katyani, she’s had more work done to herself than the grass courts at Wimbledon. Botox, fillers you name it, she was spending Andy’s prize money on all sorts of cosmetic stuff prior to Strictly Come Dancing.

      The only amusement factor is the Judges comments!

  13. Revenge is a dish best served slow? (according to Roger and the court speed at least)…Nice start from him here, the return was obviously the massive difference between Paris. Just hows how one-dimensional Raonic is as a player, couldn’t take control of the rallies, so job done indeed! So I’m assuming the tonne of people who bought tickets for Tuesday will be disappointed because they expected Muz/Roger? Surprised by how poor Andy played in that one, but I think he will take care of Raonic. Nishikori will be trickier than this match, bit of an awkward match up for Roger (has he ever beat Kei?) so could go the distance but hoping he can show the dominating form he displayed from the first set of the Raonic match. Elsewhere, the Stanimal is making a return and Novak looks to be in prime position to seal the no.1 ranking (Stan has a say in this though maybe).

    Also what’s the deal with Fed wearing the same outfit from Shanghai-WTF? Nike more interested in getting the Jordans out there.

    1. H2H is 2-2 Alysha, 1-1 this year. So Nishikori has the weapons. But I really don’t think he will this time. He’s not looking that lively, his serving was poor and Federer, whose serve has looked absolutely solid of late, will be able to take advantage of that. He’s always tricky of course as he’s very fast around the court, and a good defender, but he wasn’t great against Murray, who was very poor.

  14. Thanks for these posts Jonathan, always spot on with your analysis of each match. Thumbs up, good job, keep doing what you do best. πŸ™‚
    Anyway really happy with Federer off the mark and on top. Just needs to do the same thing with Nishikori and not let his level drop in the second set. 1 down 4 to go hopefully! !! Fingers crossed! !!
    Regarding the Djokovic match this was a complete fix as with Stan the man killing Berdych 1 and 1 . I thought he’d be in number 1 position but then Djokovic wins with the same score and I thought yep they don’t want a semi final match with Fed and Djoker as winner of group B and then runner up group A, with either of their top 2 going out before the final. Mmmmm very very fishy indeed. The elite definitely want a blockbuster final especially with one their injury boy ( Nadal) not being there. As a contingent plan. Mr “Cough Medicine” Cilic played and did what he was told to do. And therefore made his Croatian/ Serbian and fellow members, colleagues business associates rich by betting as a loser of a match.And added bonus of proprobably hinting the what scoreline he was going to lose. Once a drugs cheat, always a drugs cheat and money play s a big part of when to win and when to take a dive ( fall, injury, etc etc etc).
    Anyway my apologies for the rant. I just don’t like it when blatant cheating is happening plus the fixes and going ons what we don’t know about. I know I too was given a brown envelope inside a normal newspaper, the contents within the envelope needs no imagination. Just a friendly masonic handshake to say goodbye and pay for the coffee. Instructions inside no questions asked once the envelope is taken. Sounds alot like a Hollywood movie, but I kid you not! !!! Lol. I just hope whoever has decided who is to win this last tournament the vote comes back with Roger Federers name. You may think that Federer has cheated. But in all sports Federers not the first and is not the last person to be given , lets say a helping hand. I can’t remember who said it but whatevers good and best for business! !! Corruption, greed will always play major part in all sports. As the oncegreat GGordon Gecko said “Greed is Good” Its just all entertaining illusion called Tennis. And I myself support and want Federer to win. Whooooooo what is going on with the world??????? (Including myself with Lies, damned lies and statistics) . Jonathan also mentioned this in one of a previous post with this quote which was spot on.

    1. This is the Cilic who straight-setted Roger at the USO and then an in-form Nishikori in the final, similarly in straight-sets. “No-Weapons Nishikori” of course had earlier disposed of Djokovic, with the loss of only one set. That was the USO. Now Cilic gains only 2 games(!) in 2 sets against Djokovic in London. Whatever the Croat was on at the USO he isn’t any longer. Normal service is resumed. I am amazed that anyone here thinks they are still watching an honest competition.

  15. Roger needs to return better if he wants to stay close to the top. Standing a few feet behind just to receive the servers with 140+ serves would be a start. Raonic running Roger around is a joke. All of it starts with a bad return.

    1. I don’t think Raonic running Fed around is a joke at all, he has a dominant forehand. The difference is Fed put more balls in play and asked enough questions, that has always been his play vs. Big Servers.

  16. Anyone missing Ferrer! Wld hv given more than Tomas and Marin! Has even been practising in case he gets his chance. Total pro!

    1. Yes. Not specifically in place of anybody in particular – but yes, that whole “total pro” thing.

      Although to be fair, I’m not sure anybody who actually made it ISN’T – they just wore themselves out.

    2. Yeah it’s been a poor WTF so far really, some very one sided matches, can’t say any match has given value for money, just always fun to see how Fed plays the game.

  17. Sweet start with the 1st set and even sweeter end with the peRFect TB! Never mind the sleepwalking in the second set, Fed saved himself by clutching at the important points. So yeah he played indeed a smart tennis. Over all, it was a good solid match. Great analysis and replies to the comments as always, Jonathan, well done πŸ™‚

  18. good start for the maestro, took advantage of poor forehand from Roanic. Nishi should be a real test today. looking forward to this match

    all the best Roger

      1. Yeah, poor Nishi πŸ™ This win and Murray’s win over Roanic has set the highlights for the upcoming Roger Vs Murray Match and I hope it will meet the expectation πŸ™‚

  19. Backdall news…
    BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s doctor says the 14-time Grand Slam winner will receive stem cell treatment on his ailing back.
    Angel Ruiz-Cotorro told The Associated Press by phone on Monday that ”we are going to put cells in a joint in his spine” next week in Barcelona.
    The Spanish tennis star was already sidelined for the rest of the season after having his appendix removed last week.
    Ruiz-Cotorro, who has worked as a doctor for Nadal for the past 14 years, said Nadal’s back pain is ”typical of tennis” players and that the treatment is meant to help repair his cartilage and is similar to stem cell treatment Nadal received on his knee last year.
    He said Nadal is expected to return to training in early December.

  20. Well played again today the Fedster. Took the match by the scruff of the neck from the word go. If Raonic takes a set tonight, Fed is through to the semis and can then play Murray with no pressure, although having said that I’m sure first place will be an equally important aim if it means avoiding Djok in the semi.

    We couldn’t have hoped for a better start though from Fed!!!

    2 down, 1 practice match then another 2 to go…..

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