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
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.
|R. Federer||M. Raonic|
|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|
|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
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 🙂
Predictions vs. 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.