ATP 500Roger FedererSwiss Indoors

Federer Battles Through Basel Opener

A battle in Basel for Roger Federer as the hometown hero overcame a tough encounter to see off Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in 2 hours and 8 minutes to keep his hopes of a 9th title at the Swiss Indoors alive.

It’s the first time the Swiss has dropped a set in his opening match at the St Jakobshalle since 2008 and after winning seven straight games to take the first set and lead by a break in the second he appeared to be fully in control but Krajinovic hit back, breaking three times in the second set to run Roger closer than he would have liked.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Forehand Basel 1R 2018

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Two ill-advised approaches helped the Serb to an easy hold before Roger levelled at 1 game all.

It was a sluggish start from the 8-time champion who had to save two break points in game four but from there he was able to find some rhythm, breaking in the next game en route to five games on the spin as he took the set 6-2 with a nice mixture of ball striking and hustle.

With momentum on his side, a runaround forehand return gave the Swiss a break of serve in the opening game. Despite looking in full control at 3-1, the wheels soon came off as Krajinovic upped his game to win four games in a row for a 5-3 lead and whilst he failed to serve it out, he broke Roger for the third time in the set to take it 6-4.

With Roger’s level all over the shop, a tense third set was the likely outcome but he allayed some nerves by moving up a break in game three. The break was consolidated for 3-1 after Roger saved a breakpoint but Krajinovic wasn’t finished just yet, saving a break point in game five and then holding three break points in game six only to blaze a forehand long at 30-40 which allowed Fed to hold for 4-2.

A marathon service game then saw Roger get the insurance break for 5-2 but it was only fitting that he couldn’t serve it out at the first time of asking, playing a loose service game to give Krajinovic a sniff of a comeback. The Serb then held for 4-5 and Roger was soon in more trouble at 0-30 after a wing and a prayer Roddick-esque net approach but he somehow steadied the ship to hold and take the match much to the relief of the packed St Jakobshalle.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Filip Krajinovic
Aces 10 3
Double Faults 6 3
1st Serve 47% (44/93) 58% (54/93)
1st Serve Points Won 70% (31/44) 59% (32/54)
2nd Serve Points Won 49% (24/49) 46% (18/39)
Break Points Saved 71% (10/14) 57% (8/14)
Service Games Played 14 14
1st Serve Return Points Won 41% (22/54) 30% (13/44)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 54% (21/39) 51% (25/49)
Break Points Converted 43% (6/14) 29% (4/14)
Return Games Played 14 14
Winners 38 21
Unforced Errors 38 22
Net Points Won 47% (15/32) 65% (13/20)
Service Points Won 59% (55/93) 54% (50/93)
Return Points Won 46% (43/93) 41% (38/93)
Total Points Won 53% (98/186) 47% (88/186)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Basel 1R 2018

A rollercoaster opening round here and Roger’s tennis went from sublime to second rate in the blink of an eye. In his pre-tournament interview, Roger said he expected a stern examination from Krajinovic and he certainly got one tonight as he struggled to maintain consistency in any area of his game.

He started poorly in the opening exchanges, clearly struggling for timing and short balls that are usually mopped up were blazed long and wide. Was he overeager from the expectant crowd? Perhaps so. Fortunately, Krajinovic couldn’t take advantage and once Roger saved break points in game three he was able to settle down and actually started to play some good stuff. However, it was short lived and the second half of set two was a really poor show as he lost serve three times to drop it, missing his first serve consistently and the ground game looked ropey at best.

In the lead up to Basel, we discovered some sort of hand injury has been affecting Roger’s forehand since the beginning of the Grass Court season in Stuttgart. It’s supposedly now fine but his forehand looked to be off again tonight, committing 23 of his 38 unforced errors. His serve was equally poor, landing just 41% of the time and producing 6 double faults. Is it still an issue? Who knows, rustiness and hometown pressure could also be a factor tonight so I guess we’ll see in the next round if the trend continues.

Anyway, you can’t exactly say it was impressive but a win is a win and Krajinovic is no pushover, he moved very well to make a lot of balls and volleyed nicely to put in a much better showing than he managed in Indian Wells earlier this year.

Predictions vs. Struff

Next up is Jan-Lennard Struff who defeated John Millman in two sets. I thought the German would win with his big hitting game and I caught the last set in which he played some decent stuff. Millman is a tough grinder but he has no weapons and on a quick looking indoor court it’s an uphill task.

Struff, on the other hand, has a huge game and will pose a threat when he plays Federer on Thursday. Fortunately, Roger has a day off to prepare and he will need to up his consistency big league to get past his 6ft 4″ opponent who can win plenty cheap points behind his serve. Based on the first round I’m not sure what to expect, could be another roller coaster, but at least he’s very much au fait with conditions after spending two hours out there so we shall see 😀

What did you guys think of the match? Relieved (Wanda)? 🙂 Let me know in the comments.


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. I mean, this is the most unexpected win I’ve had ever.
      Went on the Perfect Tennis page, thinking that the match page would have been posted but it was sitting there saying it was posted 1 min ago!

  1. Bah. Rust. Mould. Spider webs. Dust. Dust is everywhere.It comes through the window
    It comes through the floor
    It comes through the roof and
    It comes through the door
    Dust is everywhere
    It sneaks in ignored
    It stacks up around
    (and so on…)

  2. Well,I just don’t know what to say.Roger began badly,then got into his stride.But I felt he looked rough,sweating and
    grunting.The second set was no surprise,terrible service stats and unforced errors galore.Third set I thought he had lost when he dropped serve serving for the match and went out to cook the dinner.Very pleasantly surprised to hear he had won,but frankly felt like crying.He will not win the next match playing like this,what on earth is going on?

  3. In the picture above Roger raises his arm to the ovation of the crowd. Unfortunately if you really look you see the face of Roger and he knows. I stated before that Basel his home town would be a deciding factor as to how I see next year for the GOAT. I truly believe that Roger is tired and is feeling his age and that training his getting harder for him to maintain his level needed to win. He just doesn’t seem to have the excitement anymore. I am watching these matches along with whatever else he plays this year. But at 37 and 20 years in tennis he knows that he enjoys the adulation but that comes with winning. I am sure Roger will not continue if the passion isn’t there to train to maintain a level that even 20 year old have a hard time with. He still had a great deal accomplished this year but I do feel I will not be surprised by the end of the year if he announces his retirement. Whatever happens thank you Roger and I will always enjoy watching past great moments of your career.

  4. He was doing so nicely until I started watching the scores, whereupon it turned into a 3-set total mess. This is getting really predictable: I was actually sitting there going “Watch him drop his serve now” and “he’s really fighting to get this break, but he won’t, and he’ll probably get broken next game”, and he pretty much did! Seems like a repeat of Shanghai. First serve nowhere to be seen (37%!) in set 1, manages the first set, then goes walkabout in the second, and barely scrapes through in the third! Is he *sure* the hand’s okay now, because I wouldn’t have guessed it from his stats? Has 3 months of poor play had a knock-on effect? Is it psychological? I just have no idea.

  5. It’s almost as though the pressure of it all is interfering with his game, he usually
    was so sure of his strokes and game. Is it the hand that would explain the
    faulty serve and forehand, or is it that he has just had enough every other
    person says the ‘R’ word, maybe he’s beginning to believe it himself….but he
    won so perhaps that should be enough for a Fedfan x

  6. The mind is unpredictable and difficult to tame at times. I don’t think this is a physical limitation we are seeing with Fed, he moved fine today. The serve has left him which is probably attributable to the fact that he has lost confidence in his game, stroke, strategy overall. He is probably thinking the same thing that Alison mentions above … watch me not hold here and get broken next game …what is happening to me. Well, he has figured it out before and I suspect he will this time. No predictions on the rest of this year. I am already concerned about his ability to defend at the Australian and the points he might lose. I predict he might play at Paris to give himself some room depending on how he feels this week.

  7. As has already been said – what the HECK is going on? The hand would explain, it, but he says it’s fine. It could be not quite fine, or maybe the months playing with it messed up got him overcompensating somehow, & now he’s got to un-overcompensate. He’s moving great – you shouldn’t actually be able to chase down tennis balls like that, that was kind of an unbelievable point. Krajinovic had some good moments himself. I wonder if the new court plays substantially differently to what he’s used to? Much will depend on whether he & team know or are able to figure out what’s going on, & come up with an effective strategy. Guess we wait & see which Fed shows up Thursday. I was totally beaming positive energy from my house, & I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!

  8. Equally worrying is that Federer might have had a slight mental blip. Krash hit what looked like a miracle shot on the way to breaking Fed, on closer inspection Krash’s ball was out! Fed didn’t even challenge.

  9. Thanks for the quick write up Jonathan.
    Another nail biter for us !
    It was the 16th consecutive win in Basel for Roger yesterday.
    Anyway, I enjoyed the match. Krajinovic has nothing to blame himself for and Fed played some brilliant strokes. He runs well. But, Jesus, what happens with the serve  and the break points ? …

    One day to rest-recollect-lighten the tension from the pressure-cooker Fed’s head seems to be more and more.
    As Marc Rosset wrote after Wimbledon 2018 :

    “Il se relâcherait un peu le cerveau à exiger moins de lui”.

    Maybe the media, fans require/expect too much from him.
    The Struff match will tell us more… for sure.

    1. Nick Lester the commie said that too on a podcast we just don’t understand how much he is giving to al his sponsors and life in general as well as maintaining top 10. With Djoko lurking menacingly and people like Stan calling it a day for the season be happy Fed is still there trying hard for us.
      Just take whatever he is giving there there is still pleasure In many parts of his game and maybe some wins!

  10. Wellwell, let’s just see. He moves well, that’s not indicating fatigue, old age and whatever you pessies say. I boil it down to his hand, and that’s worrying enough. But not indicating R-word. Some of you seems to to love excelling in predicting it again and again rather aggressively, are you offended because of his possible period of trouble winning? Some enjoyed the match in spite of the serving troubles, many db’s, – – so I look forward to replay it

      1. What you see is what you choose to see for some reason. The very interesting article long ago about different reasons to write RF down or being pessimistic, was an aha experience IMO. To find the reasons behind seeing is a very useful exercise for the conscience of your own deeper motivations. And what I see (for some reason ?) is that fans have different motives, and some are very ready to let the latest performance decide their mind’s momentary temperament and immediately predict the future of Rogers competence, his thinking, his planning, whatever. Nobody is clever enough for that IMO. But we feel good when he wins, and disappointed when not. And this last may create some natural aggression, which sometimes go to an inner reproaching the maestro for your own bad feeling, and starting predicting and “seeing” his incompetence and even soon retirement. Admitting that such down-cheering calls my own aggression, because why make all even worse, when you actually cannot have all the facts to exactly know? My appeal: Be open to all possibilities. And for me again, I feel so cheered up when some are sharing my huge gratitude for Roger still to present his art on court.

      2. Yes, I’m draining my bank account to wish Roger was retired. Planning my holidays to go see him play. Am I a pessie?

  11. I don’t think what’s currently bothering will necessarily hurry his retirement. Something definitely is bothering him for sure though. Hopefully he sorts it out 🙂

  12. Hmm, wobbly, wobbly match yesterday. Saw the first set, Roger played more than decently, especially towards the end of it. Saw the beginning of the second, Roger was up 3 1 with chances to go double break up. I close the TV and walk out of the house, only to check the live scores afterwards in shock. Came back and saw the deciding set. Many here say Roger is moving well and I agree, he’s moving well, but not exceptionally well as he’s always moved. Coming in towards the net for short balls, he’s always late and can’t reach the balls properly (hence he lobs the short balls a lot, which is not a good strategy IMO). Moving towards the sides with small steps to set up inside out forehands, the ball gets into his body (because he’s not able to move quickly enough out of its way). Lots of netted balls because of no proper knee bending / positioning, especially forehand side. All of these happen more and more after the first set. It’s a pretty clear indicator to me that he’s not moving as he wants to and Roger also knows this for sure (so do his opponents). He also seems to tire too quickly and these are just normal signs of the age. It’s fantastic how he’s been able to handle himself up until now. Always a pleasure watching his matches, we must cherish them as they are surely among the last we’ll see.
    I’m expecting next year to be the last in Roger’s career, but I’m more than happy for him, he deserves the break.

    1. Interesting & detailed observations here Dan, thanks. Fits in with what Jonathan was saying a week or so ago about timing.

  13. Nice writeups Jonathan btw and lovely photo! I’m with Muser, he’s still there with chances and our job is to encourage, support and accept ….the alternative is not worth thinking about with what we can still enjoy.

  14. Are you doing the “worst case scenario” so you won’t be disappointed?
    I know the feeling.
    But I would be disappointed if he lost anyway.
    Win it, Fed! Remember how you handled Struff in January.
    Give us more matches to watch.

  15. Well his head to head with Stuff is 3 love in his favour,two on grass and one at the Australian Open,I think.But he (Fed)hasn’t played Struff on a fast indoor court like this.Also there were a couple of tiebreaks in the mix,so if Fed serves the way he did last night it is hard to be optimistic about the outcome.Struff was serving very well against Millman and this will be a stern test for Federer.
    I find it very difficult to be confident that Fed is going to win any match now until the last ball is struck.This is not pessimism but realism based on events since Indian Wells.?

    1. Yea yea, all pessies always say they are realistic. But surprises are still and always possible in REAL world. We never know before the last ball is served. So why not cheer up – or just be curious to see what happens this time?

      1. I can’t deny myself to be extraordinary grateful that my hero STILL is there to compete and present us his genius! Oh wonderful RF! Allez!

      2. Well I have never been called a pessie before whatever that might be.I am perfectly cheered up thanks very much.No one is writing Fed off,how crazy that would be.However
        for whatever reason Feds play has become very erratic.Struff is unfortunately the type of
        player that can rattle Fed.That is all I am going to say.

      3. And you chose to say it once again! Could be, could be not. That’s all I’m choosing to say

  16. This is bad for everyone’s health, whatever slump he is going through he has to get shit in order. This is weirdest match ever, I dont recall in recent memory he loses back to back service games. He has always been great at holding serves but now its just wishful thinking. He is able to scrap a W due to experience, where is JesusFed???

  17. I hope he manages his games better tomorrow because he should have won easier, but
    we always forget the other player has a part to play. When we read all the stats about
    the game service/aces/returns etc., I often wonder if anyone has any stats on how many
    articles have been written about Fed, and what on earth are the pundits going to write
    about when Fed decides to be a ‘bus’ driver. Not there yet so C’mon Roger be good x

      1. Haha I like a nice tidy mind Jonathan! Talking about minds what if
        Roger has decided to keep us all on our toes with his will he or won’t win
        maybe he’s just keeping it interesting for himself…ONLY JOKING

  18. Arrrg omg phew yeah, thank God, Jonathan!
    I couldn’t watch the match (sorry guys on the chat not being able to join the HOLD chants) but a couple times I checked the score and almost had a heart attack! But Jonathan said “a win is a win” so here I am still optimistic (or rather hoping) to see him on his playground. Allez! If I can see him, you guys deserve a fan/fun story from me, yes??

  19. I agree with the previous message here “Rust, mold, spider web, …whatever”
    I am still happy to see Fed playing win or lose. Yes his gameplay has taken a big hit. I don’t think Fed can keep up with all the demands he is going through at this close to Retirement age. An injury just sucks out any hope that is left in his game. Fed probably knows this all too well. Which is why he mentioned after his loss to Coric “I am happy with my level of play”
    If Fed retired today, so be it. He gave it his “all” and some more. I don’t have any expectation from Fed to win the big titles. Every match seems to be exciting because you never know how its going to end vompared to his previous years where reaching the SF and F was a given. Fed still had a great 2018. Enjoy.

  20. Jonathan is it safe to say that his back hand is now more reliable than his forehand looking at the few previous matches?

    1. Hm not sure, I’ve forgotten the numbers but wasn’t the BH responsible for a lot of errors in Shanghai? Certainly the better shot against Krajinovic, FH was all over the place.

    2. I don’t pretend to have a smidgeon of Jonathan’s tennis knowledge,but I would say that it is his backhand slice that is keeping him competitive.Also the second serve,perhaps underrated but a
      great asset.

  21. Ok son not great but if you look at the past Fed always has a tough match or 2 here in the pressure cooker of home expectation and fast courts. Bellucci, Kohli, Istomin, Karlovic to name but 4. That crowd wld do me in tbh.
    Filip was solid and Fed wasn’t. The serve was awol which actually worries me more than the FH. Cornerstone of his game and all oppo reading it far too easily of late.

    However, get thru these tricky rounds and things might just begin to go right. I wld love to see him play Stefanos. That wld excite him.

    Will go into London as an outsider which might just suit him


  22. Right, Fed needs to up his game today and be more solid. Bit like against Nishikori when people were worried, he gave us a masterclass. Masterclass time again today Fed will you? – no more 2 set walkabouts.

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