ATP Masters 500HalleRoger Federer

Federer Battles Through Bautista Agut to Make Noventi Open Semi Finals

The nine time champion came through another 2nd set wobble to prevail 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Roger Federer is into his 15th Halle semi-final with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 over Roberto Bautista Agut in 1 hour and 53 minutes.

The win sees Roger further cement his record as the only player on the ATP Tour to make fifteen semifinals at any one tournament having done so in Basel, the ATP finals and now at the Noventi Open.

The Swiss made a fast start as he broke the Spaniard in his opening service game to take the first set at a canter but Bautista Agut raised his level to dominate the second and force a highly competitive decider that could have gone either way.

Federer will next face Pierre Hugues-Herbert who defeated Borna Coric after he retired with a back problem having lost the first set 7-5.

Quick Match Recap

fed qf halle 19

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. A decision that had an immediate reward as two quick points and a Bautista Agut double fault gave Roger three break points. A big inside out forehand converted at the first time of asking for 1-0.

A hold for fifteen consolidated the break for 2-0 and Roger was firmly in control using variety and injections of pace to rush Bautista Agut on the baseline. 

That was soon 3-1 and then back to back love holds then put the Swiss up 5-3 before the second break of serve secured the first set 6-3.

Into set two and a hold to thirty put Federer 1-0 but in game three Bautista Agut made his move, taking advantage of some Federror's to convert his third breakpoint after a poorly executed drop shot from the Swiss.

The Spaniard consolidated for 3-1 and was able to ride out the set 6-4 with Roger making little headway in his return games after some impressive serving and baseline hitting from Bautista who landed 71% of serves and found a lovely rhythm.

With another deciding set nailbiter to complement yesterdays thriller, Roger got himself in trouble in the opening game and Bautista set up a break point with a stunning passing shot on the run.

The Swiss saved it with a serve + big forehand combo and then had to save another after failing to control a volley, finding the line with another forehand before going on to hold for 1-0.

It was then Federer's turn to see a break point for 30-40 but Bautista Agut's flat forehand fired an inside in winner to save it and hold.

The pair then exchanged holds but it was Bautista Agut looking the more capable, doing a great job of pressuring Federer's forehand out wide with the Spaniard making deuce in game five.

A love hold from Bautista immediately put the pressure back on Roger in game seven but he held comfortably then had a break point of his own to go up 5-4. A netted run around the backhand return saw the chance spurned and Bautista Agut held for 4-4.

Roger then delivered a timely love hold of his own for 5-4 and after Bautista Agut came up with some slick hitting to lead 15-0 in game ten, he went completely off the boil, firing four unforced errors in a row as Roger broke out of nowhere to snatch the set and the match.

Match Stats

  Roger Federer Roberto Bautista Agut
Aces 4 3
Double Faults 0 1
1st Serve 66% (59/90) 70% (61/87)
1st Serve Points Won 76% (45/59) 64% (39/61)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (19/31) 62% (16/26)
Break Points Saved 80% (4/5) 50% (3/6)
Service Games Played 14 15
1st Serve Return Points Won 36% (22/61) 24% (14/59)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 38% (10/26) 39% (12/31)
Break Points Converted 50% (3/6) 20% (1/5)
Return Games Played 15 14
Winners 34 26
Unforced Errors 24 27
Net Points Won 73% (23/33) 57% (4/7)
Service Points Won 71% (64/90) 63% (55/87)
Return Points Won 37% (32/87) 29% (26/90)
Total Points Won 54% (96/177) 46% (81/177)

Highlights

Press Conference

Thoughts on the Match

fed-augt-hallef

He has a very dangerous forehand as we saw, his open continental grip allows him to hit through the court and he puts you on the back foot. If you're not careful and don't have enough firepower he will dictate baseline rallies and he can do that not a problem. I'm not surprised and I enjoyed the battle. Federer on his battle with Bautista Agut

Another close encounter for Roger here and a match that could have gone either way. Just like the Tsonga tie, a disaster game from Bautista Agut at the end of the third set cost him dearly as he'd looked the stronger player for large parts of the decider. 

In this one, Roger came out firing from the word go fusing his variety with injections of pace to keep the Spaniard on the back foot and way behind the baseline where he was ineffective. However, Bautista Agut didn't let the loss of the first set deter him and he upped his game in the second set, putting far more on his forehand and creating himself a nice rhythm from the baseline where he was making a ton of balls and making Federer do the hard yards. 

I thought he did a great job of pressuring Federer's forehand with some hard, flat, line finding hitting and there wasn't a whole lot Roger could do as the Spaniard didn't seem like he could miss for most of the set. He's got great speed and court coverage too so was able to soak up Federer's shots and stay offensive.

As for Roger, I thought he played well. Everyone sees the score and thinks wow losing a set to RBA on grass, he must have played poorly. But his level was there for the most part. The only area you can say let him down is his how many free points he's able to get off his first serve, not many aces and as he alluded to in his press conference after defeating Tsonga he feels his serving location hasn't been great. Bautista Agut looked to be returning many of them with interest and I think he needs to get his 1st serve win % up to win the title.

Predictions vs. Pierre Hugues-Herbert

I know Pierre-Hugues very well. He’s come to Switzerland before to train with me. He's a good guy. Likes to take the ball early, make cuts at the ball, takes time away and comes to the net. I’m excited. It is going to be different from what I saw today. Slight adjustment, I don’t know how the weather is tomorrow. I don't know if I’m playing again at this time of the day. I'm looking forward to it. It is always nice playing against someone for the first time. Federer on his upcoming match with Hugues Herbert

Next up is Pierre Hugues Herbert who got through after Coric retired after losing the first set 7-5. I picked Herbert to have a good tournament in my Halle 2019 draw post so I'm not too surprised to see him in the latter stages here. 

The Frenchman has a good game for the grass as he's got a decent-ish serve and can volley too thanks to him being a regular fixture on the doubles circuit.

Despite never playing him on tour, Federer knows his game well as he's trained with him a few times so I think he will have a good idea of what to expect. Does Herbert have the tools to trouble Federer? Seem's unlikely to me. Fed has played back to back 2-hour matches though now so he's not had it easy but I like his chances to make another final in Halle.

What did you guys think of the win against the Royal Bank of Agut? Predictions against Herbert? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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42 Comments

  1. Great win, great write up. Ppl always underestimate RBA but Fed doesn’t! Tricky tricky matchup especially on that dead Halle court.
    Nice volleying today, agree on serve ( seemed to stop pace in 2nd set??)
    PHH won’t give him any rhythm but I think Fed will work him out in 2 sets

    Fancy Matteo to come thru v Godfin but David may just surprise him.
    Allez Fed

  2. A win is a win and RBA is a tricky customer.
    Not surprised at all to see him come back in the second set.Hes pretty tenacious.
    I think Fed will straight set Herbert.Why I know not.Just think he will😊

  3. I had to leave briefly at the 2nd set so didn’t know how he lost the set but thought he played very well and toughed it out against a solid player. Great match! Bizarre last serve game from RBA, though.
    Another 15 SFs tournament – incredible.

  4. I thought it was simply a good match. Agut played very well, Fed just stronger mentally when he really needed to be. I feel like anyone complaining about Fed’s level after watching the match must have watched Queen’s or something.

  5. Lost focus in second and backhands were not landing in made it a closer match than what it should have been. Should be an easy 2 setter tomorrow, but finals could be a close one with Berrettini. Winning here would be nice and give him that extra ounce of confidence to win it again at Wimby. One match at a time.

  6. Think I must have checked the website about a minute before you posted this! Thanks for the writeup, Jon – it was slightly less nervy than yesterday’s one!

  7. Seemed to come out firing on all cylinders, then lost the plot; but thanks for the reminder that a lot of that was down to RBA making successful adjustments.

    I know Roger’s match was later, but the shadows on the court on some of the earlier matches looked awful, & I wonder if that will have an impact tomorrow.

    I like PHH. Surprised they’ve never played an official match before, but glad they’ve practiced together so he’s not an unknown. Not a bit afraid of the net – am expecting a more classic grass court match from these two tomorrow. Hopefully Fed can turn it up a notch again. That sniffle seems to be hanging on. Don’t know about in Germany, but in the NE US the pollen is awful.

  8. I had to leave part way through the match. Looked at the score after with a big smile on my face. No idea who was going through. It was SO nice to watch a tight match after knowing the score! No near cardiac arrest like most of the matches lately.

    I love the way Fed always respects his opponents. Explains to the press it’s no easy feat playing consistent tennis all match long or all career long for that matter. I’m a little worried about Berrettini if they both get to the finals.
    Get your cow bell out, Jonathan!

  9. Fed’s game is definitely better than last year at this time. He seems to be at a good place. I expect good things at Wimbledon.

  10. After having watched a few matches on clay, these 3 matches on grass looked like putting the VCR (does anyone know what that is?…) in fast forward. I can barely breathe watching those rallies where all ground strokes look and sound like half volleys and the ball seems to travel faster and faster.
    Pof-Bang! Pof-Bang! Pof-Bang!
    Air, please… RBA is no slouch and definitely not your typical Spanish clay court grinder. I am surprised by his shot reliability considering that with flatter hitting the margins are narrower. Fed barely managed to stay with him on set 3 and it could have derailed if he did not get some extra breathing room on a few cleaner service games.
    The final break was a gift and not a fully deserved one. Like PRF mentioned, it’s a bit unusual for experienced players like Tsonga or RBA to fail at such moments.
    But hey, a win is a win and this is was not a bad one.
    Just be prepared that with clutch wins come the inevitable close losses… that’s sport, properly packed with a nail repair kit.

    1. Another gift landed at Goffin. Zverev is now an undefined mix of old AllMyGold Sasha, believing in himself and playing what he learned before. – and of the new AllMyCoaches Sasha who may never find himself back 😉 Zverev was definitely going to win both in the second and in the third, but could not decide, which Zverev model is he right now.

      David did play his usual game with nice and clean placement, as you mention, but this would not be enough for Old Zverev, so it was another gift. That”s why I don’t see his chances against Matteo The Beast. ATP experts beyond the numbers say, his serve is only second to Federer’s, so …

      Berretini for the final in straights.

      Herbert is a nice doubles-born server and net player. Does Fed really a rhythm? I don’t think – they both will play quite the same. Here has Fed clearly the age. Fed in short straights. Sure, the match will be nice to watch, but no gifts today.

  11. Roger has to get his serve working again to win Wimbledon. Where he wins 40-0 or 40-15 quickly and puts the pressure back on the opponent to hold. He gets a lot of free points off his serve and short return setup shots. He’s not getting those in either Tsonga or RBA match.

    1. I think all these tough, close game are going to be very helpful. Get baptized now than breeze through Halle then go to Wimbledon feeling awesome and overconfident only to snap back to reality. Great that he is finding his range and ways to make things work.

      Contrariwise, all this could mean he just wasn’t good enough to win Wiimbledon. I like to think all this is going to be pretty useful at SW19.

  12. It felt to me while watching the match that Fed seemed to be struggling with his game, but the stats show a very close match with both players playing at a high level. That first set was just awesome, though? Go Fed!

  13. I like to see statistica always and I note those last months the most they play well who loose is who made more unforced errors indeed the serve is better or more aces or more winners. Roger must to concentrate on the returns!

  14. Well watched 1. set – and look forward to replay the rest. The stats looking better than versus Tsonga, it seems Rog deserved this win maybe more than vs Ts.

  15. This is definitively a very good win, thanks Jonathan. Plenty credit to RBA, who was excellent. When he played like this against Djorko, RBA won! When the score in the 3rd set went up to 4:4, I was getting very nervous; I was saying to myself ‘no mistake, please’. I knew that at that stage one or two untimely UHEs could derail the whole match. I thought that Rog played well, not one of best but very good. Pleased to see.
    Allez Rog!

  16. Having watched Felician Lopez beating Milos at Queen yesterday, RBA is easily the best Spanish HC player (excluding Rafa), whereas Lopez is the best Spanish grass court player (excluding Rafa) 🙂 .

  17. RF seasons through 34 matches
    (Won-lost)
    33-1: 2005-06
    32-2: 2017
    31-3: 2004, 12
    30-4: 2007, 18-19 🤗🌞🐐👏
    29-5: 2015
    28-6: 2003, 09, 11, 14
    27-7: 2008, 10, 13
    26-8: 2001-02
    19-15: 2000

  18. Quote from the on-court interview a few minutes ago: “(…) there are always going to be some bad bounces here at Halle and tricky moments (…)”
    Ouch!
    Did you hear that, Mr. Gardner?

    1. Will be the same at Wimbledon once that baseline is roughed up. Zverev drags his back foot big time on serve, was a trench from where he served. Doesn’t matter so much if it bounes there though 😆 but gets a bit uneven just inside the baseline too.

  19. Enjoyed the second set so much (Herbert).
    Some beautiful points by Roger.
    Unlike last couple of matches, this time he raised his level in the second set. Lost only one service point in the set and five in the match.

    Wish I could see the first set as well…

  20. With Laver Cup becoming an official ATP event – do the wins that Roger had in 2017 and 2018 count in his singles and doubles records ? What about from this year ?
    I know Hopman Cup is only an ITF tournament so they don’t count but with Laver Cup I am a bit confused both about previous years and future years.

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