Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Blitzes Berdych To Make Last 16 in Melbourne

A hugely impressive win for the GOAT here as he took out Tomas Berdych for the loss of just ten games, winning 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in a mere 90 minutes.

Roger hadn't impressed at all in his two previous rounds but produced a bit of a masterclass to dominate the encounter and win through without having to face a single break point.

I predicted Berdych in 4 in my Rubin recap, but Roger applied pressure from the word go and never allowed Berdych to get into the match converting 4 of his five break points and hitting 40 winners to 17 unforced errors. An absolute clinic no other way to describe it.

Quick Match Recap

Federer AO 3rd Round 2017

Berdych won the toss and elected to serve, kicking off with a love hold and showing off his lower ball toss courtesy of coach Goran Ivanisevic.

Shades of last year's Wimbledon semi-final appeared when Roger hit back to back double faults from 30-0 up in his opening game, but he held and from there on in it was like the Federer we know as produced some dazzling shot-making to break and hold for 4-2. Berdych was looking dazed and confused and when a net cord gave Roger a double break for 5-2 the set was over as the Swiss took it 6-2.

The Czech needed to find a response in set 2, but he got off to the worst possible start, struggling to deal with Roger's slice and injections of pace as he was broken to 30. Federer consolidated to love, hitting a ridiculous drop shot that left Berdych reeling. In game four he hit probably the shot of the match with a clean backhand winner when moving backwards that even drew a look of disbelief from Goran to lead 3-1. The one break of serve proving decisive as he served out the set 6-4.

Into set three and after serving slightly better towards the end of set two, Berdych faltered, hitting a double fault at 15 all, and two backhand winners from Federer at 30 all put the Swiss up a break. With Roger's serve finding the spots he held for 2-0 and swept through his next four service games to take the match 6-4 in the third with zero hiccups.

Match Stats

Match Statistics T. Berdych R. Federer
Aces 13 8
Double Faults 3 2
First Serve % In 51/81 (63%) 41/70 (59%)
Win % On 1st Serve 43/51 (84%) 39/41 (95%)
Win % On 2nd Serve 9/30 (30%) 17/29 (59%)
Net Points Won 8/18 (44%) 20/23 (87%)
Break Points Won 0/0 (0%) 4/5 (80%)
Receiving Points Won 14/70 (20%) 29/81 (36%)
Winners 26 40
Unforced Errors 14 17
Total Points Won 66 85
Distance Covered (M) 1391.1 1171.2
Distance Covered/pt. (M) 9.2 7.8
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Backhand Berdych AO 2017

So I didn’t expect it as such, to be honest, especially not this kind of a scoreline, especially not having to save no breakpoints, just always rolling on the serve. That was a big surprise to me. I think it was a great mental test for me to see if I could stay, you know, in the match point for point, keep rolling. I was able to do that. That’s where I’m just really happy that I was able to deliver that.

The first clinic of 2017 and it came in only Roger's third competitive match of the year. You can't ask for much more than that 😀

After not looking great in his opening two rounds Roger hit the ground running in this one, served impeccably and gave Berdych the run around from start to finish. I thought Berdych might be able to impose his power on what's said to be a quick surface but Roger never let him get on the front foot, in fact, there was not a single break point for Berdych or a single deuce game in the entire match.

Anyway, no real point looking into what specifically Federer did well as it was just one of those days where everything clicked into place. Just watch the highlights, it's more fun than reading this 😉 He clearly sees the ball big, get's the early lead and plays on instinct after that. Once on a roll, it seems like he is fifty moves ahead of his opponent and no shot is off limits. Take a look at drop shot where he's running backwards, who else even thinks to play that never mind pull it off? 😀

As for Berdych, he, of course, has the reputation of falling short when it matters, which I suppose is true based on his results against the elite (37 sets lost in a row vs The Big 4) but I don't think he played terribly, just a bad day all round for him. Roger played so fast, game him no rhythm and effectively took the racquet out of his hands. Before he knew it he was down two sets and a break with just over an hour gone. Tough for anyone to fathom.

Predictions vs. Nishikori

Fed Nishikori WTF

Next up is Special K, that nice kid as Roger put it 😀 (he's 27). He defeated Lukas Lacko in straight sets without too much trouble, and after getting pushed to 5 sets in his opener, he's looked solid enough.

You'd expect Kei to offer a lot more resistance than Berdych as his movement is leagues above the Czech's but I'm not sure which way this one will go. I thought today's match was a 50/50 shot even though I picked Berdych in four but I had no idea Federer would play as well as he did. He took his game up to a whole new level so if he plays anywhere near that against Nishikori it's going to be an entertaining match.

It's an entirely different matchup of course with Kei being a better returner and much quicker, but I still think it favours Roger. Fed will need to serve well like today, mix it up (check out Dan Evan's slice backhand causing Cilic and Tomic so much trouble) and take his opportunities that inevitably come on the average Nishikori serve. Again I think it's 50/50. I picked Fed to lose last round, and he won, so maybe I should make Nishikori the favourite in this one too. Kei in 5.


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. Nice Win Roger…That Stat on First Serve Points Win tells everything……

    Could be Much different against Kei but definitely we can fancy his Chance…Hopefully Roger gets another 7:00 PM match in RL Arena….

    1. Only Shot I could recall Rog failed badly was one of straight volley after that insane overhead backhand stunner late in 3rd set….. 5:30 AM match play, what a better way to start day…

      1. That volley is a tough shot, it looks easy but high forehand volley is so easy to miss, you don’t wanna overshoot the baseline, end up dumping into the net.

        Good thing was he never let the few minor misses make a difference, was really on it point for point.

  2. I’m so happy about this win :). I was really nervous before the match because Berdych is never an easy opponent and Federer wasn’t looking that sharp in the first two matches. I hope he can take out Nishikori too. Go Fed

    1. Yeah me too, was great to watch. I could probably sue for Fed for loss of earnings the amount of time I’ve spent watching his matches but kinda makes up for it when he hits a drop shot going backwards that leaves Berdych looking confused 😀

  3. GOAT around again! Thanks Jon for sharing, and Thanks to Roger for this fantastic treat! Now we know that GOAT is still there, jumping around – preferably on court’s matches!

  4. Bliss! It’s so lovely to see vintage Federer and the tennis world is so much richer and rewarding for his presence in the game.

    1. Haha I wouldn’t say shocked, just kinda surprised. You naturally think he will play better against better players but I thought it was such a fifty fifty match after Rubin caused him a lot of trouble.

  5. Seriously though a brilliant match from Federer, unfortunately couldn’t watch it but will definitely be watching some extended highlights later!

  6. Wondering whether he’ll be able to back this up, two matches in a row? My heart sank at the 2 DFs in the first service game, but after that it was just onwards and upwards.

    And curses, he’s in Murray’s and Evans’ half of the draw, so you know what that means: 55 minutes of Brit highlights on the BBC and hardly anything else 🙁

    1. Yeah get Eurosport player, it’s decent. £20 for the year.

      Evans has had a great tournament, and unlike Murray he’s actually good to watch, hit some great shots vs Tomic, couple of clutch volleys too in the breaker.

  7. With this win an a masterclass display (A from me for the match) , I think that Roger has now earned a C+ overall grade for the tournament. If he beats Nishikori, he’ll get a very respectable B+ overall and only if he beats Murray, will he earn an A. So far he has done pretty good but only a quarterfinal would be decent enough. And if he plays like he did today, I think that he can take on Murray as well. Why not?

    1. Oh, please Vily, who are we to give the GOAT those grades? He is there, and this is A for me. A match like this today, is A++++ and if he doesn’t go further this time, I know he still has the vintage Fed goods for another good match some other time. Who can compete with that???

      1. Harsh or not, these are the grades and I am not budging. For a 17 Time Grand Slam Champion, there is a level and a standard that must be met.

        I don’t expect Roger to win the title and I am not asking him to beat World Number 1, but in order for him to get back to the top 10 and top 5 and why not even top 4 where he belongs, he should be beating all those players.

        We’ll see. So far I am satisfied. The Berdych match gave me much satisfaction. The question is can Roger back this up and sustain this level. If he can, I don’t think that Nishikori should give him that much trouble. Probably a 4 set win if you ask me. But we’ll see.

    2. Too bad he no longer can earn an A after his QF! But now I for one will give him an indisputable F if he can’t beat Mischa 😀

      1. You’re totally right muser. Actually I watched some of their match and quite enjoyed Zverev’s style. The grading was more of a joke but still I’ll be disappointed if Roger lose to someone whom he has previously double bageled in under 40 minutes on a fast grass court where serve and volley and net play could be more effective.

  8. Unbelievable stuff! Though I mentioned in my previous comment that I ed go with Jonathan predictions, I had a feeling about this that Fed might surprise us with Fed like tennis, it certainly was.
    Roger in his post match press “yeah he (Nishikori) is the higher ranked player , he is the favourite , I am happy!” I like that!
    maybe the maestro is sandbagging! :p
    In a slam looking go play well without concerned about how far he goes , it allows him to play what he knows best – just tennis!
    Who cares about results as long as we have Roger @RLA. The court feels fast , roger mentioned it a couple of times too, I read it somewhere that the atp has finally pulled up court speeds to keep federer in the hunt :pp, funny rumour!
    I ll again take federer R16 match as bonus. :”)

  9. I haven’t been able to catch any of the matches so far on TV… Has Fed been using the SABR? I haven’t read anything about it so I’m guessing not but it would be interesting to see if he still uses it.

    1. Not yet, but none of his opponents so far have had very SABRerable serves – Melzer tricky lefty, Rubin actually had a pretty big 2nd serve and Berdych too. Maybe Kei gets the treatment…

  10. Wow, wasn’t expecting a performance like that. I don’t want to get carried away though. Right now, you just never know how he will perform in the next match. Could be another great match, but we shouldn’t feel too disappointed if he has another poor one. But no matter how he fares in this tournament, it is very encouraging for the 2017 season that he still has this level of tennis in him.

  11. Man – that looked like a very fast court!!

    Is that true?

    Could that be a big factor in Fed’s favor?


    1. I think it’s playing fast but what I can see the ball is bouncing lower at night than it ever has before. Hard to say from TV but seen a few players and commentators mentioning it. Faster/lower bounce court gives Fed advantage over all projected opponents that’s for sure.

  12. So happy, I badly needed a confirmation that he’s still there. I had a lot of doubt after the first two rounds and after reading your comments.
    I managed to see a couple of games today and I was immediately impressed by Fed’s backhand, I didn’t see it so effective and strong (in the last 5-6 years).
    Can we dream? Of course we can, but we have to be careful, it’s dangerous, the disappointment will be much bigger when the hopes are high.
    Many thanks to our Man, no matter what will happen next!

    1. I think Hopman Cup proved he was still right there, just a question of how long it would take for him to play consistently well. I guess, sooner than we thought based on this match, but it’s still early and a 1 off match against someone he has owned in recent times. So see what happens next 🙂

    2. I think Ljubi introduced him to some kind of technique or something. His BH is more effective,stronger and consistent now. It kind of reminds me of his good old backhand from prime years.

      1. His good old backhand from prime years? His backhand was worse in his prime but his forehand and footwork were so good it was hard to exploit. And he had the best slice going.

        Now its better, bigger racquet = more stable on off centre hits. But all things conisdered it’s still his weakest shot, especially on a high ball up there, very hard with 1 hander and not get as good a technique as Stan.

  13. Fed played very well today. Although, I would maybe like the First Serve % In to improve minimally at 60%. I think Fed is capable of 60-65… 59% is simply not enough. At least his 95% win % on 1st serve played a huge factor.If Fed plays the same way vs Nishikori, I see him winning in 3 or 4 tight sets.

      1. Fed likes varying his 2nd serve a lot. I think it can give trouble to Nishikori at some extent. Anyway, if he plays vs Nishikori like he did vs Berdych, I can’t really see him lose… Nishikori isn’t a big hitter. He likes to put his opponent in long rallies in order to out tire him. He knows he has a good stamina and rapidity, so that’s his playing style. If Fed plays with good precision (and if he reproduces the same solid shots), I think Nishikori will have a hard time.

  14. After those 2 double faults I thought here we go again but alas boy was I wrong. This display is exactly why we would all let Fed sit out of the game for a few months if it means years added on to getting to see him play like this. Artist with a paintbrush on a canvas, awesome stuff especially since most of us thought he wasn’t getting through it. After that kind of match and Novak losing maybe Roger has found an extra bit of belief here to up his game. I did not know Kei was 27 (Is Rog trying to shade opponents in his post match interviews lol?). He’s a very fragile guy when it comes to injuries so hard to follow his results and analyse them. Can’t expect another clinic from Rog right, that would seem too good to be true after his time off. Either way, this match was so fun to watch him be Roger Federer, let’s keep it going, Allez!

    1. Yeah guess he seems younger, but he’s been around forever, beat Ferrer in 5 USO 08.

      Hard to imagine Fed can play as well as he played today but if he’s close then Kei will be in trouble. I just fancy Fed to break him fairly easy.

  15. Johnny Mac summed the match up – Roger made Berdych look like the 100th ranked player, rather than the 10th. Let’s hope that on Sunday Roger will make Kei look like the 50th ranked player, a simple math 🙂 .
    Allez Roger!

  16. Fantastic to read all the articles and comments after the greatest show on earth, the even the calm and cool Jonathan sounds excited 😆 Who doesn’t!

    It was a divine performance. Did you see Rod Laver’s smile? He was so happy. He is definitely one of us. Good to see FHs clicked but loved the BHs particularly! And Jim Courier was back, too 🙂

    One annoying thing was the fact that I couldn’t keep up to the chat guys as my stream was whole one game behind…sorry Dippy no ‘FOCUS and HOLD’ chants from me. But he didn’t need them at all, right?

    1. Yeah Laver was loving the show 🙂 far more fun than baseline pong.

      I use eurosport player and that’s a little bit behind, maybe about 20 secs so I am not watching live chat as much.

  17. “Oke guys… something to think about…. some Katyani wisdom 🙂 You said the match against Noah Rubin would be “relatively” easy… and it turned out to be a very stressfull match. Now you say that Roger will have a more difficult match against Berdych… but what if that will turn out to be the easy match… hmm?? Is possible….”

    Yep, 1-0 voor Katyani Wisdom 🙂 🙂 🙂

    So here is another one. I think Roger’s match against Kei will be extremely difficult and his next match (yes, he will beat Kei) against Muzza will be an easy match (something like the Berdych match).


      1. As long as Roger wins… all is well 🙂

        Ps: I am watching Dimi vs Gasguet right now. Must be very late there, but wow, nothing beats those one handed players….great to watch, Dimi just one the 1st set

  18. I just hope that Roger didn’t peak too soon and that Seve and the others are keeping Roger grounded. Not to think ahead of himself and keep a good eye on Kei, who somehow always plays like a ninja against Roger.

    Ps: No one is really talking about Jo Willy or Rafa. That is dangerous. Raonic won’t come far I think, but Rafa is not going to let this opportunity go….

    1. I always think the ‘peaking too soon’ idea is a false one. You can’t peak too soon. If you don’t ‘peak’ you lose the match. It’s a matter of backing up a good show-up.

      I hope Sascha gives Nadal a hell of a tough time. It’s 20 degree in Mel today, I like the youngster’s chance

      1. Hey April, the peaking too soon is what they said when Roger beat Muzza very easy at SF Wimby 2015 I think with great serving and then having problem (with finding his serve) against Djoker in the Final…..

        Rafa just broke in the 4th… come on Alexander…. play like you did against Roger…

  19. Wow, didn’t expect vintage Fed performance, is like he never been away at all. Berdych is such a consistent and heavy ball striker. I expected an intense match, well Roger must be sandbagging. If he continues like this, he has a decent chance against Special K. He just need to focus on his on service game and avoid extended rallies.

      1. Goran said before the match that he wasn’t impressed with Roger in his 2 matches. Well…. Roger showed him what he thinks about such remarks 🙂 🙂

  20. Just knowing that Roger’s still out there and can still play tennis like that is enough for me (more or less) 🙂

  21. We did see him play well in Perth but to bring it out in a major still is just the best. Happy, almost carefree looking Mirka is always a good sign it’s now like the WTF with tough matches but they are all tough given where he has come from. This match was a triumph and such a joy and worth a repeat view hey Muser?

  22. Happiness is watching Roger play his best. I was very pessimistic before the match with a very iffy second round against a qualifier and Berdych power against what I thought a rusty Roger on a fast court. Very happy to be way off on my fear of what the result would be.

    I know it is going to be a different match up against Kei. Hope Roger keeps winning so we can continue watching the master class every other day.

  23. All Roger needs vs Kei is to play from the baseline like he did vs Berdych but also needs to raise his 1st serve % because if he hits too many second serves kei is going to dictate the point. If Roger can keep his first serve % high and punish kei’s second serve he’ll come through in 4.

    1. A very good point, agree. Jonathan picked it up as well. A slightly higher 1st serve % (65% or higher) will relieve some pressure off Roger’s own service games, which is a key. If Roger holds his own service games relative easily, then the outcome of the match will be straightforward. No doubt, Roger will be able to break Kei multiple times.

    2. Yeah Kei has a pretty sub par serve, not tall enough. Although I am fairly sure there’s a ridiculous stat about his serve, something to do with him leading the tour on 2nd serve pts own or something but can’t remember it.

      1. Kei isn’t a big hitter. The only way he can really beat Fed is if Fed makes plenty mistakes. Otherwise, Fed’s shots are way better than Kei’s, and on a rally, I think Fed would have the upper hand. Nishikori’s serve is pretty below average, so if Fed plays like he did vs Berdych, I can see him breaking Nishi a couple of times…

        I think the match would not depend on Nishikori, but more on Roger because Roger is returning from an injury, and we don’t really know about what performance can he deliver. Was the match vs Berdych a peak of his current game? Can he deliver the same game consistently, now as his rust is starting to go away? Is it because there is no pressure on him as he is 17th? We are still pretty much in the unknown here.

      2. Yea we can only sense and feel (and be wrong) but we KNOW about the huge dimensions in his bag, if his fun dimension permits him to open up. Well he’s a brave fighter too, so odds are quite favorable I think.

      3. It’s well favorable for Fed. Agree with Gang, though. If Fed holds his service games, the match would be in favor of Fed because Kei has a below average serve, and Fed could profit from that.

  24. I think that if Fed is having fun and focus on play’s excitement, he has best chance. He has enough tools to win, just let them work happily.

      1. Yeah, that’s a good factor. When Fed is relaxed, he can release his good game on the court…

  25. Jonathan, quite a few tennis journalists and commentators mentioned that this year courts at the AO are faster. What’s your view? Is that just what they felt or there is some truth in it.

      1. I think it can advantage Fed. Most players don’t like faster courts. Kei is good in slower courts, so again it can advantage Fed…

  26. Well well well I haven’t seen a flawless match like this barring the Edberg demolition of Jim Courier in the 1991 US Open final

    Nothing really to do with the scoreline, its just that Fed didn’t put a foot wrong in the entire match.

    However, this was not the final, though to most Fedfans it probably was – as most thought ( barring the wise Katyani ) that this would be Fed’s final match at AO.

    Will be tough to replicate the flawlessness in the next round irrespective of whether it is Kei or anybody else.

    So Fed will probably have to scrap it out and so I say Fed in 5.

  27. Late to the party but great write up of a great performance! Still smiling at 80% BP conversion and the % points win on 1st serve, despite serving at less than 59% 1st serves! When you win them all that what counts!!
    Tbf what we Shld hv remembered is that Berdych has to be on fire to beat Fed and he really wasn’t, hitting v straight nice flat balls for Rog to tee off on and with too few angles or imagination ( as usual).
    Kei of course a different kettle of fish but again I think the night match favours Rog, will really be able to attack that serve and take charge of points. Hoping for Rog in 4 but still keeping realistic. He cld hv a reaction.. however, I really think he wants a crack at the world no 1…. Allez!!

  28. Replaying the match was even more beautiful than first watch! Yes he won nearly all of his first serves, but he also won a nice part of his second’s. And many of the returns to Berdych’s shots so freely and wonderful, even when B finally held his serve. Berdych had more aces, and several service games to love, but Fed didn’t mind that. On to next fun possibility of beautiful fast shooting. Ohhhhh <3

  29. Anybody watch SABM vs Mischa?
    Mischa play a lot of serve and volley, and the way he plays is interesting to watch. SABM, as usual… boring

  30. Murray is gone. Wow. 1 & 2 out.

    I am going Charlie Brown on this and fearing its Roger’s road to a Rafa drubbing in the final.

    Blah blah blah ahead of myself blah blah blah one match at a time blah blah blah a final would be amazing blah blah blah.

    I wish I could not go there.

  31. I thought that this might happen after Nole lost; Sir Andy was just mentally unable to focus. Rog just needs to concentrate!

  32. When some player had mistaken plexison concrete compound as grass, tennis fans have to take hats off 🙂 . What a nutter! Misha rushed to net 114 times, no wonder he found his winning lottery ticket there 🙂 .

  33. My predictions may always fail, but one prediction that NEVER fails, is that Nishi loses to almost everyone, is injured or too tired, but against Roger he plays like a ninja. What the hell Nishi….

    1. The order is restored at least for now. Roger will need to take the 3rd set without getting into a shoot-out. I feel that they both were affected by the Andy’s result in the opposite ways; Kei wants to play this one as ‘the final’ whereas Roger tried too hard to calm himself down and ended up too calm at the start.
      Allez Roger!

      1. Hey Gang, the more you see Roger play, the more you see all the others play, the more impressive 23 SF and 36 QF gets….. wow…. making the QF and SF each time is NOT so easy….it shows…

    2. Exactly!!! Nishikori served some good 1st serves at the 1 set and 4 set, I was like WTF, Nishi? You serve sub par, but now you take some magic out of your hat???

  34. A very convincing win indeed 🙂 🙂 . Kei showed in the fourth set why he is the 5th seed; Roger recovered tremendously well in the 1st set and will need to be ensure that he does not dig such a big hole in the 1st set in QF match.
    Allez Roger!

    1. He played effortless. Can’t say this about Kei. Even if defeated this time, I’d have great hopes for future wins.

  35. Good win for Fed. Means that he has energy to take a 5 set match.
    Like I said this match was in his hands.
    First set, he played badly, seeming the rust ain’t gone, but then retook life, went to tiebreak, and it was a matter of chance.
    Second set, third set, Fed played like vs Berdych
    Fourth set, both played good
    Fifth set, Nishikori seemed injured, (time out tactic?) but Fed showed resilience, and proved why he is the GOAT.

    Overall, OK match, some hiccups the first set, and 4th set was really close, other sets, Fed dominated.
    If Fed didn’t hiccup at the start of the match, he could have won it in 3 sets.

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