I'll sum up this match with a simple equation: Flatness + Poor Execution = A resounding straight sets loss. Really I needn't say anymore about it but I'll try to dissect it in a bit more depth and I also look forward to seeing what you guys think happened out there.
From my point of view everything went wrong for Roger today from the middle of the first set onwards, the errors starting creeping in at an alarming rate and his game broke down at key moments when he needed to play mentally tough tennis.
I'm not sure as to exactly why to be honest, I said after the Simon 5 setter that he'd have gotten a lot of confidence from winning from 2 sets to 1 down but it turned out to be the opposite.
Roger had no confidence and no real conviction in his shots today, just a terribly flat performance with no real fight. It made it so easy for Tsonga to win without having to produce anything under pressure which I found really disappointing.
Losing to Tsonga 7-5 6-3 6-3 is a shocking performance whatever way you look at it, Tsonga on clay just isn't a tough proposition and Roger should be beating this guy here and making another a slam final with the draw he had. I can't make any excuses for him, can you?
Quick Match Analysis
For once my title is very fitting as this match was exceptionally quick yet unfortunately painful too. The stupid thing about it is that it actually started really well from Roger's perspective as he was defending well and managed to get up an early break which he consolidated to lead 4-2.
From that moment on though the good things came to an end and at 4-3 Roger was broken back despite been 40-15 in front and that signaled a complete change in where the first set was heading as at 6-5 Tsonga created 3 set points.
What happened next was quite bizarre really as Roger played 3 great points to get the scoreline back to deuce, the backhand flick at 15-40 was just ridiculous and I thought it was going to be the start of good things. However at deuce he missed 2 absolute sitter forehands to get broken and drop the first set. Such a bad way for the first set to end when he'd gotten up a break. Looking back it was a must win set, they key to the match and unfortunately he messed up, big time.
After that Roger just wasn't able to recover and the second set saw him lose serve early and Tsonga close it out without facing any sort of trouble to take it 6-3. I wasn't quite ready to write Roger off completely but at 2 sets to love down the outlook didn't look good.
The third started terribly too with Roger losing serve immediately, he did however manage to break straight back which was pleasing to see. I felt for sure he'd turned a corner here and would go onto win the set but again he had other ideas, dropping serve at 3-3 and not having another opportunity to break back as Tsonga closed it out breaking his serve yet again at 5-3. Painful. I mean at least make the guy serve it out.
|Stats||Roger Federer||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga|
|1st Serves In||67%||75%|
|1st Serve points Won||39/67 (58%)||46/57 (81%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||14/33 (42%)||10/19 (53%)|
|Fastest Serve||205 KMH||212 KMH|
|Average 1st Serve Speed||184 KMH||177 KMH|
|Average 2nd Serve Speed||150 KMH||142 KMH|
|Net Points Won||15/23 (65%)||15/30 (50%)|
|Break Points Won||2/3 (67%)||6/14 (43%)|
|Receiving Points Won||20/76 (26%)||47/100 (47%)|
|Total Points Won||73||103|
Not good reading. No aces, only 3 BP chances. Just a clear sign his game wasn't working. One thing the stats don't show either is how many overheads he botched, usually such a secure shot yet he missed at least 3!
A Match Lost by Roger, Not Won by His Opponent
One thing that annoys me after matches like this is how quickly everyone assumes Roger's opponent is an absolute world beater and must have played unbelievably well to win. Quite clearly in this match this isn't the case, Tsonga had to do very very little here to come out on top.
Want to know why? Watch the highlights and try find Tsonga playing lights out tennis, you won't and if you don't fancy that listen to some of the quotes from pundits and even Roger himself. Whenever you hear a commentator say something along the lines of “I don't think we should take anything away from Tsonga, he played a fantastic match” then you know full well Roger has played a sub standard match.
In fact even Roger himself said it:
Give some credit to old Jo-Willy. He can take the ball early… His game is dangerous throughout.
Basically, he knows he played like shit, and he knows that those who know tennis know he played like shit. Simple. We'll also get further confirmation when Ferrer defeats Tsonga easily. On another note, Ferrer in a slam final? Oh dear, unbelievably bad this tournament now.
My Thoughts on the Match
I think going over this loss in any great depth would be covering old ground really, it's not like we haven't seen matches from Roger like this before. Just the fact he didn't even win a set against someone who isn't that good on clay makes it that bit more disappointing than usual.
It's quite tough to pull out any positives from this one despite a couple of nice points here and there, but really they aren't going to win you matches. The first set was in hindsight obviously the key to the match and once Fed had clowned it up he just went missing.
All you have to look at is the match stats and you can see Tsonga basically played without any sort of pressure on his own serve and it was Roger always struggling to hold his own end of the bargain up. I can't see how Roger can win a match like that when he's not the one applying the stranglehold on his opponent. When he's constantly getting taken to deuce and missing forehands he's fighting a losing battle against himself.
Maybe he was just hoping things clicked and they never did which in the end meant it was all over very quickly but it's not good to see him struggle with his own game so much. It's almost like playing 7 matches at a slam these days is beyond him. I thought we had the off match vs. Simon but the level against Tsgona was just way worse which was a big surprise.
As to why, I don't know, it just didn't happen out there for him today, it was another match where he looked pretty bored to be honest and just really flat. Did the Simon match drain him mentally? Maybe, who knows, if he hadn't have tripped and lost momentum and won in straight sets then today would have been different. Too difficult to say really what caused such a flat performance, so many variables.
Overall I just think it's a pity Roger wasn't able to take advantage of a cake walk draw and at least make the final here, it all opened up for him yet he failed to capitalise.
No doubt the retirement / decline / done debate will spark up again but I can't really be bothered with that now I'd rather just wait and see what happens come the end of the year.
But I am getting bored of seeing Federer lose matches like this that's for sure as he's beating himself with some really poor execution. I'm not expecting tweeners and round the net posts every shot here, those are a luxury you get as a Fed fan but he's just making simple errors off regulation type balls. Those have to be cut down otherwise he's going to lose to lesser players more often.
I guess one positive is that it's not like his skills have left him or he is getting outplayed it's just he keeps playing crap matches. I've even spoken to infrequent tennis viewers who have said Roger looks disinterested in a couple of matches they have seen lately so who knows what it is or why he is coming out and playing in this manner.
I do tend to agree with them though, this is one time where part time tennis fans come in useful as their minds aren't distorted by things they have seen in the past so for them it's easy to spot a players body language or facial expression on court. Right now Fed goes through spells of looking incredible one match to being completely flat and out of it the next, happened in Rome and happened here too. There were no real signs of emotions from him today other than a couple of come on's and moments where he looked pissed off but nothing got the adrenaline going. Barely a pulse throughout the second and third sets.
Even the break back in the third couldn't kick him into gear after he got himself back in the set which is infuriating and hard to make sense of. I guess as usual it boils to tiny things and small margins at slam level that make the difference between winning and losing.
Anyway, what's done is done, not like we can change the result, just gotta move on and hope the grass brings something a little better. I'm hoping that Djokovic can save the day here in Paris and take out Nadal otherwise it's going to be another predictable end to the French. Isn't about time they knocked that stadium down, put a roof on it and made it an indoor court? 😀
Obviously the clay season ends for Roger here and the next stop is Grass. I'm going to Halle to watch live for the finals weekend so hopefully Roger can put in a good performance and actually make it! Still desperately need that first title and I'd like to be a part of it.