ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Cruises Past Berdych in World Tour Finals Opener

The Fed-meister-general is up and running at the World Tour Finals with a commanding 6-4 6-2 victory against Tomas Berdych which puts him level on points with Djokovic at the top of Group Stan Smith.

It's never easy having to face a Top 10 opponent fresh off the bat but Fed overcame a sloppy start to dominate proceedings, moving Berdych around at will and using the dropshot to great effect to move up 15-6 in the peRFect Tennisβ„’ Head2Head. Berdych is now 0-6 in his World Tour Final opening matches.

Quick Match Recap

Federer RR WTF 2015 1st Match

Berdych won the toss and elected to serve, holding easily before taking advantage of a horrendous Federer service game with 2 double faults to lead 2-0.

Fortunately for the Swiss though Berdych repaid the favour, playing a disaster game to hand the break right back. Roger then had break points at 2-2 but couldn't convert. Like clockwork though at 4-4 Berdych came up with one of his typical business end service games to drop serve and Fed took full advantage to take it 6-4.

Into set 2 and Fed immediately moved up a break, playing a stunning point at 30-15 and using the dropper to setup break point which was duly converted. The Swiss then broke again for 3-0, consolidated for 4-0 and cantered over the line 6-2, hitting eight drop shot winners in total and breaking Berdych 4 times in 70 minutes.

Match Stats

  R. Federer T. Berdych
Aces 4 4
Double Faults 4 0
1st Serve % 61% 44%
1st Serve Points Won 24/28 (86%) 16/23 (70%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/18 (50%) 11/29 (38%)
Break Points Saved 0/1 (0%) 2/6 (33%)
Service Games Played 9 9
1st Return Points Won 7/23 (30%) 4/28 (14%)
2nd Return Points Won 18/29 (62%) 9/18 (50%)
Break Points Won 4/6 (67%) 1/1 (100%)
Return Games Played 9 9
Winners 20 10
Unforced Errors 13 14
Net Points Won 9/12 6/11
Total Service Points Won 33/46 (72%) 27/52 (52%)
Total Return Points Won 25/52 (48%) 13/46 (28%)
Total Points Won 58/98 (59%) 40/98 (41%)
SABR 0 0/2 (0%)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Berdych London WTF 2015

Solid start here for Roger and he played a pretty good match to just out think and out manoeuvre Berdych. The 6 time champion didn't get off to the best of starts, missing all his first serves to get broken but quickly got back into it and never looked in any trouble after that. In total Fed hit 8 dropshot winners which worked a treat and was dominant on serve after he got the break back in set 1. In terms of the other stats it's not the cleanest display – 4 double faults, 61% serves, not many net forays but I think he just played the opponent well and took advantage of Berdych clowning up as usual.

As for the courts they are playing slow which is going to be a negative against elite defenders like Djokovic, Nadal and possibly Murray but when up against Berdych who doesn't move well and can't hit through the court either then he's easy for Fed to pick off with variety. Time and time again we saw Fed use spins and angles to keep Tomas off balance. Fed is a genius at setting up points using the geometry of the court so when Berdych can't really do much damage with his forehand it's always one way traffic.

On a side note both Goodall and Koenig spoke about the court speed in London and were of the opinion it should be quicker here to reward more attacking play. It's like they had just read my court speed post from 3 years ago and came up with similar points as to why it should be done and the flaws with the current system. I wouldn't hold your breath on it happening though unfortunately.

Predictions vs. Djokovic

Fed Djoker London 2012

Next up is Djokovic who crushed an out of shape Nishikori 6-1 6-1 earlier in the day. These courts are just tailor made for the Serb and it's tough to see what Fed can do against him here. Djokovic is like a wall on this Greenset so Fed is going to have to find something extra if he's going to pull off the win.

I'm not really sure what to expect but Novak has won their last 2 meetings in London so he's a big favourite going into this one. As for a prediction, I'll leave the guesswork to Conal, he has Fed winning 6-4 6-4 πŸ™‚


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. Well, took me until virtually the end of the season, but I’m on the leaderboard? Totally by chance, too!

  1. Close but no cigar. Thought Roger played good when I started watching (4-4 1st set) and was kinda fortunate that berdych started spraying errors imo. I think once he got the 1st set he started to relax. Like Alex said 1 down 4 to go. Don’t think federer can’t beat Novak on this clay surface but he hasn’t got much to lose. Allez

    1. “Kinda fortunate” was how I perceived it, I must say. Lost his first service game to love???!!! I’d just nipped to the loo, came out and couldn’t believe it when my sister told me he’d just been broken in that short time. And Berdych’s FS % was atrocious – I was relieved he wasn’t playing particularly well either, or Roger might have been in trouble, was my impression.

      The main indication of court slowness, I thought, listening to the radio, was the unhurried way the ball-by-ball commentators were commenting so fully on each point. At this rate, maybe they should just hand the trophy to Djokovic now and get it over with. I know he and Roger seem to have been exchanging wins this year, but I’m not sure even Roger can get past him on this court.

    2. You should start watching on TV, it’s somewhat better πŸ˜† I don’t really like listening to tennis, too fast paced and hard to understand.

      Cricket – better on radio. Tennis – better on TV.

      1. Believe me, Jon, this was quite slow πŸ™‚ And yes, I’d far rather be watching on telly, but for some reason the Beeb only shows the afternoon matches :(. I still haven’t seen the Roger/Stan match from last year – although perhaps that’s just as well πŸ™

      2. Just go with stream? Plenty to chose from. Although if you open a, minimum deposit a fiver, then you can stream pretty much all ATP matches for free. No contending with pop ups etc.

        Although TennisTV is prob worth it at Β£100 a year as you get better quality picture.

  2. Again, I think Fed will go 1/2 w Djoko in London…not saying when or how…Paul Annacone thinks this is the harder group simply because Djoko and Fed are there. I say the other group is tougher because the talent is spread more evenly.

  3. It’s so frustrating that the courts are so slow. Maybe we should start an on line protest? Send signatures to the ATP.

    Wanda, that lake I was talking about…Lake Toya.

    1. Yeah Sue, an island in the middle of the lake, looks stunning. Definitely it’ll be one of destinations to visit during my stay in Sapporo. Loads of great ski areas in Hokkaido, too, though may not be as great as Canada. Do you ski?

      1. I used to ski. Too many back injuries stopped that.
        I was in Sapporo in August, very hot and humid.

      1. Oh hey, forgot about the petition, I wondered what happened to it in the end, though. It was the reason to join the twitter world despite I’m not a twit πŸ˜† Nothing has been done by ATP judging by the speed of O2, I guess.

  4. The courts look very slow. Not a true indoor fast hardcourt. I think Novak is going to dominate everyone and at least Federer will put up a good fight.

  5. BTW, the main point video doesn’t work for me at all – the newly-updated Firefox just doesn’t recognise the format, apparently, whereas Internet Explorer *8* can play the audio (so the German commentator is rightfully sounding pretty excited) but I get a blank screen! Fingers crossed the vid won’t have disappeared by the time I get into work tomorrow and can try Chrome.

    The TV camera shot is pretty poor, to my mind: I’m watching on an old 4:3 TV screen, and even there the court is marooned in a sea of bright turquoise. It must look even worse on widescreen. Can’t they get the camera any nearer?

    1. I can’t cater for users on the Commodore 64 unfortunately πŸ˜†

      It must be an issue with your PC and most likely Flash Player. It’s a standard YouTube embedded video so works fine.

      Chrome will work because it uses it’s own Flashplayer. Firefox requires Flash player installing, you usually get prompted for it. Firefox kills machines that don’t have much memory either, so I never use it other than for logged out searches or a select few add ons.

      1. Ouch πŸ™‚ Must be. I thought with one not-out-of-the-ark browser I’d be all right, but it seems not – I keep getting messages about YT videos not being configured for my browser or summat on Firefox. Irony is that the one browser it seems to work on I can’t use at home!

  6. I saw the match from 2-2 first set on. Pretty good performance put up by Fed but Berdych looked really terrible today.

    Everybody is saying how slow the court is. What a shame! History books won’t have an asterisk next to a title marking fast or slow court, but they will remember how many times ND or Nadal has beaten Roger. There’s little doubt Fed will retire with a negative h2h with these two. Can’t bear to see him being beaten by ND twice in one week either!

  7. Great start, especially given how horrendously he was playing in the first couple games. He really sussed out Berdych’s game, used low, heavily sliced balls to disrupt Berdych’s rhythm, and changed the pace constantly. Those surgical drop shots were gorgeous. No balls for Berdych to bash today.

    I know people don’t think Federer can beat Djokovic twice in one tournament. (Some don’t even think he can do it once). It would be an anticlimax of the most terrible sort if he wins their RR encounter and loses the final. But if he loses the RR, there’s no guarantee he’ll make it through to the knockout round, whatever you might think about Nishikori’s form. And the second-ranked player in each group gets the first-ranked player from the other group in the semis, which is added incentive for Federer to strive for first place, so he can take on a weaker opponent in the semis.

    No, there’s no alternative. Come what may, Federer has to play to win on Tuesday.

    Just like last year, the courts are so slow that the scores are lopsided: whoever seizes control of the baseline early on gets in a rhythm and tends to steamroll, and there are few cheap points to be had from serving or attacking the net. Federer’s victory thus bucks the trend as he was able to wrest the momentum back after an atrocious start. That’s not going to happen again (especially against Djokovic), so he’d better be sharp going forward.

    1. No prizes for guessing who’s gonna win most of the baseline rallies. I can’t wait to see the Rubberman slide from corner to corner, making one impossible get after another, with the commentators telling us what an “incredible athlete” he is. Yawn. I gotta eat less bread. Roger will keep wondering, as he says, when the testers will be turning up.

    2. If Roger were to lose to Djokovic and come second that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. If he’s second he has a chance of playing Murray in the semis. Again tennis is about match ups and I’d think Roger would rather play Murray then Stan the man or Rafa. Most people are expecting a Novak win on Tuesday against Roger and so Roger can play with a little less pressure. I’m saying djoko in tight 2 or 3

      1. They were not just surgical; they were cruel at times. At a certain drop shot (I think it was to Roger’s left), I could not help feeling a bit sorry for Berdie. He just stood in the middle of the court staring bleakly at nowhere, arms dropped. It looked as if Roger was making fun of him…

  8. Our guy seems to be moving well, & to have found his touch- thank goodness- what WAS that start?? Some good highlights though, great lob in your shot of the match, lovely soft volley at match point set up by the big serve wide.

    The ball even looks like it’s slow through the AIR, bizarrely.

    Berdych’s kit was awful. Don’t really like Roger’s either but at least it isn’t actively hideous. Djokovic’s is actually pretty cool, although the effect is ruined as always by that huge red logo uniqlo seems to have to put on everything.

    Don’t really know what to expect for Tuesday. The conditions certainly seem to suit Novak better. Hope it’s a good match, competitive, bringing out the best in each other.

  9. Poor start but what a lovely finish
    Fed fulfills almost our every wish
    Berdych looked out of place there
    All because of Federer, to be fair

    Next up at O2 is N2D2.

    Fed has to get a good start to short-circuit N2D2’s programming.

  10. About the court speed, i heard Koenig and Goodall say that the speed of the court increases slightly as more matches are played.
    Day 4 court speed is slightly faster than day 1.
    I think its probably because surface becomes smoother causing the ball to not grip it as much as day 1.
    May be this court will become medium paced by the time it reaches the knockout stages.
    That should really help Roger.

    1. I heard that too Sakthi. The more they play, the more ‘worn’ it becomes, less gritty, and thus slightly faster.

      Agree with everyone…a slightly dodgy start – I’m always amazed that Rog is still nervous at the start of each match – but he steadied the ship nicely. Absolutely exquisite dropshots. Allez Feds πŸ™‚

  11. How come you watch the match, chat away non tennis matters and take memos for the blog post simultaneously, Jonathan? Then to upload the post so fast!? Doping, anyone?

    Initially thought the day was going to be one of those days he can’t find the first serve. Glad Fed geared up sooner. Enjoyed some wicked droppers πŸ™‚

  12. It was “job done” from Federer really. Kept Berdy guessing all the time with his topsin forehands. I think we guys already talking about the court speed being on the slower, it terribly is. The Madrid blue clay must have been faster. And as Jonathan said Its tailor made for Djokovic’s game. I dont really expect Federer to win against Djoko. He s motivated for sure but dont see him streching the even three sets. 7-6,7-5. So I ll guess I enjoy the battle #43.
    Agree with Jonathan , that Djokovic is a heavy favourite going into this match.
    On the other hand, I see Rafa as a probable semifinalist here. He shoould tale care of ferrer and then maybe notch another win in his next two matches, as Andy is Already envisaging Davis Cup Triumph!
    I Feel Stan will make the Finals this year.

  13. Good recovery from Roger after awful start. Disappointed with Kei though getting double breadsticks. Hope Roger don’t pressure himself too much on Tuesday against Djoker. Just focus on himself and his own service game.

  14. I think fed has 20 % chance of winning against Djokovic.He will have to completely focus (not like today when he got broken) and will have to convert atleast 50% BP which I think is the most difficult thing.Djoker looked superb in Nishikori match and he defended everything.These slow courts have frustrated me enough and I don’t understand ,why doesn’t Fed complain a little about courts,I mean these courts make the match boring like yesterday’s first set.There are enough tournaments where people can see crazy defending but not enough fast courts.I don’t know why ATP does it but if they take a poll I am sure more than 50 % people will want more fast courts.Does ATP even have a genuine reason for making the courts slow year by year?

  15. Jesus, Kei was terrible out there. He looks so weak! How did he ever make it to the USO final last year – beating Djokovic en route. In fact he reminds me of Djokovic pre-2011, when the Serb was always running our of gas. Maybe Kei needs to go gluten-free.

  16. Fed played Djokovic tough the last two outings at the WTF. He had a great look at the second set but faltered in 2012 (exacerbated by Novak’s super-clutch play), and in 2013, the match was of low quality but still Fed stretched it to 3 sets. He just has to keep his composure and not make bonehead shots on such a slow court. I also didn’t like how he was playing like he wanted to leave the court ASAP against Berdych. Such a hurried pace will be counterproductive against Novak.

  17. Me thinking the two semis will be Fed/ Nadal and Djoker/ Murray.

    Do I get a free t-shirt if I’m correct, Jonathan? And btw, I don’t dope.

    1. Sue, everyone does now. Get with the programme. Wawrinka thrashed again by Nadal on his least favorite surface. The second coming – third? – begins.

      1. I think Nadal will win in his group. He and Fed will play the semis. Richard, if I ever win a t-shirt you can send them to my house for a random drug test.

        Feel sorry for the people who paid good money to watch Stan act like a “babe”.

    2. Could be Nadal-1 and Stan-2 in this group. (T-shirt for me, if? As consolation?) Not first time Stan losing and still going to SF (last year vs Djoko – looked suspicious to me)

  18. If Federer can take a set off Djokovic, then that’s a good sign for him of his overall form in WTF in the grand scheme of things. I don’t see any other person taking a set off Djokovic tbh.

  19. I am actually happy that Roger gets to play Novak next. It’s not an elimination match and Roger is still fresh this early in the tournament. It’s best if 3. I think that he can certainly win. It will be interesting, that’s for sure.

  20. WTF did Stan do yesterday?! Wasn’t even trying! I hope he has a good excuse (injury) to not even run after balls, cause that was absolutely pathetic…

    1. It’s proving my thoughts on the previous post that the WTF isn’t a huge event for the players etc. Zero three setters so far, one sided scorelines, low quality.

      Nadal might win it actually.

      1. As was remarked in the previous post (I can’t remember whom), one sided scorelines isn’t necessarily an indicator of little importance. Tiredness, lethargy, and conditions helps to explain it too.

        Plenty of tournaments don’t meet top standard. The US Open semi Roger played against Stan was underwhelming, if slightly better.

        I certainly think that Stan not leathering the ball is something that happens and can happen on any stage. Definitely a bit flat, though, I agree.

        Re: Nadal, yeah he might. But it probably depends on a huge Djokovic failure.

      2. For some reason people are having a hard time believing that the World Tour Finals isn’t a mega event. Is it big? Yeah, but no bigger than a M1000. It’s more about the show than the tennis.

        I think they do a pretty good job of promoting it which is why it’s very popular with the fans and gets the hype. It’s getting pushed even in April so it must be a huge money spinner.

  21. Wasted 2 hours last night from 12 AM to 2 AM watching Mr. Stanker.

    Big letdown especially after the cracker at Paris.

    Back again at 12 this night. Three-setters Fed has a good chance. Has to take the first set for sure.

  22. I hope he gets a set, anyway – that will certainly help.

    Well, anyone who bought a ridiculously cheap ticket off Viagogo for this afternoon’s match is certainly getting their money’s worth – time-wise, at least! Bet the Beeb are desperate for them to finish – they must be overrunning by now, surely?

  23. Well hello there! Wasn’t expecting that πŸ™‚
    Sub par Djoker; if they play the final, it’s not gonna be that easy, but good win from the Fedmeister!

    one fun stat: 6/9 net points, for BOTH players πŸ˜€

  24. Lots of tennis left. If Novak makes it to the final, he will be playing much better. Fed’s level was high, serving was good, and tactics were proper. He only missed 2 or 3 easy winners (which is unusual these days), but needs to pare down those wild backhand cuts. I wonder if he tanks to Nishikori now…

  25. Federer through in straight sets! Djokovic wasn’t quite himself today, but the beauty of the RR format (at least for Djokovic fans) is that he could still win the tournament. Federer played very well, he was extra-sharp not only on serve but on the return, which made the difference in that crucial first set. But I think he still has room to improve, which is good–it wouldn’t do to peak in the second match.

    The ease of this win might come back to haunt Federer if they meet in the final since Djokovic will be raring for revenge and will surely be playing much cleaner tennis. But the important thing is that Federer’s through to the knockout round and can focus just on playing well against Nishikori, who will be much more confident after his triumph over Berdych. The shaky, inconsistent player who was easily double-breadsticked by Djokovic is gone, and Nishikori’s faith in his ability to chase down every ball is back. Still, on an indoor court you have to back Federer to get the job done.

    1. “The ease of this win might come back to haunt Federer if they meet in the final since Djokovic will be raring for revenge and will surely be playing much cleaner tennis.”

      I suspect you could be right, which is why I’m not getting excited about it (or trying not to, anyway).

  26. Roger won today, as I predicted. I just hope that he won’t lose in the final because than it will be all for nought. It’s been this kind of year for Roger. He’s beaten Novak but not in the matches that really count. He lost in Indian Wells, at Wimbledon and at the US Open. He’s won at Dubai, Cincy and now here (but only in the group stage).

    Knowing our luck, he’ll probably lose in the final. Plus, Nadal is starting to play really well so I expect him to make it very difficult especially for Roger. Federer should be able to take care of Murray. That’s why tomorrow’s match between Murray and Nadal will be very interesting.

    Not bad today and I kinda expected Roger to win today. But rightly so, Roger is not overly excited because there is still a lot of matches to be played. But he is in the semis now.

  27. Djoko might have been a little tanking, knowing Berdych’s probable lack of motivation, so that should be easy to get on. Some have mentioned B’s possible chance vs Novak. But now?
    The other group – I predict – as before – Rafa1, Stan2 – but hoping for Andy.

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