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 Tennis™ Head2Head. Berdych is now 0-6 in his World Tour Final opening matches.
Quick Match Recap
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.
|R. Federer||T. Berdych|
|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|
|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%)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
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
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 🙂