The Indian Wells last four awaits for Roger Federer as he defeated Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-1 to match his best ever start to a season with sixteen wins and extends his stay at the top of the ATP Rankings.
The 36-year-old Swiss last started the season with a 16 match unbeaten streak back in 2006 but it seems not much has changed in the world order of men's tennis since as he comfortably dispatched the South Korean in 1 hour and 21 minutes, overcoming a minor blip in the first set to take full control and set a semi-final showdown against Borna Coric who defeated Kevin Anderson in three sets.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose sides. Chung elected to receive. Roger promptly held to fifteen and although Chung was soon at 40-0, Roger reeled off five points in a row to break for 2-0 with a sweetly timed lob.
The Swiss then consolidated the break for 3-0 but in a role reversal during game four he couldn't hold from 40-15 as Chung broke back and levelled at 3-3. The pair then exchanged back to back holds for 5-5 but after holding for 6-5 with an ace Roger upped his game, breaking to 15 to take the set 7-5.
Into set two and Roger found himself in trouble having to save four break points, one of which Chung dumped a makeable volley into the net, before finally holding for 1-0. The hold seemed to break Chung's spirit as he dropped serve himself as Fed moved into a 2-0 lead. That was soon consolidated for 3-0 and Fed was able to move through the gears, dragging Chung around the court with geometric precision as he broke again for 5-1 and he saved his fifth break point of the set as he served it out 6-1.
|Roger Federer||Hyeon Chung|
|1st Serve||67% (46/69)||52% (30/58)|
|1st Serve Points Won||70% (32/46)||53% (16/30)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||57% (13/23)||54% (15/28)|
|Break Points Saved||83% (5/6)||43% (3/7)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||47% (14/30)||30% (14/46)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||46% (13/28)||43% (10/23)|
|Break Points Converted||57% (4/7)||17% (1/6)|
|Net Points Won||78% (14/18)||54% (7/13)|
|Return Games Played||9||10|
|Service Points Won||65% (45/69)||53% (31/58)|
|Return Points Won||47% (27/58)||35% (24/69)|
|Total Points Won||57% (72/127)||43% (55/127)|
Thoughts on the Match
I'm happy I found a way. Started off really well, struggled afterwards, found my game back again and was able to protect it, saving big break points early on in the second set. I think that was the key to the match, those 10, 15 minutes where I broke at the end of the first and then saved break points early in the second. I'm very happy. It was a good match. I played well.
Classy match from Roger here and he played at a high level throughout. He was able to get off the perfect start with the early break but Chung was able to respond with some really nice ball striking to peg him back. However, Roger was able to pick up his level at the end of the first set just when he needed to throwing in some nice variety that Chung couldn't handle.
The first game of the second set was where Fed basically sealed it but Chung really should have broken in that game, missing a very makeable volley off a defensive Federer slice when he had plenty of open court but didn't counteract the backspin instead just dumping it into the net. After that Fed's confidence was high and Chung's shoulders slumped as Fed just took full control giving him the runaround for the remainder of set two.
Predictions vs. Coric
Next up is Coric who had a big win against Kevin Anderson coming from a break down in the third set before prevailing in the tie-break. He's had some decent wins of late and like Chung is a very solid baseliner. Roger has played him once before back in Dubai three years ago where he lost just three games and the two practised together at last years US Open so has some familiarity with his game.
Playing Chung will have been great prep too so I like Roger's chances to come through unscathed. Coric is a great mover but he plays fairly deep and Fed can impose himself on that sort of game style by taking all his time away. If you saw the numbers Hawkeye put up Fed was taking the ball inside the baseline 75% of the time against Chung who's a bigger striker of the ball than Coric so I expect an aggressive Fed to be coming in and asking Coric all the questions. Can he answer them? He'll either have to grind like the best of them or switch it up and play aggressive himself. Fed is my pick.
What did you guys think of the match? Let me know in the comments.