In a repeat of the final in Rotterdam 2 weeks ago Roger once again saw off Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets – 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6). As predicted this was a much tougher encounter than in Holland and Roger played much of the match on the defensive.
Both sets were exceptionally close with neither player managing to break serve in either of them. I think Federer struggled on the return today and was mistiming quite a bit off both wings. Del Potro, whilst improved from Rotterdam didn't look that sharp in my opinion. He was crunching forehands but I just felt like he didn't really have a great gameplan out there.
The difference today was the Federer serve and the Federer defence. You only have to see the point at 6-6 all in the second set tie break (which was 6-2 Del Potro at one point) to realise how well Roger defended and hustled from the back of the court.
It was a tough breaker for me. The first three points were difficult. I got down 0-3, and from then on he had the momentum. But I kind of felt like, hang in there and see what happens. I didn't believe I was going to come back. Next thing I know, I had a great point at 6 all and I was able to come through.
Predictions vs. Murray
Outside of slams this has been a tricky matchup for Roger and he actually has a losing H2H against Murray at 6-8 with all 14 matches being played on hard courts. I personally think a lot of Murray's victories came when Fed wasn't really playing that well, with 4 of his wins way back 2008 when Fed was struck down with mono.
These two haven't played since the World Tour Finals in 2010 with Fed winning easily, that was well over a year ago though so it's tricky to say how they will match up tomorrow. I haven't seen much of Murray since the Australian Open, is he a new man under Lendl? I'm not sure but beating Djokovic yesterday will have boosted his confidence significantly.
I still don't believe that Murray has the offensive weapons to hurt someone like Federer, if he wants to win he will have to really hit through his forehand, which I'm not sure he's totally capable of. He also has to get a high % of first serves in, something he managed today against Djokovic which was arguably why he won the match.
Rogers serve has been impeccable all week too and in 42 service games he's yet to be broken, a pretty awesome feat when you think about it. If Fed dictates play and looks to dominate the Murray 2nd serve then I can see him getting a break in each set and if his serve carries on from where he left off today that will be more than enough.
Like my prediction for the Del Potro match I'll say that whoever wins the first set will win the match. You could say that's a weird prediction because historically against Murray, Roger wins the first set and then goes on to lose the match in 3 but I don't see that happening today.