Another late night for me and another close one for Roger as he defeated David Ferrer for the 15th consecutive time 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to move into the semi finals in Toronto.
Not the cleanest match from Fed here but he again served well when he needed to, came up with some stunning shots in all 3 sets and eventually prevailed after resisting Ferrer's high intensity at the start of the 3rd set. If you haven't seen the highlight reel for this one I recommend you go and check it out as there's at least ~5 out of this world shots including a squash shot forehand passing shot that was almost behind him at a key moment in the third set. Unbelievable racquet head control.
Quick Match Recap
With Federer winning the toss and electing to receive he got off to a dream start as Ferrer made 4 unforced errors to drop serve immediately. However FailtoConsilidaterer was in the room and handed the break back instantly for 1-1.
Fed then had a second chance to break in the very next game but Ferrer held on to lead 2-1 but a run of 3 games gave the Swiss a 4-2 lead which he was able to maintain before breaking again to take the set 6-3. Check out two of the sweetest volleys you'll see all year with the scoreboard at 4-3.
Serving first in the second set is always an advantage after winning the first and Roger made it count by breaking Ferrer to lead 2-0. However he again faltered dropping serve tamely before Ferrer held to level.
Breaking back gave Ferrer a nice burst of adrenaline and he began to play more aggressively in the rallies and on the return. It paid off for him too, as he broke at 4-4 to win 10 of the last 11 points to level the match. Roger looked rattled really, shanking the ball well into the stands on a couple of shots and failing to make any sort of impression in the rallies.
The start of the third again saw Roger come under pressure on serve at 0-30 but he reeled off 4 consecutive points, hitting an immense squash shot forehand pass at 40-30 to pull off a huge hold. I think this game swung the match back in his favour dropping serve would have been a real morale breaker. Holding from 0-30 stemmed the Ferrer surge and put him back in the driving seat.
After holding at the start of the decider it was imperative that Fed kept up the pace on serve and he was able to, playing a brilliant game at 2 all to save a break point before breaking Ferrer for the 6th time to lead 4-2. The one break proved to be enough as he served it out comfortably to take it 6-3. Impressive energy levels after the Cilic match to raise his level late in the third when he needed it most.
|D. Ferrer||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||61%||57%|
|1st Serve Points Won||32/56 (57%)||40/50 (80%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||18/36 (50%)||15/37 (41%)|
|Break Points Saved||4/9 (44%)||3/6 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||14||14|
|1st Return Points Won||10/50 (20%)||24/56 (43%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||22/37 (59%)||18/36 (50%)|
|Break Points Won||3/6 (50%)||5/9 (56%)|
|Net Points Won||6/15||22/30|
|Return Games Played||14||14|
|Total Service Points Won||50/92 (54%)||55/87 (63%)|
|Total Return Points Won||32/87 (37%)||42/92 (46%)|
|Total Points Won||82/179 (46%)||97/179 (54%)|
Thoughts on the Match
I was able to find energy and really serve better at the very end, which was key against David because he was doing a really good job on my second serve to put me under pressure.
Again not the greatest display from Fed but he ground out another win by playing the important points well. It was disappointing to see him fail to consolidate breaks of serve to make his life easier but over the course of 3 sets he was again the better player and deserved to win.
Ferrer has a shocking record against him but he probably put up one of his best showings in a while, sets for him are usually hard to come by and if he managed to reverse a couple of moments in the decider he could easily have won the whole thing. I said pre match the Fed-Ferrer matchup is always a good barometer of Roger's game and based on the match it looks like he isn't in top form, but he keeps on winning which is all you have to do.
Perhaps the failing to consolidate and general high UE count may cause him to come unstuck either tonight or in the final, but he might just be able to play himself into form and keep hustling his way through matches. He's done a great job of keeping it point for point so far this tournament and not letting any set backs really leave a bad taste in his mouth. Both Cilic and Ferrer could have won but both those guys are sat on flights to Ohio whilst Fed is a couple of matches away from winning the tournament
Back to some positives and I think Fed is moving really well at the back of the court not just in this match but all week, he's been digging up balls from defensive positions and he also hit the FH on the run well too which is an important shot.
Some fans are worried that Roger's defensive game isn't as good as it was, but I don't think that could be any further from the truth. All year he's been defending brilliantly off both wings and several times last night he came up with high quality shots at full stretch to keep in the point. The thing with Fed is that he will always refuse to give up any ground on the baseline, that means taking the ball early and on the half volley to keep the initiative, shanks are part and parcel of playing that type of game but reward is you can dictate play far more freely than if you're 6 feet behind the baseline.
Volleying wise he seems to miss the easy ones but comes up with magic any time the ball is at full stretch or right on his toes. The serve has been pretty clutch all week and it was again tonight for the most part, just needs to cut out the sloppy games to avoid getting broken 3 times.
Predictions vs. Lopez
Next up is the resurgent Feliciano Lopez who's back inside the top 20 after a stellar run of form at Queens, Eastbourne and Wimbledon. This is another guy who Roger owns in the Head to Head; 10-0 with their last meeting back on the hard courts of Dubai in 2012.
Lopez is a huge talent with a massive serve but his mental strength is questionable, he should have beaten Federer in Madrid back in 2011 had he not missed a routine overhead at 5-2 up in the final set tie break. Epic choke really and one that sums up their matches which is why I think Fed will get it done.
I think Lopez might offer some stern resistance as he's been serving well but winning is a different ball game. I think the match is definitely on Roger's racquet whatever happens, he just needs to not get broken himself and string points together on the return. Lopez is going to look to come in when he can behind his first serve so Fed needs to be on form with the return, hitting it aggressively when he can and using the short slice to make that first volley extremely difficult. When Lopez has to hit up on the ball he's going to struggle to cause Fed problems as the first volley is key for him.
I'll pick Fed in 2. 7-5 6-4.