ATP Masters 500German Open Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer

Federer Defeats Hajek in Hamburg

So as I predicted Roger got past Jan Hajek in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, to setup a Quarter Final showdown with Florian Mayer. It wasn't one of Roger's greatest matches by a long shot but he got the job done and didn't really have too many difficulties out there other than dropping serve once and failing to convert quite a few break points.

I'm just pleased he is winning despite such a big change in equipment, even though he's not playing amazingly well he's sticking it out and finding his way into the tournament which is a very good sign.

Quick Match Analysis

Federer vs. Hajek Hamburg

This match was always going to be on Roger's racquet just because Hajek doesn't really possess the weapons to do a lot of damage, he is however quite a clean ball striker which surprised me as I haven't seen him play that much and that was evident from the off as Roger had to save break point in his opening service game.

After holding for 1-0, Roger then went onto break to lead 3-1 but Hajek got an extremely lucky net cord at break point back in the next game to get it back on serve. It was a sloppy service game really from Roger and although Hajek got lucky he probably deserved to break back as he was playing quite aggressively.

After that both guys held serve until 5-4 where Roger had 4 set points yet wasted them all with some unconvincing play before finally sealing the deal on the fifth attempt to take the set 6-4.

In terms of Roger's level it was an average set, he came up with some nice shots but he shanked quite a lot of balls and put some very routine volleys into the net from nigh on unmissable positions.

The second set was very similar, Hajek was playing nicely but you always felt like Roger just about had the measure of him and at 3-2 he broke the Czechs serve setting up break point with a sweet backhand before holding comfortably to take a 5-2 lead.

He then wasted 5 match points in Hajek's next service game before serving it out comfortably 6-4 6-3 in just 72 minutes to move into the Quarter Finals.

I’m just still looking for the timing and the rhythm here, but the longer I stay in the tournament, the more confident I am that I’m going to play better and better as the tournament goes on.

Match Stats

Federer vs Hajek Match Stats

Highlights

I will be bringing back the “pERFect Tennis Point / Shot of the Match” after a brief hiatus since the clay season, but for this I decided to put in the full highlights as there's actually some really good points although slightly misleading as they make it look like Roger was zoning when he wasn't :D. It will also give you guys a chance to see how Roger is handling his new racquet if you haven't seen him play yet.

Video removed πŸ™

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Makes Quarters in Hamburg

Overall another good performance that ended with a win which is the main thing. It wasn't vintage by any stretch but Fed still played some nice points and had he not wasted 10 of 13 break point chances it would have been even more of a one sided scoreline.

Like I said in my last post I'm just glad he's winning whilst still getting to grips with his new equipment. He still looks like he's figuring things out and seeing what is possible and what isn't possible with it. He will have practiced with it a lot for sure, but there are certain points and rallies that you will never be able to recreate in practice so it's impossible to know how the racquet will react to those type of shots until you step onto court for competitive play.

I guess it’s to a degree some more getting use to, just to see how it reacts on every single shot. Clearly it reacts better to some shots. But it's important not to think of it the whole time, not to talk about it all the time, but more just sort of go with it, fight for every point, have the right mindset, be optimistic about playing here now and wanting to achieve a good result and that’s what I'm doing.

The more matches he plays the more comfortable he will feel with this stick and if he is able to win a tournament with it then I reckon he will be completely sold on it and gain a ton of confidence.

Today's match was ideal in many ways as although it wasn't a dazzling performance it had plenty of long rallies that required lots of different shot making ability be it hitting backhands down the line, drop shots, full stretch sliding slices or a short angled forehands which definitely gives him more of a feel and what he needs to do to keep the ball in play.

One thing I did notice today was the backhand and forehand definitely had some more pop on it when he stepped into the court and ripped it, I think this is definitely a good sign; I mean his forehand has always been a weapon but if he can add some MPH onto it then it aids his cause against the likes of Murray, Nadal and Djokovic.

You only have to look at what Del Potro did to Djokovic at Wimbledon and Nadal at Indian Wells with his forehand when he cranked it up, ok Roger is never going to hit like that but he has more precision, spin and versatility, combine that with some added power and it could be the key to some big matches.

Predictions vs. Mayer

Next up is for Roger is Florian Mayer whom he leads 4-0 in the H2H so I am expecting a win. I don't think it will be easy however as Mayer is a very tricky customer who brings some unorthodox looking shots to the table.

He's playing in front of his home crowd too and does tend to do quite well when he plays in Germany so you can't take him lightly that's for sure. He's also beaten Dolgopolov and Lopez to reach the Quarters which is pretty impressive.

I think Roger will have to tighten up on serve a little bit and cut out a few of the errors but as long as he plays solidly and doesn't throw away his serve then I think he has more than enough to see off Mayer in straights.

As I predicted in my draw post Verdasco also dispatched Janowicz (who I think was injured?) so that has opened up the draw nicely here and Roger vs. Fiasco would be a nice semi final matchup. Allez!

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer – I’ll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I’m not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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51 thoughts on “Federer Defeats Hajek in Hamburg”

      1. My first masters event title. At hamburg. Just like Feds. Could be the start of a scintillating career…

  1. It’s good that he’s trying to avoid putting too much emphasis on the new racquet. It’s more about match wins, it’s not gona b the answer to all the problems and people shouldn’t view it that way. He clearly doesn’t and has his priorities right. As per uje. Allez!

  2. Hi Jonathan I watched the match on a live stream today and have to say the racket looks so large, I think it wil take him a while to be really comfortable with it – at times he did not look like the fed we know and love and to have to take 6 match points to win was a little disconcerting, but onward and upward and at least he is still in there fighting. Have to say cannot get my head round seeing him at No 5 in the rankings but hopefully he will get back to where he belongs in the top four

    1. Hey Trudi,

      Yeah he was a little wasteful, the match points thing isn’t a bad statistic though as it wasn’t on his own serve. You only have to worry about blowing match points on your own serve, not your opponents. Would have been nice for him to be clinical but he served it out with no trouble really.

      Pretty sure he will get back into the top 4. Ferrer is flattering himself in there.

      Jonathan

      1. Hey Jonathan, Ferrer is a very nice and honest guy (sorry, for a Spanish player…), but come on, Ferrer is ranked 3rd and Roger not????
        I think and HOPE Roger is not happy beeing out of the top 4.

  3. Hey guys. I think we also have to realise this is only his second match (after some practise) with a bigger racket. He played like more than 10 years with a smaller one. So he needs a little bit more time.
    So smart of him and the team not to play with the bigger racket at the 1000 tour in August, but to “practise” it first with these two smaller tours.
    So lets keep a bit faith, he will have some matches before August to work the points out that Jonathan wrote and hope he will have worked it completely out before USO???

    And to be honest, these two small tours have dangerous players !!! At the hard court in Bogota Tipsy is the number one seed (and he is not even in the top 10) !!! Of course, all the other big players are practising or playing in the tour Roger has entered….

    But bigger or smaller racket, he has to do something about those five missed matchpoints (I saw the last part of the match) and he has got to do something about the missed breakpoints (even though I don’t know exactly what the solution for that is).

  4. I saw the last couple of games of the match and…. was Roger tired??? He was not like himself and he was grunting during points (just like against Tsonga at the RG QF).
    Is the bigger racket tiring him out sooner? If so, how will he cope with Andy, Rafa, Novak and the other big hitters (even during 5 sets)???

    1. I didn’t hear any grunts from Roger ,Katyani.. Maybe you mistook the other guy grunting to be Roger’s grunting ??

    2. Nah, no way he’s getting tired playing a 2 set match in 72 minutes. The grunt was on the second serve mainly which he’s always done.

      Bigger racquet has no impact on tiredness. It’s lighter for a start.

      1. You’re sure it’s lighter? I’m willing to bet it’s almost as heavy as his previous Pro Staff 90, perhaps a tad head heavier. But then again, I’ve been proven wrong earlier πŸ™‚

        We still don’t know the exact specifications do we? No showdown yet, right?

  5. I don’t know whether this is completely true, but if Roger wins this, he will equal Rafa on 500 tour titles.

    After this there are 4 1000 tours left and 5 500 tours.
    Maybe Roger will participate on another 500 tour on hard court before USO if he wins these two small tours…

    1. You are one stat freak, aren’t ya? πŸ™‚ Why do we always have to look at Roger chasing Nadal’s records? Roger will be considered way ahead even if Nadal has 17 slams and 30 Masters because a majority of Nadal’s wins will have come on clay.

      1. Because I don’t want and really can’t stand the fact that Rafa has more 500 and 1000 titles than Roger….. I know Rafa has more clay titles but still….. I want Roger to be the best overall…..

  6. I agree w/u Jonathan, even tho’ I have not seen Roger play in this tournament (I’ve been at work, which sucks hehe), in those highlights it looks like his strokes (specially his backhand) are flying a bit more.

    1. Yeah he was missing quite a few balls and shanking but when he made a good contact it was usually a very good shot. I thought he was quite consistent from the baseline for most of it.

  7. [One thing I did notice today was the backhand and forehand definitely had some more pop on it ]

    Good observation. Agreed. He did seem like wanting to do more but just wasn’t very sure about the swing. As you said, will get better with time. I wasn’t happy with the volleying though. Somethings going on. The touch isn’t exactly there and I expected that to be a problem with this racquet, and also digging of low balls near the net, trying to put the up and down movement on it.

    But, am happy with the win overall.

    1. Yeah he missed some sitters at the net. Not sure why, probably all the mind. He read your comment about losing some feel and it psyched him out πŸ˜›

      1. Haha! But really, anyone who has tried to switch to a much bigger frame knows that volleys and digs really hurt. For professionals, who are freaks of feel, it only gets worse.

  8. Just watched highlights. BH def has more power. Harder to tell on the FH. Thought he actually played pretty well. Chased down a lot if balls and looked b comfortable digging out of the corners. His UFE’S must hv been pretty low? For me it’s not about the new racquet, even though its a big jump up, it’s about matches and match form, so actually guys he is right at this stage. As long as he comes thru, he is still in the tourney, still in match situations, which is what he has lacked this yr. Expecting a tough one v Mayer who seems to be coming back on track a little. Def see a TB there. If he comes thru, then real test will be rejuvenated Verdasco on clay! Tough! Then we will know about the racquet, playing against a Nadal like play pattern, LHander, under real BH pressure. Meanwhile he needs to keep fighting as all points gained cld make the difference for WTF!!! Come on Fed!

    1. Hey Susie,

      Yeah, he did move pretty well I thought, was picking up all sorts at full stretch.

      Good point too, all the talk is about the racquet now, which is understandable as it’s cool and a big change but yeah winning and court time are most important, needs confidence.

      Fiasco is a leftie but he hits flat so hard to see many similarities with how Dull plays. Should beat him if he beats Mayer. Allez!

  9. Some commented on the web his new racket didn’t seem a magic wand. Come on people, be patient!

    Okay, he didn’t take those break points too seriously, did he? But I agree with your post, was a good progress and win in the end and I’m just happy for the fact that he wants to get better and is trying new things for that, not fading away. Also I like his low-key attitude to the racket change and great to see him still playing his game not becoming a boring baseline hitter.

    1. Ha typical Fed fans over reacting. He has some of the worst fans going really, even on his own website they slate minor things, yet as soon as he wins they are all back on the hype.

      Hajek played quite well on the break points but Fed was just wasteful as usual. Should just go high risk on them for a change, probably convert more.

    2. Jonathan this Wanda’s post looked quite positive to me, full fo “like” and so on, rather more than yours even with your “wasteful” πŸ˜‰ Hajek played well on some breakpoints, Roger badly on a few others, especially when it was matchpoints, but he looked disconcerted by a forehand he missed on the first matchpoint, he looked bothered and it troubled his attempts on other matchpoints where he made many errors. I don’t think the main problem is “break points”, the main problem is his game and adaptation with the racket.

  10. I had exactly the same impressions as in the first match : with this new racket, he is at the moment really comfortable with the backhand, cleaner and more powerful topspinned shots, but he struggles with other shots. Especially he struggled a lot with the forehand in this match, and that’s troublesome for him, as it’s always been his best shot. Today, Hajek (himself more comfortable with the backhand than with the forehand) probably didn’t recognize a player who’s supposed to be much better with the forehand than with the backhand, because that was not the case today. This forehand problem is the most worrying part for me for the rest of this tournament. The serve looked better than previous day, but still with this racket, it seems that his serve flies more and that it’s harder for him to control it, which may be more of a problem on hardcourts than on clay. Physically he looks very good to me.

    1. the volley, I thought some shots he missed were only a matter of concentration, he also made some good ones and anyway it’s a common problem for him. I think his touch shots were quite good in this match, dropshots, going for sitters, a flick of a wrist on a very hard and beautiful smash shot. Don’t have the impression it’s a racket problem. On the forehand, it seems he has a problem with the additional power he has, which helps him for his backhand on the contrary.

    2. on the forehand, the problem doesn’t seem to be only the “additional power” but also his balance with the racket maybe, because of the different weight or general balance of the racket.

  11. Two words: sweater vest…

    Draw opened up nicely, no Fiasco or Haas. Would be huge if Fed could win the title here, especially with the racquet change would be psychological boost!

    1. Oh yes, the sweater vest was awesome! When I stepped away after the first set and returned, at first I thought they were showing a different match.

  12. Wow for a minute i thought Fed was going to blow it against Mayer. The 3rd set being a break up and then handing it back on Feds serve was dissapointing. I wont talk about the 2nd set as at one point he was 5 – 1 down. Anyway Fed managed to grind out the win. He has a good chance now to get to the final as Verdas-choke lost so Fed is clear favourite to beat Delbonis. Come on 2 left to go!! πŸ™‚

  13. What a roller coaster!

    Two more to go. But hey, did anyone hear he had a back problem? I thought he was walking awkwardly towards end of the match. Hope he’s okay.

    1. yeah I read a lot of comments about the back… Hope it’s bulls**t…. As long as he plays the semis in gstaad I’m content πŸ˜›

    1. Simon, that’s a felony. You can’t do that, man. And here you are boasting about it on the world wide web and self incriminating. A second offense will be considered a felony and you will be tried at PeRFect tennis by the full extent of the law. You may also be stripped of all your titles. Consider yourself warned! πŸ™‚

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