An 11th Gerry Weber Open final awaits for Roger Federer on Sunday after he battled past Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6(5) in 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Federer will be aiming for his ninth title in North Rhine Westphalia, which would make Halle his most successful tournament in terms of titles. Can he do it? Here's hoping!
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. The decision paid off as he broke to 30 but wasn't able to consolidate as Khachanov hit back to level at 1-1.
Game 3 saw Roger break again for a 2-1 lead, and this time he held to 15 for 3-1. That was quickly 4-2 with Roger hitting a delicious inside out forehand on game point.
At 5-4 Roger served for the set and ran into difficulty, facing a break point at 30-40, but he made deuce and converted his second set point to take it 6-4.
Into set 2 and Khachanov continued his gameplan of going big on every single ball, which helped him hold his opening two service games. In game 5 Roger fashioned 0-30 but couldn't find the break point however at 4-4, the Russian made some wild errors, and Federer broke to 15.
Serving for the match is never easy, and with Khachanov returning well Roger lost three straight points to drop serve. The Russian then fended off a break point to hold for 6-5.
From serving for the match, Roger was now serving to stay in the set, and despite holding a game point, he had to save two set points. Khachanov missing an easy mid-court forehand on the first.
A tie-break felt like a fitting end to the set and Roger was the first to strike, going up a mini break for 1-0 only to get pegged back. The Swiss then went up 3-2, only to relinquish the advantage again as Khacahnov won 3 points in a row to lead 5-4. Roger dug in to hold both serves and lead 6-5 and converted his first match as Khachanov went long with a backhand. Phew!
|Roger Federer||Karen Khachanov|
|First Serve Percent||66%(51/77)||62%(43/69)|
|1st Serve Points Won||71%(36/51)||70%(30/43)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||58%(15/26)||46%(12/26)|
|Break Points Saved||67%(4/6)||40%(2/5)|
|Service Games Played||11||11|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||30%(13/43)||29%(15/51)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||54%(14/26)||42%(11/26)|
|Break Points Converted||60%(3/5)||33%(2/6)|
|Return Games Played||11||11|
|Net Points Won||73% (11/15)||75% (9/12)|
|Total Service Points Won||66%(51/77)||61%(42/69)|
|Total Return Points Won||39%(27/69)||34%(26/77)|
|Total Points Won||53%(78/146)||47%(68/146)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Toughest match of the week so far for Roger against a hard-hitting opponent who took the game to Fed. I've not seen much of Khachanov, but he hits big off both wings, serves huge and moves very well for a tall guy. Somewhat similar to Safin and he has a very destructive game.
Pre-match I thought Roger's variety would cause him problems, but Khachanov played very aggressively which meant Roger had to play reactive tennis for the most part. We're used to seeing Fed force the issue on most surfaces, but here he was the one having to defend and make the Russian hit one more ball. That's not really his game, even less so at 36, so it looked scrappy at times, but he was able to soak up enough pressure, draw the errors and use his experience to get through in straight sets.
As you can see from the stats the serve wasn't on great form and I thought Khachanov made Roger's serve look tame, which is why he wasn't able to settle into that nice rhythmical groove that lets him roll through matches. Not sure if Khachanov was reading it or Federer wasn't quite hitting his spots. I'll go with a bit of both as he didn't look fully dialled in today, sitting down after the first game for instance 😆 so coming through in straights is impressive. Fans want silky smooth winners so get worried when a has to scrap out a win but there's every chance he can run into someone like this early doors at Wimbledon so it's all good practice.
Predictions vs. Zverev / Gasquet
Next up is Sascha Zverev who saw off Gasquet in three sets. I've not had chance to see any of Zverev's matches this week but from all reports he's hitting the ball big especially off his favoured backhand side.
The German was able to beat Federer here last year, although you have to say Roger was obviously not at his best, but based on all their previous meetings he's been a tricky matchup. Like Khachanov he's strong in all areas, moves well for a big guy but is far more balanced than the Russian in terms of not going huge on every single ball. So Fed will need to take things up a notch today if he's to take down his 9th title. No losses of focus on serve and he'll need to try play on the front foot. If he's having to defend often like he was today I think Zverev has the upper hand. Fed in three for me 🙂
What did you guys think of the match? Let me know in the comments.