Another day, another hard-working performance from Roger Federer has he made his 12th Gerry Weber Open final with a 7-6(1), 7-5 win over Denis Kudla on Saturday.
The Swiss is looking for his 10th title in Halle and is now on a twenty match winning streak on the grass but he's not had it all his own way this week. After admitting yesterday he was feeling a bit tired in press he again looked a bit low on energy but managed his game perfectly to up his level at the key moments, winning 84% behind his first serve and playing a flawless opening tie-break to get himself in front before closing out it out at the business end of the second set.
Quick Match Recap
Kudla won the toss and elected to receive. Roger then held to 30 and got off to a peRFect start breaking for 2-0 after a lengthy game. However, the Swiss couldn't consolidate as Kudla hit back. That steadied the ship for the American and the first set breezed buy with both guys holding serve comfortably and no more break points going the way of either player.
Into the breaker and Roger played a quality opening point, chasing down a ball out wide to whip a pass from very low to the ground. That set the tone for the entire breaker and Roger picked up the pace, winning 6 points in a row before finally taking it 7-1.
Kudla kicked off set two with a love hold and showed no signs up disappointment at bombing in the breaker. Roger then held to love but in game three it was he who showed signs of frustration, sending a ball out of the stands and receiving a code violation. Kudla continued to hold his own and in games four and eight Roger had to fight off break points. Game eight being the key as he recovered from 0-40 with some clutch play, upping his level when the circumstances called for it.
Buoyed by the hold Roger was able to summon a little bit extra towards the tail end of the set and suddenly it was Kudla who looked like the tired player out there as he dropped serve at 5-5. Roger then served it out to fifteen to move into the finals.
|Roger Federer||Denis Kudla|
|1st Serve||67% (50/75)||61% (45/74)|
|1st Serve Points Won||84% (42/50)||80% (36/45)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||52% (13/25)||48% (14/29)|
|Break Points Saved||86% (6/7)||33% (1/3)|
|Service Games Played||12||12|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||20% (9/45)||16% (8/50)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||52% (15/29)||48% (12/25)|
|Break Points Converted||67% (2/3)||14% (1/7)|
|Return Games Played||12||12|
|Net Points Won||59% (13/22)||69% (11/16)|
|Service Points Won||73% (55/75)||68% (50/74)|
|Return Points Won||32% (24/74)||27% (20/75)|
|Total Points Won||53% (79/149)||47% (70/149)|
Shot of the Match
Federer Reflects On Kudla Victory Halle 2018
Thoughts on the Match
Look was different today than yesterday even though the score was the same, more baseline today compared to serve and volley yesterday. Pity I couldn't maintain the break advantage in the first set but I couldn't do that. Honestly, I think we both did a good job of not dropping serve and it was difficult to break for a while. But I played a good breaker like yesterday, I have been very successful playing breakers here in Halle. Kudla had a good chance when he had 0-40 in the second, that was a big hold for me so I'm very happy I found a way again today.
A different opponent in Kudla today but a very similar match to the Ebden one where Roger didn't play brilliantly but managed his game well and found something extra when required. Whenever he was down breakpoints or at the business end of things something kicked in and better tennis flowed from his racquet.
I particularly liked that opening point in the tie-break as for most of the set he'd looked sluggish but there was no way he was giving up that first point without a fight and he put in that extra effort to pull off the pass.
So not his best tennis of course but he's still winning and I don't think fans can have any complaints. Forehand a bit wobbly from the baseline and I don't think he's really serving well yet but like he said in the interview he's played a lot of matches lately without much practice in between so I don't think there's much cause for concern. Making finals when playing your B game is hardly a worry IMO 🙂
Predictions vs. Coric
Next up is Borna Coric who moved into the final after Bautista Agut retired leading 3-2 in the first set. The Spaniard took a tumble and injured his hip. After an off-court MTO he decided he couldn't continue.
Roger leads the H2H 2-0, he schooled Coric first time around in Dubai but this year in Indian Wells it was a very close match. The Croatian is improving all the time and he's put together a good run here so it will be another tough match tomorrow. I think it will basically boil down to what level Fed is able to bring, if he can play somewhat close to his best grass game then it should be more than enough but if he's struggling for rhythm then it's wide open.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.