No tough 3 setter for Roger here as he saw off Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 22 minutes to make his 5th Roger's Cup final. In Sunday's showpiece he'll be bidding for his 80th career title and 22nd Masters 1000 crown; in the way stands Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who will be looking to cap off a great week where he's defeated Djokovic, Murray and Dimitrov en route to the final.
Back to last nights encounter and Roger played a very solid match to break Lopez once in each set and didn't allow the big serving left hander to create a single break point of his own, winning 86% of his first serve points en route to a comfortable victory.
Pleasing match I thought after two tough 3 setters against Cilic and Ferrer; it was important he got this done quickly so he can get more time to recover for the final which is at 3:00PM local time and will be the first time he's played a day match this week.
Quick Match Recap
Fed won the toss, elected to serve and promptly fired down a love hold to kick things off. Another love hold followed for 2-1 and he then broke Lopez to lead 3-1 after a marathon game where Lopez saved 7 break points with some big serving and crispy volleying.
With Lopez failing to make any sort of impression on return Roger had 2 more chances to break in the 6th and 8th game but couldn't convert. It made no difference though as he served out the set to 15 to take it 6-3.
With Lopez serving first at the start of the second he double faulted at 30-15 and then blazed a forehand long at 30-40 to drop serve. It was a huge choke with the whole court to aim for he managed to slam it long. Reminded me of a forehand Murray missed vs. Nadal at Wimbledon in 2011.
That spelled the end for Lopez as Roger just maintained his consistency on serve with the serve + forehand combo allowing him win plenty of cheap points.
Lopez on the other hand was being forced to work hard in all his service games which never gave him the freedom on the return he was looking for. At 2-1 we got the highlight of the match where Fed hit a tweener, then decided to squash shot a ball miles into the crowd when he knew he couldn't make the forehand. It was like “Ah f**k it” moment, boom, into the stands.
With the crowed pleasing segment done Federer cruised home; 2-1 soon became 5-3 and a few sweetly timed forehands later Roger was closing it out to 30 to book his spot in the final.
|F. Lopez||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||38%||55%|
|1st Serve Points Won||24/29 (83%)||25/29 (86%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||21/48 (44%)||16/24 (67%)|
|Break Points Saved||9/11 (82%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||9||10|
|1st Return Points Won||4/29 (14%)||5/29 (17%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||8/24 (33%)||27/48 (56%)|
|Break Points Won||0/0 (0%)||2/11 (18%)|
|Net Points Won||12/19||13/18|
|Return Games Played||10||9|
|Total Service Points Won||45/77 (58%)||41/53 (77%)|
|Total Return Points Won||12/53 (23%)||32/77 (42%)|
|Total Points Won||57/130 (44%)||73/130 (56%)|
Thoughts on the Match
From my standpoint, I think I served well, I was aggressive, and I was able to really play the way I wanted to play tonight. I'm very happy. I think [Lopez] was probably mentally a bit tired this week. He's played a lot of good guys in the spell of a short period of time. He played one more match than I did, and back-to-back three setters the last couple of nights, he was probably feeling it there.
A very solid performance that saw Roger move into an 11-0 H2H lead against Lopez, another stunning record really and had he not lost to Robredo at the USO his record against 3 of the best Spanish players of the last decade would be peRFect. 15-0, 11-0 and 11-1.
I thought Roger moved very well again last night which was key to the win, Lopez couldn't really open up the court when he needed to and whenever a rally above 3 shots began he was instantly the underdog.
Watching the match back Fed perhaps looked a little flat towards the end but he'd got the break and was able to just coast over the line. Lopez was never really in the match after being broken early in both sets and his first serve wasn't finding it's spot like it was vs. Raonic a round earlier.
Other than that not a whole lot to say, solid on serve, moving well and get's the job done in straights. Can't ask for more.
Predictions vs. Tsonga
Into the Championship decider and Tsonga is the man waiting for the Swiss and he's been playing some inspired stuff this week. I've not seen many of his matches but I did catch the highlight reel vs. Murray and he was crunching the ball off both wings and looked very focused.
Tsonga's record in Masters 1000's isn't that impressive as he's missed so much tennis over the years but 2 semi finals in Canada previously means it's one of his best tournaments and in fact is only bettered by his performances in Bercy where he won in 2008 and lost in the final in 2011.
Based on his results this week defeating Djokovic, Murray and Dimitrov I think this will be a very tough match for Roger. He might lead the H2H 11-4 but there's been some tough encounters between them over the years, including 2 losses in Canada to Tsonga in 2009 and 2011. If he allows the Frenchman to get into his man on a mission mindset he is very difficult to stop.
Tsonga can overpower guys, serve up a storm and then play really aggressive with his forehand and also be solid in his backhand. You think you're in a safe place in the rally, and he takes one step and just hits it and the point is over. That's why he's been in the Top 10 for so long.
From Roger's side he needs to play aggressive and let Tsonga beat himself mentally. Mix it up, vary pace and just generally give Tsonga no real rhythm. When Tsonga is pummelling shots from the back of the court he's in his element but once he has to actually think about what shot to play, he breaks down. His court sense is poor and he doesn't read the game as well as Federer so Roger needs to exploit that.
I'm expecting Roger to come in quite a lot thanks to the Edberg influence and that should be a profitable play, there's no way Tsonga can hit passing shots consistently well a la Murray, Djokovic and Nadal so that's something to watch out for.
If Fed serves well, is able to move like he's moved all week and keep the errors down then he can win this one handily. Fed in 3. 6-4 4-6 6-2.