ATP Masters 1000Indian WellsRoger Federer

Federer defeats Raonic in Indian Wells

Stellar performance from Roger here against big serving Canadian Milos Raonic. Raonic has had some good results this year against top 10 opponents and it was the first time these two had faced each other.

The match started pretty slowly really, both players served well but there was little in the way of excitement or any real toe to toe first strike tennis.

The only real moment of note was where Roger saved a break point midway through the first set, barring that both players were extremely comfortable.

The inevitable tie break arrived and Federer missed 1 running forehand that cost him the set. That's sometimes how tie breaks can go when facing big servers like Raonic.

It was tough to predict how the second set would go, Raonic had been serving well and Roger was struggling slightly on the return. If this was over 5 sets I knew Fed would eventually come out on top, but in these 3 set shoot outs matches can slip away pretty quickly.

Luckily Roger buckled down immediately at the start of the second sat and broke Raonic in the first game. He went onto take the second set 6-2. It was really a mixture of Raonic not serving as well and Roger being able to make some better plays. There was no need for Roger to make any dramatic changes to his setup, he just had to execute a little better than he did in the first set and fortunately he was able to.

The third set was always going to go the way of Federer and he really played some nice stuff, successfully converting his only break point with a sweet backhand pass.

For me it was a difficult match,” Federer said after receiving rapturous applause from the near-capacity crowd at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“He's probably seen me play a whole lot of times on TV which helps him out a bit. But I really did well. I hung in there and played a great second set. The third set was close and I'm happy to be moving on in the tournament.

Predictions vs. Bellucci

I really think Bellucci is a bread and butter opponent for someone like Roger. They haven't met before but I see Roger making it through with ease.

The only surface I'd give Bellucci a chance on is clay (he's my early pick to make 2nd week at this years FO). Indian Wells isn't the fastest, but it's still a hard court so I can't see him beating Roger.

I think he will go for his shots and no doubt pull off a few winners but he won't be able to do it with the level of consistency required to beat Fed.

Prediction: 6-2 6-4.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I 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 Federer and tennis in general.

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3 Comments

  1. I only caught the 2nd half of the first set and saw most of the second, but judging from what I did see, the telling stat was Raonic’s 1st serve points won (or conversely, Federer’s 1st service return points won). Other than that, Roger dominated on his own serve and from the ground.

    In the first set, Raonic was literally impregnable when serving and while Roger was getting his racquet on the ball, he couldn’t get it over the net. After that first set, he obviously made the adjustments needed to keep the ball in play. I’d need to re-watch in order to pinpoint what those changes were as it wasn’t something as obvious as standing further back (which was what I was advocating), but if I had to guess, he probably shortened his back swing, made sure to be more alert of Raonic’s toss, especially after getting a taste of Raonic’s serve power/variety in the first set, and prepared just a touch earlier. Whatever he did, it worked masterfully!

    1. I don’t think he really made any changes to the way he was playing or trying to return. I think Raonic like most big servers takes a fair bit of getting used to.
      We’ve seen Roger struggle early on against players like Karlovic many times before, yet he just hangs tough and will eventually get a much better read and start to anticipate the serve.

      It’s abit like facing a bowling machine when playing cricket, the first time you go on one and the ball is flung down at 85mph then you don’t even see it, but after a short while you get used to it and usually start seeing the ball like a football.

  2. Yah, that’s part of it too, but you saw the drastic change between the entire first set and the rest of the match, it wasn’t gradual. He went from not getting a sniff to challenging Raonic on nearly every service game. I’m sure Roger made a minor adjustment, but sometimes it’s best to keep that a secret.

    I know what you mean though. When I play against big servers, I do get used to it over time, but I also tinker because it I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

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