ATP 250Istanbul OpenRoger Federer

Federer Defeats Schwartzman to Make Final in Istanbul

Another hard fought victory for Federer at the Garanti Koza Arena as he defeated a dogged Diego Schwartzman 2-6 6-2 7-5 to move into Sunday’s final. Like the Gimeno-Traver match yesterday Roger was again tested by a solid, hard hitting opponent who knows how to get about a clay court very effectively.

Ultimately though the Swiss was just that bit stronger in the home straight and as the match wore on he played at a higher level to get the job done. Not ideal playing back to back tough three setters ahead of tomorrow’s final but winning is all that counts and Roger is now on a 3 match winning winning streak on clay πŸ˜›

Quick Match Recap

Federer Istanbul Schwartzman

Schwartzman won the toss and elected to receive, getting off to a great start breaking to lead 2-1 and securing the double break at in game 7 to take a 5-2 lead. The Argentine then served out the set to 15 to take it 6-2. A very impressive start from DSS who came out and looked to red line his game at any given opportunity.

Set 2 required an immediate response from Federer and he almost made it, creating 2 break point chances in Schwartzman’s first service game which weren’t converted. However after wasting another break point at 2-1 (hitting the ball out the stadium) he finally got the breakthrough on the next one to take a 3-1 lead. That was quickly consolidated and at 5-2 Roger broke again to love to level the match up.

Schwartzman put up some similar resistance in their French Open encounter last year but then faded and I expected the same here, however he refused to back down in the decider, saving break point in his opening service game and then creating two break chances of his own at 2-2.

Roger saved those however and that’s when the odds swung in his favour holding comfortably thereafter to keep himself in front on the scoreboard. The Swiss failed to convert his first match point at 5-4 but finally got it done to take it 7-5 when Schwartzman missed a forehand down 15-40.

Match Stats

  R. Federer D. Schwartzman
Aces 6 4
Double Faults 1 1
1st Serve % 53% 56%
1st Serve Points Won 34/44 (77%) 42/57 (74%)
2nd Serve Points Won 23/39 (59%) 18/45 (40%)
Break Points Saved 3/5 (60%) 8/11 (73%)
Service Games Played 14 14
1st Return Points Won 15/57 (26%) 10/44 (23%)
2nd Return Points Won 27/45 (60%) 16/39 (41%)
Break Points Won 3/11 (27%) 2/5 (40%)
Return Games Played 14 14
Total Service Points Won 57/83 (69%) 60/102 (59%)
Total Return Points Won 42/102 (41%) 26/83 (31%)
Total Points Won 99/185 (54%) 86/185 (46%)

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Schwartzman Istanbul 2015

A good old fashioned clay court dust up this one where both guys played at a high level and really tested one another. For all his limitations (5ft 7″) Schwartzman has a very good attitude on court – he’ll chase absolutely everything down and his style of play can rush his opponents into making mistakes. He started the match extremely confidently too; striking it big off both wings and taking advantage of any short Federer replies. That style of play deservedly got him two breaks of serve and won him the set 6-2.

I don’t think Fed started too badly but he wasn’t quite free flowing from the word go and Schwartzman’s style of play is ripe for punishing lackadaisical play. However it was always unlikely that Federer wouldn’t raise the bar the longer the match went on and he managed to do that in set 2, not facing a single break point and looking more solid at the back of the court in some of the longer rallies.

The decider was much closer than I anticipated but the key turning point was when Roger saved break point with a stunning backhand down the line winner, easily the shot of the match and although Schwartzman didn’t go away it dialled up Federer’s confidence a notch and he eventually pulled away in the 12th game to break serve and win it.

So a pretty impressive win I thought, no doubt some will ask why he’s having to dig deep to get passed Schwartzman but he played like a guy with nothing to lose and left it all out there. The crowd knew that too, chanting Diego! Diego! as he left the court. The win here is probably more of a positive one than yesterday’s as Roger’s level looks to have gone up, still very difficult to see him being a real factor on clay as it’s tough to put the ball away but he’s heading in the right direction and like he said in the on court interview when asked why he was having problems “Well I’m still here so…” πŸ˜† .

Predictions vs. Cuevas

Pablo Cuevas Istanbul

Next up is Cheesy Cuevas who defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-4 to make his second clay court final of the year (W. Sao Paulo). Roger hasn’t met the Uruguayan before so he doesn’t have too much intel on this guy. I’m not even sure if they have practiced together before so he could be a complete unknown to Fed.

I don’t know much about him either but he’s very much a clay courter and performs well on this surface. His single hander stood up very well to Nadal in Rio earlier this year too so I think he’ll be a fairly tough proposition for Federer tomorrow. Clay court specialist, good off the ground and hovering around his career best ever ranking.

Aside from his opponent the big question for Roger is will back to back three setters influence the outcome of tomorrow’s match. Roger got off to a bit of a sluggish start today and he can’t really afford to do that in the final. Best of 3 can slip away very quickly and if you drop the first set it’s not easy to reign an opponent back in.

I think Fed will probably get it done as Cuevas is definitely the sort of guy who will give him plenty chances even if he’s playing well from the clips I’ve seen. It happened in Rio where he won the first set against Nadal but let him back in before wilting and getting bageled in the third set. Fed in 2 set for me.

What do you guys reckon?


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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    1. I haven’t watched last two sets, but Roger’s play on first set was bit rushing as mentioned and he easily headed over BP..especially second one is awful…

      Not ideal for final, but as said he still in tournament…Hopefully get it done too….Long due Title drought on Red clay (minus Davis cup)

      Wish him luck..

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  1. What is with this “wooop!” sound on EVERY SINGLE Schwartzman serve?

    After watching highlights, Roger doesn’t look as iffy as I feared after seeing the first set score…. but then I’m back to “I don’t know what to think”, if he’s not looking bad and yet losing the set 2-6. On the other hand being able to then turn it around is very positive. For tomorrow – I guess we just have to wait and see. Both guys are near their highest ever ranking πŸ˜‰ – should be good. Maybe even “fun”, ahem!

  2. You nailed it as always Jonathan. Have to say (now Feds has the W!) that I was pretty impressed with this little guy, a touch of Del Potro about him – very hard hitting, but very much faster around the court. An intelligent player too, and mature for his age. I thought Feds was perhaps a little stiff in 1st set and only 44% 1st serves (I think) in that set, but loosened up in 2/3rd. Couple of nice BHDTL + overhead backhand smashes which were fun. He’s having to work hard but perhaps that will pay off in the end (I hope).

    Cuevas looks a bit of a wild man. I know nothing about him except he’s 29 and ranked 23 and has won a few claycourt 250s. Didn’t see his match against Dimi, but 6-4 6-2 suggests it was fairly routine for him. Just hope there’s sufficient recovery time for Feds.

  3. Hi Jonathan

    Not the easy match i was hoping for, but was impressed by Diego, reminded me of Ferrer the way he runs down everything. Pleased that Fed got the job done, was a little worried when he lost the first set 6 2, let us hope tomorrow is a less stressful day for us fedfans. I do not like clay wish we could just fast forward to Wimbledon. ALLEZ ROGER BRING YOUR BEST TOMORROW

  4. Well Fed certainly hung around and I kind of like less pretty gritt wins. He was v rushed in 1st set but as he said, Diego missed nothing and was reading the Fed serve, they did play in IW so used to Feds patterns of play. Fed also went into his BH too much in first set and half which was a big mistake. These guys are so precise on their groundies, can hit for hrs. After the code violation ( yes he did get one) he seemed to loosen up and that was the turning pt! He even said in the interview that he shouldn’t hv hit the ball out of court but he played better after that!!

    Hoping he can win in 2 tomorrow! Will like the fact that Quavers has a Shbh, and hopefully will be nervy in the final playing Rog for first time! Allez!

    And then on to Madrid where all the Grinders will reunite!

    NB hilarious that NK in his first tour final in second atp tourney and it’s clay…
    And Muzza in his first tour final on clay after how many years…

    Interesting times!

    1. Me too Susie, I thought that was a standard ATP metric. Maybe someone will have/has chart (ed) it for tennis abstract & we can figure it out from that.

  5. No idea how this is going to go tomorrow: Jonathan’s been way out on his last 2 predictions, so let’s hope it’s 3rd time lucky! I’m hoping that in some weird way the last couple of days have been good for Fed, but am not sure by any means

    I seem to remember Fed being pretty complimentary about Diego after their Paris match, and he’s obviously improved since then. I was actually wondering yesterday whether a 3-set upset might be on the cards, but I’m glad to be proved wrong.

    Weird times, with Muzza into a clay final, too.

    1. My predictions have been for Federer to win, and he’s won. Scorelines might have been slightly different but wow close do you need? πŸ˜†

  6. Really relieved to see Roger tough it out against the little Pocket Rocket.
    But If Rogers on the recieving end of a near breadstick from the world #63,
    whats gonna happen when he plays a clay specialist ranked his highest ever?!
    I dont know much about Cuevas, but i remember watching him beat Roddick
    in Indian Wells (might have been Miami) a few years ago. Roddick was in a
    major slump, but Cuevas deserves credit for staying level-headed and hitting
    his shots well. Roger really needs to improve tommorow. Todays form wont
    it. Anyway, im predicting a win
    Allez Roger!

    1. Well Schwartzman is a clay specialist too and very much improving. I think if Fed plays similar to how he did in the 2nd and 3rd set against DSS then he will be fine against Cuevas.

  7. Thanks to Jonathan for telling about Pablo Cuevas. I just watched a small bite of his sf win against Grigor, and he seemed worryingly effortless playing. SH, but without Roger’s grace, although an effective bricklayer. Can anybody tell some more, and preferably why Roger of course is to win :-)?

    1. I doubt many here will know too much about Cuevas, he’s not faced off against top 10 opposition many times so he’s not on TV much. Backhand better than forehand, moves well and very much a typical South American clay courter. It won’t be easy but Fed should win.

  8. Another ‘FUN’ match, hah! Thanks Roger for giving us torture for the pleasure.
    I like Diego’s attitude, a great fight from him and he’s so cute. I thought he was like a sheepdog(or goatdog?) running around to control the animals. Glad our goat escaped from the pen in the end.

    Nice that quite few SHBHs are playing this Sunday.
    I wonder what if Fed played with DHBH? Would his game still be graceful to watch? Would he still have the exquisite hand? Would he had won as many matches as he actually had? Would all of his fans still be his fans? What I’m sure is I’m glad he plays with SHBH.

    1. Definitely wouldn’t be as good to watch. His slice wouldn’t be anywhere near as good and his backhand volleys would also probably suffer.

      Won as many matches? Tough to say, if his forehand was identical then probably, might have a better H2H against Nadal with a 2 hander.

  9. He manage to get a W which is good and bad. Stretch yet again for 2 successive matches. Next opponent will be a lot tougher, not sure he has enough to get the job done. Hope for a good final, would love it if Roger wins otherwise ok since he reached final.

  10. I don’t think Diego is weak, he has improved much, and might be a threat in the future. Cuevas played solid, but I agree with Jonathan, Roger should win, a bit sloppy with the tight second set. But Grigor lost to him. Too many nerves, too selfdemanding, Grigor? Well Roger showed brilliance, I think he may go deep in Madrid. First thing, Kyrgios, probably, though.

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