Good stuff from the GOAT here as he moved into the semi finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych in 1 hour and 7 minutes. The win sees Roger record his 3rd straight victory over the Czech and move to a 14-6 advantage in the head to head.
With Berdych spending over 2 hours on court yesterday I put Roger as the firm favourite for this one but he actually trailed by a break early in the first set, only to hit back and win 4 straight games to take the opener 6-3. Before cruising home in the second set breaking in the seventh and ninth game to setup a potential semi final against Nadal who takes on Wawrinka later this evening.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve, kicking things off with a love hold to lead 1-1. Berdych soon levelled with a love hold of his own and the Czech drew first blood when he took advantage of Roger's 1st serve failing to land and broke for a 3-2 lead.
However Berdych could not consolidate, making some soft errors when Federer changed up the pace with his slice. The Swiss then held to love to move 4-3 in front and broke Berdych again in game 8 hitting an awesome passing shot in the process to take a 5-3 lead.
Roger failed twice to serve out the second set against yesterday against Anderson and he immediately got in trouble here, slipping down 0-40 but he delivered two timely first serves then played a ridiculous dropshot to make deuce before holding to take the opener 6-3.
Into set 2 and Berdych steadied the ship with a hold for 1-0 and both players exchanged solid holds as the scoreboard moved along to three games all. In game 7 with Berdych struggling with the wind and complaining about the lack of water on the court he slipped to 15-40 and Roger broke him with a stunning backhand to lead 4-3.
The break was quickly consolidated to 30 for 5-3 and with Berdcyh serving to stay in the match Roger came up with an epic lob to create 0-30 and then made an awesome forehand return at 15-40 to book his spot in the semi finals. 2 breaks in each set, good work.
|T. Berdych||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||70%||60%|
|1st Serve Points Won||19/32 (59%)||25/29 (86%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||7/14 (50%)||10/19 (53%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/5 (20%)||3/4 (75%)|
|Service Games Played||9||9|
|1st Return Points Won||4/29 (14%)||13/32 (41%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||9/19 (47%)||7/14 (50%)|
|Break Points Won||1/4 (25%)||4/5 (80%)|
|Return Games Played||9||9|
|Net Points Won||5/9||10//11|
|Total Service Points Won||26/46 (57%)||35/48 (73%)|
|Total Return Points Won||13/48 (27%)||20/46 (43%)|
|Total Points Won||39/94 (41%)||55/94 (59%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Just like the Cuevas and Anderson matches this was another solid display from Federer who served well and hit his backhand tremendously well throughout the match. Berdych looked somewhat weary from his match yesterday and in windy-ish conditions he was always going to struggle which worked very much in Federer's favour. In fact Berdych basically gifted him the first set which gave Fed a huge advantage.
I think overall Roger did a pretty good job out there though on serve and he played with a good level of energy from start to finish. Berdych on the other hand was flat, disinterested and more focused on complaining about the surface than the match itself. If you're not 100% switched on against Fed then you're not going to come away as the winner, simple.
The only real worry from Fed's side of the net is the forehand which is been overshadowed by the backhand this week. It's of course pretty cool that he's hitting the backhand so well (some absolutely ridiculous shots off that wing) when it's a supposed weakness but I think the fearhand needs to start doing some damage in the latter stages to maximise his chance of winning. If he can maintain the backhand brilliance but just tune up the forehand a notch then JesusFed has a very real chance of making an appearance; floating above the clay and schooling all comers 🙂
Predictions vs. Wawrinka
Next up is Stan Wawrinka who defeated Nadal 7-6(7) 6-2 in yesterday nights quarter final. Quite a surprise win given Stan's previous record on clay against Rafa but he played at a high attacking level and didn't lose his resilience despite going down a break twice in the first set and slipping to 2-6 in the tiebreak.
Not sure how Nadal didn't win that set but he failed to consolidate the break of serve twice and in the breaker Stan just redlined his groundstrokes to fight back. Once Stan bagged the first set he basically just ran away with it, going up a double break for 4-1 and despite encountering some resistance he held both his remaining service games with more solid attacking play to get it done.
As for Nadal I'm not really sure what to make of his game, he's losing more matches on clay and it's the first time since 2004 he hasn't won a clay Masters 1000, but I don't think you can rule him out at the French. He was like a wall against Wawrinka but Stan found a way through with sustained firepower. Stan is one of the only guys on tour capable of playing that brand of tennis and over 5 at Roland Garros it's very difficult to do.
Back to today's semi final and Stan's win of course means no Fedal. I wasn't overly interested in that matchup here anyway so I'm glad Stan came through as I prefer to watch his style of play and he's definitely more than capable of troubling Roger on clay. Both Stan's wins in the H2H against Fed are on this surface and we saw at the World Tour Finals in London that when he starts hitting big there's very little you can do other than to try stick around. Prior to winning Monte Carlo last year Rome was also Stan's best ever M1000 performance when he lost in the final to Djokovic in 2008.
Based on what I've seen I think I'll pick Fed to get it done in 2 sets as he's looking quite explosive this week so should be able to contain Wawrinka's game. As long as he serves well enough then Stan is always going to give you one or two opportunities to break serve and if Fed takes them I think he gets it done.