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ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererRome Masters

Federer Dispatches Berdych to Make Rome Semi Finals

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 Rome 2015 Quarter Finals

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.

Match Stats

T. Berdych R. Federer
Aces 3 2
Double Faults 2 0
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
Winners 12 15
Unforced Errors 14 11
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

Federer Makes Rome Semi Finals 2015

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

Fedrinka Rome 2015

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.

Federer vs. Berdych Rome 2015 Rating

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

Good Stuff!

Another solid display from Roger but a rather tame effort from Berdych who struggled with the wind and fatigue from yesterday's match against Fognini.

User Rating: 4.63 ( 5 votes)

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and 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 Fed and tennis in general.

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105 thoughts on “Federer Dispatches Berdych to Make Rome Semi Finals”

    1. Thsi is my first time commenting and my first time at the top as well. Love this site and have been reading everything posted here for some 4 years…

      Great match from Roger. I always fear Roger playing Berdych and this was no exception. It was great to see Roger regaining the lead and closing the match in two. Berdych being flat and tired did help too.

    2. Hey Jose,

      Ah cool, good to know there are long term readers who never comment 🙂

      And me too, after Berdych scored some big wins it’s always felt like a problem matchup but Fed has been well in top in recent meetings so he seems to be less of a worry these days. Hard court is probably where he is most dangerous against Fed.

    1. Okay, why did I have a nasty feeling that at 5-3 second set Roger was going to go walkabout again like yesterday? He needs to start concentrating if he’s to get through his next match, whoever it turns out to be against.

  1. First time Finalist!!! Couldnt make it to the top. But I ll take the first Silver. #Olympics2012moment. :pp

  2. BTW, I’ve been meaning to ask: what *is* up with Roger’s first serve at the moment? His percentage for the first set was way below 50%, wasn’t it? How does your first serve just vanish? He will definitely need to to better with that and the forehand tomorrow.

    1. Yeah and there’s about 5 others as well now I think about it, Dubai 2013 too Olympics. Saw the stat on Twitter and didn’t bother looking to see if it was accurate 😆

  3. Fourth 🙁 After two in a row a little while ago, I’m now on a (possibly permanent) slump.

    Berdy has a rip roaring start, but as you say lost focus grumbling about court conditions + he’s never been a good wind player. Once he lost the break he’d gained, he seemed to lose interest which was sad for the crowd. But good solid match from the champ and little energy expended which is what we all like to see. 🙂

    1. Yeah he looked a bit weary once he’d lost the break of serve. Plain sailing from there on for Fed. Getting to the point where Berdych can no longer be called a problem matchup 😀

  4. I dont know why everybody suddenly is rooting for stan? Why this growing emapthy for him. I am die hard Fedfan like you guys are. So far my predictions as I hav mentioned for Fed were to make it to the SFs which he has stormed passed. I am rooting for Nadal now. I want Federer to meet Nadal tommorow with that backhand. The conditions in rome besides being a claycourt tournament are lightining. I know the match would still heavily favour Nadal. But then again Fed has nothing to loose. Pardon me for this guys. But I want Nadal vs Fed tommorow. Rog keep firing that BHTDL.

    1. Just I wrote in my comment, if Roger gets his FH wings working with this kind of BH he could fancy his chance…Lets hope Roger nails it…

    2. I don’t know why you think people are suddenly rooting for Stan? He has always been a fan favourite due to having the best backhand in the game. it’s nothing new really. I don’t mind who Fed plays in the semi’s, but looking at the match in isolation I want Stan to win as I prefer his game.

      Lightening is conjecture unless you’re courtside or playing on them there is no way to tell. Roger said yesterday the conditions in Rome are so variable. One thing is for sure they will be far slower on an evening when he plays tomorrow. Fed said they were quick against Anderson as it was hot, sunny and in the middle of the afternoon. Today it looked slower as it was overcast.

      1. I actually believe night and slower conditions on clay are better for Federer against Nadal. Rafa’s ball won’t jump up nearly as high as when its sunny and dry, so Fed won’t be hitting as many shoulder height backhands. Also, when Fed made the run to the finals here a few years ago, I believe all his matches were night matches except for the final where Rafa schooled him on a warm sunny afternoon. Anyway, it’d be amazing if Roger can get it done tomorrow, regardless of opponent…but especially against Rafa!

      2. Yeah that’s true, Nadal usually requests day sessions so the night sessions could aid Fed if they meet. Maybe it helps Wawrinka too, if the ball is in his wheelhouse on the backhand it should be good.

  5. Forget Birdman, No Complaints from fans on this match match though…..

    Jonathan, not sure you indented but I like your “Fearhand” reference.. Considering his BH wing so far if FH also works then he might make it very close in SF even if he has to play against Dull…. It would be sweet if he could “bounce” him in SF….

    Note:- I thought you going to make post after Dull match, but you made it quicker

    1. Fearhand was intentional 🙂 although I think Gilbert was the guy who coined the phrase.

      I decided to do a post and add in the prediction later, short turnaround on these Masters 1000’s!

  6. Hey guys, not a pretty sight, but I do hope Dull comes through. A Roger/Rafa-match is long overdue and if it doesn’t happen here, you KNOW it will happen at RG. Rafa’s turf and also 5 setters. No thank you….. let them meet at Rome first. Roger is now stronger and more confident and now Rafa is not a 100%. Situation reversed like in 2013. Now it is Roger’s time.

    And how long can they keep up avoiding each other?? Let them play on clay so Roger will also know how he stands. If Dull beats Roger, then he will be confident like before. But if Roger wins, he will use that confident to beat Novak in the final and at RG.

    Oh and this “I am Novak, I am always losing the 2nd set, you all KNOW I will win the 3rd set” is really becoming boring and annoying. Commie left with the sentence “can anyone beat Novak”…. yes, Roger can 🙂

    1. Ps 1: If Rafa stays at nr 7 and will be at RG in the QF of Roger/Novak/Andy…. you KNOW he will be in Roger’s side right??

      Ps 2: Does Rafa have so much power?? I don’t think I have seen Carlos as the umpire in his matches…. So… what Dull says….happens??? Are they that scared of him??

      1. Ps 3: Just realised…. Roger could play Stan the Man in the SF….. and lets NOT FORGET…. that is also not a walk in the park 🙂 Danger everywhere for Roger 🙂

      2. PS 1: Yes, of course he will, Katyani. And if he beats him I predict his mojo will return and then you know what will happen …

      1. Ai ai ai…. the Goat cannot avoid Rafa forever on clay…. has to happen sometime. Better against THIS Rafa than “Rafa 2013”. Speak about scary…… Now HE was superscary 🙂

      2. Jesus, Katyani…get a grip! He lost to Nadal what, like in four finals, and a semi at Roland Garros? And like 8 other times? Clay is the worst surface when it comes to this match up. It is completely, and utterly tilted in favor of Nadal.

    2. Quite agree, Katyani. I wasn’t fooled when Kei took the second set – I just assumed Novak had gone walkabout again.

      I don’t know who I wanted to win that SF (well, I prefer Stan, of course, but …) – but who was it predicted that Rafa and Roger wouldn’t meet, yet again? They were right. And Stan leads the H2H on clay, doesn’t he? Plus we all remember the last time they met across the net, don’t we 🙁

      1. Hey Alison, you have to forgive me for this. Since last year I am not Novak’s biggest fan. So no love and appreciation from me for him 🙂

        Oke… he played fairly and won fairly and played great, but I still don’t like him. When Nishi won the 2nd set, I knew he would lose the 3rd. Only thing I didn’t know was what the score would be in the 3rd. Novak loves to give in the 3rd set 6-2 or 6-1 and ofcourse… his favourite… bagels 🙂

        Kei tried…. but failed. Lets see what Ferrer can do 🙂

        And Alison, yep…. Stan the Man…. in THIS form…. on clay…. be scared Roger…. be very scared and work your butt off to win 🙂 No brotherhood, no bromance… just two opponents from the same country 🙂

  7. Well, that’s the way to turn it around. Good to see our guy figuring out the wind, figuring out his opponent, not getting flustered…. okay, not staying flustered 😉 –

    I was actually surprised & impressed to see how well Berdych was moving & constructing points in the beginning, so double pleased to see Fed able to handle that relatively comfortably. He seemed to be mixing up the pace too which I think is good practice for him.

    I tend to agree w/ Phil that night conditions may favor Roger over his opponent – although wind will probably have died down, & today at least Roger was the better wind player.

    Which opponent? Well I was kind of hoping for Fabio today because the atmosphere would have been completely electric, but obviously that didn’t happen. I think either opponent will be a good match for him, & of course at this point he’s done his part & it’s up to them now. As I write this they’re only halfway through the first set and it seems like they must have been playing for 3 hours already. (They haven’t. Just seems like it.)

    It occurs to me that Roger came into Monte Carlo last year on a last minute wild card and made the final in spite of a nasty cold and momentous goings-on on the home front. Maybe this let’s-play-a-tournament-I-wasn’t-sure-I-was-going-to is a good tactic for him right now? I could see it lowering the pressure on him some, & I’ve read some things that suggest that he’s been doing much less press & sponsor appearances than usual this week. Maybe that’s a good thing for him at this stage?

    Should be a great match tomorrow – right Rog? Allez Rodgeur!

    1. Same thing with Cincy last year, if I’m not mistaken. He considered skipping it, then he runs away with the whole thing… On the other hand, playing Cincy might have had a negative effect on USO. Let’s hope a good run in Rome will only be positive for his RG campaign. Or will Murray be the last man standing there, after his withdrawal in Italy?
      By the way: well done by Stan! It’ll be exciting tomorrow!

    2. “Maybe this let’s-play-a-tournament-I-wasn’t-sure-I-was-going-to is a good tactic for him right now? I could see it lowering the pressure on him some, & I’ve read some things that suggest that he’s been doing much less press & sponsor appearances than usual this week. Maybe that’s a good thing for him at this stage?”

      That’s what I’ve been thinking. After all, wasn’t he pretty much last-minute for Shanghai as well, or was it just that we didn’t know if he was going to play? I’ve indicated before that I think all the exterior stuff is a bit too much of a distraction, too.

    3. Yeah think Shanghai was in doubt last year but then decided to play.

      Dunno about sponsors thing – saw some Moet event again in Rome on a picture. They are a big tennis sponsor so pretty much every event has some sort of Moet meet and greet!

  8. Fed’s backhand is looking rock solid these days! 🙂

    And boy, I’ve been waiting to see Stan play like this again. That first set was VERY impressive… Come on stan, two more games! 🙂

  9. I thought Fed had a shot against rafa tomorrow – much more rested, good matches in roma so far, rafa is under his par and the conditions look reasonably quick….
    But tonight stan the man is back !! no more fedal for us guys :(( usually I fear them but not this time
    Who said nadal is so strong mentally? Even when dominated, Fed finds a way to stick around. Not the case for rafa, really. Have you seen how heis collapsing when he realizes that wawrinka or murray own him ? And all the desesperate fists pumps, completely overplayed, are truly pathetic. But when you scratch your ass on TV every five minutes, being pathetic is a definitely way of life.
    Anyway, congrats stan ! and Thank You !!

    1. See what happened there? Just when Roger had a chance to get one across in the H2H, Nadal is gone. Nice way to build up the 23-10 H2H.

      1. Happens so often, doesn’t it, Sid? Like for most of the last 15 months. It’s usually been Nadal, but just occasionally it’s been Roger who hasn’t made it.

      2. Julien, I’m not saying he lost on purpose. What I’m saying is, Federer rarely faces Nadal when he is not in form. In 2013, which was Roger’s worst year,

      3. …HE FUCKING MANNED UP AND FACED NADAL FOUR TIMES, AND LOST ALL FOUR!

        Nadal loses to anybody, and everybody in earlier rounds, before Roger can have a go at him.

        Exactly, Alison, Roger is there to face Nadal, Nadal doesn’t keep his end of the bargain. I’m telling you, and I know I’m 100% right on this: If Nadal believe there is even a possibility Roger can beat him, he will not face Roger. Fucking coward!

      4. “Jesus, Katyani…get a grip! He lost to Nadal what, like in four finals, and a semi at Roland Garros? And like 8 other times? Clay is the worst surface when it comes to this match up. It is completely, and utterly tilted in favor of Nadal.”

      5. Nadal would’ve still been a heavy favourite had he come through against Fed, especially on clay.

    2. Brilliant last couple of points and thankfully way too little and way too late from the stumbling Spaniard!

    3. “Who said nadal is so strong mentally? Even when dominated, Fed finds a way to stick around. Not the case for rafa, really. Have you seen how heis collapsing when he realizes that wawrinka or murray own him ?”

      Like it or not, Nadal is a mental beast on court. Won so many matches when looking down and out. But mental strengths manifests itself in different ways – Nadal can forget points instantly and lockdown into his run and run never miss mode. I don’t think he went away against Stan either, had numerous break points at 4-1 but Stan saved them solid hitting.

      Fed’s mental strength is more to find the ace when he needs it, play the big forehand on the break point etc. Two different types, one more of a braver style than the other.

  10. Wow Stan. Very hard to take away from his performance tonight. But in fairness, nadal should have put him away in that TB. Tough game tomorrow. Fed does not have it easy against Stan nowadays, and night conditions will take a short while to get used to. I’ll say fed in 3. As for nadal, his performance tonight epitomised why I hate him so much. Net clearance huge, several miles behind the baseline, defensive, ugly tennis. Good riddance he lost, and I can only hope that trend continues.

    1. Is this the first time in a thousand years that Nadal has won no clay Masters 1000? Rather, no titles yet in the clay stretch?

      1. Nadal has won 1 clay title to date this year, was it Argentina? But none in the clay stretch since April, interesting to see what happens at Roland Garros. Djoker is favourite.

    2. “But in fairness, nadal should have put him away in that TB”

      Sorry John… but did you see those 4 sp Stan saved?? Unbelievable play. Don’t think Roger or even Novak could stopped Stan from winning those 4 points. Even that TB. Stan was “on “. Just… he doesn’t need to be “that on” tomorrow. You already have MC Stan… be satisfied with that 🙂

      1. Hi Katyani. Yes, I did. I was thoroughly pleased in fact. But if Roger were in that position, great tennis or not from his opponent, I would say he should have put it away. You get those set points, two of which on serve, and you should be winning them, whether it be by ace or good first serve.

        Sid, yeah, I haven’t done any research, but I’m pretty certain this is the only time in nadal’s career that he will enter the French with no European clay title to his name. But as we saw last year, when he didn’t deserve to beat nishikori, that is no real obstacle to performing at the French, but I have a sneaky feeling this just might not be another one of his years.

      2. Nadal should have won the set for sure but based on his playing style not sure what else he could have done for those 4 points Stan won in a row, just relentless hitting.

        First time since 04 with no M1000 on clay.

  11. Take a bow Stan the Man. Take a bow and please explain to me…. why o why…. do you only have 1 GS when you can play like THIS?? The TB I thought was gone, but once Rafa had those 4 SP… man o man… where did THAT playstyle come from?? From not winning back to back matches since R’dam… now you play like this?? Take a bow Stan…. seriously…. great match.
    And…. yes…. this has to be said too…. great play Rafa. Wow… what a player has to do JUST to win one match against you !!! Man, you just tired me out by watching, cannot imagine what Stan must have gone through and his team.

    Now Stan showed that winning AO was not a fluke and that there WAS a reason why he beat Roger at the MC final. Stan…dude…. you really are good on clay 🙂

    But sorry Stan… I am a RF fan. Tomorrow I will be rooting for Roger. If Roger was not there, you would soooo deserve the victory.

    And loving the message “See you tomorrow RF”. Watch it Roger, Stan has plans…. 🙂

    1. I bet he does. They won’t be going out to dinner tonight this time (not that it isn’t ridiculously late for that anyway 🙂 )

  12. Good compact match from Rog. Ironed out the serve in 2nd set and solid off grounds. Berdy v up and then v down. Hates wind and looked like he cldnt wait to get on a plane out if there! Think Stan will be a bit mentally tired tomorrow. That match v Rafa was v tight! Can’t really call it but hoping for Rog in 2 plse….

    1. Yeah big win for Stan yesterday considering he hasn’t won back to back matches since Rotterdam!

      Depends if he is satisfied with performance already or wants to take home the title…

  13. Well done Roger today, was not expecting that facile win against Birdshit! Am in two minds about his not facing Nadal tomorrow: definitely believe he would have taken Nadal out on his favourite surface but as Sid has rightly said that most irksome man only ever seems to play Roger when he is NOT in form!!! So glad he is out.
    However, it is Djokovic I have the biggest gripe with: does anyone else think he’s popping a pill or something? Especially BEFORE start of third sets? If Roger should get past Stan tomorrow, I really really want him to finally win Rome but am desperately fearful a drug cheat could shatter his ddream? I really hope I am proven wrong.

    1. Novak does seem to have almost supernatural strength in deciding sets these days. I really thought Kei would pull it out. Hopefully, one of the swiss will take him down. I don’t want to see Novak lifting a 4 the masters trophy this soon.

  14. Hi everyone,

    First time comment and what a match. The moment fed “lost that point” at 40-15 in the third after Berdych had challenged once the game was done and dusted I saw a glimpse of the incredibly aggressive Federer for the first time in a while. What passion!

    Thanks for the amazing posts Jonathan. This site has been my “go to” after a fed match before the atpworldtour.

      1. What was that? I got the impression reading the live commentary on MTF that it had been a bit of a tetchy match, but not specifics given, and I don’t think you mentioned it, J?

  15. Great job to Roger for coming through what can be a difficult opponent for him in Berdych! I was a little worried when Tomas broke him, but I loved Roger coming back and playing the rest of the match brilliantly. Major props to stan the man for taking down Rafa, but part of me was hoping for a Rafa/Roger semi. With rafa’s confidence at an all time low, I really thought roger could get at least get one match back in their horrible h2h. It was not to be, and roger needs to be sharp tomorrow because wawrinka is a very dangerous opponent!

    1. There is no better way for Rafa to get his confidence back than a nice Fed mauling session on clay. Confidence or no confidence, all he has to do is moonball to Federer’s backhand for a couple of minutes and the game is over. No thanks!! I’ll take Stan as an opponent on clay any day!!

      1. I always see Fed fans complain about missed Fedal meetings especially when they think Roger is playing better than Nadal. But as you said, it’s purely down to matchup and no matter how well Roger is striking the ball, it normally all goes to shit against Dull.

      2. Hey Wanda, sorry, I disagree with all of you. If we want Roger to avoid Rafa on clay and Rafa wants to avoid a strong Roger…. then…. what is the difference between Roger and Rafa and their fans??

        The reason why I love Roger so much is because he IS there on clay against the best claycourt player of all time, with backproblems and low confident, knowing (before he even steps on the court) just like the whole tennis world that he will lose. But he IS there. That is the difference between Roger and Rafa.
        So… why on earth do you guys want Roger to do the same “hiding game” that Rafa does??

        To be the best, occasionally you have to beat the best on their strongest turf right??

        Roger vs Rafa on clay is my worst nightmare for Roger…but if we want him to avoid that… then we are letting Rafa win. And that is a big no no.

        Roger and Rafa on clay…. not a pretty sight…. but cannot be avoided forever…

  16. Just watched the match now. Fed was not impressed with Berdych’s behavior as usual. The BHDTL once again is awesome.
    Wishing Fed was playing Nadal instead. I’m not so big a fan of Stan these days since he left his wife.
    Is it going to rain tomorrow?

  17. Nice to see that despite Nadal losing, none of us are underestimating Stan for tomorrow. He has shown in their last 3 encounters that he can definitely trouble Federer from the baseline especially through his dangerous backhand wing (like what happened in Monte Carlo 2014 final). I won’t be surprised if Federer loses tomorrow to Stan the Man in “redline” mode.

    But in the whole scheme of things, it’s great to see both Swiss players are peaking at the right time for Roland Garros.

    Also now that Nadal has lost, he doesn’t get the 4th seed and it will be VERY interesting to see what Quarter he lands on. I prefer this draw (assuming Raonic doesn’t play) if we want Federer to win:

    Djokovic-Nadal
    Wawrinka-Berdych

    Murray-Nishikori
    Federer-Ferrer

    I have no idea if this draw is possible though since I don’t know much about the seeding system very well.

  18. We all know since London (and Monte Carlo) that Stan can make it tough for Roger. But Federer’s backhand is magic at the moment, so… I’m clicking this site every five minutes to read Jonathan’s prediction. Not easy to do
    , of course…but still – what do you think, Jonathan? And please, everybody, don’t give Stan good advice how to win – he might read this page!

  19. Wow! Just watched the tiebreaker. Down 2-6, Stan wins five straight points at the net.

    Forced error: 3-6
    Volley winner: 4-6
    Forced error: 5-6
    Volley winner: 6-6
    Volley winner: 7-6

    That’s not all. After that, on the run, down the line, clean whistle of a forehand winner, he followed it up with another forced error at the net.

    In short, from 2-6, Stan won 6 points in the front court.

    Makes you think, you can play the front court on clay. Or has that got something to do with the conditions?

    1. I think it’s got something to do with Stan hitting the felt off the ball.

      Roger has trouble hitting through the court on clay (then again, not so much this tournament), and with Nadal playing 50m behind he baseline it gives him time to set up his “””brilliant””” passing shot.

      Stan on the other hand just pummeled the ball yesterday, and probs didn’t give Nadal enough time to prepare for a good passing given then speed and the heaviness of the incomming ball.

      That’s my guess anyway, cause as much as I love Stan, he’s a terrible volleyer in comparison to Rog’…

    2. Yeah Stan is one of the few guys around who can sustain that level off firepower off both wings for a long period. That definitely was the reason behind him being able to step into the court and get volley put aways.

      You can definitely play front court on clay though and have some success – look at Henman making the semi finals in 2004.

  20. Great few matches here from Fed so far, won’t lie- thoroughly surprised he’s put a better showing here than in Madrid, what’s that about? Anyway, as you said the BH has been very dominant so far, if FH can also improve, game can come together and has real chance at the title. First things first though, what an effort from Stan the man, been struggling this past year but nothing like a Dull win to get the blood pumping. Hoping for a great match from these two and that Roger can have another opportunity to add this one to his cabinet. Allez!

    Also when was the last time Rafa entered the French with only one clay title- none being Madrid, Rome, Barcelona or Monte Carlo. Should be vulnerable for an early exit but with this guy you never know.

    1. Madrid was a short turnaround from Istanbul. A friend who was press at Madrid said Fed looked pretty flat in his practice session their and also skipped some press stuff at the start of the week. Probably wasn’t up for it. Had a week off then came to Rome re-energised I think.

      2004 was the last time failed to win a M1000 prior to the French. Over 5 I still think he’s very hard to beat, Stan had to come up with sustained firepower to get it done.

  21. Jonathan, Thank you – always a pleasure to visit your page. And I’m so VERY eager to read your prediction of tonight…..??? Please?

  22. Stan the man is back, apparently his flight from Melbourne ’14 was rather heavily delayed, but it arrived on time for yesterday evening’s clash with Rafa! Way to go Stan!

  23. I absolutely agree with Sid here. Facing Dull on clay is a recipe for disaster for the Fed and more importantly a tool for regaining confidence for Dull which is bad for us as Fed fanatics. We need him to be completely dispirited and lose Roland Garros so that the GOAT can maintain his GOAT status.

    Think long term people.

    1. I don’t think it really matters, the H2H is beyond repair anyway at this stage in their careers. I wanted to Stan to win last night because I prefer his game.

  24. Wow, already 69 comments? I’m very slow these days, retirement in sight…

    Great write-up as always, Jonathan. Despite I picked Roger to win Rome for Tiger Challenge (in fact every tourney 😉 ), he already exceeded my expectation. Quite surprise he’s doing better in Rome than he did in Madrid. I believe he said the condition in Rome was quick in one of his interview? Thought Rome was one of the slowest.

    Hope he will show who’s the boss today. Allez!

    1. He said it was fast against Anderson but the conditions change a lot in Rome he said to Sky, he played in wind when there’s no clay on the court, extreme heat against Nadal one time, slow night conditions ec.

  25. Great stuff by Roger, what amazes me the most that he continue to play at such high level at his age. BH has been solid this week better than ever. I am happy that he manage to reach semis, to be honest did not have high hopes after his early exit at Madrid. Cant wait for his next match – battle of BHs, lets do Roger!!!

    1. It’s a role reversal – Fed hit more BH winners against Berdych than FH, Stan only hit 1 BH winner against Nadal compared to many more FH winners!

      1. Awesome match. Stan hit only one BH winner but he stayed firm on the BH to Rafa’s constant pounding, something Fed could not manage ever and that frustrated Rafa enough to make quite a few UE.

        Fed’s gonna have his hands full with Stan and if Stan plays like he did yesterday a 3 setter looms.

        Poor Ferrer can never rise beyond his brand of boring tennis and thus being branded as the most boring tennis player ( by me ). Routine match for Novak.

      2. After watching the highlights of Stan’s match against Rafael, I am of the opinion that he may just very well make it to the finals. Like you said Jonathon, his persistent firepower is what broke down Rafael’s airtight defence. Stanimal has got more firepower than Roger both flanks and if he were to sustain his firepower, Roger is gonna have his hands full. One aspect of the game that Roger has advantage over Rafael would be his serve. Roger needs to be at his best in this department to keep the match even since I think Stanimal would have an edge in rallies.

  26. Well, bit of a let down, eh guys? I’m sure we can all talk about Roger being clean and tactically superior, and we will, no doubt about it, but I’m rather disappointed in Stan not making a contest out of it. From a break up to a complete self destruction…

    Predictions for the final, guys? I think I have to go with Djokovic, but in 3.

    1. I go with Roger. He is in explosive form, and although Nole is tough, he might be too slow tomorrow.
      Waiting for next “Breaking News”….

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