ATP 500HalleRoger Federer

Federer Dispatches Gulbis to Make Quarter Finals in Halle

Another win on the grass for Federer in Halle as he defeated Ernests Gulbis 6-3 7-5 to make the Quarter Finals where he'll play home hope Florian Mayer on Friday.

I expected a routine match and barring a late Gulbis rally it was exactly that as Roger served well, saved both break points he faced and played a clean-ish game to come through in 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Halle Gulbis 2015

Roger served first and held to 15 after incorrectly stopping play on the very first point to challenge. Gulbis then levelled but was pegged back to deuce in the process.

In game 3, the Latvian had 2 break point chances to snatch an early lead but Roger found some powerful serves before going on to hold for 2-1. That was the last look Gulbis would get at the Federer serve and at 2-3 down he played a miserable service game as Roger broke to lead 4-2.

That one break proved decisive and even though Federer should have broken again at 5-3 (missed routine shots at 0-15 and 15-30) he served it out comfortably to take the set 6-3.

I had a feeling set two could be closer than the first and so it proved with Gulbis delivering big first serves which Fed struggled to get a racquet on. On the changeover at 1-2 the Swiss called the trainer but after a brief chat he left without administering any treatment.

For virtually all of set 2 both players held comfortably with neither player winning more than 2 points in a return game until 5-5 when Gulbis, who had started to play well, slipped to love 40. He saved 2 of the break points with some brave play but then double faulted to hand Roger a virtual match point. The Swiss then served it out to 30, hitting an awesome top spin serve at 30 all before converting his first match point to move into the Quarter Finals. Spiel, Satz und Sieg Federer.

Match Stats

R. Federer E. Gulbis
Aces 3 4
Double Faults 4 3
1st Serve % 67% 55%
1st Serve Points Won 34/40 (85%) 25/31 (81%)
2nd Serve Points Won 11/20 (55%) 12/25 (48%)
Break Points Saved 2/2 (100%) 3/5 (60%)
Service Games Played 11 10
1st Return Points Won 6/31 (19%) 6/40 (15%)
2nd Return Points Won 13/25 (52%) 9/20 (45%)
Break Points Won 2/5 (40%) 0/2 (0%)
Return Games Played 10 11
Winners 19 12
Unforced Errors 13 18
Net Points Won 11/12 6/8
Total Service Points Won 45/60 (75%) 37/56 (66%)
Total Return Points Won 19/56 (34%) 15/60 (25%)
Total Points Won 64/116 (55%) 52/116 (45%)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Halle 2nd Round 2015

Routine win here for the GOAT which was expected against a guy who has won just 4 matches all year and is bound to be very low on confidence. There were a few scratchy moments from Fed who didn't look overly interested in the match but by making enough first serves and taking apart the Gulbis forehand he had very little to worry about.

All the stats are very tidy too with a high % of first serves landed, 85% won behind them and 11 of 12 points won at the net. Not getting broken is always impressive too and it was just a solid peformance that got the job done. Nothing much else to add 🙂

As for Gulbis he actually played pretty well in parts but as usual a couple of sloppy service games cost him and he makes too many errors on his forehand to ever make it truly competitive. Hard to see him rising up the rankings again unless he can get some confidence in that shot again otherwise it's going to continue to keep costing him points.

Predictions vs. Florian Mayer

Federer Mayer Hamburg 2013

Next up is Florian Mayer who defeated Steve Johnson earlier in the day. Mayer is coming back from a long injury lay off but he's won a few matches recently on clay and now grass. This guy is very unorthodox and is always a tricky customer to play against as Nadal found out in Shanghai a few years back. Roger leads the H2H against him 5-0 though and has scored two of those wins on grass; both in Halle and both in straight sets.

The last time the two met was in Hamburg in 2013 in and up and down match where Roger was 1-5 down in the second set, lost it 6-3, then went up a break twice in the decider, got broken back both times but finally broke again at 5-5 and served it out to love. Of course the back flared up massively in that match and he was even struggling to walk properly on the court but he still got the job done. I think if a stiff-backed Federer gets it done vs. Mayer on his *worst* surface then he should be able to get it done on his best playing injury free. Well hopefully anyway, who knows why he saw the trainer.

Mayer will no doubt mix it up a ton and be as awkward as possible but I think Fed can handle him here and get it done in straights. One close set probably. 7-5 6-3. Chum jetzt!


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 writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Had to make a comeback sometime! This year is really tough competition! Waited for the FO drama to end to pick up my title :p

      Good solid win. Saw the whole match and really never was in danger. Needs to clean up a bit but nice tests so pumped for a weekend title possibly! One match at a time. What you think about Rafa? Still a threat I think with little points, but literally can have 20 loses this year, crazy

    2. And what better way to do it than on the grass? 😆

      Nadal looked ok vs. Dolgo I thought but losing 4 games in a row from 4-2? Not ideal.

  1. Hi Jonathan

    thank god it was not as tense has his first riund match. His first serve went missing in action and when was the last time he served 4 double faults 2 of them back to back. But the important thing is he won, and is still in there fighting.

    hopefully against Mayer his served will have clicked back into place and the double faults will have vanished. As long as he keeps winning we will all be happy. Am i allowed to say how glad i was that the dog beat nadal and i nearly made to the top 3

    1. He served in the high sixties though so it was a decent enough serving day. Few double faults but Gulbis was putting a bit of pressure on in the second set for a brief spell, had to put some extra on them.

  2. *Very* speedy Jonathan! I didn’t even think the report would be up yet! Maybe the ATP website has actually caught up now and shows the correct stats: last time I looked, it was stuck at about 2-2 in the second set! Four DFs is very poor. Wonder what that business with the trainer was? Perhaps someone will have asked about that in the interviews.

    1. 2 came back to back so inflated the number. Gulbis made a few big returns at one stage in the second set so I think Fed was putting a bit more on it…

  3. Couldn’t watch it, so thanks for the write-up and highlights. He asked for a trainer? Nothing to freak out, right?
    But seriously, Gulbis’s FH motion…what is that about? Flying?

    “If a stiff-backed Federer gets it done vs. Mayer on his *worst* surface then he should be able to get it done on his best playing injury free.” Haha, hope so!

    1. No info on the trainer call, no transcript on Halle website yet either. Looked more like it would be medication rather than injury though but who knows.

      1. The Helle site in German posted this.

        QUESTION: Why was the doctor with you on the court?
        FEDERER: He only had to give me painkillers. I only had a bit sore today, pain somewhere not important and I hope that it’s gone again then on Friday.

        Hope it’s not his back…

  4. Thanks, Jonathan. Can I even be the 7th? Where is everybody? Roger has just won 🙂 .
    On the match, agree with you Jonathan, Gulbis actually played well. I just don’t understand this punch, who treats Roger as drug; he got pretty excited every time when he played Roger, while being rubbish in other matches.
    On next match, Mayer is a Santoro type of cat-mouse player. I can see that grass has already worn out pretty fast. So Roger should deal with his treackery easily without slipping or tumbling.
    2 down 3 to go!
    Allez Rog!

  5. Pretty straightforward match – anytime he’s in trouble, that serve is getting him out of it. No worries at all in this match, but I am worried about him calling the trainer. OK, obviously nothing dramatic I guess, but presumably he didn’t call him out unless there was something niggling. Don’t need this before Wimbledon so I hope it’s minor and can be sorted over the next week. 🙂

    Have to say I am starting to feel sorry for Gulbis though. Serve still there, but he is Dfaulting at very inopportune moments. Needs to have a big block of training and do something – anything – about that forehand. I just don’t see how he is going to be able to claw his way back otherwise.

    1. Yeah still no presser on the Gerald Webley website to see if he was asked about it.

      Gulbis likely not taking it serious as he usually drifts off for extended periods then has a better form spell. Maybe needs a new coach.

      1. What they’re putting up as “the presser” seems awfully short, can’t believe that was the whole presser. Maybe it’s the English questions only?

      2. I don’t know, I often think that, given that Roger seems to spend so many hours doing EN/FR/DE pressers, the verbatims sometimes come out pretty short. Perhaps they *have* split the English and German parts – the German interviews are on the German version of the site. OTOH, they also appear to have a German interview with Nishikori on there, and I doubt he speaks German!

      3. It’s what Gerry Weber would be called if he was English.

        The presser is in full on the .de domain, only 2 questions are on the English version.

      1. This is just so good that I have to leave a comment, too.
        Shouldn’t he better changing the profession?

    1. Doesn’t look likey they have the option anymore. I think that’s a mistake as the engagement levels on it were very high, it gave people a reason to revisit the site and added a bit more to their articles.

      They likely don’t see it as necessary though, the site isn’t earning ££ via pageviews or ad impressions. Although you could argue Facebook comments offered the chance for more people to get exposed to the game and take an interest if they see friends participating.

      1. OTOH, there was a lot of nastiness and negativity from fans of other players – I won’t miss that. Not to mention all the spam.

  6. Good win by Fed against yet another player who makes it his mission to play great against him.

    Re the double faults Roger doesn’t back off from going for his serve even if he’s missing – its what makes it great. I think he has served 3 in a row (Shanghai?) not sure about 4.

    With Wawrinka losing at Queens there is an opportunity for Nishikori to leapfrog him into the all important 4th seed place for Wimbledon. Nish would have to win Halle though – if he only reached the final he would be 10 points short.

    1. Ah my friend I see you don’t know how the Wimbledon seedings. The formula is

      Ranking Points at the end of this week + all points from grass court tournaments in the past year + 75% of the best performance in grass from the previous year.

      So Wawrinka points = (5790) + (360 (Wimbledon 2014 Quarters) + 45 (Queens 2015)) + (3/4*150) (Topshelf open final 2013) = 6307.5

      Nishikori points if he reaches the finals = (5570+255) (his ATP points if he reaches the finals) + ( 180 (Wimbledon 2014 4th round)+ 300 (Halle final 2015) ) + 3/4*90(Wimbledon 2013 3rd round) = 6372.5

      So if Nishikori makes the finals he does get the 4th seed. Also if he loses in the semis he doesn’t get it. So basically he has to win his next 3 matches and he is good to go !!

      1. Thanks Ajay great work – I did know about W seedings but forgot….. I’m completely put in my place as an interested amateur. I would prefer Stan to get the 4th place – think he deserves it more. I don’t think it will makes much difference to eventual outcome though whoever it is

      1. Roger’s still 2000 ahead of Murray, so even if there were a 1000-point swing (no longer mathematically possible, Murray winning Queens & Roger losing first round) , Roger would still be #2 – even with the grass-weighted formula, Roger’s the one who made the final last year, so he’s got more calculated points as well.

    1. Google Translate isn’t very accurate on that though, I’ve seen people Tweeting off quotes from it in English that are clearly not the exact words he used 😆

      Would be interested to see an accurate translation…

      1. Well, I won’t have any opportunity to oblige in the near future, I’m afraid. The comment about Boris related to his comment about it being impossible for Roger to be that nice/open or whatever it was, though, not to anything about Novak.

        Great interview, Ajay – thanks for sharing.

  7. Seemed to have a better range on the fh in general. Saw some quotes from Mayer saying he thought Kohli had played a great match yesterday – so perhaps his excellence leading Fed to go for too much on occasion, which I think you may have said yesterday Jonathan.

    Glad not to see the slip-sliding of yesterday, too, though as others have said the turf is worn already.

  8. If Fed looked disinterested I thought Gulbis was completely unengaged! Why does he still bother? Serve decent enough but the FH is a complete liability!
    Fed needs to clean up his return game in time for Wimby but looked sharper today snd better balanced, but maybe had more time!
    Will beat Florian in 2!
    Disappointed by Stan losing for 4th strsight time to Kev… Hates the match up! Pity, as was hoping to see him at SF…!

    1. Fed’s return has been really poor for what seems like an age now. Can’t seem to get enough balls in play which is annoying to watch. Kohli has a good serve though as does Gulbis but still gotta do more.

  9. Good match by Roger, high 1st serve percentage. Hope he plays himself to form till the final. At least he did not slip in this match.

  10. Still baffles me that Fed lost to someone with such a FH at a slam. Anyway, good match from Rog here and serve really in form so far, hope the trainer issue is only a minor problem. Allez!

    1. Gulbis was playing very well last year. His forehand is crazy looking but if you’re playing with confidence then minor technical flaws are hidden. Pretty much every shot turns to gold.

      On the reverse he’s now playing low on confidence and missing the FH all the time.

  11. Interesting comment on Fed from Rafa today after losing to Doglopov:
    “I not happy I lost a match that I had a chance to win, but that’s it. That’s tennis on grass, you know. Probably the best player of the history on our sport and best player on history on grass yesterday was close to losing in Halle, 5‑3 in the third of the tiebreak. That is sport, especially on this surface and anything can happen.
    Today was my turn. “

    1. That’s complete rubbish, other than the ‘best player’ bit. Fed was ‘close to losing’ but managed to win, Nadal was close to winning but managed to lose. That’s a ton of difference there. Nadal has no business in making excuse for his loss by comparing it with Fed’s match

      1. Totally agree. In-between-the-lines, Nadal is stating that the outcome of matches on grass are, on an extreme interpretation, random, therefore unrelated to the players’ skill.
        Oh, really?… Should he then just roll some dice onto a green felt table, instead of sweating for no purpose at all other than dehydrating?

      2. Come on, I’m not a Nadal fan but Fed fan bias is extraordinaire when it comes to his every move 😆

        Fed has made similar comments before in press both in terms of comparing his loss to contemporaries and also stating that grass as a surface is capable of producing upsets and if a player catches fire for a few games they can streak a whole match. On clay for instance it’s not possible.

    2. Nadal is just giving a comparison. It’s not something you can get annoyed about 😆

      All he said was Roger came pretty close to losing to Kohli but ended up winning. He on the other hand came close to winning but lost and that’s what grass can do.

      All I would say is kinda unlike him to come out with that talk in press, looks pretty low on confidence despite winning Stuttgart.

      Interesting that Dustin Brown said Stuttgart played like a high bouncing hard court though and he much prefers Halle. Probably a big reason as to why Nadal pulled off the win there.

    3. I just thought it was worth noting for dear old Pablo – bless His heart, wherever he may be – that his hero said that Fed was the “best in the history”.

    4. Since we are all getting so technical with the verbiage, ‘He is the greatest of the history, no?”, is a far cry from, “Probably the best player of the history on our sport.”, no?

      Note the use of, “Probably.”

      Jonathan is right when he says that Nadal is diminishing grass surfaces by practically saying that, “anyone can win!”. Well, no, on grass, and fast hard courts, a variety of skills are rewarded. That’s what makes Roger’s seven Wimbledon titles so special. Unlike clay, where all you have to do is make sure you last long enough.

  12. I agree Jonathan, Nadal is very frank these days. But again same old, same old. I watched the match. Uncle Toni yelling instructions to him. AND he took FOREVER to serve with only one time warning.
    I wonder how many players lose to him because they get impatient.

  13. Great comments everyone! I think this site has a great group of commentators and hats off to you Jonathan for such a great site for us Fedfanatics.

  14. Okay, guys/girls, as promised: my stats from Nadal’s matches in Stuttgart against Troicki and Tomic, as posted by me with graphics on Twitter.
    It had annoyed me like many others quite awhile and therefor I watched these two matches on Youtube and timed the gaps between the making of a point and the hitting of the first serve.
    Against Troicki his average time was 26,6 seconds; against Tomic 24,48.
    Against Troicki 50% of his serves were over 25 seconds; against Tomic 40%.

    Funny thing is: he CAN do it in less than 20 seconds. In some cases he managed to do it in 19 seconds!

    My opinion: first of all Nadal shouldn’t complain about referees warning him. Secondly: referees should be way more consistent in warning him (and any other player who crosses the seconds-line).

    1. Well, yes, the time at the FO when he was warned he was only about 17 seconds in. Mind you, I was counting from when the score was announced.

    2. The rule should be same time in slams and ATP events, then you can enforce it consistently.

      I had Nadal vs Dolgo on but was away from the screen, the time between points was even more noticeable, a joke really.

  15. I’ve heard the pain killer was for his knee and didn’t practice yesterday…?
    Hope it’s not a big deal. Let’s see how he plays today!

    1. There seemed to be some doubt whether he would play today? Have you heard anything more Wanda? I’m very glad it’s not his back. I guess the couple of slips he had in that first match may have caused the problem. Why didn’t they re-shuffle the draw when they realised they had Kohli/Feds in first round – stupid Halle. 🙁

      1. I saw the pic of him practicing today a bit earlier, so hopefully he will play this afternoon!

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