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
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.
|R. Federer||E. Gulbis|
|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|
|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
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
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!